MarySmith’sPlace ~ #Decision #CancerUpdate43

Those of you who follow this blog will know I had an appointment with the oncologist immediately after my Islay holiday.

There wasn’t really anything new to hear about my cancer. I’d read the information on the chemotherapy drugs and their potential side-effucks: nausea; fatigue; loss of appetite and weight loss; peripheral neuropathy; blood clots; breathlessness and a serious impact on my immune system. One drug would be given every three weeks at the cancer centre, the other would be a capsule taken twice a day in between the three-weekly cycle.

The chemotherapy would be four, possibly six cycles – so 12 to 18 weeks – of feeling rubbish, not being able to go out much. I’d have a CT scan after the first two cycles to see what, if any, impact the drugs were having.

The treatment is in no way curative and if it is successful could extend my life by two months. Of course, I could be the outlier who survives for a few years, but it’s not very likely. And how would I feel during those extra eight weeks? Not bouncing with health, that’s for sure.

I asked how long I might have if I didn’t take any treatment (knowing it’s not possible to give an accurate prediction) and was told ‘definitely three months’ and possibly as much as six months. Mind you, this is from the person who said at the end of May I could expect two or three years. I wouldn’t put my money on her predictions.

I think I’d probably made my decision when I was on Islay and the week after seeing the oncologist I turned down the option of further chemotherapy. It’s a relief not to have to keep thinking about it, weighing up the options and wondering if I’m making the right decision.

I’ll let you know how things go.

169 thoughts on “MarySmith’sPlace ~ #Decision #CancerUpdate43

  1. No doubts life and death decisions weighed heavy on you Mary. You have made the best choice for you and hopefully your mind is cleared of the heavy weight of decision. May all your days be blessed. ❤ xx

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  2. There is a sense of sadness and strength with your writing about your cancer ~ and I have such admiration with the way you are approaching your decisions. This one seems to have been difficult but it sounds like the one to make and I can understand how it is a relief not to have to keep thinking about it, but to enjoy the time around you. Take care, Mary, and my thoughts are with you.

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    • Thanks, Randall. It was a relief to finally make up my mind and now I can try to make the most of the time I have left. I feel sure I’ll be able to share a few adventures with everyone 🙂 Thank you for thinking of. I’ve been thinking about your mum and hoping she is recovering well.

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      • There is something special about being able to make a decision that puts the focus on today and the things that matter ~ it gives a bit of a spark to the day and the spirit. 🙂 Thank you very much for the thoughts about my Mom, she is doing well. Take care ~ and take in the beauty of love of this holiday season.

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  3. I know each person is different, and I hope you can enjoy to the maximum the rest of your time, Mary. My father was diagnosed with prostate cancer at a very late stage, and after hormonal and radiotherapy treatment, which seemed to go quite well, in a few months found out that the cancer was much more aggressive than they had thought. He tried chemotherapy, but the side effects were terrible for him (he spend more time in hospital than at home, with very poor quality of life), and after the second dose of the chemotherapy was as bad, if not worse, than the first, we all decided there wasn’t a point. Better to have some peace. People have different priorities, but I am sure you’ve taken the best decision for you. Thiking of you, Mary. Big hugs.

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    • I’m sorry to hear of your father’s cancer and chemotherapy experiences. My cancer returned (though I still don’t think it ever really disappeared) very quickly – within weeks – and it seems likely that even if the chemo was successful new cancer cells would pop up elsewhere. As you say, everyone has different priorities and for me having a shorter quality time (and as pain free as possible) seems preferable to feeling horribly ill while lingering for longer. Hugs,

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  4. Makes sense, doesn’t it? 😀 … I know you’re not about to be off just yet, but I want to say it’s been a pleasure getting to ‘know’ you these last few months, and may this final leg of your Journey in this world be as effortless as it could be, and your passage to the next, be full of wonderful surprises. 🙂

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  5. As always wonderful responses to your post Mary and your courage and grace under fire has been both respected and inspiring. I would say that you are right not to adhere to the ‘predictions’ and perhaps without the added stress of the ‘treatment’ it could be much longer. This is not fair. But count me in for the long haul and even though I am not here all the time I am just an email away. Sending love and hugs ♥♥

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    • Thanks, Sally. The support I’ve received from you and other bloggers has been quite extraordinary and incredibly moving. I’ve frequently been quite damp-eyed reading the comments – and buoyed up at the same time. As for the amount of time I have – each day is a bonus.

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  6. You’ve made a difficult decision bravely and doing so, continue to show courage in the way you’ve lived your life. I have been deeply affected by your writing about Afghanistan. You have given us the gift of your communication and the love that is the basis of it. Prayers sent your way.

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  7. I think I knew after your Islay post. Now it’s time to /live/. Every second of every day. Until there are no days. But that could be months, years or even decades away. None of us have any guarantees. We could be hit by a bus tomorrow. You could be one of those wonderful miracles.
    Enjoy the now my friend. -massive hugs-

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  8. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, Mary (probably) – my father in law had chemo to extend his life in 2011 (he had terminal pancreatic cancer). My husband was the only one in the family who read up about it properly, and urged him not to have it. The extension to his life (if there was one; one can never know) had very little quality. My mother in law has always said, ever since, that she would never recommend people have it for the reason her husband did. He was in his early 70s.

    That you’ve been able to make your decision is good, and I hope it brings you some peace xxx

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    • Thanks for sharing your father-in-law’s story, Terry. It makes me feel I’ve made the correct choice. It would be lovely to have a longer life but only if I was reasonably well and able during the period of extension. I do feel more at ease having made the decision.

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