Death With Dignitym2

2014 was thought to be my last year here
a dairy of posts by Robert M

 

At the age of fifteen I contracted acute rheumatic fever, was in quarantine the first three days of the twelve days I was hospitalized. From that moment on was doomed to have a different life than most other people, I was a “severe” medical risk, a time bomb set in slow motion. At that time I did not know what was in store for me, though I was told some scary stories and that I wouldn’t live past the age of 45. And if I did live past that, it would only because I would have had parts of my heart, if not my whole heart replaced.

Robert M's First Call Into The Norman Goldman Show

Contact me at info@Dying-With-Dignity.com and please Skype me using my Skype name: Dying.With.Dignity

Friday, December 19, 2014

Speaking on the Norman Goldman Show December 17th

On Wednesday afternoon, 12/17/14 I called the Norman Goldman Show to update everyone on the possibilities of me getting the newest TAVR procedure in order to prolong my life by another five years or more.


I was just called a few minutes ago by Denver Health to set up an appointment to see a therapist about getting this possible upcoming surgery. I am very nervous about all of it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Follow Up To Going To The Hospital This Week

A follow up to my hospital visits to see if I might be able to get the newest TAVR procedure to keep me alive.

Last week, Monday the 8th of December I went to the CU Medical Center in Aurora. Fox31 reporter Rob Low and his cameraman met me there to cover this story. They filmed me while getting the Echocardiogram and then they also did an interview with both the surgeon Dr. Carroll and myself!

Yesterday I went back there and had two more tests. First was the Pulmonary test, which I passed in flying colors. No surprise though, because I am having no problems with my lungs. It is getting the oxygen to my brain and extremities is the problem.

Next was the CT Scan just a couple hours later. I had a reaction to the "contrast" that they inject into your body, so I had to stay an hour longer and be observed. The next time I am to have one, I will have to take medication first to prevent any problems from maybe happening.

I was called today by the CU TAVR team and given an appointment date of Friday January the 9th, 2015 to get a Transesophageal Echocardiogram and then the damned Cardiac Catheterization.


This freaks me out! I will stay overnight for this procedure and be released the following morning.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2nd, 2014

Hello. Not much of a post here today. Not much has changed lately. Just trying to hang in there and here it is the second of the month and I have nothing for this month's rent and other bills. Zero!

I was just able to pay my storage unit fees before they went up because of a late fee and that's the end of my money, again.

Folks I am making it month to month by receiving food stamps, Medicaid and whatever donations I might receive throughout each month. I have not been able to get any other assistance here in Denver were we are having a bad rental crisis.

All the long time renters in Denver are getting forced out by ever increasing rents. It is getting impossible to find a reasonable place to live here and there is NO Section 8 here anymore. The list/backlog is so long that they stopped taking applications anywhere around Denver! All the money I receive each month goes straight to my landlord and the few other bills I have. My apartment is falling apart, there hasn't been any needed work done on this place in probably the last 20 years!

I have NOT been able to adjust the temperature of bath water now in the last six months! Back when it was hotter out, the AC barely worked and most of my windows won’t open and those that do, don’t have screens! (A pigeon flew in my bathroom two months ago!) My bedroom window has been broken where wind and snow can blow in for over one year now! The windows are the old 50’s crank style and this place is a wind tunnel at times! I can go on and on about this place.

But I am stuck here too! I can not get enough money together to get another place. I have no credit, so that alone kills the chance to rent most apartment these days. I don’t know what to do!

And yet here I am again, another month down the road begging for money to pay my bills. I sure wish I could find a corporate sponsor!

Next week finally is my appointment at Colorado University’s clinical trial unit to see if I might be a candidate for the very newest TAVR procedure. So yet another major thing to deal with. I do not know how I am expected to get through all of this!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Speaking about Self Deliverance on Talk Center America

There is a new internet “TV” news show now on the “air” called Talk Center America. It is an hour long show and tonight’s show was about the right to die as each person determines for themselves.

