#7 A Decision Reached

Last Wednesday Dr. X, my new Oncologist, was straight with me in response to my many questions about the side effects of chemotherapy.

"Listen, this treatment will be hard. And, yes, there will be side effects. There will be discomfort and maybe a number of other things will show up as well. You'll be fatigued and quite likely get diarrhea, nausea and even vomiting. Your skin, especially on your hands and feet will likely get really sore. But it's only for five and a half weeks. We're saving your life here. You'll get through it; I need you to Buck up!"

As tough as it was to hear, it was a trust building statement. Many of the other answers Becky and I got from Dr. X confirmed that she was a great choice. She listened and responded to all our concerns. And I left feeling like I was in good hands.

Earlier in the day, I received a very detailed document from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, who I had contacted about a second opinion. It laid out their complete treatment approach to Stage 3 rectal cancer. Their standard treatment aligned almost exactly with what my doctors were recommending for my specific diagnosis.

With my emerging trust in the recommended treatment process, the medical team that supports me, and all the love, thoughts and prayers made on my behalf, I've decided to officially move forward with treatment.

This afternoon I have my "laser" mapping appointment for radiation treatment, which means they'll figure out precisely where on my body the radiation will target. The chemo drugs are on order at the speciality pharmacy. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment will likely begin in the next week.

Internally, I’ve resisted making a final decision on this treatment because it leads me into my deep fears. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the side effects. Fear of the long term effects. Fear of surgeries. Fear of my own mortality.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is far more important that fear.” says James Neil Hollingsworth.

Oh, fear is there all right. In full force. But, it is time to proceed. Something is more important right now.

John Wayne reminds me. “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyways."

I’m saddling up. Reluctantly courageous.

I’ll keep you posted as my treatment proceeds.


  1. Jan Easton on October 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    These sure are tough and complicated decisions! You can do this! Cheering you on! Love, prayers and blessings! Jan and Doug!

    • Tom Adams on October 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Jan & Doug.

  2. Steve on October 26, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Blessings. You will not walk alone as I will commit to praying for you at the times you tell me to …

    At the times you begin, if you will tell me, I will go into prayer for you.

    • Tom Adams on October 27, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Steve, Thank you for your earnest prayers on my behalf. I am very thankful to you.

  3. Dennis E. Barnedt on October 26, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Tom, you keep inspiring me, even as you go through this painful and scary process. Your courage to handle this publicly is very telling of your character and you are not only healing yourself, you are reminding all of us about life, its fragility and the need to take care of ourselves and each other. Saddle up cowboy, my thoughts and prayers are with you. DB

    • Tom Adams on October 27, 2016 at 7:50 am

      Saddled and ready to go Dennis. Thanks for your kind words and support. I deeply appreciate you.

  4. Susan Kruger on October 27, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Thank you for the update, Tom. Very glad to hear that you feel comfortable in the people and decisions they are making on your behalf.  There has got to be some major cognitive dissonance as you anticipate the chemo and radiation, while feeling in such good health at the moment! I can’t imagine all the fear that stirs up. Also can’t imagine anyone facing your decisions would feel any differently.  By it’s very nature, courage is typically not our default choice. But you are right… it is a choice. And you will get through this valley. I know you have an army of people cheering and praying you through this. Including us. <3

    • Tom Adams on October 27, 2016 at 7:49 am

      Thanks for being part of my army Susan. I am very grateful for you.

  5. Jeff Teed on October 27, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the update and your perspective on this journey. I have you in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to follow you with positive hope for you, Becky and your family. I look forward to future days with you and will make a point of celebrating a healthy outcome. Please know you can count on me to make it a daily point of praying for you all – doctors wisdom, healing , and your new health.

    • Tom Adams on October 27, 2016 at 9:46 am

      Thanks Jeff. I am very grateful to you.