In mid-March I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, as Terri Schiavo lay dying in her hospice, and soon before Pope John Paul II died.
There is no cure for MS. There are, however, “disease-modifying drugs” that are supposed to delay disability and minimize relapses of the disease. The National MS Society encourages that as soon as a person is diagnosed with the disease, they should immediately be started on one of these disease-modifying drugs.
MS is not fatal. However, there can be serious side effects to the disease-modifying drugs, including heart problems and liver failure.
So, I decided not to take the disease-modifying drugs, on the grounds that they buy into the “culture of death” and its premise that “quality of life” is of utmost importance. I feel that taking the drugs would be playing russian roulette - they MIGHT improve the future quality of my life, or they MIGHT kill me. Not taking the drugs accepts a potential future of disability and suffering, but supports the “culture of life”.
But the other night I read in the catechism that we are morally obligated to use whatever reasonable medical resources available to protect our health.
So, am I violating that tenet of the faith by refusing these drugs? Are they a “reasonable” protection of my health? Or do the serious potential side effects make them “extra-ordinary” enough that I can refuse them?