This is the best copy that I have available at the moment. This is from a program that can record my own Skype calls and gives me several split-screen options. 


This is the HD quality video from the producer of the show.

People, at this moment I have to depend on folks to help me pay my bills. I have not been able to pay November’s rent yet, nor any of the other bills. Please help by sending me a donation via my Paypal link:

Something that I am just now realizing...

My primary doctor that I have been seeing at Denver Health for over a decade now has suggested that I take therapy before going into surgery. He suggested that I might have a PTS from the last operation.

So I started to think about this and it goes so much further back than I realized! This all started back when I was six years old!

That’s when I got my tonsils taken out.

Let me tell you about that. There were six people holding me down and I was fighting for all my life! I thought they were trying to kill me with that ether! As I was going under the ether, I saw a huge train coming at me and when it hit me was when I passed out. That was a trip!

You city people won’t understand the stories from the kids starting a new school year out in farming country, where they talked about the kid/s that got killed over the summer on a “farming accident”.

At age 12 I nearly lost the top of my head from a farming accident after a day of hay bailing. You can still see the scar on the top of my forehead. It was a long way to the hospital is about all I can remember.

Three years later I caught rheumatic so acutely that when I was finally brought to the hospital they immediately put me in quarantine for three days before they could even figure out what I had! Everyone in space suits but me!

The ACL surgery in 1985 was no fun, but certainly not as traumatic as above.

Then there was the nightmare of the nearly one month of being in the hospital for my aortic heart valve replacement. A few really tough complications during recovery. They actually let me out after two weeks and the day after I was out I had a mini-stroke and went back in for two more weeks.

So yeah, I guess I do have a problem of being in an operating room or hospital when I am not getting paid to install a surgical microscope into their ceilings. I can stand behind the surgeons during surgery, watch the surgery and converse with them and be ok with it. It’s when I’m on the other end of it all that I have a problem with it.

The newest TAVR procedures look very scary to me. Freaks me out! Punching right though your chest, through the heart wall and into the chamber of the heart to drop the new valve on the old one. Bizarre! But this will be the way to where in the future no one is getting their ribs split apart for service.

Thing is, this is all clinical trial now. I’ll be test, an experiment and who really knows? This is all such a trip to me!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

I Was On 9News Tonight!

Last week channel 9News came over to my apartment and interviewed me about Self-Deliverance or "Dying With Dignity".
Ryan told me that he would let me know when this was going to air, but I did not find out until after it had played on TV and I got an email about it.

Folks, I am broke and not been able to pay this month's rent yet! Please help by donating what you can by using my Paypal link. I do not have the strength, nor the money to move out to another place. There is no section eight available and places to rent in Denver are difficult and expensive to find right now.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Edwards SAPIEN XT Transcatheter Heart valve

This is the device that they might be putting into me, the Edwards SAPIEN XT Transcatheter Heart valve. It is a bovine heart valve surrounded by mesh and steel. Pretty crazy looking!
It’s my bedtime now, but I will be posting more about this procedure because now it is very possible they will not go through my leg but rather straight through the heart wall and not through a vein!

I could really use your help financially please: DONATE

My call to the Norman Goldman Show today

Well, it has been a real roller coaster this year emotionally and mentally. It is now Halloween and I can not believe that I am still alive!

It’s been a bitch just putting up with the pain lately and not letting people see it. The best way I can describe it is like a tattoo being done. It is like a moving, burning sensation that sometimes just gets to you so much you want to scream out loud. But you just bear with it.

Earlier this year the TVAR procedures being performed here in Colorado just did not have a suitable survival outcome for someone with a deteriorating bovine aortic heart such as what my situation is. Just in the last few months that has changed here in Colorado and now there are newer procedures in which they are able to more successfully place the TAVR replacement valve over a deteriorating bovine valve.

Now I finally have an appointment to speak with one of the two specialist surgeons doing the newest TAVR procedures on December 8th. Once we get the facts figured out, going over what to expect and if I agree, then the next step would be to make an appointment for them to go inside my heart via catheter and take a bunch of measurements.

