"Thirty-five years may not seem long, but damn it was good!" wrote Bailey Jean Matheson

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 18, 2019 02:54 PM
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Credit: Bailey Matheson/Facebook

A 35-year-old Canadian woman composed her own obituary before dying of cancer this month, taking the chance to thank loved ones and assure them she lived nothing short of a “damn good” life.

In 2017, Bailey Jean Matheson was given just 12 months to live when she was diagnosed with Leiomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that affects smooth muscle tissue, CTV News reported. While chemotherapy is typically used alongside radiation to fight the tumors, Matheson decided to waive the treatment to “live the rest of my life the way I believed it should be.”

Two-and-a-half years after her diagnosis on April 5, Matheson died from the disease — but not before penning her own obituary, which was published in the Chronicle Herald the following Tuesday.

“Thirty-five years may not seem long, but damn it was good!” she wrote in the announcement, before thanking her parents, Wendy and Sandy Matheson, for supporting her decisions throughout her life, which included forgoing chemotherapy.

“I always remember my mom saying losing a child would be the hardest loss a parent could go through,” she continued. “My parents gave me the greatest gift of supporting my decisions with not going through chemo and just letting me live the rest of my life … I know how hard that must have been watching me stop treatment and letting nature take its course. I love you both even more for this.”

Because she was an only child, Matheson explained she deeply cherished her friendships, and thanked all those who kept by her side throughout the ordeal.

Bailey Jean Matheson
| Credit: Bailey Matheson/Facebook

“I never thought I could love my friends more than I did but going through this and having your unconditional love and support you have made something that is normally so hard, more bearable and peaceful,” she wrote.

Matheson also expressed her love for boyfriend Brent Andrews, who she met three months before her diagnosis on a dating app.

“You had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you swiped right that day,” she wrote. “I couldn’t have asked for a better man to be by my side for all the adventures, appointments, laughs, cries and breakdowns. You are an amazing person and anyone in your life is so fortunate to know you. I love you beyond words.”

The prognosis for people diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma varies on numerous factors, such as the location and size of the tumor, and while those with Stage 1 masses have “excellent” outlooks, those who have high-grade tumors that have spread “have less favorable survival rates,” a report from the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center states.

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According to the American Cancer Society, at least 15,000 new cases of soft tissue sarcoma occur each year in the United States, and affect men and women equally.

Matheson asked that donations be made to Melanie’s Way, an organization the helps women with metastatic cancer, and Young Adults Cancer Canada, which helps young people dealing with cancer throughout the country.

Before ending her obituary, Matheson passed on a final message to serve as a lasting reminder.

“Don’t take the small stuff so seriously,” she wrote, “and live a little.”