Andrea (N’Drea) was involved with Os Cangaceiros, a group of social rebels who refused the slavery of work and mercilessly attacked the prison system of France in the 1980’s and 90’s. In 1985, she learned that she had cancer. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Then in 1990, she walked out of the medical world for good to grasp her life and her death as her own.
This work explains that decision with intelligence, anger and joy. It is at the same time a powerful condemnation of the medical industry, a passionate theoretical analysis of the society of the commodity and its destruction of the human individual on all levels—emotional, intellectual, social and physical—and the personal expression of one woman’s decision to live her life fully and to die on her own terms among those she loved in defiance of a society that steals both our lives and deaths away.
In 1985 our friend and comrade Andrea learnt that she had cancer. She underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but in the end all hope of a cure had to be abandoned. In 1990, she was asked to become a guinea-pig in the experimental testing of a new kind of drug. She declined, and, in accordance with a plan of action she had envisaged long before, severed all her connections with the world of hospitals and medicine. This was her way of retaining control over her own end. She wrote two letters, one to her nurses, the other to her friend Bella. She had made her choice, and she returned to her friends in search of a fellow-feeling based not just on sympathy but on solidarity in struggle. As she put it, she had “made a big meal” out of a “very ordinary story.” Here is that story.