After the clinical trial

Lego Warrior Princesses go to the oncologist

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.


39 Responses to After the clinical trial

  1. I am so glad you are feeling better – what a beautiful post. Hoping the sun shines later today for you!

  2. marty says:

    Here’s to Spring with renewed strength and the hope of Springs to come.

  3. ilinap says:

    I shall now view woodchip soup in a different light. Thanks, once again, for your lovely perspective. I’ll be channeling you on April 30 when I walk in DC.

    • whymommy says:

      Woodchip soup is delicious. LB made a fresh batch yesterday at the park, and I just let him do it, as he was exploring with a friend and getting the biggest kicks out of his independent play.

      And now I’m actually able to think about getting outside then – how and where can we cheer you on?

  4. magpie says:

    I’m glad you’re feeling better. Here’s hoping for many more great days.

  5. *m* says:

    So wonderful that you are feeling better, and enjoying these spring days! Thinking of you daily.

  6. Stella says:

    Ah,Susan… I am glad you’ve reclaimed the quality in your life. Quantity was never in your hands to begin with… I, too, am grateful for the extra Springs allotted to us! Here’s to many, many more.

  7. Thank you again for the amazing reminder of the importance of living a purposeful life.

  8. Bon says:

    here’s to quality, and to spring. and to our date two weeks from now. 🙂

  9. cagey says:

    I am so happy you are feeling better and are able to get out and enjoy the gorgeous weather before it turns steamy.

    I just love the last paragraph of this post. We should all live with purpose. It is easy to forget that by getting mired in the details.

  10. carosgram says:

    Enjoy every minute, why waste your time unable to live life to the fullest? You never know what tomorrow brings but we can take comfort in knowing His plans for us are “for good and not for evil”. Enjoy the good.

  11. Elaine says:

    Yay, Spring! Each one is a gift. We’re loving the daffodils that still pop up in strange places in our yard, that serve to remind us that life can’t be held back – even if a garden bed is grassed in to make more room for running around!

  12. Dorothy says:

    Thank you for sharing these deeply heartfelt thoughts. May God bless you with His healing love and light. May you and your boys enjoy the profound beauty of spring and all that it represents – life, growth, hope. My prayers will continue to be with you and your family.

  13. Adam says:

    Great news. Great perspective.

  14. BeckyH says:

    Hi Susan, I saw you yesterday at the preschool – I am subbing this year. I got to know your wonderful little guy last year (when I was a regular teacher) because our class joined his class alot for playroom! You looked fabulous yesterday! I was going to stop and say hello (introduce myself) but got busy in the classroom. You were smiling and just looked fabulous! My sister (she works in the office at the preschool too) said the same! May spring bring you many more smiles and renewed strength!

  15. Jackie says:

    I know you still have a long way to go, but this post gives me hope. You are an amazing mom, and I’m so happy you have had the oppertunity to make 4 years of memories with your boys, I hope you get 4 (and more!) years to do the same.

  16. What a beautiful life affirming post. Thank you for reminding us what a blessing each day is.

    I am so glad you are feeling better, stronger. I hope the cancer is starving, getting weaker.

    Wishing you and your family all the joys of spring.

  17. Jenny says:

    Happy Spring, my favourite ‘soup’ was ‘daisy and camellia petal soup’ when my kids were your kids ages. I’m glad you have regained that quality of life and just want to say “ditto” to what Stella said.

  18. Editdebs says:

    I’ve just started reading your blog; I wish I had started much earlier. I have been praying for you and your family, but you give me such a wider view of life–both with your love of the skies and your outlook on life. Thank you so much!

  19. Sue Farrell says:

    Spring is such a wonderful time of year. It is the season of rebirth and hope. I was just 39 when I had my first breast cancer (one of three times). I was so scared. My “baby” was a sixth grader. I was afraid I would not see him graduate from high school. He is now 35 with a family of his own. Modern medicine, prayer/faith, and positive thinking can have such a wonderful impact on our lives. May your spring be full of wonderful bright colors and peace in your heart.

  20. Wow! Lovely.

    The cursed treatments have brought hosts of blessings. I can only hope that every dose of chemo, every radiation treatment that anyone endures, clinical trial or not, leads to less couch, more spring. And one day, one day, no more cancer.

  21. Kami says:

    I’am thrilled to hear that this was the best decision for you and that you are feeling better and stronger! Amen on being at peace and knowing it was the right thing for you. Hugs.

  22. Hooray! I’m so glad you’re feeling better and enjoying life! I can hear the Spring in your steps through your writing 🙂
    I’m doing the Relay for Life here in just a couple of days, and I’ll be holding you in my heart every step of the way.

  23. Spring IS wonderful… even when there’s still snow on the ground (as there is here in the Great White North). The bright sunshine on my face makes it all worthwhile!!

    Your happiness is another ray of sunshine for us all today.

    Love to you, as always. xoxo CGF

  24. You inspire me, Susan. Thank you for the reminder to live life to its fullest and appreciate every season (even when it’s hard to appreciate every moment.)

  25. There is something to be said for enjoying what we have, right now, today. Thanks for the reminder.

  26. Linda Lawrence says:

    Happy you are able to once again enjoy the now.


  27. deb says:

    You are my hero, you inspire me to live life to the fullest. Thank you.

  28. Siobhan says:

    I was going to wish you peace, but it seems you are quite full of it right now. You will be in my prayers.

    Your site looks amazing. Well Done!

  29. Donna says:

    Remember a long time back I wished for you to wear your boys sweatshirts? If you can get four years why not eight or twelve? Here’s to many more springs for you and your hubby and your lil guys. You have already done so much and so much of it on your terms.It is hard to see when one is in the thick of bad stuff-you have used your gifts to create a better world for many and your own smaller tighter circle of loved ones. I am not religious in the traditional sense but you have been sent my little angel baby on more than one occasion — it is always more GOOD time and love for you and yours that is sent.

  30. Lindsay says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder, Susan. It’s always good to hear. 🙂 So glad to hear you’re feeling better.

  31. Lahdeedah says:

    Wonderful and terrible miracles of medicine…what a perfect phrase. Like the scientist you are, you boldly tried that clinical trial. I’m proud of you for going out on a limb like that. Even prouder that you knew when to say enough.

    Love to you.

  32. As always, I am impressed by both what you have to say and how you say it.

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