I wasn’t able to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mom, but 2/3 of the greatest women I know is still pretty good.
On the cancer update front, we decided today to discontinue chemotherapy. The side effects of the last round were quite a bit more unpleasant than previous rounds, so the oncologist suggested the potential long-term side effects might be reaching a point where they are outweighing whatever extra benefit I would get from continued chemo.
Next steps are to do a PET scan on my chest and hope there haven’t been any changes in that spot on my left side. The next difficult decision will be whether to have part of my lung removed so we don’t have to worry about the spot. As with continued chemo, it’s a guessing game and a balancing act between side effects and potentially life-saving benefits.
Decisions are hard, and the higher the stakes, the harder it is to feel confident about a decision. It’s no wonder we are drawn to take on labels for ourselves–identifying with a group allows us to outsource a lot of our decisions. This isn’t always a bad thing, obviously, but it brings with it the risk of living a passive life of no consequence.
Throughout this cancer adventure I’ve often found myself being tempted to retreat into the patient identity, usually in hopes of outsourcing my treatment decisions to my doctors. For better or for worse, they never let me get away with it and I end up having to do the hard work of deciding between treatment options, then holding the responsibility for the outcome.
In the end I appreciate the responsibility, though. Because whether I’m right or wrong, and in spite of the risks it carries, it contributes to living a life of intention and purpose. The world makes it far too easy to be an observer of your own life, and I don’t want to get to the end of mine and regret not being a more active participant in it. I’d rather struggle through the decision-making process and fail then feel helpless while the world determines my outcomes for me.