I dodged another bullet. As I have said before, living with cancer is like being at war. With your helmet in place, you dodge as many bullets as you can to stay alive.
After my CT scan last week, I received the best news imaginable from my doctor: Abraxane has decreased my liver tumors by 75 percent! Dr. Glaspy cheered out loud when he saw my scan. (Now that's a doctor who really cares!)
Thank you, Dr. Glaspy. Thank you UCLA.
My first question after hearing the good news: "Where do we go from here?" I was given two choices:
Because of the horrific side-effects I have experienced on Abraxane, we could downgrade to a less toxic chemotherapy, and still likely reduce the remaining 25 percent.
My doctor described the second option as: "Shoot it in the back while it while it's on the run, blast it with more Abraxane."
I chose the latter.
I will take 3 weeks off, visit my children in college in New York and Washington, D.C., and return to complete 4 more weekly chemotherapy treatments. Scans will then confirm if we have succeeded in knocking out the remaining 25 percent.
I was so elated and joyful after receiving last week's good news, again expressing my gratitude to the angels in my life who have driven me to my treatments, cooked and prayed unceasingly for me.
But, alas, the emotional high I enjoyed was short-lived, followed by an unexpected low of sadness and depression, as I realized when all is said and done, even after Abraxane knocks out the remaining 25 percent, the cancer is not gone.
It is merely pushed back enough that tests cannot detect it. The cancer will always be there, looking for new places to attach and grow. At times I wonder if we will ever find a cure.
Cancer sucks. For those battling metastatic cancer, you are never truly free. One foot is always shackled to the jail cell door. After the phone calls and congratulations are over, I still have cancer.
I hunker down and wait for the sadness to pass. I know I will snap out of it next week when I am with my children.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @noreenfraser.