When my Mom was diagnosed with cancer, she was told she probably had about a year to live.
She had been at the bedside of many friends and family over the years who were suffering from cancer and cancer treatment and she’d seen how harsh some of those treatments had been.
So when her doctor told her about her terminal disease, she never hesitated when she looked the doctor in the eye and said “No thanks, I’m not having chemotherapy.”
This was many years ago and long before immunotherapies and epigenetics and mapping tumors became everyday lingo in cancer world. In fact, there weren’t many options for her, even on the chemo shelf.
So my sister drove her home and the rest of her life began.
She never doubted her decision. She lived every day to the fullest. She saw friends, shopped, got her hair done, talked on the phone. She lived her life for a full year before the cancer started to impact her normal. When it did, it didn’t take too long before she needed help to get around, but when we called hospice, she was truly at peace and she lived two days after her 86th birthday.
Her heart, and she had a strong, wonderful heart, guided her head that day, when she made the choice: treatment or no treatment. I must admit, I protested her decision at first, but when I saw how she really never let her cancer get in the way of living that final year, I was in awe of my Mom.
I have a friend who is weighing that same decision now. Of course he has many more options to pick from: the cancer medicine cabinet is full of new discoveries. But it still comes down to the heart or the head. Turning left or turning right.
I’m convinced there is no right or wrong choice.