Then if I am a viable candidate, the appointment for the TAVR procedure will be made! This is me calling into the Norman Goldman Show yesterday to talk about this.

Now I need help to get though all of this financially please! I can not pay my monthly bills and I am facing eviction! Though my medical bills will be paid by Medicaid and I get food stamps, I am not getting any other assistance!

Please use this link to donate.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brittany Maynard this post is for you!

At this point in time I would imagine that it might be next to impossible for me to personally reach Brittany and be able to speak with her for just a minute or two, but I would love to do so. If there is anyone that finds this and can help me reach her immediately, it would be greatly appreciated.

Firstly, I have no idea whether Brittany explored, turned down or even tried a high cannabinoid extract treatment for her brain cancer.

Whether or not, I am sincerely wondering if she were here in Denver working with the very specific strains and ratios of cannabis extracts available at River Rock and United Cannabis and had Dr. Shackelford as her doctor, if she could indeed have this cancer sent into remission?

What I am asking of Brittany is to please give us seventy additional days to put her cancer into remission, PLEASE! Instead of the first days of November, give us a chance to her the very best and newest in cannabinoid treatment. She will be in the best hands/minds in this nation, bar none!

70 days longer Brittany! I understand that can be a very long time, but what if you find that time to be nearly pain free? Please do me a favor and give this a try!

Cannabis extracts have been what has most likely prolonged my life now as long as it has, but it can not save it. But for Brittany, this could still be possible.

I have reached out to both River Rock and Dr. S. about this, as I know these people personally and I am pretty sure it can be something we can make happen on this side. (In fact, I have already been partly confirmed on one side on a late Saturday night!)

Does anyone there know how to reach Brittany personally so I might speak to her please? Cannabis can not save my life, but if I can help arrange it to save Brittany, that would be very, very cool. I have the connections to make this happen on the Denver end!

Please, can anyone help me get in touch with Brittany personally?

Brittany, I am 59 years old and I have lived a full life. I've done amazing things and therefore I am quite happy with my life and I truly do not need to go through another brutal surgery to get maybe another decade or so more.

You on the other hand Brittany have 30 years less than I on your present lifetime. I could never tell you to go through the brutal normal treatment they've told you about for your cancer, as I truly fear being on the operating table ever again. It totally freaks me the hell out! I am choosing to die rather than be split open again.

But what about not having surgery or taking any weird poisonous-like cancer treatments and instead take what is now the cutting edge in cannabis therapy and not have to suffer at all? Brittany, I can personally assure you that this is worth the shot, worth putting the timer off for another couple months.

Please Brittany, I am asking for you to help me help you. Give us 70 days more. Saving your life would be a little extra Karma for me hopefully when I do go.

Believe me Brittany, I understand the pressures of having to deal with speaking out about your own death to the public for public awareness. It is never too late to turn around and say let's try one more thing first before I say good-bye.

Someone get me to Brittany and I can get this to happen on our side!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Compassion & Choices and Brittany Maynard

Yesterday, October 8th, 2014 I called into the Norman Goldman show since I knew beforehand that he would be speaking about Brittany Maynard and the "death with dignity" situation here in the USA.

I noticed how in the last couple days how Brittany Maynard has captured national media attention since becoming Compassion and Choices' new "poster person". To me there is no question that this was all a carefully plotted out promotional situation by Compassion and Choices to use the plight of Brittany to full advantage of trying to spread this well needed "right" throughout all the USA.

And for that I understand and commend C&C on this great promotion as it is getting many people's attention. And to Brittany herself I am quite glad that she is being strong enough a person to be able to speak out on this the way she has.

But in another way I am almost offended by this presentation by C&C as it so non-typical of the average dying person in the USA situation. Most terminal Patients by the time they are determined "terminal" here are usually broke or damned well near it.

