Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Weight off my Shoulders

Many of you saw that I have made a final decision on whether I will be doing the open biopsy or not. (For those that haven't seen this I have decided not to do the open biopsy.)

For my entire life, I have been against many different things when it comes to the practice of medicine. I don't agree with tests that are just done as routine and I am not afraid to go against what a doctor says and carve my own path into the practice. I am against some forms of treatment that are considered "routine" and there is no such thing as a minor surgery in my eyes. I believe those that undergo elective surgery are taking a risk not worth taking (nothing against those that do choose this path) and that type of thing is not for me no matter how much it will benefit me or make me feel better. Most importantly, unlike many people, I do not fear death. It is a natural part of the cycle of life and there is nothing to fear about it. I don't want to leave those I love behind, but at the same time this lack of fear allows me to face situations head on and with a clear head I wouldn't normally have.

Some of those that are closest to me, know all these things about me. They know how I feel about certain procedures and they know that quality of life is 1000 times more important to me than quantity. This is why they were so bamboozled that I could possibly like my third opinion doctor so much that I'd be considering this open biopsy. I'll admit, looking back, I have a pretty good understanding of why and it's all the wrong reasons but I'll get to that later. So it was no wonder that this completely uncharacteristic feeling would eventually push me to the brink and corner me into making a decision. I'll admit that it took the doctor answering a lot of my questions. Although exactly as I knew he would, it was the confirmation I needed to know that I was not ready for this and since there is no reason for this right now, I would not be doing it.

You see, the reason for the open biopsy is so that the DOCTORS know what is really going on in there. They can determine what the actual size and grade of my tumor is and therefore come up with the best plan to treat it. Notice I said that it is so the DOCTORS know. Here's the key point. I don't care what is up there. Whether it is a Grade One Glioma as we suspect or a Grade Two Glioma that needs to be radiated, I'm not going to do anything right now. If I am not having symptoms from this tumor, there will be no further action. Therefore, what is the point in knowing right this second what I am dealing with. I'm not going to do radiation or chemo or even have resection until I am having problems. So why go through this "biopsy" now? It's so the doctors know what is going on and so that those around me know just how bad it is. Not because I care what it is or care how bad it is but because others do. Do you see where the problem is now? Many people immediately pick up on how compassionate I am. Guess what, my compassion nearly led me to have a major surgery just to find out how serious the thing in my head is. Definitely time to back away.

My mind pushed itself into a corner and told me, "if you don't make a decision right now, then I'm going to cower into a little ball and I'm going to stay there until you take this into your hands." That's why I began looking at the whole picture instead of this tiny piece of hell I've lived in for 13 weeks. When you look at it technically, I have not found this thing. It doesn't exist. When you look at it from a quality of life aspect, it is not affecting my quality of life in any way. It is doing no harm to me. My quality of life is 110%. Because of this very thing, doing the open biopsy would essentially be an "elective surgery". Well, you all now know my feelings on elective surgery. The decision became easy when I thought of the elective surgery, the fact my quality of life would be lowered to a minimum of 50% for up to six weeks and possibly longer following the surgery, the fact my life will probably never return to 110% even after I do heal, and the fact that I am not doing this for my benefit but for the benefit of others.

I talked with John and he agreed that I am doing the right thing. In all honesty, his opinion is the only other opinion that matters because it affects he and I's life the most. (Yes it affects my son's as well but he will one day move on and have a family of his own... John won't, at least not with me if something happens.)

I've decided this ended up being longer than I intended and I still have a lot to say, so I will be stopping this one and there will be future entries with my game plan and maybe even a few other things. Until then.

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