Hope: Scanning Fear and Cancer Treatment

My strength softened these last few days as I began to seriously explore the possibility of my treatment failing to destroy the tumor in my chest. More chemo…an operation…

I just completed my third of four scheduled chemotherapy marathons and am now recovering. The vein in my left arm feels knotted from the IV and I can’t sit or stand for long without feeling weak. The evil nausea is almost gone but lingers with the metallic taste of cisplatin that coats my mouth. One more round, hopefully.

Hopefully is the key. The oncologist initially scheduled me for four cycles, after which a CT scan will be performed and the results analysed. At best I will need no additional treatment, but I might need surgery or additional chemotherapy.

“So one more cycle?”

“Hopefully”, I reply somewhat sad and scared, understanding that the question is fully rooted in concern and care. But lately the hope leads me into thinking about additional chemotherapy or an operation within my chest. When the doctor presented my options on day one I didn’t think much. I was positive, as was she. We were moving forward, I the patient, she the doctor and my family in sync. There was little time for misdirection or reflection, and in our small lab of science, there wasn’t much room for hope.

But as I refer to my treatment plan, I must refer to hope. There are no certainties, not in the final cycle, the CT scan, or the outcome. To simply say, “one more cycle” is to be naive. We all hope for one more cycle and nothing else. Still, hope may have little bearing.

I still am not much convinced of hope. Hopefully I won’t need any more treatment, but that’s a scary thought and I don’t know much what it means. I didn’t decide to get cancer, but I did, so it might be naive to believe that hope could influence the outcome of my treatment. Hope could mean more chemo, an operation, or more. It could mean a long and arduous road or a quick death, but hopefully, it will just mean that I can finally stop hoping.

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About Emerging Environments

Thoughts about environmental policy, sustainability, cancer, and more.
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One Response to Hope: Scanning Fear and Cancer Treatment

  1. Josh, we never know what will work and what won’t because we are all individuals and our cancer may be a little different than the next person. Keep hope alive. Even though I know I might never be free of cancer, I can still have a good life living with it and keeping it under control – it is possible. So never give up hope. There are new treatments being tested as we speak.
    I’m pulling for you!

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