Apr 17, 2011 10:12PM Pompeed wrote:
Another 21 here. With tamox and without chemo, risk is 13% over ten years. That's 87 women out of a 100 without recurrence in a decade and 13 with.
With chemo, MAYBE risk is improved to 91 women without recurrence out of a 100 over ten years and 9 women with. And that's only a MAYBE because it is not known whether chemo will really change my risk by 4 or not.
Chances are better that I am already one of 87 rather than 1 of 13.
First oncologist: "Doesn't matter how the oncotype comes back. I'm trying to save your life. You really have to take the chemo. It's not that bad."
Second oncologist: "You're on the edge of low / middle risk and we're not exactly sure where the lline is. The chemo decision is up to you. I'm OK if you decide to take it and I'm OK if you don't. But you have to take the Tamox or Aromatase inhibitors because not taking those increases your risk to 25% and I don't like that number."
Third oncologist: "I'd feel better if you take the chemo. Or at least try it. You can always stop if the side effects are intolerable. If you decide not to take the chemo, you really have to take the Tamox or the Aromatase inhibitors."
Me: I've just been through hell to all of them. I'm trying to get well again. Why should I take the chemo when we don't know whether it will do me any good at all and I'll spend this entire year getting sick for five months and then trying to get at least as well as I am again after that. That will take up the entire year. For what? I might be dead of something else well before the ten years expires.
I'm not willing to give up a year of mostly decent health and everything that means in my life right now while I can enjoy it in the hopes that the chemo will be beneficial sometime over the next ten years. If I'm already one of 87 ten years from now I will never know whether the chemo did me any good at all and I will have made myself sick as a dog for nothhing.
"I'm not willing to waste a year of what I can do right now making myself sick and then trying to get over being sick from making myself sick. If it comes back, I'll deal with it then. No chemo for me. Thanks all the same."
First onco: blew up; insisted I'm putting my life in danger but unable to show that to me in a risk / benefit analysis that makes sense. I know what the risks of chemo are and this MD cannot show me the benefit for taking that risk.
Second: OK: reasonable decision.
Third: disappointed that I would not try the chemo but OK with decision.
For the people in the middle, it's a damn minefield.