Friday, November 20, 2009

Miracle in Houston!

Was it a bird...was it a plane...was it Santa? No, it was the radiologist who interpreted my quarterly scans this week. In her immortal words:

PET CT Impressions:

No evidence of active bony metastatic disease representing compete metabolic response to interval change in chemotherapy.

In nonscientific terms: a miracle. With Stage IV cancer, you will NEVER hear the word "remission," and certainly the word "cured" will ever escape a doctor's lips. The closest you will ever get is N.E.D. (no evidence of disease).

This was beyond my wildest dreams, because so far nothing had worked. The best Hank and I were hoping for was "not much more cancer" or "approaching stable." But to get to NED after just a few months of chemotherapy is, in my doctor's words, "highly unusual," and in my MD/PhD brother-in-law's words: rare. In my words, miraculous!!

In a major study of my particular drug cocktail, NONE of the 350+ breast cancer patients in the study gained remission.

We will develop a game plan next week, but it's possible I'll be able to back off chemotherapy or switch to a maintenance drug, with quarterly scans and chemo only when and if it is needed.

This is nothing short of a new lease on life for me and my family. There are no words to describe how I feel. I think I'm still in shock! Was this why I was "told" to have courage?


  1. This wonderful news just filled my bucket of joy!

  2. I am overjoyed (is there such a thing) with this great news, Sally. Thank you for letting us know. Yippeeeeeeeeeee! xoxoxMGS

  3. This is such great news! So, so happy for you and your family.

  4. A true Thanksgiving! Mason shared the happy news with us last night. Big hugs for all of you!

  5. Thanks be to God for such an indescribable gift!

  6. Sally,
    I can't be more happy!

  7. Sally,

    Wow - Good things come to those that wait. You and your family have shown so many of us how to manage a challenge with grace, love, and a positive attitude. What a perfect Thanksgiving gift. Cynthia Bengtson

    You can now exhale.................
    Bon Knee oxox

  9. Sally - We are OVERJOYED to hear about this fantastic news! What an amazing blessing for you and your wonderful family. MUCH MUCH love to all of you. Lara G.

  10. Sally and Hank,
    That news is so wonderful and I am so happy for you. You do have so much to be thankful for this holiday.We are all pulling for you.

    Nancy Lehde, RN

  11. Sally -- Just read your post, and I am thrilled for you and your family!!

  12. Sally,
    Wow that is wonderful news! We are soooo happy for you and your family! We are always thinking of you. By the way, Helena was born on October 30th. All of us are doing well and adapting to life with a newborn. Have a beautiful holiday season!
    Becky and Harold

  13. Dear Sally:

    Evelyn and I have been remiss checking in on your battle. We are delighted to hear of your good news. We continue to visit M.D. Anderson CC monthly in Evelyn's battle with multiple myeloma. But results have continued to be encouraging. Her protein levels continue to be low and on a flat line for the present.

    You are correct. "Cured" and "Remission" do not seem to be in the glossary down there. But that's OK. We could live with "N.E.D."

    What a blessing for your holiday season and the coming new year.

    We dare say your decision to go to MDACC was a good one.

    Griff and Evelyn Singer

  14. Sally, I just heard the news about this from Hank, and I am so delighted with your miracle. Wishing you a healthy and prosperous new year! -- Bob Kohn

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  16. Hi Sally! I found the link to your blog on and was happy to find you here! Guess I haven't seen you since we were buddies when we were about 13...Hope all is still going well with your battle, from what you wrote it sounds good! I am living in the Mojave desert in Southern CA. I am now a photographer shooting lots of landscape and fine art stuff after moving here from Cape Cod where I lived for many years. Hope to hear back from you when you get a chance. Hey, you still look the same! :-)
    OXOXO Jill