25 October 2008


The living part

Power chord time (faux Polaroid)I think some of you might have garnered the wrong impression from my previous entry. I'm not giving up on conventional cancer treatment, nor am I resigned to dying soon. Rather, I'm considering my choices more carefully, trying some new things, and making a stronger cost-benefit analysis of the options presented to me.

Until September, the conventional treatments I'd been taking—chemotherapy, radiation, surgery—still showed reasonable promise of putting my cancer into remission, or shrinking it, or even (before we knew it had metastasized into my lungs) curing it. So it was worth trying everything, side effects and life-on-hold be damned. The surgery worked its magic: if the cancer cells hadn't found their way to my lungs first, I might very well be cancer-free by now from the skilled work of Dr. Phang and his team at St. Paul's Hospital. The radiation I'd had before that might even have helped.

But the chemo...well, those various poisons I've taken in 2007 and 2008 may very well have kept any further cancer from appearing in my intestines, but the tumours in my lungs are tough little fuckers, and have resisted being beaten down. Now I have to look at the new treatments I might have coming up, and decide whether their relatively low likelihood of zapping those same malfunctioning blobs of tissue are worth what I might have to suffer in taking them.

I mean, it's fine and noble to help cancer research, but I've already done that a couple of times. I might still do it this time, but even if I do, I'm prepared to bail out early if the side effects are too harsh or if it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm also meeting with a doctor at Inspire Health next Friday to talk about other stuff: nutrition, exercise, relaxation, complementary treatments, and so on.

This is a new phase of how I understand my disease, and how my family and I live with it, one I feel good about because I'm putting a priority on the living part.

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Thanks for the clarification, Derek. My own strategy (right now) is to try something but always with the calculator (is this worth it?) in my mind.
I hope you write about InspireHealth! I am thinking of going for a consultation but have to come from Ontario so ... any good, critical information would be appreciated (as I do my own cost-benefit analysis!).
Whatever you choose/decide, I hope it goes well. As an aside, Jeremy Geffen's book, The Journey through Cancer, was helpful to me as I tried to figure out how to live with cancer.
All the best,
No, we get it. We're still moved by you. We value you, the way you explain your thoughts, your vision.
You rock, dude. This balancing part will forever be a part of your life, if my experience is any indication.

Best wishes, and congrats on the successful take down.