First Chemo of 2018

Early this morning, my youngest daughter Megan and I arrived at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) to start round number seven of my current chemotherapy regimen (a combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel). What a fun way to welcome 2018!

Each treatment appointment is preceded by a blood test to look at the levels of various components (red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, electrolytes, etc.). Not surprisingly, all of my counts were good enough to warrant treatment today as planned after a two-week break at the end of December 2017.

Michael and daughter Megan Becker in the chemo suite at MSKCC

Knowing today might be a bit crazy, I had scheduled an early morning appointment to try and get ahead of any delays. We arrived a few minutes before my 7:45 am ET blood test and ended up catching the 12:20 pm ET train from New York to return home. Everything went fine with treatment, although I don’t usually start feeling the side effects for a few days.

I met with my oncologist Dr. Pfister during today’s appointment. He discussed doing my next CT scan around the end of January 2018, which would be after the current chemo treatment cycle is finished. Depending on those results, he discussed maintenance treatment with just one of the two chemotherapies if the scan looks good. Otherwise, he might recommend switching to cetuximab (Erbitux©) if the chemo isn’t continuing to work. Either way, it looks like I’ll be coming to another critical treatment decision point early in 2018.

The best news of the week was being able to spend New Year’s Eve celebrating with my wife, Lorie. Actually, “celebrating” might be a strong word–unless you expand the definition to include sitting on the couch watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and going to bed before midnight. But, we were together for yet another milestone. One that, frankly, I was quite surprised to see.

To my family, friends, colleagues, researchers, health care providers, members of the media and anyone reading this blog post–thank you for your interest in my cancer patient journey. I wouldn’t be here today without such a robust support network. Best wishes for good health, plenty of happiness, and much prosperity in 2018 and beyond to all of you!


21 thoughts on “First Chemo of 2018

  1. I’ve been reminded during your journey and my sister’s recent diagnosis health is our most important asset. Happy 2018, and here’s to more New Year celebrations sitting on the couch with Lorie.

  2. A very Happy New Year to you and your family! So thankful you are still with us! We are cheering for you all the way.

    Melissa Jean

    • Thank you, Melissa! Always great to hear from you and thanks for the constant support and encouragement!

  3. Thanks for your post! Stay strong and positive Michael- wishing you and your supportive family all the best!! HEALthy 2018!
    Andrea — trifecta cancer game changer!

  4. Michael (and family),

    Happy New Year! Those can be such casual words….BUT they are not casual as we wish you a very, very, very Happy New Year. My commitment is to pray that 2018 will be the best year of your life. My prayer is that you will be given a long and HEALTHY life.

    Blessings to you and your family. You have love and support from so many; plus your own wisdom and determination…..with all of that we wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

    Jeri and Vern

    • Jeri and Vern – I cannot thank you enough for all of the prayers and words of encouragement. Keep those prayers coming! Best to you and yours in 2018 and beyond!

  5. So happy you and Lorie rang in the New Year with as much revelry as we did! Loved the pic of you and Megan. Of course, we wish you the very best for 2018 and our prayers continue on for you always…

    • Carolyn – thanks again for the Christmas cookies as well! They were excellent. Thank you for all that you do!! Happy New Year!

  6. Michael
    What a beautiful post. It reminds me of my priorities for 2018. Thank you for your continued strength to share your cancer journey with us. Best wishes to you and your family.

  7. Michael, Every time I read one of these posts I thank God a million times over. I know you weren’t thinking of seeing 2018 and yet look at how fortunate we are. I know this is a tough regiment for treatment yet you are positive each time you go through it. I continue to keep you all in my prayers. Love and miss you guys.

    • Maureen – there is a lot to be thankful for and I’m blessed to have witnessed several milestones that I didn’t think I would see based on my prognosis a year ago. Keep those prayers coming and we love/miss you all too!!

  8. We lost our sister on January 14th to ovarian cancer.Diagnosed 9 years ago and in remission for the majority of time, the cancer came back. I can’t help th inking of her and her struggle. I wish you well and will be reading about your battle.

Leave a Reply