Many have been shocked by the recent decision of Senator John McCain to stop treatment of his GBM. Read the announcement here. There is still a lot of talk about “the battle” and McCain as a warrior. I wrote a post a while ago about what I think about fighting words and cancer. John McCain is certainly no stranger to heroic acts, but heroism of a different type is needed for cancer. I’m in total support of Mr. McCain’s decision to stop treatment. The first thing you seem to lose upon diagnosis is the ability to control the whole situation. It’s left up to oncologists, nurses and specialists who use tests and their own experience to decide on a treatment plan. Of course, the patient is always consulted, but many times I’ve defaulted to letting the medical experts take the wheel. I have to say that I have 100%
confidence in my medical team. The nurses have been especially wonderful in making me feel okay during procedures and just helpful with practical tips. After we get started on a plan, I try to be vocal about side effects and Quality of Life. If you read the announcement about John McCain, it’s plain to see that this what he’s after. Some Quality of Life without the side effects of treatments. For me personally, treatments have not been too bad. I made sure to take advantage of all palliative measures. (I really don’t like being sick or in pain.) I wasn’t trying to prove anything by being hardcore. I took my chemo and am currently doing infusion therapy with Avastin. Finally my last MRI showed some hope. The swelling in my brain has gone down and the tumors do not have a blood supply to grow. It’s hard to attribute it to anything specific, but Avastin has been the main treatment for a few months, so I’m guessing the credit can go there and to my Optune cap.
Anyway, back to my support for John McCain. Each of these treatments have its downside. Avastin has given me a sore, scratchy throat, worsened my short term memory loss and raised my blood pressure. Since I’m overweight already the blood pressure is a big concern. I also have the beginning of diabetes because of a steroid I was taking. So you can see Quality of Life had diminished although my cancer is now stable. It won’t be growing anytime soon. (fingers crossed) At 81, I can imagine John McCain doesn’t want to deal with constant blood tests, continued loss of memory and perpetual fatigue. I spend much of my time sleeping and resting. My body never feels refreshed even after a long sleep. I can’t walk very far without getting tired and any small event drives me to a nap. I don’t feel like I’m enjoying life like I did before. By 9:30pm I’m in bed exhausted. Days meld into one another and I’m often confused about what day of the week it is. Mr. McCain has lived a long life and accomplished much. He’s deciding for himself that he wants to live out his days in peace with no more suffering.
I’m very satisfied with my life. Right now I have some bad days and I want to stop too. But I try to push through those feelings knowing that my kids still need me. If I were older, I might feel differently. When my time comes, I”m ready knowing that I accomplished many of the things I desired and I have experienced much in my journey.