The following is an excerpt from Laurie’s op-ed, My sister and I are nurses who are disabled by life-shortening diseases. Let us die our own way, which first appeared in the New Jersey Star Ledger on November 13, 2018.

I’m 61 and have suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years. It has invaded my lung tissue and requires me to wear an oxygen tank most of the day to breathe. I’ve had 18 surgeries. I plan to fight my illness for as long as I can. I enjoy life. But at the end stage of my disease, I do not want to suffer through air hunger in the very last days of my life.

My younger sister, Melissa, suffers from small cell lung cancer, the most deadly of all lung cancers.

Neither of us wants to die, but we know we are going to die long before the end of our natural lives. When that time is imminent, and if our suffering becomes unbearable, we both would like to have the opportunity to die in our own way, at home, with our family and friends around us.