What price life

I can understand why some people decide to stop chemo and let cancer take its course. Chemo can be brutal, even the ones with lesser and fewer side effects. After a while, the routine gets in the way of life. Problems arise that throw off the chemo schedule – low blood counts, problems with veins, issues with power ports. All of this can make one irritated and tired of dealing with it. Then there’s all the financial issues associated with chemo and cancer – will I be able to work? If I can, will my boss make allowances for my frequent absences? If I can’t work, how will I pay my bills? Side effects get progressively more intense the longer one is on chemo; it’s cumulative.

I am not going to stop chemo. I’m just saying I understand why people do. My tumors are shrinking, so the chemo is working, and it’s worth it. But for some people, the chemo doesn’t work, or it stops working after awhile, and they eventually run out of options. Or the side effects are worse than the cancer. Or their insurance doesn’t cover the cost – or there is no insurance. There is palliative care, which merely controls the pain, nausea, and whatever other symptoms caused by the cancer. This isn’t hospice but just a way to make the patient comfortable.

I feel so fortunate and blessed that I have insurance, and it’s paying for all of my care, and the chemo is working, and there are ways to deal with my side effects.There is still that depression and hopelessness that kicks in every once in a while. It makes me human. I can’t help but wonder what the future will hold, especially after a day that’s more grueling than usual. How long can I keep this up? How long before the chemo stops working? Cancer tumors are like the Borg – they adapt. So I will just keep envisioning those photon torpedoes attaching the tumors; and the light shining into the dark centers and dissolving them. I will be like Thomas the Tank Engine and keep telling myself: “I think I can; I think I can…”


15 thoughts on “What price life

  1. It might sound trite, but I don’t know if I could go through it…and yet, I know that I hope that I would do whatever I had to do to stay alive…I don’t know what internal force drives people to keep going and to keep doing the chemo thing…I know people who have been battling cancer for years and years. It awes and mystifies me. Is it hope? Is it our indomitable spirit that refuses to give in or give up? I don’t know. I know that I’m selfish and want you to do everything possible to stay alive, but how dare I ask that of anyone, it’s not me that has to deal with all the crap and brutality of it. All I have to do is pray, and that I do constantly. Someday, somehow, all of a sudden, there will be a cure. I always hope my loved ones are here to see it.

    I wish it to happen much sooner than later…

  2. So you’re the reason my stats just went through the roof!! LOL

    Thanks for your good wishes – I do appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers coming my way. It all helps!

  3. I like your Thomas the Tank Engine analogy, Ruth. A great mental image. Not sure whether or not I’ve already said this, probably have: But when my first husband was going through chemo roughly 20 years ago, his oncologist suggested he read a book on the power of positive thinking. So even back then — when was the dark ages compared to what chemo can do today — the docs knew that both prayer AND positive thinking have an impact on outcomes. I and your other friends will keep sending you prayers; you keep supplying the positive self talk, and the imagery. And of course, your prayers, too. I know you’ll have dark days and sad thoughts. But keep battling them with the good stuff!

  4. I am so glad I started my Gratitude Journal Blog so long ago, because it has gotten me in the habit of feeling thankful and given me a positive attitude. I think the Universe knew what was coming and wanted me prepared with positivity. If this diagnosis had come 2 or more years ago, I wouldn’t have had such a positive attitude and might not have been doing as well as I am. I appreciate all the good thoughts and prayers – they really do help.

  5. Iva Pokorny says:

    Ruth, I don’t know what to say. But I want to be here. Right here. Right now. Sometimes it is one day at a time. Sometimes, one half hour at a time … That little tiny step forward starts up a journey again. A journey which we don’t know the destination of or where it will lead us. There are a lot of detours and twists and turns .. And hills. But that tiny tiny baby step marks yet again a new beginning .. And again …and again ….. And again. Beginnings are born from endings … So who knows what those beginnings are? Beginnings can be so many things …. ❤

  6. Do keep on blogging, Ruth!

    Where do you write about things that you treasure most? Your experiences in poetry, haiku..

    My father has not yet chosen chemotherapy for his cancer..prostate. It is mid-intermediate. @85 yr. it is not an age that a person becomes stronger. So right now, he is on a trial drug that seems to control it for now. No, not cure at all.

    Chemo for him would mean drastically reducing his immune system and reducing his overall strength/energy.

    He has given up driver’s license this year…significant for him.

  7. I admire your courage and honesty Ruth, you are an inspiration to us all. You should do whatever feels right for you and never be swayed by the input of others who can not possibly know how this disease is affecting you. Love from your friend Jenna

  8. Thank you, Jenna. I am nowhere near close to giving up yet. And I won’t even think about it until this course of chemo is done and the CT scan and bloodwork results are in after that. Then we’ll know where we are and can take the next steps. In the meantime, I’m staying as positive as I can and visualizing those tumors being blasted out of existence!

Ruth passed away from cancer. Please remove from list

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