Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Difficult Decision

We make many decisions in our lives. Even many a day, drive faster, run a yellow light, wave someone out in front of us, hold the door open for someone as we enter a store. A lot of these decisions we make almost instantaneously, without even thinking.

Then there are the tough decisions. When I was a little kid the tough ones were, pick up a worm for the first time, ride my bike further than I had last week. As I age they get rougher. I spend a great deal of time researching options, reading reviews. All to be sure my decision is sound and won’t hurt me or my family financially, physically, etc.

Some of the big ones have been our house. It is our second, it is almost 3 times larger that our first. That was a huge step. Remember the commercial with the couple in bed laying face up staring at the ceiling saying “what have we done?” That was us, but once I decide, I try to go with it and ride it out. A recent big one was the new bike. I’ll bet I was smiling like a little kid bringing that thing home. The most recent is a new truck… it’s a big one. The missus will use it for SAR and for our dogs and it can haul the bike(s) if we want to go a long way and bring them along without riding. These were good decisions.

My most difficult decision was choosing to put a dear friend and family member to sleep. Russell was the best cat anyone could ever have. There was 3 choices, 3 times daily bathroom assistance from me, surgery that was more than my annual salary, or…. I still get a lump in my throat. In light of what others have had to decide, this was nothing.

A guy I worked with several years ago was diagnosed with testicular cancer. He decided to have one removed. That would be tough, but life or loose a family jewel… guess I would pick the same.

A friend of mine has been battling breast cancer for about a year now. Complete with 8 or 10 doses of chemo therapy, hair loss, radiation sickness, all of that wonderful stuff that you go through to maybe get better. Recently she has been in remission. In her diligence to know what was happening, she did a bunch of research and found that there is a genetic test one can have done. If the results are positive, it means you have a 50% more likely chance to develop recurring breast cancer.

*OMG NO!!!!!...*

She has the gene. Now what? Doctors advise it is not a death sentence ‘we just have to be careful’. An option another doctor advises… ‘complete, double and massive mastectomy’… This is an option?? Yeah, voluntarily have both breasts removed. Knowing this lady, her zest for life and constant up beat attitude… it’s not fair that she has to make this decision!!

Her decision, remove them. She said it all boils down to ‘life or death’. A 4 or 5 hour surgery including ‘re-construction’. It is done. She comes this weekend to stay with us and recover for about a week.

I pray I have the strength to comfort her and support her and cry with her if needed.


Kat said...

(((hugs))) to all....

LeeAnn said...

Life for a few pieces of flesh....not a hard decision to make. So she won't be flashing anyone and hanging out at the nude beach. There are worse things to have happen to death. Just be a friend and listen while passing the kleenex, if necessary. The worst part of cancer is having it come back and she has beaten that.

DNR said...

Thanks Kat & LeeAnn!

Ordinary Janet said...

I have no experience with any friends or relatives with breast cancer, but I think I wouldn't hesitate to have both removed, even as a precaution. I've read that some women will do everything to keep their breasts because they'll feel less of a woman if one or both are removed. I think that "feeling like a woman" isn't totally dependent on breasts-it's what you feel inside yourself. I hope your friend recovers quickly and completely and lives many more years.

B Matthews said...

Hang in there, my friend. I'm thinking of you and yours.


Dazd said...

You are correct about her zest for life. I think that zest is what makes her fight so damn hard. For all she's been thru and all she's conquered, she'll always be my hero.

And you my friend will have the strength to provide her with the care, comfort and support she needs.

Call me if you need anything.


Queen of Dysfunction said...

I'd get rid of them too. They're just flesh, not worth dying over.

Kat said...

All of y'all still in our prayers.

On an unrelated note - the newspaper article was wrong - the "HomeTeam" show will air on February 24 (last saturday of the month) on the WGN network - check local listing for time.... here in GA it's at noon, but not necessarily elsewhere!

Tanie said...

woa, tough times. A close friend of mine, who is now in remission, sent her friends notes saying that she had needed the support of everyone and was grateful that she could cry, laugh, moan, shout and everything inbetween with us all. I really believe that bottling stuff up has an impact on our fragile bodies. dnr, I'm sure that you will be a supportive friend and allow her to be herself. Thinking of you all x said...

I've been there, that choice about having a testicle removed or life... I'll be honest, it is no choice. You just do it!

Life isn't simple, but it's a no-brainer you sit in that seat, whether you're with family, friends, girlfriend whatever and they say "We're taking it away" and you simply have to sit there and say "Yeah ok, when?", it's not a case of how? why? simply - how quickly can you do it?

You come out the otherside, you have to, with a sense of humour having met some of the most fantastic people of your life on the way. Talk to any cancer survivor, they'll tell you the same!

skeet said...

Five women in my family have had breast cancer, so I don't need a test to tell me I'm at risk. My mother opted for a lumpectomy instead of the recommended mastectomy. She paid with her life. My aunt (her sister) chose double-radical mastectomy, back in the day when that meant loosing not only breast and lymph glands, but also tissue and muscle well into the back and shoulders (and when reconstruction was not an option. She's flat-chested, happy and healthy thirty years later. A cousin had both breasts removed in her thirties when a single benign lump was found.

Not a comfortable decision, but hard? No, not so hard. Bless you for being there for your friend. Just remind her that SHE hasn't changed, because this old shell is not who we are.

Hope you'll come see me soon at my new address:

Rose said...

I will keep your friend in my prayers and may God give you the strength to be there for her.