On Monday, I go back to my oncologist for my first official follow up visit. I had my blood drawn yesterday and while my counts aren’t perfect yet, they do seem slightly more healthy than they were in September before my last chemo.
I am not happy about having to go back. I am scheduled for a tumor marker blood test every three months for the next two years. If the number goes up, well I have cancer somewhere else (or I have some benign issue that can also raise the marker). If the number stays put or goes down, I’m in remission.
Here is my problem with that test. If the cancer has come back as a metastisis, I will be in the incurable group of breast cancer patients. There is such a thing as “palliative care” which means living on chemo and I’m not sure that is the kind of living I want to do.
In this age of endless information, I still believe in the need to know basis. I still believe that some information is too much information. If I am dying (which we all are), I don’t want to know. It would be one thing if that test could prevent the unavoidable outcome but it cannot.
So, I am going to my oncologist on Monday and asking her to explain to me what the benefits are of my taking that tumor marker test. Unless she can tell me that someone’s life has changed for the good after their numbers have gone up, I’m going to respectfully decline that test in the future.
I am committed (still) to being my own advocate and standing firm in my beliefs for my life. After all, I’m the one who lives it.