The efficient version
My tumour marker’s down from 145 to 119! I started the final cycle of this round of chemo today.
The full version
I wasn’t thinking about my results as I sat across from the oncologist. They’re not particularly important to me any longer as a level to attain. However, they are useful as objective tools I use to determine my next move. It’s a great way to make decisions, I’ve discovered: stew in the overwhelm of emotions, choices, consequences, goals until I’ve had enough of the storm and come into its eye. The weariness allows me to separate everything. I know the choices ahead have to be based on something concrete or I’ll quickly find myself back in the storm.
Emotions are so unstable, unpredictable, and all the other things that make difficult decision-making messy and hard. That’s why I decided to go by the marker.
If it went up or didn’t move, I’d conclude the drugs weren’t working and I’d stop, prepared to take full responsibility for every subsequent health-related day of my life.
If it decreased by a decent amount (based on my own past trends), I’d continue the final round.
So with emotions safely dealt with and shelved, I felt very calm, grounded, centred as she relayed to me the result and asked what I wanted to do next. Kudos to her for getting that I need to feel in some sort of control. (Finally, I’m a person and not a patient!) To her credit, she took half a step back with, “you tell me what to do” and a giggle. I asked her to go ahead with her previous suggestion – to motivate for another 2 cycles of the same drug. The marker had spoken and I chose to stick with my decision.
End in sight
With this objective approach, my (hard-)learned tolerance and forgiveness of my situation, I now have a goal date that’s firmer than any I’ve had in a year. 3 more months. I accept that it could still change, but that’s how I roll!