Sunday, August 20, 2006

Choose Your Own Adventure

Vampbaby is back at Chez Healing to deal with the fever and mouth sores. It's amazing how you adapt to situations that seem so terrible -- we made our way to the ER tonight as if it was a trip to the grocery store.

So, while we heal a bit, here's a little game for you. Let's play "Be Vampdaddy for a Day!"

The rules are simple -- you will see below two options that Vampmommy and I had to consider this weekend, and you must pick one. There is no cheating, no way out. And you will be unable to take back your answer. To play, it is best to have a stop watch; preferably one of a nuclear nature that records time to the nanosecond.

There are two objects to the game:

1. After reading the choices before you, see how long it takes before you feel the claws of some terrible demon from Hell grab your heart, rip it to shreds, shove the bloody pulp into your throat, and light it on fire. This is where the ultra-speedy stop watch can come in handy.

2. With the unbearable heat and pain of your broken heart burning through your throat, make your decision.

Sounds like fun, right? Well, here goes....

A part of Vampbaby's treatment includes Radiation Therapy. Radiation is typically not given to children less than three years old, and Vampbaby is a youthful 18 months. However, this cancer is so malignant that it is perscriped as a part of the therapy. So, here are the choices:

A. Do radiation. As a result of this choice, Vampbaby is more likely to survive cancer-free. However, as a trade off, radiating the section of the brain in question will no doubt cause massive damage, leading to certain loss of neurological functioning. At best, Vampbaby will be mentally retarded. At worst, he will spend his cancer-free days in a vegetative state. Either way, he will need full-time, round-the-clock care, and never be able to live indedpendantly. Remember, though -- the chances of him beating cancer are increased (although we do not know how much).

B. Don't do radiation. As a result of this choice, Vampbaby should emerge from treatment in a year with full cognitive functioning; in essence, the Vampbaby we know and love will return, and make quick strides to catch up to his friends in development. However, there is an increased risk that the treatment will fail, and it will be more likely that his cancer would return. If his cancer returns, the liklihood that it could be successfully treated, under today's best treatment options, is slim to none. How much does the risk increase? No one knows. Certainly, kids have survived without radiation. However, some have died without it, and it can't be ruled out that the child might have survived had radiation been done as a part of treatment.

Now, start the timer.

That was fast, wasn't it?

Now, work through the pain and choose -- what would you do?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a horrible position to be in! I'm so sorry!
Honestly, i think i would opt for #2, in hopes of staving off the other issues. He's halfway to age 3, perhaps it could be done (if necessary) then? I would hold off on that for as long as realistically possible.
Best of luck, and as always you're all in my thoughts and prayers.
heather a~*

CanEragon said...

Wow, what a deicision. You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't. I don't have children personally, but I don't think I could live with watching my child become mentally retarded by medical treatment. It seems barbaric to me. And how can one torture an infant/child/human being like that.

Option 2 is not much better, but at least while you had him he would be cognitive and lucid and part of the normal world - save for the possible return of cancer and possibly a premature death.

I think quality of life, is the question with a decision like this, me being HIV positive for so many years and knowing alot about cancer and radiation treatments and chemo, I err on the side of humanity and the time you can retain as humanly possible As possible given the circumstances.

Wow not an easy set of parameters, I will keep you in my prayers.

Jeremy
Montreal

(I saw you came to visit my blog)

Pickle's Papa said...

As always, I am in awe of your strength and courage.

Anonymous said...

What would Declan choose if he could tell you?

I guess there is your answer.

As always you are in my thoughts and prayers. If you need anything please call. Much love to you all.

Blessed Be
Amanda

Heather said...

Throughout all your Vampdaddy entries, post-diagnosis, I keep coming back to what I imagine is the central heartbreak: Parents are charged to protect and nurture their children so they may grow into independent, fully actualized adults.

In your circumstances, the necessary actions of "protection" (like chemo) have caused illness, discomfort, pain. Your words reflect how difficult it is to live in this brutal paradox but I am still left with the question "How can you stand it?" These circumstances destroy your heart in the way you describe and, I imagine, then some.

Either way you choose on some level challenges your sacred charge to care for and grow a child into an independent adult. If pressed, I might cast my lot with the others who have chosen option 2 but any move you make is the lesser of two evils, with more emphasis on the "evil" than the "lesser."

In short, I am so sorry. My thoughts are with you.

Love,
Heather

Uncle Wolf said...

If it was my choice.

Bet the farm and have faith that Vampbaby's essence is worth keeping whole and intact without radiation. Risk of "early" death is already present. I'd bet Vampbaby could beat the cancer with chemotherapy alone. I'd rather he live with clarity.

Live free, or die.

That said, it's a difficult choice you have to face. I trust you to do what you feel is right, and will support your decision.

Sincerely,
Uncle Wolf

Anonymous said...

After reading all the comments, the one that pulled tightly on my heart and really seemed to send a whispered message to me was from Amanda.

Seems that is the question - what would Declan choose?

I know the love you have for your son & I know with no question that you are going to do everything right for your little guy.

All my love - can't stop thinking about you all.

Aunt Vanessa

Anonymous said...

What a miserable choice. I know what I love about life, I know what I remember and cherish. I would opt to not do radiaiton. Life, to me, is not about length but about happiness, love, laughter, and even the sometime negative emotions that come along with them. I guess we know not what the mind experiences when it's hindered, but I couldnt imagine life any other way. If Declan's life does end up tragically short,we could all be assured that he was himself to the fullest all his life.

~keri