When she was given three to five years to live, Susan Spencer-Wendel decided to give up her 'autopilot life' for something more inspiring.
Susan was a successful journalist and the mother of three children when she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, an irreversible condition that destroys the nerves that power the muscles.
The symptoms had been gradual, and “subtle”, such as cigarettes slipping from her fingers.
The diagnosis was a life expectancy of three to five years. Susan made an immediate decision to grasp every minute she had left.
She made a bucket list of places she yearned to visit, things she wanted to do (smoke dope, get a dog), people to meet. For the next 18 months, she filled her days with family, friendship and adventure, some of it flying in the face of medical advice – a clamber down to Wreck Beach near Vancouver destroyed muscles that wouldn't regenerate: "I don't regret it; not for a second," she later said.
The subsequent book, ‘Until I Say Good-Bye’, procured an advance of $2m, with film rights sold to Universal for a further $2m, and it has been translated into 25 languages.
If the book has chimed with people around the world, it may well be because it is less a memoir about dying – though it doesn't shirk from either the emotion or the messiness of that – than a template for life. The spirit of the book – her spirit – is uplifting.
In the book, Susan argues that it is toughest being the person left behind. She died in 2014 at the age of 47.
Read full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/mar/16/motor-neurone-disease-goodbye-dying