When I saw my Oncologist a week ago, she gave me a choice: chemo or randomisation (wherein I would either get chemo anyway, or I wouldn't, but I'd have no choice in the matter). I was feeling tired and stressed and sort of resigned, so I thought I was going to go for the chemo. I didn't feel like fighting with my very pro-chemo doctor, and I didn't feel like deciding anything. I didn't feel like talking to my Second Opinion Doctor, either. But I did.
"Great!" she said. "You have a low recurrence score! You'll do great in the protocol!"
But I don't like the idea of being randomised. Waiting some more, just to find out I'm being assigned something by chance, doesn't really thrill me. No one was suggesting I could just opt out of chemo altogether. My Oncologist is a treatment-conservative (which, for some reason, translates into very un-conservative treatment). My Second-Opinion Doctor is a researcher. Why would they offer me the "third way," I guess?
Then the People Closest to Me started asking questions, which basically boiled down to "How on earth is pumping extra toxins into your body when you only have a 9% risk of recurrence actually going to help you?" and "Why don't you just refuse the chemo?"
Oh. I can do that?
I understand that my cancer may come back. And maybe it will be worse. And maybe I'll have to have chemo then. But maybe it would even with the poison. And maybe I'd go into menopause before I'm forty. And maybe I wouldn't be able to work at Starbucks because my immune system would be compromised and working there is pretty much like working in a preschool with how everybody gets sick in the winter. And maybe the long-term effects would be such that years from now I'd be regretting the treatment more than the recurrence of the disease.
I kind of feel like Daniel and his friends when they asked the Babylonian steward to let them be vegetarians. Maybe someone should do research on the hormone-therapy/radiation/prayer course of treatment.