Staring Down Cancer

Controlling Cancer: A Full-Time Job

This week began my second week "on" the chemo drug Xeloda. I am taking chemo in eight week sessions, and I am having my liver scanned to see if the chemo is working. During the first eight week session, I took three pills twice a day and the side effects were tough. Red hot blisters on my hands and feet. The good news is the cancer responded and backed off. So now I am down to two pills twice a day. Unfortunately, the side effects are starting to come back. I thought for sure the two pill regimen would reduce the side effects.

This made me think about “control.” I really have no control over these side effects. I have spent so many years of my life in control. Control is about wanting perfection. Being a perfectionist is about being in control. All that goes out the window when cancer comes knocking. Talk about feeling out of control. Three words will do that to you: YOU HAVE CANCER. Once you have digested the reality, you must learn that even though you don't have 100 percent control of the outcome, you can be proactive in handling 99 percent.

Battling cancer is about leadership. It is about taking command of your life on your terms for those things you can control. To be proactive is a full time job. I work hard at this job of mine. I have made sure that I have the best doctors, that I stay informed on the research being done in the field, and I keep a perfect schedule of my scans, my meds and my doctor’s appointments.

I was in Washington D.C. on Monday, and once again my feelings of control began to waver. Cancer research is about to take the biggest hit in the budget cuts and I feel deflated. A total of $1.3 billion has been cut from the Centers for Disease and Prevention budget and $ 1.6 billion dollars has been cut from the National Institutes of Health budget. Does it make sense to cut funding for cancer research?

We know cuts must be made, but make the cuts elsewhere. The last three years have seen the greatest advancements in cancer research due to the scientific breakthroughs and the understanding of the microbiology of cancer. We are on the cusp of huge advances.

One out of every two men will get cancer in their lifetime, and one in every three women will get cancer in theirs. So what could be more important than cancer research and cancer prevention? Call your congressman and get involved. We are a huge constituency, and we have got to band together and become active in what is happening in Washington.

Please join me in this fight by joining Men for Women Now. We will send you updates on upcoming events, relevant news and ways that you can help. It will allow me to stay in touch with more of you so that together we can make a meaningful difference.

You can also "Like" the Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook by clicking here.

Click here to read more of Noreen Fraser's Staring Down Cancer columns.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is co-founder of STAND UP TO CANCER and co-produced the TV show, which raised 100 million dollars for cancer research. Noreen went on to create the Noreen Fraser Foundation to raise money and awareness for women's cancer research. The 'Men for Women Now' program enlists men to ask the women they love to make appointments for their mammogram and pap smear. Noreen can be reached at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research. To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  Noreen can be contacted via email at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org.