To treat or not….

We just assume with a cancer diagnosis comes the willingness to go through treatment.

That really isn’t true.

I write this today, almost exactly 21 years to the minute that my Mom took her last breath.  She died of cancer six months after her diagnosis.  She made the decision not to have treatment. So many things went into that choice, some of them she shared with me and my sister and some of them she didn’t.  I know we knew her well enough not to challenge her.  It would have caused such anxiety between us that it made sense to make peace with it and do everything in our power to give her the best, last months of life.  There was only one vote here and it was hers to make.

So how strange is it that the last two days I’ve gotten phone calls from friends who have family members newly diagnosed with aggressive cancers.  Both patients are older and both are contemplating whether or not to have treatment.  One of these patients feels he’s at a point in his life where he’s content to see if the cancer really ends his life before natural causes of a long, happy life would step-in and do the same job.  He says “it’s tempting to let this play itself out.”

My Mom never lost HOPE in her final months: Her HOPE just changed course.  I suspect the same thing is happening with this patient too.

As we all know, treatment can be really hard on a body and mind.  Where we are in life, the places we’ve been, and where we see ourselves down the road all play a factor in deciding to treat, or not…..

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