UPDATE 8/27: Chemo for life … a lifelong battle begins

Yesterday was a long day. Met with doctors from the John P. Murtha Cancer Center at Walter Reed Hospital.They presented me with the Cancer Board’s findings and recommendations.

It was good news and bad news, but overall not new news. BSCC cancer always comes back.

Back in 2011 they felt positive that they had removed all of my cancer. There was no treatment other than surgery. This time around I am advised that I will need to take chemotherapy for life in what will be a lifelong battle for my life. Murtha doctors recommended that I replace the word ‘cure’ with ‘fun’ — as in I should focus on enjoying life and being with family.

So what will chemo for life get me? They do not know. It is a gamble. Two or 20 or 30 years are possible.

The ugly chemo will last about 12 weeks, starting in early September. There are major side effects, or as noted in my counseling: there are some less common but possible side effects. Just under ten percent of chemo patients taking this cocktail have heart attacks and experience strokes.

What comes next will then be a new form of chemo that has relatively mild side effects — and since I am otherwise in very good health then that is when I should be able to resume life. The stipulation is that we must assume that there is no defeating this cancer. My treatment plan will focus on constantly seeking out cancer cells and trying to keep them under control either through majority eradication or slowing their growth.

If all goes well … life is what it is. I am an optimist. I am giving myself no other choice.