An Update on My Cancer

I am writing a sentence that no cancer patient wants to write: I am relapsing — again.

I knew this news was coming. My cancer mutates and finds its way around drugs. It wasn’t a question of if I would relapse — it was only a question of when.

For the last two years life was predictable. Treatment every four weeks and few side effects. Now, the safety of an effective treatment is slipping away.

Recently, I’ve been waking up at 4:00 a.m., unable to go back to sleep. Those mornings, I try to focus on what I’m grateful for.

I thank God for an otherwise strong and healthy body. I’m grateful for my family and friends who steady my course and make every day better. I’m thankful for great doctors and nurses who will help me figure out the next steps, who care about me and look after me.

I’m also grateful for Patients For Affordable Drugs. I started this organization to help patients fight for more affordable drugs. But now, it’s really helping me.

It’s a world of uncertainty ahead. More visits to my oncologist, more diagnostic tests, trips to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and eventually a new course of drugs or a stem cell transplant. But as I travel down this uncertain road, I am reminded of the brave patients standing beside me.

Patients across the country have lost their homes, skipped doses, and faced agonizing choices of how to put food on the table. In spite of that adversity, they are coming together to fight for change. And I feel so grateful to be part of that community.

Now I’m relapsing and it’s tough. I started this organization to help patients, and yet here I am, wishing I wasn’t writing this post. It’s been more than eight years since my diagnosis. I’ve suffered broken bones as a result of cancer and spent countless hours receiving chemo.

But I’m so thankful for the community of patients going through this with me. I started this organization on the principle that patient stories could make a difference. And they have — not only on the policy level, but in my own life. These stories motivate me even on my worst days.

So I’m heading into this next phase of my cancer journey with confidence, hope, and inspiration, thanks to a vast network of friends, family, and fellow patients.

Thank you all for giving me that strength and hope.