There comes a time for decisions in life, difficult decisions that can’t be put off. Tuesday was one of those days for decision..
For weeks as we struggled through heart problems to get back on schedule for chemo, strong and certain realities kept sticking in my mind’s eye. The biggest of all, after the second round there was no real recovery as there had been after the first. My appetite did not return, my sleep was worse instead of better, constipation was more persistent and more difficult, and I was still short of breath and energy long past it had returned after the first round. Then the PET scan showed little had changed, except for the lesions on my liver which had actually grown a bit. When irregular heart beat put off round three I knew I had a decision to make. Doc even brought it up, saying there are alternatives you know, he added that he saw my quality of life getting worse, but still wanted to press on and see if the liver would improve.
I’d just seen a PBS Frontline documentary called Being Mortal, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/being-mortal/ that painfully pointed out that cancer doctors, out of duty and heart, were treating patients to death, robbing them of what time they had left, time they could spend with loved ones and doing the things they loved. Then I read a piece titled “How Doctors Die”by Dr. Ken Murray at USC, http://www.dailygood.org/view.php?sid=136 It points out the last thing doctors want is to die in a hospital, crippled by chemo and over treatment. After a diagnosis like mine most go home, close their practices and surround themselves with family and friends.
Its not that these oncologists are uncaring or bad people, but they are caught up in the golden handcuffs that drive the Cancer Industry, its their job to sell more treatments, more chemo, more studies. To his credit, without saying the words my doc conceded as much. Confronted by the USC piece, there was a long pause in the conversation, it felt like a very uncomfortable moment. Its our job to cure he said, his voice trailing off.
He asked for a copy of the article, and we shook hands. From that moment in time, chemotherapy was over, come what may.
Its been a very emotional 48 hours and there’s a lot more story to tell.
I don’t at all consider this “giving up” by a long shot…there’s plenty of chanllenges ahead. The difference is Lona and I will be sharing our little lifeboat for as long as God would have us.