A San Diego woman living with ALS wants others to understand why she's decided to end her life through the recently approved aid-in-dying legislation that takes effect Thursday.
“It’s the best decision,” Eurika Strotto said, crying. “Some people say I'm a coward. Some say courageous. I just want the easiest way out."
Strotto and her wife, Juanita, say they've had 10 years of bliss. Pictures in their dining area capture the many memories they've shared.
“We've had a lot of fun through years,” Strotto said.
But soon, the life they have shared will come to an end because Strotto has decided to take her own life.
"I don’t want to suffocate to death. I don’t want to starve to death. I want to take a little drink, say goodbye to my friends, go to sleep and be done," she said. "It may sound horrible to people, but to me it's freedom.”
In October 2013, the now 54-year-old University Heights woman was diagnosed with the debilitating disease sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease. It affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
“I haven’t been able to stand up or walk for over a year now, " Strotto said.
“We've been comparing it to a prisoner on death row,” explains her wife, Juanita. “You don't want to die but you don’t want to stay in prison the rest of your life.”
Looking to break free, Strotto and her wife are waiting for the state aid-in-dying law to take effect on June 9.
It allows California doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who want to end their lives.
Strotto's already gotten the documents signed by her doctor so she can pick-up the lethal cocktail at her local drug store on June 9.
She'll wait to take her life after a friend's wedding she’s a part of on June 11.
Since making the decision, Strotto and her wife have crossed off a few bucket list items such as trips to Florida and Canada. She's also had time to reflect upon her life as a college judo champion who played field hockey and led an active life.
Now the former athlete is breathing with the help of a ventilator.
As her motor skills continue to leave her, she says she's at peace, knowing she can end her life with her wife by her side.