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Staring Down Cancer

Continuing the 'Drama' of Chemo

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The drama of the mouth sores continues.

Thank you everyone who have been kind enough to take the time to send me remedies for mouth sores and cracked feet and hands. I am trying them all. Oh, the joys of chemo. Actually this chemo does have a silver lining because in addition to trying to kill me, it kicked my cancers' butt by dropping my tumor markers 40 points.

So this week I start my third attempt with this drug. I am determined to find a way to tolerate it. After hours ruminating over this dilemma, I have concluded that it would make the most sense to cut the pill in half, taking 5 milligrams and then waiting to see if I can make it through seven days without getting the sores. If I am successful, I think it would make sense to take three-quarters of the pill (7.5 milligrams) for seven days and see if I can stay free of mouth sores.

Mind you, I have no medical degree, but after 10 years of living with metastatic breast cancer, and in constant treatment, I feel like I may have earned a Ph.D.

So, I see my doctor Monday, and he tells me that the best course of action would be to take 10 milligrams every other day. Because I adore my doctor, and getting the right dose is really a crap shoot, I say OK.

The psyche is interesting. Monday goes by, and I conveniently forget to take my chemo. Then Tuesday, I'm feeling very unsettled about 10 milligrams every other day because once these sores appear, I have to stop the medicine and wait for them to go away, and they are are resistant. 

Finally, Tuesday night, I decide I have to trust my gut and go with half the pill. So I broke it in half. On Wednesday, I called my doctor to tell him what I decided to do. It will be interesting to see if he will be OK with this. I think I made the right decision. I will keep you posted.

I know I must sound a little wacky, but I am a firm believer in trusting your gut.

And that's the point I am trying to make to all of you. Cancer is a crap shoot. Medication and doses are somewhat of a crap shoot as well, whether it's cancer, depression, anxiety, ADHD or many other disorders out there, every body is different. Doses are determined truly by using humans as guinea pigs.

Doctors find a dose that seems to work best for a group of people, but you might not fit into that group, and that is why so much "tweaking" takes place regarding medication.

If you are new at this cancer game, of course you should follow your doctor, but only after you've had at least a second opinion. No doctor is going to tell you that the protocol he is going to recommend will be 100 percent successful. We all need to be aggressive as heck about our cancer. Also, there is much to be said about supplements, activity/exercise and most of all laughter.

Surround yourself with loving friends and family, and for the holidays send someone you know with cancer a couple of your funniest DVDs. Re-gifting movies is a great idea.

Or you can just send every one you know to noreenfraserfoundation.org to watch some of the funniest videos ever made.

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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.