Every terminal Patient's wish I would imagine is to be able to get to enjoy those last few months ENJOYING LIFE, going on as many trips as possible and having as much fun as can be had in that situation. But most of us never have anything close to that actually happen.

The average American that is terminal is trying to figure out where they are going to be living since they can no longer pay rent. Or maybe if they are lucky, they can find some type of assistance, but let me tell you from personal knowledge that there's not much out there. I'm only getting Medicaid and food stamps and other than that I am on my own.

But this is not about me, this is about what the average typical dying American has to live through during the last few months of their lives. We must go through quite the struggle, sometimes a very dire struggle. And as we sit here waiting, stagnating, wishing that we could go out more, visit friends and family that are not close, maybe eat at some decent restaurants, finish off your bucket list and the like, all you can actually do is sit and wonder about it all.

I certainly do not blame Brittany for taking advantage of the money she has access to while she is still here and in fact, I encourage her to do so! But since there are so many struggling terminal Patients that will never get to do maybe anything joyful, adventurous or fun again in their lives, I just think in several ways Compassion and Choices did not make a realistic choice for their poster person. Again, I understand why they did it, but I think they are really sending a wrong message here.

Don't you think it is evident that Brittany would not be in the news whatsoever if she were Black, Hispanic or poor? No, the being terminal story is far too common for far too many people who have no voice, no money and essentially no hope. And I am calling C&C out on this!

Of course I do not really expect to personally hear back from C&C, we were in contact earlier as I had reached to them. We parted ways as soon as I realized the only way they would work with me since I lived in Colorado and am broke, was that I had to agree that I would only self deliver by starving myself! Anyone that personally knows me, knows that will never happen!

I have included the audio of the call to the Norman Goldman show for you to check out.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Update October 6th, 2014

Things have not gone as planned in the last month or so. I will not be going to Cedars Sinai as we were maybe hoping and now trying to see if another facility, hopefully New York Presbyterian will take on my situation. 

Not sure exactly what the problem was with Cedars, but they have not responded back to my Denver Health doctor’s requests. 

I’ve been very reluctant to get back onto the operating table for anything. They need to do a catheter procedure where they go through my leg and up into both the left and right sides of my heart. My bovine aortic valve is fairly deteriorated and it really scares the hell out of me to have this done. I’ve had this done three previous times and so I really don’t want to do it again. But they need to do these tests to make sure that I can even be for sure a candidate for these newest procedures and I can have that done here, so I just recently agreed to have that done. Now I am waiting.

The procedure for the TAVR is not as advanced here at CU as they are now doing for the clinical studies at places like NY-P, Cedars, Mayo, Cornell and the like. The leading facility being NY-P. The difference in the procedure available here as opposed to there is quite a bit, the difference in whether the odds are worth it or not.

Part of the problem that I am having is the fact that my cardio doctor at Denver Health/CU and I do not have a good report going on ever since I told her that I was not going to have open heart surgery. They’ve not been happy with me since. So my primary doctor for the last decade at Denver Health is trying to find another cardio doctor to maybe help me figure this out. But nothing is happening fast.

And now my rent has been raised outrageously by my landlord. 15 months ago he raised my rent by 15% and last week he just raised it by another 40%! So trying to figure this all out. 

I’m running out of energy too. Spending more time in bed. Not getting much done anymore now. Broke down and got a handicapped parking placard this last week. 

Thanks for your concerns,


Robert

Monday, August 11, 2014

I was on KGNU today!

Last week Vero of KGNU, a community radio station from Boulder, CO came by my apartment to interview me on my feelings about Self-Determination. You can check out the entire interview HERE.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Video Update Sunday August 3rd, 2014

Hey everyone! Yeah, it’s been a while since I last posted. Sorry about that!

There’s actually some new news to update you all on, so I made a video blog update:

An Urgent Message From Dave and Boyd McCollum

On Friday evening, August 01, 2014 filmmakers Dave and Boyd McCollum sent this email message to as people as he could think of:

Hi,

This is an urgent message. Please take the time to read the entire message now, rather than later. Time is the enemy. Please send this to everyone who may be able to help. Thanks.

