Dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment

By | May 30, 2013

Are the side effects of cancer treatment worse than the cancer itself?

My immediate response to that question is ‘Yes.’  But for me, the reality is that I have stage 4 cancer, so I have no choice but to suck it up.  As awful as this chemo is, I have to try, try, try to focus on the fact that it is working.  I just hate the way it makes me feel.

When I was admitted into this phase one clinical trial , I was elated – even more so when I was told this drug had no side effects. “This is fantastic!” I thought.  It seemed almost too good to be true.  And of course, it was.

I am exhausted.  My white count, red count and platelet levels are dangerously low.  The neuropathy in my feet is getting worse, and I now have jaw necrosis – which basically involves having your gums disappear, leaving jaw bone exposed. Talk about pain!

Alright, enough complaining. No one wants to read bad news, so I apologize. I am just so tired of all of it.  But, I need to focus on the fact that this drug seems to be working, and the cancer in my liver has decreased a smidgeon, which is positively awesome.

I want to share with you an example of how one small group of students put thought and effort in motion to make a difference.  I received a letter this week from the principal of St. Simon the Apostle School in Indianapolis, with a check enclosed for $1,177.  Last October, the students added pink accessories – pink socks, pink nail polish, etc. – to their uniforms in an effort to raise money for breast cancer awareness and to honor relatives who have fought this disease.  They made this donation to my foundation in honor of their math teacher who is retiring after 17 years.  Wow!  I am so honored that they would think of The Noreen Fraser Foundation and trust us to spend their money wisely.  And we will!

Thank you to all the young kids and teenagers who move beyond self-indulgence to think of others and show compassion to those who are struggling.

Noreen Fraser is living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to funding groundbreaking women's cancer research.& To stay in touch with Noreen, please 'LIKE' The Noreen Fraser Foundation on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. & Noreen can be contacted via email at

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