German man blogging his own death is not the first and won't be the last

Dmitry Panov is dying but he isn't afraid of death. Photo / Facebook
Dmitry Panov is dying but he isn't afraid of death. Photo / Facebook

A German man is sharing grim details of his slow death with the internet.

"My name is Dmitrij and I'm going to die soon," he wrote on February 1 this year after learning his fate. "Sounds funny, but it's true."

Dmitrij Panov, 25, has a tumour in his brain. On his blog, he writes about the end of his life in candid fashion. No details are spared.

He talks about back and chest pain, waking to "discover whole new pain", weeks without a bowel movement and eating through a straw because he cannot swallow food.

This week, he wrote about his worst day.

"Yesterday probably the most brutal, senseless, most painful, most tired day since the start of treatment ... Really, purest fatigue."

The blog, which he titled Dying with Swag, chronicles his daily struggle as well as the mundane activities he partakes in just to get him through the day.

He loves video games and movies, he says. And his priorities have changed.

"What used to matter to me doesn't anymore: College (and) sex."

As bizarre as the concept sounds, Panov is finding a faithful audience wanting to follow his journey. Others who posted about their last days enjoyed the same company online.

Dmitry shares grim details of living with cancer on his blog, Dying with Swag. Photo / Facebook
Dmitry shares grim details of living with cancer on his blog, Dying with Swag. Photo / Facebook

Canadian man Derek Miller died in 2011, aged 41. Unlike Panov, Miller had built his audience over 10 years.

On his blog, Penmachine.com, he authored posts about his gradual decline, including the need to begin wearing adult nappies. Like Panov, there was no shame, nor should there be.

"I thought that if I ever needed (nappies) then admitting it would be humiliating for me," Miller wrote a month before his death.

"But after almost five years of cancer treatment, including radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, vomiting, blood, bodily fluids of many others sorts, and an ileostomy, it's just 'meh'.

"My wife and I were in the car last week, and I simply said to her, 'I need to buy some (nappies).' She went and picked up a package for me soon after."

A month later, his last post broke the internet. At least, the traffic temporarily caused the site to crash.

"Here it is. I'm dead," he began on May 4.

Miller had asked family to post the entry to his blog once his body finally shut down. He said it was the first step in a process of turning his blog from an active website into an archive.

"If you knew me at all in real life, you probably heard the news already from another source, but however you found out, consider this a confirmation: I was born on June 30, 1969 in Vancouver, Canada, and I died in Burnaby on May 3, 2011, age 41."

He described what life was like at the end.

"I haven't gone to a better place, or a worse one. I haven't gone anyplace, because Derek doesn't exist anymore. As soon as my body stopped functioning, and the neurons in my brain ceased firing, I made a remarkable transformation: from a living organism to a corpse, like a flower or a mouse that didn't make it through a particularly frosty night. The evidence is clear that once I died, it was over.

"So I was unafraid of death - of the moment itself - and of what came afterwards, which was (and is) nothing."

Friends and family expressed difficulty in coming to grips with Miller's death. Perhaps because it felt like he was still alive, writing to them from beyond the grave.

Joining Miller and Panov in blogging their deaths are other authors: Jay Lake and Elizabeth Caplice.

Lake, a science-fiction writer with an incurable cancer diagnosis, wrote about being poked and prodded and even discussed what it was like to make your own funeral arrangements. In doing so, he admitted people treated him as "a speaker for the dead".

"People talk to me about the death of a loved one - not even just people who have cancer," he wrote.

"They just say the most amazing things to me these days."

Caplice, who died earlier this year aged 32, wrote an uncensored account of her fight with cancer.

"This is my body, and this is me, and this is my body in end stage cancer," she wrote.

"There is no shame in this, in these end stages, and there is no weakness in my death, no failure as the inverse of success, as always, there is no battle I am losing."

- news.com.au

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