Published January 26, 2012
I have tried four different types of chemotherapy since November. The side effects have been so awful that I have had to stop each one.
To be honest, the last three months have been horrible. I have been in bed five out of seven days, and I am tired and down. I planned to go to Washington D.C. this weekend to celebrate my daughter's 21st birthday. We had a nice dinner planned with her and her friends, but now the doctor has grounded me because my white count is low. Will my life ever be normal? I am a hostage to this disease.
Instead of celebrating my sweet daughter’s birthday, I will instead be in a chemo chair receiving one of the strongest chemotherapies that exists, Abraxane. It comes with the mother of side effects, least of which is losing your hair in three weeks. I will do this every week for three months. If it pushes my liver metastasis back, I will be able to take a break for a month, then return to treatment.
So I asked my doctor, "So how does my hair ever get a chance to grow back?" Silence. Yes, it looks like I am about to face the rest of my life bald. That is the horrifying news about metastatic cancer. You are in treatment for life! You keep climbing the hill adding stronger and more toxic medications as you go. I need a new, less toxic drug to be developed to replace Abraxane.
This is why I have devoted my life to raising money for women's cancer research to create less toxic drugs so that as you are managing your cancer, you can still have a decent quality of life. Will I ever see that day? Or will the rest of my days be spent trying to manage side effects so I can have a few good days a week? I hate cancer!
I have had a long run....ten years living with cancer. But last year when the breast cancer moved into my liver, the game changed. It's ironic that I made a "deal" with the universe to just let me live to get my kids through high school. My son is now a freshman in college. Can't I renegotiate? I'm trying to, but I don't know if anyone is listening.
Before I have my first infusion of chemotherapy tomorrow, I am off to try on wigs. I am trying to stay positive, which is not to say that I haven't had my sisters and girlfriends over for a few good cries. I have to focus on nutrition and less stress over these next few months. I would love to know that every one reading this blog will send me healing thoughts, in any form...prayer, healing visualization, white light. Whatever works for you, I know will work for me. God Bless all who suffer with disease.
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