So, I decided to do the clinical trial. My only hesitation is that it means a few extra weeks until starting actual treatment; my doctor isn't concerned about that, but it's hard not to fret. If at some point, maybe years from now, the cancer manages to kill me, I'm going to spend some of the run-up to the end wondering if I made the wrong choice now, if these weeks were critical in getting my treatment going. On the other hand, I think if I made the decision to just go ahead with the standard treatment now, and then end up dying from cancer anyway, I think I'd just be wondering whether I would've done better on the clinical trial, with better medicine. Six of one, half dozen of the other. In the end, there weren't super-strong arguments either way, and I went with my gut. (My gut doesn't have cancer, thankfully, so it's opinion is reasonably unbiased.)
Here's the next sequence -- echocardiogram tomorrow afternoon, because if my heart isn't in good shape, that disqualifies me for the trial. Another biopsy next week Tuesday (they couldn't get me in sooner, sigh), which gets flash frozen and sent to California for mammoprinting. If my mammoprint comes back low, that might also disqualify me for the trial. (I have no idea what a mammoprint is.) We start the chemo prep regardless -- next week Wednesday is my required chemo class, where I'm sure I will get all sorts of unpleasant details explained to me, and also get a tour of the next facility. Next week Thursday, they insert my port. I promise to spare you the gory insertion photos, because I'm kind that way. If you're really curious, the internet has plenty of selfies, because apparently not everyone is as squeamish as I am. Then we wait (about two weeks) for the biopsy results, to find out if I'm actually in the trial or not. So chemo starts probably the first or second week of April. That's when I start actually feeling sick.
In a weird way, I'm looking forward to starting chemo. Partly it's just the uncertainty, wanting to know what it'll actually feel like. I hate the waiting. Partly -- and this part is weird -- it's the guilt. People have been SO nice to me, SO sympathetic since hearing of my diagnosis. (Samanthi just brought me another batch of curries.) It's almost enough to make me understand why some people are so private about their health issues, because I feel really weird, getting sympathy and treats and favors and such when I don't actually feel sick at all yet. Oh, the various procedures of the last few months have been unpleasant and tiring, the medical appointments and phone calls and decision-making and research have been time-consuming, the diagnosis itself is seriously stressful -- so it's not like I didn't need the help. I really did, and I'm so grateful for everything people have done. But I don't feel *sick*, so I've been feeling more and more like a whingey cheater on the whole cancer front.
I know that when chemo starts, that problem will disappear. Also, I know my feeling like this is foolish. I do know that. I didn't realize imposter syndrome extended to life-threatening illnesses, but apparently it does. When I type it out like this, I see how ridiculous it sounds. I'm not sick enough to deserve this much sympathy?
Jeez, Mary Anne. You have cancer, remember? Just accept all the kindness, be thankful that people are so nice, and get on with getting better.