Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Will it be worth it all?

My mother died of metastic melonoma 34 ago. At that time, I swore if I ever was diagnosed with cancer I would not do anything about it. I would not have surgery and certainly not have any therapies.

My decision probably came from the fact that after her surgery, the surgeon stated that for the most part her lymph nodes were clear. It is true that there were no other therapies done for her because there was nothing that was successful with melanoma. But within five years she was dead.

I thought there was no reason to go through such destructive and mutilating surgeries. Her cancer was on the top of the outer ear, so she had the ear removed. If you were mutilated so and die so soon, why do it.

And when I found the lump, I opted for surgery. The first one was a breeze. I was thrilled that we could just remove the lump and save the breast. Then the pathology report came back with the news that there were no clear edges.

That didn’t sway me. I said to remove the breast, and I even asked if the other one also should be removed. There wasn’t a glimmer of my past resolve present. I probably had a better feeling about it all then than I do now, but there is no going back.

I suppose that is the real reason that I don’t seem to face the fact that I have cancer. Intellectually I know I have cancer, but emotionally I tend to look at all of the ensuing treatments as just other medical procedures. I think I am looking at the cancer as some other ongoing medical condition.

It’s strange that these thoughts would occur to me now. I am two thirds complete with the radiation. In a few more weeks, I will have another PET/CAT scan. I am expecting to find that it will be clear. I wonder why I am thinking about my stand when my mother was diagnosed.
Things are getting better. Not only am I almost free of treatments (I hope), but my eye brows are back, and the eyelashes and hair are returning. I am looking forward to having reconstruction. I really have weathered all of this pretty well. But I still remember the past decision - just leave me alone, no intervention.

I hope I will be able to say that all this was worth it.


LeeAnn said...

I think that the fight against cancer today is very different than it was years ago. We all want to live so we fight. I do believe that there is a time to say enough is enough. Hang in there and keep up the fight.

Anonymous said...

It has been 14 months since completion of radiation..I still visit the Dr regulary and fight the fight..I think of myself as a survivor but it wasn't until 4 months ago that I realized I am not a patient anymore..It takes time..What I had was a lumpectomy with glands removed...