Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What would you do?

posted Mon, 13 Dec 2004

The mother of a good friend of mine had cancer about nine years ago. She went through a bunch of chemo and radiation therapy and the cancer went away.

It's come back. Mrs R. has decided not to have any more chemo. My friend is, understandably, very upset. But the sad reality is that the chemo would extend Mrs. R's life only about six months.

One of the doctors who treated my dad had a friend who had survived testicular cancer. Years after he had gone through chemo and recovered, the doc asked the friend, "If you had known before the chemo what it would be like but had also known you would survive the cancer, would you still have gone through the chemo?"

The friend told the doc no.

He would rather have died than gone through chemo.

I watched my dad suffer through chemo. And die anyhow. The irony with my dad was that if he hadn't been in such good shape -- except for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma -- the chemo would have killed him long before the cancer did.

As it was, he lost over 30% of his body weight (he didn't have extra to lose), all his hair, and control of his bodily functions. He was in constant pain -- except, I hope, when he was semi-comatose. I hope he at least had some relief then.

When his cancer returned, my dad refused chemo again, too. I don't blame him.

I don't know that I would even go through chemo one time based on what I have seen. The odds for recovery would have to be really, really good for me to do it, I think. I sure wouldn't do it for a cancer that kills over 80% or even 70% or maybe even 60% of its victims.

What would you do?

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