Staring Down Cancer

Pick your poison

I have knocked down two of the four chemotherapy treatments I need to complete in the month of May.  Today will be chemo #3, and after next week (chemo #4), we will scan my liver and see where we stand.

I have not been as affected by side effects as I was with the first 12-week chemotherapy cycle, but it has not been a walk in the park, either.  The neuropathy in my fingertips and toes is still painful, a numbing kind of pain.  Last night, I needed a morphine pill for the pain raging up and down my legs. That drug is too strong for me, I woke up with a pounding headache and threw up.  It was as if I had a bowling ball dropped on my head, I went back to bed for four hours.  I will try my best to avoid taking morphine again, but it's tough when you are dealing with chronic pain.  Do you choose to suffer now, or later?  Pick your poison.

My husband has not been able to be with me during chemo this month because of work commitments, which has been very difficult for him. I wish I knew how to comfort him. Have any of you been through that?  I welcome your coping suggestions. Being a caretaker is tough.

The 12-week chemo cycle I completed in January-February-March reduced my liver tumors by 75 percent, which was nothing short of miraculous.  My hope is that these last four chemos will kick cancer’s butt and render the tumors invisible.  Of course it will never be knocked out completely because my cancer is metastatic.  But, if it shows up again (possibly in 6 months to a year) we will blast it again with chemo.

Rather than being a game of life, this feels more like a game of whack-a-mole.  Yet, life is full of surprises, and as Forrest Gump said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get."

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 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