We stopped the clinical trial. I believe I mentioned that before, but since then I’ve seen my oncologist (the army of princesses came with me, as you can see at left) and we’ve agreed to quit the trial completely, and to stay OFF the meds that made me so sick this year (I was actually bedridden, and layers of my feet kept peeling off… not fun!). I’m still taking the Femara, which will hopefully starve the cancer cells of the estrogen they need to grow, but the other medicine is gone, and I am actually *gaining* strength and energy every day.
I’m finally feeling like myself again. Yes, really! This is a Big Deal for someone living with cancer, and it was absolutely, positively the right decision for us. No, it is not the best chance we have to beat the cancer back (I think. But we don’t really know, as the medicine combo that was being tested is still being tested for effectiveness, and I *am* gaining strength without it, which has to be a good thing). YES, it was the right decision FOR US. Stopping the trial HAS given me back my quality of life, and I both celebrate it and guard it jealously.
Something in the morning light reminded me of that long-ago Fall in 2007, as I lay in bed trying not to die of cancer *or* the treatment that promised me new life, as the “red devil” (A/C) chemo took its toll on my body and my hair and even the use of my legs. I lay in bed in pain and worry, terrified that I wouldn’t even live to see the Spring. I remember those days, but for now I can just remember, and then put them behind me, as memories of a time that is not now. Today, there are new buds on the trees, signs of new life, and daffodills at the playground.
I did live to see the Spring. I did. I lived to see Spring 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. Four Springs – and Summers, and Falls, and Winters that I only got to enjoy because of the wonderful and terrible miracles of modern medicine. And while treatment is never fun and often painful, each step in the treatment has eventually brought healing, and along with that opportunity. Opportunity to create wonderful memories of stargazing with preschoolers, opportunities to pull back the curtain and start discussions of things that never should have happened, opportunities to write my book about the people of recent space missions, and opportunities to spend time with old friends and new, even those who, if there were no treatment, I never would have even met. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
This Spring, I live with purpose. I am grateful for the opportunity, each day, to live. I laugh with my children and cheer them on when they explore new things – even if it’s climbing a little too high in the trees at the park, or “making soup” out of woodchips and water in the dog’s bowl that we have to clean out and clean up afterwards. We talk and laugh and cry and dream together — because the terrible treatments have given us a new opportunity to be with and to love one another.