Chemo – Week 1

The closest I’ve been to someone enduring chemotherapy was when a new neighbor went through it for breast cancer. She was an amazing example of strength during those months. She lived only with pets, worked full time, cared for them, shopped and cooked for herself – and often for me – and more than five years on is cancer-free.

Now I’ll experience chemo with a closer eye as my mom begins treatment for CLL – Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Since she was first diagnosed, science has made remarkable advances toward treating this disease. There is still no cure but remission is possible and that is what we’re all looking for. A four or five year remission would give the scientific world a nice chunk of time to develop new and improved medications, treatments and possible cures. That, too, is what we’re all looking for.

I have to admit, I still don’t have a complete grasp on this disease, though I have been doing the research. The best part is that since my parents moved to Colorado, they’ve discovered doctors who are not only interested in treating the disease but in treating the patient. These doctors and assistants have been more than generous with their time as we come up with lists of questions, and they’ve offered information when we’ve been too naive about the disease to know what to ask.

They originally suggested four months of treatment but have since suggested six. “Like weeding the yard,” the doctor’s assistant said. “You can treat until the weeds die down to the root or you can treat until the root has died as well.”

We want to get to the root of this and so, six months it is.

This is week one. Only five ‘weeks’ to go – one a month for the next five months – and all with our eye on the prize. Remission.

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