I think it's an important thing to contemplate, especially for those of us with advanced cancer, but really for anyone facing a cancer diagnosis (as we all know, things can change overnight on this journey). I've considered this issue, and been heavily influenced by my experience with my sister, who died of cancer at the age of 44. She only lived a year after diagnosis, and spent every minute of that year trying every chemo possible, without success. She was in treatment, and sick as a dog, almost to the very end. She only accepted hospice care about a week before she died..in fact, it was only at that point that she accepted that she might be dying. Prior to that, there was no discussion of end-of-life issues, so after she died (and it was a very peaceful death at home), my BIL and nephew were left struggling, trying to figure out what she might have wanted in terms of her memorial, etc. I need to be clear here...I'm not judging her, or anyone else, who chooses this route. She wanted to live desperately, and felt she had to try every single possibility, even when it went against the advice of her doctors. But for me, that's not how I want to go. I've already done two unsuccessful chemos, so unless something new comes up for my highly unusual tumor type, something that actually extends life by a significant amount, I won't go that route again. As long as I can do surgery, I will continue to do that...I've found that I can recover from them pretty well, and they have given me significant time. And I want time, LOTS of it, but it has to be of a reasonable quality. Once I start getting too sick to enjoy at least some aspects of life, I'm going to be ready to make a (hopefully) graceful exit. Thanks for bringing up an important topic~Ann Alexandria
Dx age 43, Sept. '09, Stage IV Carcinosarcoma of the colon
5 surgeries, 2009-2011:
colon/sm. bowel res., node removal, peritoneum, hysterectomy
FOLFOX/Avastin Feb.'10-Aug '10
Carbo-Taxol Dec. '10-Feb. 2011
NED since Dec. 2011.