I haven’t made a decision in awhile that I have really had to struggle with. A real, “fork-in-the-road” type decision where the two paths are distinct and you have to choose one, or you have to choose the other.
I think the last fork decision I made was deciding whether to stay and go to grad school in Chicago or to leave and go to grad school in LA. But even that decision I did not struggle with quite as much as the one i’ve been struggling with lately. I think I knew I wanted to move to LA a little bit–otherwise I wouldn’t have applied to school here.
But here I am now making a decision that I don’t want to have to make. Which treatment should I get? Which medical center should I go to? Which doctor should I trust with my life? There is no default answer this time because I didn’t apply to get cancer.
More than anything else, I want to make the right choice–obviously. But saying I want to make the right choice assumes that there is a wrong choice. In this case, there are no right or wrong choices, there is just Option A or Option B. I might even have more options than that and be facing a spaghetti fork if I put everything on the table. Perhaps Option DI (“deserted island“) would be the wrong choice, but i’m not really thinking about Option DI right now. And as many times as I search different combinations of the words in the treatments i’m deciding between in Google, there are no magical facts that come up and there is no right answer that emerges. There is still no cure.
Maybe I am lucky I have choices. It’s hard to think this way in the midst of making a decision, but it is true. I would much rather be making this choice right now than not having any options to choose between. But–can’t my doctors just tell me and can’t I just believe them? Can’t they all think the same thing?
My therapist says i’m in a new realm of healthcare. I am in the relatively new and not-very-well-traveled realm of patients having information. It used to be that doctors held all the information, and they would dispense it in doses, and they would make the decision. Now, doctors still hold a lot of information, and past experiences, and collective knowledge, but patients also have quite a bit of information. They have Google. They have access to journal articles and clinical trial write-ups and patient message boards and blogs. They see other doctors. They ask questions.
Unwittingly, by being a active patient, and by seeking second and third opinions, I have actually bestowed upon myself the ability–and the great honor–of making this decision myself. I have opened the can of worms. I have opened the flood gates. I take it back. I don’t want the option. I don’t want the honor. I don’t want to make this decision. I want my doctors to tell me what to do. I want to believe them. I want to trust them. I want them to agree.
I am 26. I shouldn’t be making decisions like this in the midst of finals and graduating and starting summer jobs. I am too young. I’m asking for naivete. I’m asking to return to a simpler time much like the simpler times when I still thought my parents could solve all of the problems in the world. Except this time, my doctors can. I mean, the doctor I started with can, without second or third opinions. Can’t he?
Like I said, there is no Option DI. There is no Option N (for naivete). There is only Option A or Option B.