Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Other Shoe

From the day I started chemo for my stage IV lung cancer, I have had nothing but great results. The chemo started working immediately and my breathing improved noticeably after the very first treatment. Each scan showed shrinking or at least stability of my tumors, and a PET scan even revealed that my targeted medicine Xalkori had led to a complete metabolic response to treatment. ...continue reading...

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Small But Mighty: ROS1ers Unite!

The times are a-changin' in CancerLand. Gone are the days when you simply had breast cancer, lung cancer or leukemia. Now each has its own specific type and these days you can often discover what precise mutation is driving the cancer....continue reading...

Saturday, September 05, 2015

A Monster Calls

I just finished an incredible young adult book. It is the kind of cancer book I would want to write if I ever write a cancer book. It has monsters and talking trees and tells the truth the way only fiction can. It is so very sad, and it gives me hope. Not the I-think-I-might-be-around-for-a-long-time kind of hope, but the scary, painful, they-will-still-be-okay kind of hope.

"Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth."

The illustrations are stunning, so here is a "book trailer" (I guess that's a thing now?) that gives an overview and shows some of the amazing artwork.

The book was written by Patrick Ness, but as he explains in the Author's Note, the story was conceived by Siobhan Dowd. "She had the characters, a premise, and a beginning. What she didn't have, unfortunately, was time." I'm sure you can guess what caused Ms. Dowd's death at age 47.

Zander saw me reading the book and asked me, "But I thought you didn't like to read scary books? I thought you said scary books and movies give you nightmares?"

What I said: "...Oh, I don't mind some scary books."

What I didn't say: "I already have nightmares about the stuff in this book. Reading it helps me deal with the fears."

To all my cancer pals out there with young children, give this book a read. Or don't. It is powerful and beautiful and very painful, but I'm so glad I read it. When my kids are older, I think they might want to read it, too.

The book is being made into a movie, to be released in October 2016. And my first thought was the same first thought I always have when I think of something scheduled for the future.

I hope I'm still here to see it.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

7 Chemo Pro Tips

Thanks to my awesome targeted medicine, a pill that I take twice a day, it has been almost two years since I have been on IV chemo. While my scans still look great, my hemoglobin is low so I am having several weeks of iron infusions. I am so out of practice with IV medicine that I had forgotten all the hints I picked up during my time in the chair. I couldn't believe all the newbie mistakes I made, so I am writing down some tips here to help myself as well as you lovely readers.

1) Hydrate
Fluids, fluids, fluids. Drink as much as you can ...continue reading...

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fear Less

The heart may freeze or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future
There is no past
Thank God this moment's not the last
There's only us
There's only this
Forget regret — or life is yours to miss.
No other road
No other way
No day but today

- Lyrics from"No Day But Today" (from the musical "Rent")

Scan time is looming large on the horizon, so in addition to trying to take my own advice (see "10 Tips for Coping with Scanxiety"), I have been ruminating on the meaning of fear...continue reading...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I Wish My Doctor Knew / Leading Us Through CancerLand

You feel a lump.
A bump.
A something-isn't-right.
You walk into the doctor's office.
Your heart is racing.
You can't breathe.
You see your future disappearing before your eyes. ...continue reading...

Monday, June 08, 2015

Your Heart's Desire

"Can you think what the Mirror of Erised shows us all?" Harry shook his head.

"Let me explain. The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is.... It shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. You, who have never known your family, see them standing around you."
- Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I am one of the lucky ones who, despite a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer and the terrible prognosis that goes along with it, is doing remarkably very well on a targeted med. ...continue reading...