“How many chemo treatments am I going to have?”
Discovering (or should I say “uncovering”?) the answer to this question was one of the biggest obstacles in our chemo journey. The answers kept morphing. There were different answers depending on who we talked to. At first, John’s oncologist told us that 12 treatments were “standard.” Our brief conversations with him left us with the impression that chemo was like taking antibiotics: bad things could happen if the patient did not take the prescribed number of pills.
After several treatments, during a meeting with John’s liver surgeon, the surgeon uttered the words that would torment us for a month, until I Googled my way to an understanding:
“You don’t have to take all 12 treatments. You have the option to stop at any time. “
We were absolutely horrified. This seemed to imply that there isn’t any reason to suffer through the chemo because the potential gain is either not that great or uncertain. My analogy was, “If you’re taking a plane to San Francisco and all your friends are waiting for you there, why get off in San Luis Obispo?”
John’s reaction was several notches further up on the anguish scale: these were the very words that his father’s doctor had spoken to his father, months before his father’s death. Neither of us had forgotten what his father said to us when he knew he was dying,
“If I’d only known, I would never have gone back for more chemo.”
If you are reading this post, it is probably because you too have been mystified by conversations with your oncologist about the duration of your chemo regimen. I’ve written about this because I suspect that it is a very common occurrence.
What we found out through hard experience, personal research and through conversations with John’s surgeon was far more illuminating than any of those meetings with his oncologist. All that we learned on this topic and everything else about this cancer journey is now compiled in an easily-searchable book format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3331M
You have stumbled upon a rare opportunity to learn first-hand from another colon cancer patient’s four years of experience in navigating the colon cancer maze.
Our doctors told us we were the most informed patient team they had ever encountered– yet we felt utterly lost a great deal of the time. Every cancer patient I’ve talked to felt the same way. We learned so much about The System, and how critical being an informed patient is to getting the treatment you need, how to deal with difficult doctors, troubleshooting and taking charge of pain control– and so much more, none of which you will hear about from your doctor.
You owe it to yourself and your loved one to benefit from all that we learned the hard way. This is the kind of information that, until the publication of this book, could only become part of your database by living through it and realizing in retrospect how all the pieces fit together: colon cancer from the patient’s and caregiver’s point of view. $9.99 seems like a very small price, considering the emotional and physical suffering you will likely be saved by learning from our experience.
Shedding Light on the Cancer Journey: Navigating the Colon Cancer Maze http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004T3331M can now be read on any computer or other reading device. The reader interface is available free from Amazon and is downloadable in seconds.
I will realize absolutely no profit from the sale of this book. All proceeds from the sale of this book will go towards the support of the 400 monks, nuns and yogis in the seven Tibetan monasteries of Tulku Orgyen Zangpo Rinpoche, who have devoted their lives towards building the foundation for peace and freedom from suffering for all beings in this world.