Maintenance Phase January 16, 2012

Friends and Family,

Just a brief update. I'm continuing with my "maintenance" phase of chemo. I consider this Chemo Lite. It prevents the cancer from growing, but the side effects are minimal.

I have Chemo Lite every three weeks, just like I did with the regular chemo. I've had three rounds of Chemo Lite now, including last Thursday. Each time, just before the nurse hooks me up to the IV, I ask to hold the chemo (Avastin) bag. In my mind (and heart!) I ask the drug to do its work by keeping the cancer at bay. I also thank it for extending my life. At that point I have a profound feeling of gratitude. It's because I fully appreciate that my life has been extended for another three weeks.

You know how people say that you should keep up your hope, because new cancer treatments are coming along all the time? I am living proof of this. Five years ago when I had lung cancer, I went through surgery to remove one lobe of my lung, and had chemo both before and after the surgery. I survived long enough for amazing new treatments to come along.

Five years ago there was no Avastin, so there was no maintenance phase. There was also no targeted genetic therapy, which I will start after the Avastin stops working. The targeted genetic therapy is my greatest hope for eliminating the cancer completely, or at least my greatest hope for extending my life by months or years. Even while it extends my life, newer treatments are being developed.

Genevieve's son Aidan is a doctor. He recently told me that if he was a newly-minted physician and was choosing a specialty, he wouldn't consider oncology. The reason: He thinks cancer would be cured before he was ready to retire.

What a beautiful thought.