I am going to blog several short posts today about a few different things, but this one is the most important one.
Our family member who is undergoing cancer treatment had a long meeting with the oncologist this week and found out that although the scheduled 4 chemo treatments followed by a week of radiation should be sufficient, this form of cancer is aggressive enough that the oncologist wants to try 6 treatments instead, followed by the radiation.
It is kind of a good news/bad news situation in that while the side effects of the chemo thus far have been manageable, and 2 more treatments would only mean an extra couple of more months until the treatments end, very few people being given this particular cocktail of drugs are physically able to handle doing more than the initial 4 treatments. Sigh....although our family member has done incredibly well through the first 2 treatments, psychologically it is very discouraging to hear such a thing.
So many questions: although the appetite has remained strong through treatment #2, what is going to happen by the time 6 treatments have taken place? What happens if the side effects become too much to cope with after treatment 4? How does the patient cope with the psychological limbo of never knowing when or if worse side effects will happen after treatment #4?
This type of cancer cannot be detected through blood work. It can not be seen on a CT scan until larger tumours appear, or, as in the case of our family member, a biopsy is done "just in case". So, what is that going to do to our family member over the coming years? How often are there going to have to be CT scans? How often will hours and days be spent worrying about that phone call from the doctor's office about the test results?
You don't realize if you haven't had exposure to cancer either personally or through others who have experienced the disease how the concern of a recurrence never goes away. Our family member was only diagnosed so early this time around because of the diligence of seizing on the teensiest of symptoms that could have meant absolutely nothing, normally never would mean anything, but our family member had "this feeling" and didn't quit seeking the reason for the symptoms until the answer was found.
My husband and I are at the age where we also cannot afford to ignore any changes in our bodies that we don't understand or don't recognize as normal or usual. However, in this day and age, with the onset of so many diseases in more youthful folk than ever before, no one of any age can afford to ignore unexpected bodily changes.
I am learning a good lesson from family and friends who are having treatments for a wide range of life threatening diseases at the moment.