Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Right Regret

Today's Herceptin flowed like water into my IV, and that never stops feeling miraculous to me. That infusion feels so remarkable not only because I can't believe that such a life-saving drug could feel so painless, but also because I still can't believe how quick the treatments seem compared to my desensitization chemo days. It's truly wonderful progress. 

After my treatment, I worked from home, spent some quality time with my eye doctor (blog forthcoming), and got a few precious minutes snuggling with baby James. When Brian got home from work, we had 45 minutes to spare before we had to go pick up the kids. I told him he was going for a run with me. And so we ran. One week out from surgery, that was pretty wonderful progress, too. 

As I dragged Brian around "the loop" (kidding, husband), I was thoroughly impressed by the human body's ability to physically heal. 

Even Brian was pretty amazed by it, but before I let him give my healing powers too many kudos, I clued him in on a harsh reality -- as fast as I am able to physically heal, on the emotional end, I'm slow as molasses. So I told Brian about my time with my therapy lady today. As usual, it was by far the most exhausting part of my treatment (and even more exhausting than that run!).  

I had my agenda for my 50 minutes with Dr. Fasciano all planned out. But somehow, Dr. Fasciano has a subtle and productive way of working through my planned agenda and getting to what really needs to be discussed. After about 30 minutes, we got there. It was definitely not where I had planned to be -- back at the topic of having babies, or better yet, not having babies. I cried. It hurt.

At the beginning, I was repetitive in what I said to Dr. Fasciano. Then I dove into some territory I hadn't covered with her (or anyone) yet. I told her a lot of detail about Brian and my appointment with the fertility doctor, way back in August. That meeting took place less than one week after I was diagnosed and I'm pretty sure it was the worst appointment with a doctor that I've ever had.

Here's why I love Dr. Fasciano. First, she listened to what I told her, like she always does. But more importantly, there was something different about the way she responded to this new information. In her own calm and collected way, she got pissed. 

Dr. Fasciano was upset that a doctor had behaved the way that this doctor had behaved to us. She told me that she thought I should write a letter to the doctor -- not a therapeutic kind of letter, but one that I would actually send. Huh. I never thought about that. Maybe I will write that letter one day. No doubt, I've got things to say. 

But I'm not there just yet, and Dr. Fasciano didn't make me feel like I should be. Instead, she said those words that have comforted me before -- that this is a loss and that it's OK for us to feel that way. 

She also asked me a really interesting question; something like, If you could go back, would you have made a different decision? To be honest, I don't really know how I answered that question this morning. My edit button was off and since the tissue box that's usually on the side table was nowhere to be found, I became focused on wiping the tears from my eyes before they fell all over the place. What I know for sure is that when I was done, I felt tired. And somehow, I felt better. 

Now that I have some time to think about it, I realize that for the first time in my life, if I could go back and make a different decision, I probably would. I would allow a fertility doctor (definitely not this terrible one) to pump me with hormones, harvest my eggs, and freeze them so that one day down the line, Brian and I could have more biological kids. But that's what they call "regret," right? Yuck. I never wanted any regret. 

The thing is, that if I could go back, I would only make a different decision if I knew what I know now; if I knew that in fact my cancer hadn't spread yet, that the Tamoxifen would be a 10-year course, not just five; if I knew that one day, I'd see beyond the terrible darkness that comes with a cancer diagnosis. But we didn't know all of that then. There's really no way that we could have. 

So we did what felt right at the time. We put my health first -- no additional hormones that could fuel my hormone-receptive cancer; nothing that could push a dangerous cell beyond where it had already gone. We played a very scary situation safe. I'll never regret that. And I'll be forever grateful that I found myself a guy that insisted on protecting me. 

Arthur Miller once said, “Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.” I love that. Because even though I may have regret, I've found some peace in believing that it's definitely the right kind. 

1 comment:

  1. You are simply amazing and so brave to write about this. Sending lots of loving thoughts your way. xo