The great debate continues…

Christmas has retreated with the faint sound of ‘ding, dong, merrily on high’ and the comfort of normalcy has evaporated. I have proclaimed my thoughts on chemo and attempted to round up supporters whose eyes reflect, ‘grateful silent thanks’ that this journey is not theirs. I had done a sterling job to buffer myself from my triple negative breast cancer diagnosis, only for it, to unravel like a over- excited child mid afternoon on Christmas Day.
If had been wise, I should have warned Greg, Sue, Charm and Rose, my support team that I was proned to ‘run from risk’ and to look out for signs of ‘rationalising’ my way out of chemotherapy. A child of violence, I had been programmed by circumstance and in my adult years, remained in a state of post trauma, resilient and ever ready to flee. Cancer was a foe that I could not run from. This time, I had to stay and fight to keep the flesh in which I inhabit.
I thought about the many battles that I had fought and won. I feared that I was like an ancient warrior who did have the strength to raise a sword and swing. I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the enemy’s arsenal and reduced to a sobbing mess. I am a woman who has been allergic to ‘drama’ any place other than which it belongs, in a medium for entertainment. To have the ‘cancer drama’ means that you are forced to engage with a roller coaster of raw and unpredictable emotions. To hear your pathetic bleating of fear and bear witness to your foolish attempts to avoid the inevitable.
I was ‘over’ it, before treatment, and now post first surgery the cancer ‘journey’ was wearing thin. Who would undertake a journey that would be fraught with fear, pain, despair, confusion, grief, anger, resignation and be willing to continue to travel not knowing the final destination. Having a diagnosis of cancer is like being in a constant state of overwhelming fear. Greg was ever stoic and while annoyed that I had delayed treatment to have a chemo-free Christmas, rallied to the call for arms to again debate the pros and cons of chemotherapy treatment.
I returned to the Web, to decipher the reams of conflicting paradigms and comments from cancer survivors and loved ones of the dearly departed. I decided regardless of my choice, I would never engage in advising anyone regarding options. I understood the dilemma that doctors, loved ones and allied health professionals face when asked to offer their opinion on treatment options. That which lies beyond the fear of litigation and power imbalance. It is truly an individual choice and responsibility, and there is no reason to seek approval of this decision as the price is your own mortality.


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