ALAN MENIKOFF, 59, is married with two grown children. He was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer in 1999. A total of thirteen surgeries on his kidney, leg, lungs, and brain kept him alive, but the side effects took a hard toll. In March, facing a third brain surgery with long odds, he opted against it.
It wasn’t easy to sit down with my wife and the children and say, “We’re not going to fight this anymore.” My wife asked me, “Do you regret your decision?” and I have nanoseconds when I regret it. But in a strange way, it’s a relief. You know, in Judaism, shivah is a coming together when someone dies. I thought it would be nice to have a shivah when I’m here. About 50 relatives and friends came to reminisce about what we’d done together. It was quite lovely actually.