What do I do? This question reverberates through my mind. I come back to it over and over again.
Last week I was scheduled for chemo and it was delayed again because of low neutrophil counts. My counts have been low the last two rounds and I am certainly wondering why. What’s happening with the disease? Has my body had enough? Is it time to stop? Yet rather than spending too much time pondering these questions (my default tendency) I asked my doctor for a scan to assess the status of the cancer and explore how effective chemo has been.
I had my scan late last week and my doctor called on Friday afternoon with the results. I was certainly fearful answering the phone, and it seems I had little to fear. In fact, I couldn’t have asked for better news. According to the scan, nearly all of my lymph nodes are back to normal and I now have minimal disease. This means there are a few spots left, yet I have responded really well to chemo thus far.
The conversation then shifted to explore the question around how to proceed… In essence, do I continue with my final two rounds of chemo (and reduce the dose) or call it quits and continue with two years of maintenance therapy (an effort to keep the disease at bay for as long as possible before I have to undergo the next treatment regime)? I asked my doctor for his opinion, and he indicated that he did not feel strongly either way. I then asked a series of questions to further explore these options and learned there are a lot of unknowns. For example, undergoing the final two rounds may or may not reduce the size of the remaining lymph nodes, and may or may not prolong the period of time before I need to undergo treatment again. In short, he said the decision rests with me.
While this is a great position to be in, it’s also a difficult question to answer. I don’t want to make the wrong decision and jeopardize my future health and well being. I also don’t want to make a decision based on what other people think, rather I want to make the decision that is right for me.
And so for now I sit with this unanswered question. I need to decide quite quickly (in the next couple of days), and at this stage I don’t know how I will proceed. I do know that I don’t want to make this decision solely with the rational mind; I also want to listen to my body. I know my body knows what I need and I am choosing to sit with it and allow my body to reveal the answer. I am choosing to listen to my gut.