Debra Brockel knows her days are numbered. But her mind is at ease because she’s the one doing the counting.

Brockel, 60, has suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, since 2006. She has endured severe exacerbations of the disease, which irreversibly damages the lungs, and all manner of medical treatment and hospitalizations.

She has received hospice care from Pathways at her home in southwest Fort Collins since December after a year of palliative care, which is geared toward making gravely ill patients comfortable rather than curing them.

Her condition has deteriorated to the point she is prepared to take aid-in-dying medication. She wants to end her suffering, but she also wants to spare her family the anguish of watching her waste away.

“It’s been a long haul,” she said. “It’s time to say goodbye.”

The decision to end her life as allowed under Colorado law did not come quickly or easily. She consulted with doctors and family members, some of whom didn’t want to talk about how her life should end.

But in the end, Debra said, it was her decision to make. She is comfortable with it.

More at link: Fort Collins woman prepares for death on own terms