To Treat or Not to Treat. That is the Queston.

How do you make the decision to treat or not to treat stage 4 metastatic cancer? I had never before been in the position to make that decision on someone’s behalf.  With two doctors sitting across from me, sharing information about my uncle’s diagnosis, I knew that I would be the decision maker about his treatment. Oh my. The gravity of my decision weighed heavily on my heart and mind, but by the time our conversation came to a close, my decision was made and I felt good about it.  Well, I didn’t feel good at all, but I knew I had made the choice that was best for Ronnie.

You see, I keenly remembered how chemo and radiation affected my father’s life.  I remembered everything about the side effects, and I remembered how the chemo did nothing to reduce or even slow down the growth of his cancer.  I remembered that the worst thing that happened to my father was not death. The worst thing was enduring those side effects.

I wanted none of that for my uncle. None. I chose not to treat his cancer.  I chose not to biopsy his cancer.  I chose instead to allow him to have as much peace as possible during his remaining days.  I requested that he be transferred to the VA Hospital near me so that I could oversee his care.  The doctors both agreed with my decision and my request.

I do have a regret with a portion of this decision which I will share in the next post.

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The End Begins

The phone call that day from Ronnie’s friend brought with it the realization that the end had probably begun for Ronnie.  He had had a minor wreck that day.  When the police arrived, Ronnie did not know his name or where he lived.  He could not even communicate in a complete sentence. Something serious was wrong.

Ronnie never married and had no children.  As the oldest of his nieces and nephews, I was the one contacted that day.  Immediately I called the hospital where Ronnie had been taken. The hospital personnel was thrilled that I called because they had not been able to contact any of Ronnie’s family.

After transfer to two other hospitals and various tests, it was concluded that Ronnie had metastatic cancer, which began in his lungs and then spread to his lymph nodes and brain. The third hospital to which Ronnie had been transferred was the VA hospital in Albuquerque.

Nest post: My solo trip to Albuquerque.