03/11/15- Hospital: Okay…so nearly two weeks have passed since I was randomised to the surgery group of the clinical trial and if I had been willing to do as I’m told I could have had the lymph node clearance surgery (removal of all of my remaining lymph nodes) last week and be on to the next step.
Me being me however makes doing as I’m told a bit of a struggle and so here I am waiting outside the consultants office to discuss my ideas on how my treatment should go!
You see at the point when I originally agreed to put myself forward for the clinical trial, mainly to avoid further surgery, I figured I was standing at a fork in the cancer treatment road.
Down one prong lies the tried and tested path of the current standard of care for my specific cancer pathology-surgery to remove all of the remaining lymph nodes from my left side followed by adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted hormone therapy).
Down the other prong lies the lesser known, possibly future standard of care for my specific cancer pathology-keeping all of the remaining lymph nodes from my left side and being treated with adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted hormone therapy) alone.
Standing at that fork in the road I made a clear and conscious decision to choose the path which offered the possibility of no further surgery.
Today that decision still stands.
Today nothing has changed.
I enter with my pre prepared speech that is bigger than I am.
Consultant No.3: My understanding of the situation is correct. There are no medical factors I am unaware of. The computer randomisation is exactly that-random. The adjuvant therapy is exactly the same on and off trial. The trial is to determine whether the lymph clearance surgery is actually offering any significant additional benefits to outcomes and survival rates or whether the adjuvant therapy alone is sufficient. Small studies have already been carried out.
I agree to Consultant No.3’s suggestion that I move forward with the chemotherapy, remaining on the trial at this stage and revisit my decision regarding the surgery at the end of this next treatment when I have also had an opportunity to add my consultant oncologist’s thoughts, experience and understanding into my deliberations.
Consultant No.3 will make the referral. The referral could take two weeks. I will meet with the consultant oncologist. The chemotherapy could start the week after that.
And so I get my way…and once again I also get to wait…