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.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Mark May 22, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Wow, Wow, Wow doing my I love you happy dance and sending all the love and healing light I can muster. Great news Deb.


Melon May 22, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Way to go, Darlin’….too much work for you here. They don’t need you up there….not yet!
And YOU ARE the miracle in all of our lives. Xo


Cheryl May 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Such fantastic news, Deb! Congratulations!


Jan Russell May 22, 2017 at 5:32 pm

That’s FANTASTIC news! We love you!


Annette May 22, 2017 at 5:40 pm

You are in my prayers as always. Let’s kick this thing!! If anyone can do it, you can.
Love, A


Matt & Di Zonneveld May 22, 2017 at 5:49 pm

Hi Deborah,
What great news, congratulations from both of us over here in OZ. None of us know what is around the corner with life/health/ and other issues!!!! We do trust that you continue with this great outcome. Cheers, Di and Matt


Lori May 22, 2017 at 6:01 pm

Such wonderful news! Thank you for sharing it. XOXO


Anne May 22, 2017 at 7:20 pm

That is wonderful news, Deb. May the Force be with you!


Ursula May 22, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Great news, Deb!! I am thrilled for you! You are always in my prayers.


Octavia May 23, 2017 at 2:27 am

See how many love you? Your life and happiness is so important to throngs of fans! ???
Thank you sharing such joyful news!


Michelle May 23, 2017 at 6:09 am

Awesome news for an incredibly inspirational friend! Continued prayers are with you Deb! Your strength and outlook has never ceased to amaze me and inspire me! What a beautiful way to celebrate 60! ❤️


Kate Ertz-Berger May 23, 2017 at 8:00 am

Wonderful news. Congratulations.


janice randall May 23, 2017 at 8:59 am

Having no clue, Deb, of your past medical history, your great news is certainly an inspiration–and the hope certainly that there will continue to be many thousands more similar stories of overcoming this dreadful disease–in all its forms. Yes, dancing is required!


Dottie Beazley May 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

What wonderful news, Deb! I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer…and caring doctors. Sounds like you’ve found the right combination! Love, Dottie


Jenifer May 23, 2017 at 5:59 pm

I remember vividly getting the call from you – where I was, what we discussed – and you know my memory is TERRIBLE. From 10 years ago to now, your strength, conviction of purpose, and optimism has been an inspiration. You deserve this awesome news and more to come. Much love my friend. Jenifer


Mary Stone May 24, 2017 at 8:24 am

Wonderful news! Sending my thoughts and prayers to keep you healthy. ❤️


Jane Monteiro May 24, 2017 at 9:22 am

Consider it done, I will send healing thoughts in abundance and think about you often. I do believe in the power of positive prayers, energy, whatever, but I think the real cure, besides the wonderful doctors and new research and meds, is your own positive outlook and joy in life. Love, love, love


Andrea May 24, 2017 at 3:30 pm

May you always live in a State of Grace, enveloped by the love of your family and friends, Good bye, CML — you didn’t know who you were messing with!


Annette C. May 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Prayers are on the way! God is good all the time, all the time God is good!


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