Option N

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.

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3 Responses to Option N

  1. Matt says:

    LIndsey, these are tough decisions.

    It is a very difficult place to be for sure!

    Anais Nin once said that “there are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of us acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

    Alice Roosevelt Longworth said, “Have a simple philosophy: Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.”

    Please don’t misunderstand me…I’m not making light of your struggle.

    But sometimes we just have to disconnect from the unknown & enjoy the day.

    Last quote…I promise.

    Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies. ~Erich Fromm

    And don’t forget to laugh!


    I am a grandfather…my grandson is 5 & my granddaughter is 4.

    One day…about a year ago…Brooklyn Rae was on the toilet & requested my help in wiping her butt.

    If you haven’t experienced the pleasure of wiping a child’s butt I can only tell you that it is
    a Kodak moment!

    She looked up at me with those beautiful eyes & said…

    Papadoux, it looks like a big cheeto!

    I agreed with her & suggested that perhaps we could take a picture & send it to her mom (my daughter).

    She thought that was an excellent idea…provided a beautiful smile & a Vanna White pose to
    capture the moment.

    Needless to say…I will never let her forget it.

    Now…when the kids ask to use the bathroom I always ask…

    #1 or the big cheeto?

    Don’t forget to laugh, Lindsey.

    I hope that your father is healing well.

    Good morning.


  2. Beth says:

    Lindsey, …I am so glad you posted…It’s been a while and I have been thinking of you….I really empathize with you…it’s hard to make a call like you have to make ….I know how badly you want to put your trust in the Doctors…..I know that I tend to put them on pedestals and expect them to always know the answer and the action to take….but the only One who knows everything is the Lord Jesus…..I pray that you will seek Him and ask Him to show you what path to take…I hope that you have a pastor or friend that you can seek counsel with…I am praying for you….and I think you are very brave….blessings, beth

  3. Ellen A. says:

    It’s hard to think of a comment which somehow isn’t a cliche. I believe that freedom (in this case to decide between treatment options) isn’t always what it’s cracked up to me, and you have so eloquently explained it. After you have discussed the options at length and done all your due dilligence, perhaps the best decision is the one you can most easily live with, or cause you the least regrets. Perhaps both are good options that will ultimately heal you so there really is no bad choice. Perhaps the second option will still be viable if the first fails. You are right – you are way too young to have deal with this, but I am one among many who is thinking of you and sending all good energy your way.

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