A Judgement Call
One of the most frustrating parts of this process is that I want medicine to be a science. I want it to be exact, definitive, and certain. When a loved one’s life hangs in the balance, I’m not ok with so much being left up to chance and gut feel. But the reality is that so much of cancer treatment is a judgement call because there’s still so much we don’t know.
This past Monday, Eric met with his oncologist, as he normally does before a new cycle of chemo. When she reviewed the impact of his 3rd cycle of his chemo, she was on the fence about how to proceed for his 4th cycle. The protocol for his treatment is that if the patient becomes neutropenic in a given cycle, you don’t ramp up the dose 20% the next cycle. Because Eric’s blood work was just a smidge above neutropenia last cycle, there was a question of whether to ramp up his chemo dose, or keep the dose as is. Ultimately the doctor left the call up to Eric. Ramping up chemo is not a decision to be taken lightly. Not only does it make things much more excruciating in the short-term, it also increases the possibility of long-term side effects.
Eric decided to go for it and ramp up his chemo. Ramping up is his best shot at killing this cancer and that is the primary goal right now. He could have taken the easier road but Eric is a fighter and he is fighting this with everything he’s got.
Eric finished his 5-day chemo infusion on Friday and he’s definitely hurting. This week we just have to hope for the best as the full effects of the chemo cycle sink in. We don’t know yet if it was the right call to ramp up Eric’s dose, but we feel good about it. When you reach the limits of science and certainty, your judgement is all you have left.