D-Day. As I’d promised myself, it’s time to decide whether to abandon treatment.
I’ve had 2 weeks to get familiar with the decision. Taking the emotion out of it is virtually impossible so during that time I set an objective target (read, ultimatum). If the tumour marker had increased after yesterday’s blood test, that’d be the 2nd month in a row and for me, an indicator that the drugs aren’t working. Then I’d quit – no point suckering myself into treatment simply because it’s the generally accepted action. However, if the marker had decreased, I wouldn’t be so hasty and I’d have to set new parameters for the next decision point.
In a fashion typical of fate where the trickier path becomes fact, the marker decreased. I was relieved to hear that’d it come down 9 points to 145 – a tiny movement but in the right direction.
To my eyebrow-raising surprise, the doctor reiterated our last discussion saying she understands my reasons for considering opting out of treatment. I’m too spirited an individual to plod along semi-satisfied without questioning. (Glad she sees my perspective).
The next step
She’s strongly recommended, since the marker has decreased, that I continue for the next 2 cycles and should the results continue in the desired direction, that she’d motivate for another 2. That’s 4 more months. I can accept / tolerate that. I agreed.
After that, withholding the knowledge that I’m going to stop, she recommends lifelong maintenance chemo. That’s my stopping point. I will not spend the rest of my life ingesting toxins merely to exist. So, to avoid paralysis by analysis, I’m not going to look further than the next 4 months. I’ll take it one at a time.
The other help
Actually, to add to the mix, I’m not convinced that the drugs are what worked – or at least, no the only thing. I’ve been doing so much reading, meditation, and other energy-based work (and it IS work) that I cannot discount the effect they’ve had on some unnameable internal processes. Whatever it is, it’s worked. Raise a glass!
Leaving a positive impression
As I plonked myself in the recliner to receive treatment, chemo pal J was in the next seat and excitedly told me how I’d inspired her. She and her daughter are now learning German! I was heart-warmed and very impressed. She’s palpably excited to have taken the purposeful plunge. Actually, it’s probably mutual although I hadn’t realised it until she told me that. She’s the one who plants a plant with every chemo treatment. I’ve recently gotten stuck into planning my garden patch’s revamp! Credit to her:-)