Off the Meds

May 22, 2017

Shortly before my 50th birthday I was diagnosed with CML, or Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. I was pretty sure I was the butt of some cosmic joke; who gets cancer and turns 50 at the same time? Well, thanks to new medicines that target specific chromosomes and the prayers of my family, my work family and all of my friends, just a few months later I was in what is referred to as molecular remission, which means there is undetectable minimal residual disease. The doctors wouldn’t call it a cure, as patients removed from medication most always had a recurrence and had to return to the medication regimen. But that was early days.

I’m hoping the minimal side effects I experience will go away and not be replaced by something I can attribute to aging. Ha!

A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology did a long-term follow-up and determined that some select patients who had been on a prolonged course of CML medications were able to maintain molecular remission after stopping the medication. I have been on the initial drug, Gleevec, and a second drug, Sprycel, for a combined total of 9 ½ years. And the fact that my molecular remission occurred so quickly after I was diagnosed (only about 4-5 months, which the doctors had never seen; I’m pretty sure was because of all the prayers everyone sent) made me an even better candidate to stop the meds. So after a visit with my oncologist it is official – as of today I’m no longer on my meds. What a way to turn 60!

So what does this mean? Initially I will be required to have more frequent blood tests and visits to the doctor. I’ll be trading prescription costs for lab fees and co-pays, but so be it. I’m hoping the minimal side effects I experience will go away and not be replaced by something I can attribute to aging. Ha! But ultimately my hope is that I dodge the biggest long-term effect the Sprycel caused in patients on the drug for long periods – heart disease. I have no prominent risk factors, and the heart disease that troubled my parents didn’t show up until they were in their 80’s, and they both smoked cigarettes for a significant period of their lives. I think I’m probably OK.

But I’m sending another request out to those who worked the magic of prayer, summoned the Goddess, or beseeched the Universe for aid the first time, and anyone else who is so inclined in whatever way you worship; please keep me in your thoughts with the hope that I am one of the ones who achieved a cure.

And I’ll keep all of you in my prayers for always being a blessing my life.

Deborah

{ 19 comments }

A Gentleman In Moscow

May 17, 2017

I’ve read many books and loved many books, but A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles may have just become my favorite. A Gentleman in Moscow is the 30-year saga of the Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, who is placed under house arrest inside the Metropol Hotel in Moscow in 1922 when the Bolsheviks spare him […]

Continue reading →

Thar She Blows in Provincetown!

May 10, 2017

Believe it or not, in all the years Steve and I have been together we’ve never gone to Provincetown. He and I had both visited before we met, but never together, and since the whales were making an appearance in Cape Cod Bay we decided we’d do a mid-week mini vacation before the spring yard […]

Continue reading →

Good Friends and Daffodils

May 2, 2017

Just after Easter I had the pleasure of visiting Parsons Reserve, one of the areas under the jurisdiction of the Dartmouth National Resources Trust, which is a non-profit, accredited land trust established in 1971. It is supported by members and donations, and protects more than 5,000 acres of land and maintains more than 35 miles […]

Continue reading →

Turtle Time

April 26, 2017

While in Barbados I had the great pleasure of snorkeling with some Hawksbill and Green Sea Turtles. These guys were trained to know that when the dive boats came that they’d get some grub, so while it wasn’t as special as coming upon them in the “wild” it was still pretty special. There are three […]

Continue reading →

The Girls’ Still Got It

April 19, 2017

My friend and hairstylist Cindy and I have hopefully started a tradition this year. We went to the Caribbean to sit on a beach and do nothing for a week. And we got a lot of nothing into that week. This year was Barbados, and the Hilton Needham Point Resort. It’s a big property with […]

Continue reading →

Eating My Way Through the Tropics

April 13, 2017

Cabo San Lucas is on the Tropic of Cancer, and Barbados is near the equator, and since both are in the tropics and have great food I’ve decided to post my most memorable meals. Somehow they included a lot of desserts. Cabo has great restaurants, and not all of them Mexican. Our favorite Italian restaurant […]

Continue reading →

Wheeling and Dealing in Cabo

March 27, 2017

Every year in which we go to Cabo San Lucas to enjoy our timeshare we attend (or endure, as it were) the “members presentation” which is an excuse to try to sell us more timeshare or membership in a PRC (Private Residence Club). Why do we attend? Because they give us a raft of discounts […]

Continue reading →

What We Remember

March 14, 2017

One of our neighbors passed away this week. She wasn’t very old, only in her 70’s, although she did have some kind of health issue. But that wasn’t what she died from; her passing was completely unexpected. She had been fine, her husband told me. They were going to attend a grandson’s musical performance and […]

Continue reading →

When We Rise

March 6, 2017

What do Sir Francis Bacon, Florence Nightingale, Margaret Mead, Alan Turing, and Leonardo da Vinci all have in common besides all being scientists? They were all homosexual. I had the pleasure of attending a NOGLSTP (National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals) conference over the weekend, where two brilliant women that I […]

Continue reading →