Saturday, March 27, 2010

To Treat or Not to Treat

I was so relieved to have Gamma Knife out of the way. Now I had about a month to decide whether or not to take the treatment that they were offering me. I had a few visits with the Oncologist to discuss his plan. My options were to take this biological therapy (Interferon), which would include 20 IV treatments at Cancer Care followed by 48 weeks of injections done at home. The side effects of this treatment are too many for me to list, some serious and some minor. The most common ones being extreme fatigue, nausea, chills, fever and basically you feel like you have the flu for a year. I got a chance to talk to the pharmacist and honestly I left there thinking there is no way I'm going to do that! Are they crazy!? This treatment is very contraversial and they can only speculate why it seems to work for some people. Basically, it's used in melanoma to prolong your time between recurrences on average a year. So if your cancer was going to come back in 2 years this drug would extend that to 3 years. Melanoma is a very sneaky and unpredictable cancer so it's impossible for the doctors to guess what it's going to do. They would never have imagined that mine would come back after 9 years. That's pretty much unheard of. Most people have a recurrence between 2 - 5 years. Anyway, so my choices were to take the treatment or not and see what happens.

We decided to put a timeline on this decision so that we weren't stressing about it for a whole month. After lots of discussion with the family, Jeff and I decided to go for it. What else could I do? I had the opportunity to talk to someone else with melanoma who had just finished her treatment which was so helpful for me. If she could do it then so could I. She's an amazing person! Very positive and we talked for over an hour. It was great talking to someone else who was going through something similar to me. I felt that I didn't want to have any regrets about the decisions that I made. If I didn't try it and the cancer came back I wouldn't want to wonder if the treatment would have stopped it. So that was that - the decision was made!

We then figured that since Jeff was going to be on reading week then we should take the kids out of school for the week and just have fun!!! We didn't know exactly how I would be feeling once treatments started so we planned a family week of fun!! It was a blast!! We got the kids to pick their most favorite things to do and we went and did them. I just love watching them laugh and being free! I think Laser Tag and Glow Bowling were our favorites. My arms and legs have JUST recovered from rock climbing!!! Living and becoming part of every moment is something that I strive for all the time now...

1 comment:

  1. Natalie,
    Even though I already know what you are going is so awesome to read it. There is something about the written word that just seems to me to make it real. (not that I want to believe it is happening) but that I can be thankful that you are doing so well. God is good and your story is such an encouragement to so many of us.
    Love you lots,
    Auntie Debbie