Robert Mitton is nearing the end of his life. His aortic heart valve, which was replaced almost fifteen years ago, is starting to fail. He has refused to undergo the invasive open heart surgery procedure he had when his heart valve was first replaced. Given what he thought was no other viable long-term option, he accepted that his life would end, sooner than later. He was given a terminal prognosis about six months ago if he didn’t undergo another valve replacement operation. It’s now been seven months and he is in severe pain, sleeping more than he is awake, and unable to support himself financially. He is physically weak and his mental capacity has diminished due to the decrease in his heart’s ability to provide adequate blood flow, affecting his ability to focus or do much deep thinking.

However, just two weeks ago and thanks to a doctor friend of ours, we discovered that another surgical option was available, one which is minimally invasive and could save his life. He has sent his records to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, along with a letter from his primary care physician. He is awaiting their evaluation, though based on examinations and testing in Denver at Denver Health and CU Medical Center, he should qualify for surgery at Cedars-Sinai. Cedars-Sinai is one of a handful of advanced cardiological research centers in the United States.

Unfortunately, the last of Robert’s resources have been exhausted. Savings and help from friends and family have failed to amount to enough to cover his expenses for August. He will likely take his own life very soon, in order to avoid the last, and most painful, stage of life, and to avoid becoming homeless with no money.

The timing of everything is horrible. Any day now, Cedars-Sinai could offer him a funded operation. There are also various funding sources available, given enough lead time, that would help him to get back to self-sufficiency if he were to choose to have surgery. Other than hospice care, there was nothing available to Robert to aid him in dying in peace.

So, given this drastic potential change of events, we ask you to help Robert to stay around so he can consider this new surgical option to save his life. Let’s try to avoid a travesty and not let this situation be contingent on money as the primary driving force.

Some of you may have already helped Robert. For that, we are grateful. Please consider making a donation to help Robert. If all you can do is offer your best wishes, please contact Robert directly.

Robert contacted us about seven months ago and asked us to document his experiences. I (Dave) have known him casually for almost fifteen years via our online and in-person interactions at the Colorado Macintosh User Group. We are making this plea out of our desire to help Robert, not at his behest. He isn’t (yet) aware of our actions, sending this message.

Here is Robert’s contact info and blog URL:

Robert Mitton  
720-435-9205  
(There is a PayPal link near the top of the page on the righthand side.)

Here is a direct link you can use to donate to Robert via PayPal (debit and credit cards work, as well as PayPal transfers):


Please consider donating $50 or $100 or more, if you can. Or, even $20 would likely make a huge difference. It’s not often in one’s life that we can make a direct and significant difference to the life of another. Here’s your chance!

A little help from a bunch of people could make all the difference. Thanks.


Our deepest appreciation,

Dave McCollum  
Boyd McCollum

P.S. - Please feel free to write to us if you have any questions. We plan on sending out updates whenever something happens. Thank you so much for your consideration, and please accept our apologies if you feel you shouldn’t have received this message (and let us know — we won’t bother you further).

P.P.S. - A deeper overview of Robert’s medical history and situation... At age fifteen Robert contracted acute rheumatic fever. He nearly died and was hospitalized for over ten days, the first five of which he was held in isolation until his condition was identified. At age twenty he contracted rheumatic fever again. By then, he had already been told that he would never be able to obtain medical insurance. He was told that his heart, and likely other parts of his body, would deteriorate and fail sometime around age forty. At forty-four, Robert underwent what was excruciatingly painful open heart surgery to install a bovine aortic replacement valve. He was hospitalized for a month. It took many more months for him to fully recover, though his capability to continue doing strenuous physical activity was permanently diminished. The bovine replacement valve had a projected lifespan of ten to fifteen years. It has been almost fifteen years now since his first valve replacement. 

