When I go looking to buy something, I like to see a good selection. Different colours, different brands, different prices. That is where the problem starts!!! I can find a reason to buy every version, but I have to choose only one. Now I am in turmoil, so many options. Am I going to make the right choice? Will I be happy when I get home? So many questions!!
If when I went to the shop there was only one item in one colour, it would be easier, but I wouldn’t go back to that shop, as I feel I deserve to choose, and I want a selection. So I am knowingly putting myself into a state of confusion, but will always select the shops with the widest range of products.
Also, when you go out to eat, you wouldn’t think much of the restaurant if they only offered a few dishes.But how difficult can it become, just trying to choose something from an extensive menu? Even when you have finally decided, and the food is being served, do you not look with an envious glance at your partners plate, and wished you had ordered that instead! If I put the wine list into the equation, a nice relaxing dinner out, can turn into mental gymnastics!
I am using the above couple of examples to highlight how difficult we can find making simple decisions. Imagine what we go through when making decisions on our own health or treatment? Even worse, when we are forced to make decisions for our children, parents or partners.
In my own personal example, things were slightly easy for me, as I only had one choice to make. That was to have the treatment or not. Put bluntly, I was told that if I didn’t have the suggested chemo and stem cell transplant, I would be dead within six months.There certainly were plenty of risks with the treatment, some of which I am still suffering with today, but the risk never came into my mind, as I had to have it.
There certainly have been many down sides to the treatment I had, but I am still here.I am comfortable in my mind, as there was no decision to make. But what about people who do have choices to make? Sitting down and studying survival rates, looking at percentages, and chances of different side effects. This may happen, this could be the outcome.So many if, buts, and maybes!
What leads us to make the choices we do? Can we make calculated decisions based on facts and figures, or do we make our decisions based on emotions? How much do we listen to our Consultant? There are so many things to take into consideration, when making major treatment decisions. How it will effect our loved ones, our work etc. What will the longer term issues be? We might spend lonely nights, trawling the internet, hoping that we will find the answer there. Generally we will only find further confusion.
With very aggressive cancers, will come very aggressive treatments but also very difficult to manage side effects. There is a very tricky balancing act to perform, as the question of quality of life will then enter the equation. Yes, your life may have been saved, but how do you live your new life? This is something that the medical profession cannot answer. It is very difficult to know in advance some of the psychological issues that people will face, once their treatment is finished, as it affects everyone differently. You can’t even make a plan in advance, because no one knows how many of the side effects you will have, and how you will react to them.
In my opinion, and this is a massive generalisation, but I think we are not good at making major decisions. It is certainly easier when there is no choice! My question to you is, are you better with more choice or very little? How good a decision maker are you, and what do you base those decisions on? Do you have any experiences you could share?