Throughout life we often speculate our reaction, or action, in response to some event.  We think about what we would do if we won the lottery, instantly becoming a millionaire or perhaps what we would do if we faced death.  For some that event never becomes reality, never materializes and so we remain speculative.  In some cases the proverbial ‘rubber meets the road’, the event happens and our speculation can now become reality.  I knew someone who did win the lottery and when buying tickets had always said they would keep their job, trying to retain as normal a life as possible and, for a short while, that was the case.  However with time the lottery winner moved to other things, built the big house and started the business always dreamed of being theirs.  For others, and as is the case for me, their event, their reality, is impending death.

For as long as I can remember my speculation centered on the precept I would not  let disease consume me, not take my life while in the process of killing me.  In concert with this I always held I would not cling, not do the heroic in an effort to cling to the last possible breath.  I challenged the notion, voicing my objections to, those who expended untold resources in the quest to avoid the inevitable, to avoid death.  In my view some of the extraordinary measures taken to preserve a failing body did nothing to further the science, did nothing but consume resources better allocated to others.  I voiced these views often to great dismay and harsh criticism by those more close to the decisions being made.  Often times I heard the retort that I should hold judgment, adding with certainty I would follow suit if in the same position.  Well, here I am and with the email received from Ron in response my question of whether I will see another Easter saying that unless the Zytiga works, I should not be optimistic.

In the meantime I am faced with challenges, moral challenges and those attacking the fiber of my belief mantra.  While it is simple, while there is no grey area when it comes to the decision to not try Provenge, the immunotherapy offered by Dendreon proven to extend life an average of four months at a cost of $93,000, Zytiga is a different story.  Zytiga comes at a cost of nearly $6,000 per month and it takes nearly 3 months before knowing whether it is working.  In short, my use of Zytiga amounts to an $18,000 experiment.  I would be lying if I said I was comfortable with this approach, the issue being it is not a clear-cut choice, but rather one that falls within the cost parameters of things like chemotherapy.  So it would seem the rubber is indeed hitting the road for me and I now face the choices for real.  The question now becomes whether I will succumb to the call of life, that irrefutable drive to live, or whether I hold true to my formerly professed beliefs as has been the case thus far.  It is a question that will remain unanswered, at least until May when I will learn if the Zytiga is working.  It will be then, if the Zytiga is not effective, I will face the choice, the choice of doing the heroic or move forward to face that black implacable wall of death.

Happy reading, happy thoughts and happy trails.

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