Ron Silverio, who is an advocate for the end-of-life care option of medical aid in dying who lived in Dover, died at home after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. Unfortunately, Ron died without access to the option he fought so hard for.
Since the spring of 2012, I have been battling metastatic prostate cancer. I’ve been through multiple therapies and chemotherapy treatments and have done everything in my power to try to prolong my inevitable death from the cancer that has now claimed my body and stolen my quality of life.
I am at a place where there is nothing more that can be done. I am physically deteriorating more and more every day. It is increasingly difficult for me to walk due to weakness and pain.
In my career as a stonemason, I carried 80 pound bags of cement mix every day. Now I can’t even get in or out of bed without help.
As this disease continues to progress through my body on its way to cause my inevitable death, I wanted to impart my thoughts in these last days of my life.
Along my journey, I have consistently told my multiple doctors I want to focus on the quality of my remaining days, not the quantity. I don’t want to die in a bed, unconscious and unresponsive under the influence of drugs, completely unaware of my surroundings. From the very beginning of this journey I have been worried about how I will die.
In 2017, I joined thousands of my fellow Delawareans in advocating for our state’s legislature to pass HB 160, Delaware’s End of Life Options Act. That law that would have enabled me to decide how I die when my time comes, instead of my illness making that decision for me when it already has robbed me of almost everything.
That law would’ve made this journey much easier if I had known from the beginning that it was an option. I may never have decided to use it, but by having it available, I could have spent more time living than worrying about dying.
The bill was not voted on by the full House of Representatives before the close of Delaware’s 2017 legislative session, but it passed out of committee and will be up for reconsideration in January.
Unfortunately for me, this means that the “gold ring” of hope I clung to of being able to have this option available in my final days is no longer possible. I won’t live long enough.
But, in 2018, our legislators will have the opportunity in front of them to vote in support of HB 160 and bring this hope to other terminally ill Delaware residents.
I am not afraid of death. I am afraid of the pain and suffering of dying from cancer. Passing HB160 would provide comfort and peace to terminally ill Delaware residents just like me.
I urge our legislators to pass this vital legislation in 2018 so that it isn’t too late for other terminally ill Delaware residents like me to have comfort, peace and autonomy from the first day of a terminal diagnosis through the final days of our lives.
Ron Silverio: Pass the End of Life Options Act