I finally got the appointment at the hospital to discuss all the scans and exploratory tests they had done: it was not with the original surgeon I had seen, but an oncologist.
Most of the more senior doctors at the Limoges Hospitals speak very good English, but this was to be an important and complicated discussion, for reasons which will become apparent. So I thought it would be best if I could take along someone who would help with translating, just in case.
Serendipity was with me! . I had bumped into an English couple who live just down the road from the campsite and they invited me to drop by for coffee. When I did, I mentioned my predicament and they gave me the name of a truly lovely French lady who had spent most of her working life with an American computer company in Paris. When she moved to the Limousin she set up a professional translation business of her own, and although completely retired now, I was fortunate to have her come along with me. Her English was perfect – as was, I assume, her French.
We did the cheese ticket thing and progressed through the various waiting rooms until the oncologist, a very serious young lady (and who wouldn’t be with her job) came out to greet us and escort us to her office.
Now I was going to write a few paragraphs about the why’s and wherefore’s of the decision I am taking, but on second thoughts I will include a couple of excerpts from emails I sent to friends
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Thanks – Yes annoyingly I have two bottles of rather nice scotch, but my diet says no to anything other than water or herbal tea. It was just a comfort thing really. I had some walnuts and dried raisins, and although they didn’t really hit the spot it did help a bit.
My mind is pretty well made up already that I won’t have conventional treatment. In my long discussions with the oncologist yesterday I asked if all the chemo went as well as it possibly could (which, as she pointed out, it may not have the desired effect anyway) and they were able to operate, and the operation was a good success would I survive for five years, and I got the first straight answer I had from her – which was – NO! She wouldn’t narrow it down at all, but my guess is they are thinking 18 months, maybe a couple of years.
Later on I asked how long I could expect with no treatment, and the answer was about a year.
So I feel there is not a lot to gain really, bearing in mind how bad the treatment makes one feel. Not that I am scared of it physically, but of what it will do to my immune system. They are saying 6 courses, so that will probably take about 4 or 5 months alone, assuming I don’t go down with something along the way because my immune system has been poisoned, and I wouldn’t mind betting that after the operation they will suggest more chemo.
My heart says go it alone, and if I don’t listen and follow what pretty well everyone is demanding (in the nicest way) that I do and it all goes ‘tits up’ I will be kicking myself, and thinking I knew all along I shouldn’t go there.
If on the other hand I ‘hoe my own row’ and still succumb at least I will have done what felt right for me. I know its being cussed, but at least I have some confidence in the alternative cure, and I have no confidence in the chemo route.
Time will tell if I have been stupid. But as I say – then it will be all down to me.
Amazingly both my brothers are supporting me in my choice, which makes me feel a little better, and a little less foolhardy
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Don’t worry about my getting advice. Everyone is screaming it at me! But you might guess what difference that is going to make.
But I have spent nearly every waking minute, till I am now sick of researching on the costs/benefits of the regular treatment. Yes! – I am taking a gamble – but to me it is a calculated risk. And if I listen to EVERYBODY else’s advice, and it all goes tits up, which is very likely – then I will kick myself for not following my own heart which is saying – DON’T GO THERE! If, in my Pig-Headed way, I then lose the bet I shall only have myself to blame, and will know that I gave it my best shot on my own terms.
You assume without treatment I will peg it after a year! With my brilliant plan I intend to completely cure myself and live a long and happy life. You didn’t allow for that did you???