I have a reoccurance of Base of Tongue cancer, and this is a dehumanizing sort of cancer in that it starts to strip away some our most basic asthetic appreciations: eating food, tasting, swallowing, speaking and sexual intimacy. It is also dreadfully painful. So - I've been having the internal question of, when is enough enough, and I think there was a classical parable of how someone would choose their death.

Leaving the law to one side (I don't know which jurisdiction you live in or could reach), I think there is nothing morally wrong with your bringing your life to an end under these circumstances. You will want to make this decision with sound medical information about your prospects and you will want to make sure that your loved ones understand -- even if, perhaps, they cannot approve.

You may also want to think beyond your own life. For example, is there anything morally important that you might yet want to accomplish -- perhaps something that can free or protect others from as great a burden as you are bearing yourself. If your cancer is tobacco-related (some cases are), for instance, you might help warn young people against this danger. Or you may simply devote your remaining energies to a good cause you believe in. Such an active commitment may be quite as meaningful as the joys and pleasures no longer accessible to you.

As a final thought, it may be worthwhile to communicate with others who are going through a similar trauma. I have found an attractive-looking support group on the web: www.livestrong.com/groups/group/base-of-tongue-cancer-survivors/ It has about 50 members, all struggling with your rare form of cancer, all going through the kinds of things you are going through. I have read through a bunch of their posts now and feel that perhaps being part of a community like this would enrich your perspective. There are some wonderful people there.

When is enough enough? Oh my friend, what a hard, hardquestion - a question that when being raised says a lot about life itself. Though I worry about a person being in decent fettle trying to resolve such a question --for me it would be when the pain got so relentless and all consumingthat it devoured my ability to love others – to care about anything outsidemyself – when the pain permanently nailed me to my self.

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