15th Mar2011

End of the chemo?

by Dutchcloggie

Yesterday for the first time, we discussed ending the chemotherapy with the oncologist.
We heard in January that the chemotherapy was most likely not working and that there were new tumours growing in the brain. We decided though that the chemo would continue until the next scan and see if the chemo was perhaps slowing down the tumour growth, if it wasn’t stopping it.

We went away the Scotland for a ski trip and whilst away, JD started to suffer with severe itching. No skin rash or anything. The itching was coming from inside her body.

After 4 weeks of little sleep and lots of scratching, the oncologist looked at JD’s bloodtest and said it is most likely her liver, suffering from all the chemotherapy. We discussed the point of chemotherapy, now that the doctor was of the opinion that it is not working. If it is not stopping the tumour and causing liver damage, it begs the question: why continue with chemo?

I could not make the decision there and then. Saying: let’s stop…. That means that from then on, it will just be a matter of waiting for JD to die. And I am not there yet. i am not ready to start on the road of JD slowly getting drowsy and eventually slipping in to a coma. Not where the chemo might just be keeping the speed of tumour growth down. Until a scan tells me that the chemo really really has no effect, I can not stop the treatment. JD does not want it either.

But what about quality of life? The itching is driving JD mad. It is keeping us both awake at night. So it was decided that JD would skip this month’s cycle of chemo and see if her liver will recover a bit. If it does, JD will pick up the chemo again and continue until the next scan. What happens after that is for later concern. If this chemo does not work, there is apparently another type. This one would be given every 3 weeks, intravenously. I don’t want to think about that one as it will make JD feel really unwell so you get to the whole quality of life debate…

JD says she wants to keep going with the chemo. It is her life. Her choice.

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