After speaking with my oncologist, my GP called me back this evening. The onco asked for more tests: CT scans of my chest, abdomen and pelvis. The referrals were faxed to me this evening – they’re marked “urgent”. The oncologist said that after the CTs are read she may ask for a biopsy (I suppose of the finding at the sternoclavicular joint) and then they will discuss the skull mets.
So. Okay then.
I didn’t think I was having any particular problem with going for the scans; it’s a pretty routine procedure at this stage of the proceedings, after all. I went about making a nice dinner (pasta with button mushrooms in a peppery cream sauce and a tomato-fresh basil salad). I carried the plate from the kitchen out to the table and… the whole plate of food slid on to the floor. Then I noticed my hand was shaking.
This was upsetting in all kinds of ways! I hate to waste food, and I’m kind of a nut about a clean house, and I hate it when my emotions control me instead of the other way around. Harrumph. I cleaned up the floor and threw away all that perfectly good food because I washed the floor today and there was probably still detergent residue on it. I washed the floor again because I clean when I’m anxious.
What’s with this anxiety, anyway? The tests are expected and routine in my situation. The results will not change the fact that I have Stage IV breast cancer. Yet, I suppose I’m anxious about the possible outcomes, that is, that the cancer may have spread to lung or liver as well as bone, or to my ribs or pelvis. It’s still Stage IV, though; there aren’t any more stages than that. I don’t know what I’m anxious about. I just need to accept that I am and move on.
Treatment at this point is about prolonging my life. Once all the data is in, I will make a decision about that. Do I want to prolong my life with cancer treatment? How much quality of life am I willing to sacrifice to that end? There is also the issue that it is much easier to say “no thank you” and not start treatment than to say “enough” and stop it. Easier in terms of the Israeli medical establishment, and perhaps easier on the people I love and who love me.
There is also a moral issue. My life does not belong to me; it belongs to God. That raises another question. When I stand before my God, will he be disappointed in the choices I’ve made? At what point can I morally choose to prolong my life no more? If I suffer, is there redemptive value in my suffering? (Yes, there is.) Do I have the right to curtail that before time? How will I know?
Big questions, all. Too big for me right now. I go back to the psalm that I love so much, that I quoted earlier this month, this time as a goal to move towards and not as a description of a state attained.
For right now, I’ll just keep breathing and turn off the speculation machine in my head.