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Staring Down Cancer

Envisioning the battle

When I wrote my blog entry last week, I was feeling very good, in no pain, and off to chemo for my final round prior to this week’s liver scan.

Before walking in the door to chemotherapy, my self-talk is like a pre-game locker room message from Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne.   Because last week’s chemo was the final one before my liver scan, I had built it up in my mind as being the most important one, the "super" chemo treatment.

During chemo, I visualize a war going on. All the enemy cancer cells are being destroyed, sloughing away.  I had an even more powerful visualization planned for last week’s chemo.  

Before each chemotherapy treatment, a blood panel is run to confirm my white and red cell counts are within normal range.  If the count is too low, it is dangerous to administer chemo.  Normal white cell count ranges from 4.5 to 10.  I was surprised when my white count was only .9 last week.  I was subsequently turned away from receiving chemo, which was very frustrating!   I had to adjust.  As always, the life of a cancer patient is filled with adjustments.

My wonderful, caring doctor came in, sat next to me, helping me relax and realize that everything was under control.   His belief was that my white count was low because the chemo was kicking-ass.  His plan for me was no chemo that day, and to proceed with my liver scan this week to determine where we stand.  

If the scan reveals that the liver tumors have regressed (as Dr. Glaspy and I believe), I will be allowed to take a break from chemotherapy.   How long of a break, I don’t know.  It is pointless to ponder ‘what ifs’ until after today’s scan.   You can drive yourself crazy with ‘what ifs.’

My liver scan today is at 3:00 pm, and I will have results on Friday.  I was concerned that my doctor might not be available on Friday, as it is both Passover and Good Friday, but he assured me I will have my scan results on Friday.  

My world stands still until then.  I pray and I wait. I fill myself with positive energy and hope.  I truly believe that the results will be good.

Whether or not you are observing religious holidays this weekend, I wish you all the precious time to enjoy your family and loved ones.

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. For more information: go to noreenfraserfoundation.org.  Noreen can be reached at noreen@noreenfraserfoundation.org and followed on Twitter @noreenfraser.

 

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.