Subsequent to my last post where I had agreed to chemotherapy, I later discussed this with Denise and looked at the pros and cons. I decided in the end that the potential downsides of chemo seemed to outweigh the possible good.
One important thing going for me at the moment is my positive attitude towards dealing with the cancer. The thought of the possible side-effects of the treatment – feeling very unwell and compromising my immune system – in relation to the possible gains – a few months at most added to my life expectancy ( the likely prognosis) – didn’t make chemo seem the right thing for me. I felt strongly that my positivity would be compromised. These were all important factors in my decision not to go ahead with the treatment.
We phoned the hospital and their response was immediate. We had several strongly supportive phone calls with the receptionist, chemo staff nurse and one of the lung cancer nurses. The receptionist made an immediate call to the staff nurse and all of the actions we needed were arranged very quickly. Both nurses gave me a lot more information so I could make a more informed decision. They suggested and then set in place a set of practical and reassuring steps. The chemo start date was put back a week to give me longer to consider and an appointment was arranged with the oncology doctor within the next week so I could have an in depth discussion.
At the meeting with the doctor the feeling was that everyone would support me in whatever I decided. The doctor said that as long as I was well enough I could begin the chemo programme at a later date if I changed my mind ( I do understand that sooner is better for this). She stressed that I would be offered the same additional palliative care whether or not I went through the chemo.
Our good friend, Kay, took me to the appointment and sat with me through it, helping me to feel more steady.
I strongly feel, that if this is the way the NHS functions then we need to fight to save it because, in my experience so far, I have been informed for making decisions and supported in finding what I wanted and treated as an individual and not a disease.
When I got back home Denise said my mood was much lighter and more buoyant. Like the hospital, my family, Denise, Matthew, Sam and Anna have all been clear about supporting whatever I decided.