My Cancer Story

Chemo is Working!

Posted 17 January 2016

Following my third chemo cycle, on January 7 I had a breakthrough day. I actually woke up and felt like getting up, instead of like it was time to drag myself out of bed.

I walked into town by myself for the first time in months. Irene picked me up so I didn’t have to do the uphill walk home, but it was still a good mile or so. That night, we went out to dinner for the first time in a couple months.

What’s changed? The biggest factor, presumably, is that the chemo is shrinking the tumors. A CT on January 13 confirmed roughly 30% shrinkage — the best news I’ve had in a long time!

If the chemo had not worked — and it doesn’t work for everyone — the future would have looked very different. Now it is clear that staying the course with the chemo is the thing to do.

There are other factors too. I’ve started taking daily steroids to reduce the inflammation and help give me more energy, and I got an injection of drug called Aranesp that stimulates my bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. (I was quite anemic, but not quite enough to get a transfusion.)

Whatever the reason, this was a real turning point not only in feeling almost healthy and having some energy, but also in having a more optimistic view of the future. I am not expecting any miracle cure, though I can see it is possible. But my outlook has changed dramatically, from feeling like I was dying and trying to do so gracefully and maybe get a few things done, to becoming intent on making the most of the rest of my life, however long that happens to be.