The crisis seems to have passed. But because I am not cured, will likely never be cured, I need a plan B, always a plan B. The cancer is laying dormant in my liver but is still somehow creeping around my bones, soft tissue, and lymph nodes, somehow a little resistant to treatment.
Predictably, each of my now four doctors have different opinions on a plan B that span the spectrum.
Oncologist 1 has scheduled scans to assess the cancer in my bones. He has referred me to a radiation oncologist. He is ready to start making my hair fall out with hardcore chemo drugs. He is worried and cautious and he thinks my treatment in Germany is not working.
Oncologist 2 wants me to drive to the next closest neuroendocrine expert and seek a what now must be a fifth opinion. He isn’t happy with how the treatment is working.
Oncologist 3 envisions a future for me traveling to Germany for treatment at least once per year for as long as I live, provided my bone marrow and kidneys are up to the assault. He doesn’t think there is any other treatment for me–or anyone–but PRRT. In Germany. Forever.
Oncologist 4 is all sunshine and rainbows. He smiles, pats me on the shoulder, pulls out his best talking-to-a-28-year-old-voice, and says, “You look completely healthy. You don’t look sick. Your body will return to 100 percent soon. Germany is working–I promise. Be patient”
My parents want me to get Oncologist 5 involved. They ask what I think.
I am thinking about my new apartment in the afternoon, yellow sunlight streaming through the windows, reflecting off the freshly painted walls, the new carpet. I am there, sitting at my future new desk with a mug of white coconut creme tea and a croissant, happily writing an article for my new job or a blog post or a chapter of my eventual book.
No… now i’m thinking about my next months being spent in fluorescent hospital rooms, windowless waiting rooms and exam rooms, shut up in cars and airplanes breathing stagnant air. Weeks spent away from my sunny new apartment, my soft new comforter.
I just got my life back, damnit. I’m over it. I’m over having cancer; not one but three weird chronic/recurring conditions that no doctor can quite explain or treat.
I’m done. I don’t want a plan B. Leave me alone. Let me live.
I’m not that brazen. I’m not that brave. I’m scared of a spot popping up in my brain. I’m scared of bone pain. I don’t want to again reach the lows I reached last year. I don’t want to be caught without a plan B.