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In a few minutes I will peel myself away from the computer and get ready to leave for my morning swim. After that, breakfast, a walk with the dog, then back into the car, back on the long road to Hartford to see the neurologist I met with yesterday. This time, she will not be asking kindly questions and having me do fun little tasks like touch my nose, her finger, my nose. This time she'll be hooking up electrodes and shocking the muscles of my forearms with electricity in order to test for nerve damage. And after that, assuming the results are either alarming enough or not definitive, she might want to stick needles into those muscles and take samples of my tissue. All of this to help make a more objective determination as to whether I should go ahead with my last chemo treatment.
"Anyone else," my doctor told me on the phone Monday, "and I would say let's just go ahead with treatment. But you're an athlete and if things get worse this could mean a real impact on your quality of life. Let's see what the neurologist has to say."
So far, the neurologist has not said, but I have become very clear. There's no knowing if the numbness in my feet and problems I'm having in my hands will persist or get worse, and it is unlikely that today's tests will change that.
I never gamble anything I'm unwilling to lose. Given the choice between alive and impaired, the choice is not a difficult one. I want to go ahead with treatment. And I don't need any needles stuck into my muscles to help me decide.
I'm hoping that, between these two doctors and myself, we can come to a consensus without that test.