I’m back! I just returned with my family from Italy, where my son's New York University basketball team played four games and participated in public service projects at a camp for children with cancer, and – hold onto your hat - I was not sick for one day! Being chemo-free for a month has been a glorious gift.
As I mentioned in my last blog, before leaving for Italy, my doctor put me on the estrogen blocker tamoxifen because I had not completed my course on this drug when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. Being on tamoxifen is like being let out of jail. Zero side effects.
I must say though, while I am trying to stay positive about this drug working, I have serious doubts. The day after Labor Day, I will have my tumor markers checked. If they are moving up,I will go back on a new chemo. If they are stable, I will be kicking up my heels and dance like I've never danced before. I've got my 60's oldies tape ready to rock 'n roll.
This brings me back to the quality of life issue. This has been the worst year of my life. I have tried over 6 chemotherapy drugs, most of which made me horribly sick. The one that was tolerable and working (my tumor growth had reduced by 75 percent) suddenly stopped working, and my cancer grew back in four weeks! That was a true heartbreak. Cancer finds a way to outsmart the medicines, requiring us to continually change drugs. The day comes for many of us when we face death, as there are no new drugs to try.
Research is the key, and I am determined to fund research aimed at developing non-toxic alternatives to chemotherapy.
How is the quality of my life right now? Not good. But I will kick-ass to make that change for myself, and all my sisters who have been attacked by this devil.
Please do not think the pharmaceutical companies are holding back on finding a cure. I used to think that, but it's not true. Killing cancer is harder than putting a man on the moon. But just as I remember that summer night when Neil Armstrong took his first step, I look forward to the summer night when cancer is no more.