AB: Well, it was really sad. I wouldn't have wanted to give up the fight, but I wish that we hadn't been presented with such a stark choice -- either fight or give up and go into hospice. I think that if we had been able to think of both things together -- that we were going to fight AND that sooner or later everyone dies and we need to think about how that's going to happen -- we could have made some better choices. It might have affected only the last week or so, maybe. But that was a pretty important week.
JB: Agreed. How has your book been received?
AB: It's been amazing. So many people have written -- and all their letters start with personal stories: "My mother"... "My husband"... "My wife"... "My brother"... It seems that my experience has been a very common experience. It's also been good to see how many professional organizations -- cancer communities, hospices, hospitals, medical schools -- are looking for insight. I've spent a lot of the past year speaking to groups like that and finding that everyone is looking for a way to make this experience better for everyone.
Thanksgiving, 2007, three weeks before Terence died by Amanda Bennett collection
JB: Do you have plans with this going forward?
AB: Yes, I'm hoping to continue to help people think about this issue, to speak to groups, to help particularly with places that are trying to promote price transparency and more honest end of life discussions.
JB: Since Terence died, you've found love again. Yet, Terence is still very much a part of your life. Is that hard? Do you ever feel disloyal to one or both of them?
AB: Not at all. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel incredibly lucky that somehow lightning struck twice - and I have been able to love two such extraordinary men in one lifetime!
JB: Good for you, Amanda! What haven't we touched on yet?
AB: I think one important thing is money. The health care reimbursement system by and large makes people choose between aggressive treatment and hospice. That means that people need to essentially give up hope in order to get the benefits of hospice. I think in the future, a more porous border between the two will help people think of this subject in a more realistic way, and to think about fighting hard for a cure AND at the same time being more open to considering what the future might possibly hold.
JB: It makes sense to me; I like it. In all the excitement, we didn't get to talk about what you're working on now.
AB: Ah -- I am rolling my eyes back into my head waiting for inspiration to strike!
Amanda by Amanda Bennett collection
JB: [I'm not too worried on that score, Amanda...] And is that on or off the record?