So they want me to do a fourth round of chemo. Originally they had said three rounds. But they scheduled four. I questioned it. They said it was just in case. I questioned my naturopath FABNOs and they said, yes do the fourth. But I am really not wanting to do a fourth. My CA-125 was retested last Tuesday before I had Avastin only. It was at 37. This is 2 points above “normal” range, but not as low as I expected it to be. In fact it only went down 8 points from last time, two weeks ago, and this was after all three drugs. Frankly, I’ve let my integrative regimen go to pot in the last couple weeks so maybe that explains it. So I’m feeling a little less sure about not doing the fourth. If it had been 10 I would for sure not do it. But it’s not.
I’m trying to make this decision from a Self-Led C-ful place, rather than a parts-led place (for more information see more about IFS Therapy here) but it is not easy. It may be a part that just doesn’t want to experience any more side effects and wants to get on with regular life without worrying about being immuno-compromised. But it could also be a part that is afraid not to do a fourth round for fear of not really knocking it all the way down, or even for fear of contradicting my doctors’ advice. I am finding it much harder these days to be C-ful with the whole situation. Post-recurrence has been hard.
Additionally my naturopath FABNOs are not fan of PARP inhibitors which is my standard gyn-onc’s plan post-chemo. So there is another decision I have to make. I have taken advantage of some free counseling from a group called Steps Through OC which I learned about on my CWFL retreat. The counselor I spoke to was telling me about someone she knows who is a doctor and an ovarian cancer survivor who is doing PARP inhibitors because “the data is excellent.” I need to get more clear on what it does, what the side effects are, why my FABNOs don’t trust them (maybe because these drugs are pretty new?), etc., in order to decide.
The reason why I’m leery of doing a fourth round is that I don’t want to accumulate too much toxicity. As Dr. Lorraine Day has said, “I didn’t get cancer because I have a deficiency in chemo.” If one views cancer as a symptom of a larger systemic problem, especially a problem of the immune system, then having drugs that damage the immune system further seems to be exacerbating the problem, not solving it.
This is in the realm of what Dr. Lissa Rankin has discussed in Mind Over Medicine. Am I really willing to just stay on the hamster wheel of chemo, gradually reducing my body’s ability to deal, on the downward slide towards death? Or should I really be applying more of what I know from Dr. Turner and Dr. Rankin? I’m inclined to this latter option.
Maybe it’s time to re-read these two books and get even more serious about really applying them.
I had the opportunity to see Dr. Rankin speak this last week at the Annual IFS Therapy Conference which was held in Denver. She and Dr. Schwartz, who founded IFS, as well as two other professionals, discussed IFS as Potential Treatment for Physical Illness: Healing Parts That Make Us Sick. I was thrilled to be able to attend. So I’m still processing, and letting percolate, what was discussed. As I have said before, I’m feeling like in the last year and a half, there has been so much attention paid to my body, not enough on the Mind-Body connection, and too much conventional attention. I’m kind of surprised and disappointed that my FABNOs are so on-board with convention. I was surprised and disappointed right off the bat, and maybe it was necessary at the beginning, or maybe not. But in any case, now that the greatest emergency is over, can I do what needs to be done to improve my overall health, without being a slave to convention?
This is what I’m really chewing on. Gnawing on that bone pretty hard.
In any case, my dear friend Kelley and I met for lunch after my last treatment last Tuesday. I was telling her about this conundrum. We discussed having lunch again at the next treatment, if I decide to do it, but that actually wouldn’t work, because if I do a full round on October 15, there won’t be time for lunch. She wanted me to be sure and know that having lunch with her was not to be the deciding point on whether or not to do the fourth round! “Sorry, I can’t do round 4, I’m having lunch with my friend.” Don’t worry Kel, I’ll make my decision based on good data, not my social calendar! 😘