Published December 01, 2011
Thanksgiving has come and gone. It is my favorite holiday of the year because it puts "thankfulness" up front and center. Even when I am at my angriest of moments, I am thankful that I am still alive and continue to beat this dastardly disease.
No one said life would be easy, right?
The Sunday before Thanksgiving, I started up again with the same protocol that gave me those horrifying mouth sores. I felt we needed to give it another go since it dropped my tumor markers by 40 points in one week. I took a few precautions that my doctor and I thought might keep the mouth sores from coming back. I swished with steroid mouthwash for several days before beginning the treatment. I built myself up with vitamins, lysine and a few other supplements that I thought would help.
On Thanksgiving day, the sores showed up again. I have stopped the drugs and am waiting for the sores to retreat. They are not like any canker sore I have ever experienced. They are a strain so virulent, they laugh when you treat them with medicine. They just get bigger and deeper. It's almost a week since I stopped the medicine and two have retreated. The third laughs in my face. Now I see where cancer gets its mojo. I am hoping that by Monday I can begin again at a lower dose. And so it goes....this business of beating cancer.
I have to figure out how to manage the skin problems on my hands and feet and am looking for suggestions. My hands are so red, hot and dry, they are cracking through the skin and bleeding. The knuckle joints are red and feel like sandpaper.
I am putting Neosporin on the cuts and "udderly smooth" cream on my hands. It barely helps. When water touches them, it is quite painful, so I'm back to showering with plastic gloves. Any ideas, my friends?
On a positive note, my annual fundraiser, The Power of Comedy, was a huge success. Amy Poehler, Will Ferrell, Ken Jeong, Will Arnet, Rob Riggle, Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development is the greatest show ever, and new episodes will be available on Netflix soon), Nick Kroll and other funny comedians performed.
We honored Amy Poehler and taped messages were sent in from Russell Brand, Zach Galfinakis, and the cast of Saturday Night Live. It was a night to "laugh your cancer off." The idea for the fundraiser was based on the idea that COMEDY HEALS. But as Andy Richter, (our host) said, "Comedy heals, but you just might want to see a doctor, too".
I am so grateful to the celebrities who make it their business to "give back." I hope it goes without saying that no one is paid. It's all out of each person's sense of giving back. They must have had great moms growing up. Parenting is how those values are instilled so continue your efforts to teach your little ones about paying it forward.
Please go to my website to see clips from Variety's Power of Comedy. Hope to hear from you on home made remedies for my mouth and hands.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org