I considered giving this blog the title "The Decision", but then I decided that I needed to own my decision. I needed to claim what I've chosen as my path and not be deterred. I know that no matter what direction I head there will be supporters and non supporters. I also know that I have spent hours sifting through information, both from my own research and from others'. At the end of the day, the decision is mine to make and mine to live with. Some will say that I made my choice in fear. I say that I am choosing to do the very thing that scares me most. That is why I hesitate. That is why this decision is so difficult. I said in my last post, "Don't I owe it to myself and to my family to give myself the best possible odds?" The answer is yes. My body, my life, no longer is my own. I have a child. I have a little girl who I will have a better chance of seeing go through life if I do chemotherapy. I choose to live for her, to go through chemotherapy, despite my reservations of putting chemicals into my body. Anyone who knows me can tell you that I am not fond of putting chemicals or medicines into my body (other than the odd alcoholic beverage, which has been sorely lacking in my life in the past 2 years). I will do this if it gives me a better chance of having more years with my daughter and my husband and all the rest of my loved ones.
My earlier rant was really just me venting on the whole experience. I don't think anyone can expect to get through the whole Wonderful World of Cancer without taking a trip on the anger wagon. Today I jumped on, had my ride, and I am ready to get off. I wasn't angry with any one thing or person. I'm not mad at God, I'm not mad at the doctors; I really don't know what I'm mad at other than this whole situation! It stinks! (No, that was not a poo reference...) It is not fair. It was never fair. It will never be fair. That's life. All I can do is suck it up and find the positive. I was taking my anger out on chemotherapy. I still find it odd that the drugs being used to treat colon cancer were created/discovered over half a century ago. There have been many advancements in treatment for other forms of cancer, but not so much for colon cancer. Maybe I can help bring awareness to the research of colon cancer and there can be new discoveries made to help future patients. Who knows where this could lead! On the other hand, my husband did make a rather wise comment. He said, "Penicillin has been around for ages and it is still being used today." Point taken. Chemotherapy does help a lot of people and even if I do end up with some of the potential lasting side effects, I think it will be worth it to have the peace of mind knowing that I did everything that I could do in my situation.
I will absolutely be doing alternative treatments and be taking preventative measures on the side. I still plan on eating a very healthy, high antioxidant, low fat/sugar diet. I plan on joining the gym and staying very active. I plan on continuing with herbal supplements. I need to give myself the best possible chance and, in my opinion, that means complementary treatments. This is controversial as well, however this is what I feel is best for me. I don't think anyone can say what they would do for sure unless they are put into the situation. I never thought that I would have such strong feelings against chemo and that I would be so protective of my body. I had a very wise friend post something on Facebook today that hit home: "Chemotherapy isn't the enemy, cancer is."
I was given the impression that any chemo that I would be subject to would be mild in form and short in length. It hit me pretty hard when I heard that I'd be receiving some pretty harsh drugs for 6 months. The thought of missing out on more of my life is almost unbearable. I want to audition for a musical in the spring, I want to teach in the summer, I want to be healthy for my 31st birthday and for Gwen's 2nd birthday and for mine and Mike's anniversary. I have fears that I won't be able to handle that much chemo, that I am already feeling like an incompetent mother and another 6 months of being sick is just too much to take. I have fears of all the "what if's" that come with the chemo, the potential side effects. What if I end up with neuropathy and can't feel my fingers to play the piano or feel my toes to balance in my sexy new high heels? What if I end up with an ugly scar on my chest from the stint? What if I'm rendered infertile? What if, what if, what if???? It could go on forever!
I am choosing to not live in the "What if's" any longer. I am choosing to live with the faith that God is with me on this journey. He has been with me from the beginning and he will not forsake me. He arranged some pretty cool stuff with my surgery, he has supplied me with (in Mike's words) a 'freakishly' huge support system, and he continues to show me his presence. Just tonight, I had the gut feeling that I should head over to my pastor's house. I decided that I wanted a treat on my way there, so I stopped at a Starbucks. In retrospect, I didn't even go to the closest Starbucks to where I was. A car pulled up beside me right after I parked. It turns out it was two of my biggest supporters, Bill and Hilary. This couple has been friends of my family for years. They were a huge support to my entire family when my parent's split up. I have always known that they would be there for me no matter what. So, inside we went where I cried openly and received much love and many hugs. They were shocked at the news of my chemo and we sat there and prayed. It was exactly what I needed. God knew that. God supplied. If there are any "What If's" that I'm going to dwell on, it will be these:
What if You jump? Just close your eyes.
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by suprise?
What if He's more than enough?
Click here to listen to the full song
Lyrics from Nichole Nordeman's "What If?"
(This was the first inspirational CD I ever owned. If I recall correctly, Hilary bought it for me... Weird! Coincidence?...)