Personal stories

Diagnosis prompts this patient to plan

“I’m a 61-year-old woman and I was recently diagnosed with metastatic ovarian cancer. Naturally, this news was devastating. I’m undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for what doctors call palliative measures and to control my symptoms. I am not sure how much longer I will live.

Sadly I have a complex family history. My only sibling wasn’t supportive or compassionate when my parents were dying and I really don’t want my brother to have any control over my affairs or end-of-life care.

To give me a choice about what happens when I’m too sick to make my own decisions, I completed an Advance Health Directive to specify how I want health care decisions to play out once I lose capacity. It gives me a way to retain control of my affairs, even if I can’t speak for myself.

I have also appointed a very good friend as my attorney for financial and personal matters. Filling out an Enduring Power of Attorney form gave me the chance to reflect on what I want to happen in terms of managing my affairs. I’ve spoken with my friend at length about my wishes and my values and I believe she will act on my behalf without any prejudice or judgement.

Now that I’ve been able to choose my own attorney and she is someone I trust, I’m really confident that my interests will be looked after. It’s a great relief.”

Happy, healthy and in control

“I’m lucky that I’m very healthy for a 73-year-old woman! My future is looking good but I suppose I like to do what’s right. I don’t want my family to have to make tough decisions just because I couldn’t be bothered writing down what I would want.

A friend of mine told me about the value of appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney so I looked into it and it was a relatively simple and economical process. While I was at it, I figured I might as well complete an Advance Health Directive to specify my health care wishes in case I lose capacity, because I wanted to be prepared for what the future holds.

It’s great to know that simply by completing these documents and explaining my wishes to my attorney, I know that my choices will be respected. I am reassured that any decisions made for me will be decisions I would have made if I had been able.”