February 23, 2005: Headlines: Cancer: Suicide: Assisted Suicide: Salem Statesman Journal: RPCV Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Peace Corps Library: Cancer: January 23, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: Cancer : February 23, 2005: Headlines: Cancer: Suicide: Assisted Suicide: Salem Statesman Journal: RPCV Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide

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RPCV Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide

RPCV Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide

RPCV Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide

Patient with cancer hopes assisted-suicide law stays

Caption: Char Andrews talks Tuesday about her experience with cancer and her views about assisted suicide. Photo: LORI CAIN | STATESMAN JOURNAL

Statesman Journal

February 23, 2005

Char Andrews brings four stuffed animals with her to every chemotherapy treatment.

One bear represents strength, another courage, and a small blue bear with the word "Alaska" sewn on its belly reminds her of adventure. The one that seems to be her favorite, a pink bear with a pink hat, stands for hope, she said.

And what Andrews, 67, is hoping for most right now is not a cure for her breast cancer that has spread to her liver, lungs and bones. She is too realistic for that, she said.

The Salem resident said she hopes that Oregonians will continue to be able to use their physician-assisted-suicide law.

"I feel strongly about the law," she said Tuesday after hearing that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the challenge to Oregon's law. "Oregonians have voted for it. I feel strongly that it is there for people.

"I don't know what my death will be like, but there is comfort in knowing the law is there."

Andrews has not asked her physician about getting a lethal dose of medication under the Death with Dignity law. She does not know whether she will need to, but she is adamant that the option should be available in case her dying process becomes intolerable.

"After all, you are on your deathbed," she said. "It's not going to be misused. There is so much written into the law to prevent misuse."

Advocates echo that view and say the law has operated as intended.

Opponents of Oregon's law argue that there is misuse because lethal prescriptions are written for people who are depressed, not just terminally ill.

"I am confident the Supreme Court will not feel itself compelled to allow a state to remove the protections from its citizens that everyone else in the United States has," said Dr. Gregory Hamilton, spokesperson and co-founder of Physicians for Compassionate Care.

"Since 1997, a few patients have been given overdoses, but even the Oregon report statistics haven't revealed one documented case of someone given an overdose from actual pain. All of the cases have been fear of psychological or social consequences of their disease or a fear of future pain. We can treat pain. There is no need for assisted suicide."

For her part, Andrews said that Oregon's unique law has prompted the delivery of some of the best end-of-life care.

"Hospice has done a really good job in dealing with death and pain," she said. "I feel as though the law has been really effective for Oregonians."

Andrews, who moved to Salem in 1963, was given a diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer that had spread to her bones in December 2000. In March 2002, she learned that the cancer had spread to her liver. Two years later, it was found in her lungs.

She wears a wig, "and I probably will for the rest of my life," she said, and she uses an oxygen tank during high-intensity exercise or at high altitudes.

In March, she will have been on chemotherapy for three consecutive years and doesn't see any possibility of ending the regimen.

But it's hard to picture Andrews as anything but active, energetic and full of life, especially now that she doesn't need her oxygen tank to play tennis anymore and she walks three miles several times per week.

A retired teacher and a former Peace Corps volunteer, she surprises most people with her story of climbing Mount St. Helens two months after she finished radiation in summer 2001.

Although she lives life with the vigor of a 20-something, Andrews said that she is fully aware of the seriousness of her disease. So are her two adult children.

"I know," she said solemnly. "I am a realist. I know it is true. When you are at Stage 4, it is mostly palliative care."

And having the option to end her life is necessary for her quality of life now, she said.

"We know when it is the end," she said. "So why make them suffer any more?"

bcasper@StatesmanJournal.com or (503) 589-6994

When this story was posted in February 2005, this was on the front page of PCOL:

The Peace Corps Library Date: February 7 2005 No: 438 The Peace Corps Library
Peace Corps Online is proud to announce that the Peace Corps Library is now available online. With over 30,000 index entries in over 500 categories, this is the largest collection of Peace Corps related reference material in the world. From Acting to Zucchini, you can use the Main Index to find hundreds of stories about RPCVs who have your same interests, who served in your Country of Service, or who serve in your state.