Because of his more advanced age now, and considering what happened to him the first time around (permanent degradation of his lifestyle), he has decided not to undergo another open heart surgery. A less invasive surgery, called TAVR (trans-catheter aortic valve replacement) was not a viable option for Robert, as it is very risky and given only to people much older who have no other options (and to people who haven’t already had a valve replacement).

The surgery available at Cedars-Sinai is also a TAVR procedure, but it is several generations beyond what is currently available at your typical hospital (since Cedars-Sinai is one of a handful of advanced cardiological research centers). 


Robert has had many heart-related incidents since his first valve replacement, including a couple of stays in the hospital, and several visits. He suffers daily from deep pain in his heart and chest region. Since his heart has grown increasingly unable to pump blood efficiently, he has lost much of his ability to do his current line of work, web design/consulting and website SEO. Robert used to install ceiling-mounted surgical microscopes before he moved to more sedentary work (due in large part to his heart issues).


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Friday, June 13, 2014

I really could use some help please!

The last couple weeks have been much tougher on me than the previous couple of months before. It had seemed that my condition was in a holding pattern, but now it appears to have gone back into deterioration mode.

A couple days ago was my 59th birthday and it was very unexpected that I would ever make it that long. The doctors are somewhat puzzled by this, as we all thought I would have died by now without the operation. There is no reason why, just speculation for the most part, but has my regime of medical cannabis helped to delay things? Who knows?

I need help please to keep going on. I’ve been lucky to keep up on my bills, like the rent, utilities, gas, insurance and all, but I have zero income now and no way to really earn anything. I’m having too many problems these days with my heart and my head to get any real work done. It is very difficult at times to concentrate anymore and to use my software.

There is no way I can move out and get another place at this point. I simply would not have the energy to get anything done. My rent is somewhat expensive, but I live in the heart of Denver and it is an excellent location for me. I’m just trying to hang on as long as I can before it is just to painful to continue. But there is no way that I am going to get evicted and move out onto the streets either.

Even with a social worker helping me at Denver Health to apply for any assistance I be able to qualify for, I have been turned down for all assistance so far other than food stamps and Medicaid. I’ve been turned down for Social Security, Social Security disability and SSI! The situation with the SSI is a terrible story in itself that I would have to explain in another post.

Please use the Paypal button/link to go to my Paypal page if you would like to make a donation. Thanks a million!
 Please Donate!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Choosing To Die - BBC Documentary by Terry Pratchett

I thought that this video was worth posting once again on this blog. The first post of this video on my blog went “bad” as that one was pulled off YouTube because of copyright issues. Hopefully this one will remain on YouTube.
If you go back to the first time that I posted this video my blog, you will find that the link has been corrected.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Death Cafe!

There is a fairly new thing happening across the nation called “Death Cafes” and I made my first post at The Death Cafe Website. Please check our their website, especially the video section!

If you can, find a local Death Cafe, or start one on your own.

Friday, May 23, 2014

“Choosing How To Die” at the First Universalist Church of Denver on Sunday May 18, 2014

Bart Windrum and I did our first presentation together at the First Universalist Church of Denver. I did not post the video previously because I thought it would just be out trial run for the Mercury Cafe, but as you can see, we did a better job on Sunday than we did last night.
May 18, 2014
The First Universalist Church of Denver

“Choosing How to Die” at the Mercury Cafe May 22nd, 2014

This is the presentation that Bart Windrum and I put on at the Mercury Cafe. It was a close call even posting this video because of the lighting. They changed the lights after Bart's presentation and made it so damned intense that I could not see, it was almost painful and I imagine that normally the only time a person gets bombarded with that much light is during a police interrogation!

It was extremely unsettling and there’s no question that Sunday’s presentation at the First Universalist Church went MUCH, MUCH better. I’m very bummed out with this presentation we did at the Merc!

Thursday May 22, 2014
The Mercury Cafe
2199 California Street, LoDo Denver
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Back to the HOME website

Below is the audio clip from the Norman Goldman Show that started this all off for me.

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