I've been thinking about this lately because I've been writing about how my doctors, all three of them, have told me that the side effects from the radiation and chemotherapy are worse than the surgery. I've said a number of times that, so far at least, this hasn't been the case for me. I don't know whether this is because I have a good healing profile and have yet to experience real nausea from the chemo or very bad burns from the radiation. The effects do seem to be catching up on me a little but they're still not as bad as the surgery recovery. It's obvious that I'm not enjoying this at all and it definitely is difficult.
The reason I've been thinking of all of this is because I don't want to give people the wrong impression. I definitely had a very difficult time in the hospital, no doubt. To be honest, it's the only time during all of this that I've been brought to tears from the pain and trauma. I know that I was pretty raw emotionally as well as the obvious physical issues, but it was easily the most difficult thing I've ever had to go through. That being said, I'm still glad I had the surgery. I'm not sure not having surgery was an option for me, certainly not if I wanted to get through this. My surgical oncologist gave me the option of going the 'just chemo and radiation' route, but I believe that he didn't believe it was the best option. Stage 4 is only 1 step down from 'get your affairs in order'. I also know from my research that if I had gone that route I would be enduring a much more intense series of treatments and for far longer with likely more serious and permanent side effects. The only plus side seemed to be no scars.
I guess what I'm saying in way too many words is: I'd do it the same again. I don't want to inadvertently dissuade someone who reads this from going through surgery. Even though I felt differently in the hospital, and now I'm looking back through the long lens of memory, which softens the experience a bit, I'd still do it the same. I'd much rather have the evil crap cut out of me as much as possible than have even higher doses of possibly more cancer-causing radiation and larger doses of toxic chemical dripped right into my bloodstream. I think my chances are much better after having the surgery and I believe it was the right way to go.