Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Quality Of Life

Three of our pets are old, as I've mentioned before. If this is your first time here, welcome! Also, I do tend to talk about my pets a lot here, for some reason. This isn't just my cancer blog, it's my memoir.

When our pets have health issues, especially when they are old like three of ours are, you start thinking about what their quality of life is. All pet owners struggle with the issue of how and when to make "the call" to put a beloved pet down. For me, that's the main question when making that decision. How good is their quality of life? We don't want our pets to suffer.

But what about us? I want good quality of life too. We all do. With the decisions my wife and I have to make soon, quality of life for me is of paramount importance. Any treatment I'm asked to consider will face the same criteria: How does it make me feel, what are the long term consequences, and how much is it likely to help? Oh, and one other: Would the doctor use the same treatment on himself?

I just got a call from my oncologist, and we've decided not to do a biopsy of the suspicious spot they found on my left upper arm bone. We probably will do another bone scan in about 3 months to see where we are. Down the road, we may try radiation.

What does this mean? Everything stays the same for now. If we decide to continue with standard Western medicine, we'll continue with Lupron until it stops working, then look into other treatments. I expect a call from the radiation oncologist soon to make an appointment to talk about specific radiation treatments he might recommend.

We're taking all of this in stride. No major changes right away, unless we decide to go the naturopathic route, which we may very well do.

I'm afraid they may want to radiate my prostate area. When it comes to the naughty bits, I hesitate. There are serious long-term risks associated with that, and there are no guarantees they'd get all of the cancer. I'm not sure I want to have to deal with problems in that area for the rest of my life, however long that is, based on a chance that it will help. That's all the oncologist is giving me. A chance. "So you're saying there's a chance..."

And that's the question. What are the potential benefits, compared to the risks? What kind of quality of life will I have when going through a treatment, or with the aftermath of a treatment? Lupron, which is what I'm on right now, causes osteoporosis. Luckily, I'll only get four shots total, so that probably won't happen to me.

This is one of the reasons why we may lean toward naturopathic treatments. Chemo and radiation are horrible on the body, but more natural treatments are much milder. Chemo and radiation often don't work or cause other problems, or both. Natural treatments don't have those drawbacks. But they also might be less effective. You're taking your chances either way.

But I know one thing. Unless they can guarantee a cure, and I can tell you right now they can't, I'd rather spend my remaining years, however many there may be, feeling good rather than bad. It's not just about quantity of life, but quality of life, at least for me.

This is the biggest decision I'll ever make. I need a lot more information before making it. I'll also need your continued prayers and support. You have made my quality of life incredible these past few months. Thank you!

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