Make a call for the Peace Corps Date: February 19 2005 No: 453 Make a call for the Peace Corps
PCOL is a strong supporter of the NPCA's National Day of Action and encourages every RPCV to spend ten minutes on Tuesday, March 1 making a call to your Representatives and ask them to support President Bush's budget proposal of $345 Million to expand the Peace Corps. Take our Poll: Click here to take our poll. We'll send out a reminder and have more details early next week.
Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot? Date: February 17 2005 No: 445 Peace Corps Calendar:Tempest in a Teapot?
Bulgarian writer Ognyan Georgiev has written a story which has made the front page of the newspaper "Telegraf" criticizing the photo selection for his country in the 2005 "Peace Corps Calendar" published by RPCVs of Madison, Wisconsin. RPCV Betsy Sergeant Snow, who submitted the photograph for the calendar, has published her reply. Read the stories and leave your comments.

February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories Date: February 19 2005 No: 449 February 19, 2005: This Week's Top Stories
NPCA Board positions are open for nomination 17 Feb
Mike Tidwell on trial for climate action protest 17 Feb
Katie Dyer is co-owner of Cadeaux du Monde 16 Feb
Cyclone misses Tonga and Samoa PCVs 16 Feb
Phil Hardberger in debate for Mayor of San Antonio 16 Feb
Edmund Hull is Princeton Diplomat-In-Residence 16 Feb
Bruce Greenlee is longtime friend of Latino community 15 Feb
Mike Honda new vice chairman at DNC 15 Feb
Jospeh Opala documents slave crossing from Sierra Leone 14 Feb
Dear Dr. Brothers: Aren't PCVs Hippies? 14 Feb
Joseph Lanning founded the World Education Fund 14 Feb
Stanley Levine draws Marine and Peace Corps similarities 14 Feb
Speaking Out: JFK envisioned millions of RPCVs 13 Feb
Chris Aquino visits mother's homeland of Vietnam 12 Feb
Is PCOL blocking users from posting messages? 12 Feb
JFK Library opens Sargent Shriver Collection 1 Feb
RPCV responds to Bulgaria Calendar concerns 28 Jan

WWII participants became RPCVs Date: February 13 2005 No: 442 WWII participants became RPCVs
Read about two RPCVs who participated in World War II in very different ways long before there was a Peace Corps. Retired Rear Adm. Francis J. Thomas (RPCV Fiji), a decorated hero of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Friday, Jan. 21, 2005 at 100. Mary Smeltzer (RPCV Botswana), 89, followed her Japanese students into WWII internment camps. We honor both RPCVs for their service.
Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps Date: February 7 2005 No: 436 Bush's FY06 Budget for the Peace Corps
The White House is proposing $345 Million for the Peace Corps for FY06 - a $27.7 Million (8.7%) increase that would allow at least two new posts and maintain the existing number of volunteers at approximately 7,700. Bush's 2002 proposal to double the Peace Corps to 14,000 volunteers appears to have been forgotten. The proposed budget still needs to be approved by Congress.
RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service Date: January 30 2005 No: 405 RPCVs mobilize support for Countries of Service
RPCV Groups mobilize to support their Countries of Service. Over 200 RPCVS have already applied to the Crisis Corps to provide Tsunami Recovery aid, RPCVs have written a letter urging President Bush and Congress to aid Democracy in Ukraine, and RPCVs are writing NBC about a recent episode of the "West Wing" and asking them to get their facts right about Turkey.
RPCVs contend for Academy Awards  Date: January 31 2005 No: 416 RPCVs contend for Academy Awards
Bolivia RPCV Taylor Hackford's film "Ray" is up for awards in six categories including best picture, best actor and best director. "Autism Is a World" co-produced by Sierra Leone RPCV Douglas Biklen and nominated for best Documentary Short Subject, seeks to increase awareness of developmental disabilities. Colombian film "El Rey," previously in the running for the foreign-language award, includes the urban legend that PCVs teamed up with El Rey to bring cocaine to U.S. soil.
Ask Not Date: January 18 2005 No: 388 Ask Not
As our country prepares for the inauguration of a President, we remember one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century and how his words inspired us. "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."

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Story Source: Salem Statesman Journal

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Cancer; Suicide; Assisted Suicide



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