M.D. Anderson Update

Hope is a healing agent, and I am happy to deliver it. 

There was nothing definitive to report.  But with 41 years of care invested in me, my mom had a right to some news.  So I called her as soon as I left the doctor's office to tell her what I had learned.

Dr. Cortez wasn't fully convinced that Gleevec had stopped working for me.  And if it wasn't broken, he was determined not to fix it.  So he recommended staying at my prescribed dosage and testing again at three and six months.  If the results of the second lab don't show me to be back in molecular remission, he'll change the chemo I'm on to a third generation TKI--one that even my hematologist here in Atlanta hasn't heard about.  It has an 85-90% success rate for those whom Gleevec has stopped working.  And the side effects are less severe than some of my other options.  I was encouraged.  More than happy to give Gleevec a second chance.  After all, it had given me one....

I had hardly hung up with my mom when I got a text from my sister.  "She had gotten the good news", she wrote.  "So glad all the thoughts and prayers worked."  

And even though nothing was truly different, the thoughts and prayers had worked.  I cannot tell you how many calls, e-mails, and texts I received--each one of them giving me more than the giver will probably ever realize.  I left for M.D. Anderson with my mind in a good place.  And all those personal messages of love and support helped place my heart in congruence with my head.  But as I stared at the words on the screen, the factory that is M.D. Anderson running at full steam all around me with patients being called like patrons at a restaurant, I started thinking:

Worked.  E D.  Past tense.

It's not over.  I'm not out of the woods.  None of us are really.  Hate to be a downer, but each one of us has an expiration date.  Some people like me are blessed to die while still alive.  We get to learn how others feel about us.  And that experience is kinda like attending your own funeral.  Except it's a celebration of who you are rather than who you were.  And it's shared by all the people in your life yet never get to see enough--even people you've never met.  You realize the true impact of your own existence.  Like a wave, crashing hard against some shores.  Gently changing the shape of others.  And it's a reminder that, before the chance is swept away, we should live on the side of Love.

What would Love do now?  That's one of my Mantras.  And I think one of the things Love does is it makes itself known.  One of my clients told me that he appreciated my blog post about going to M.D. Anderson but took exception to one thing.  I wrote that I felt alone, and he told me I wasn't--that I should know that.  And I do.  I fully realize I'm not alone.  That's been one of the many gifts of my diagnosis.  Even without all the people who reached out to me and Diana, I know I have a mountain of support.  One I can stand on.  One which allows me to see horizons of hope and possibility in the darkest of times.  When I wrote that line, I was just trying to express how I felt.  Yet in so doing, I didn't acknowledge the love I feel from each of you. 

I want to do that now.  Cause that's another thing Love does.  It helps us heal.  And sick or not, we could all use some healing.  One of my goals in life is to use my experiences, good and bad, to help others.  That's why I do this blog.  So I'm writing this post to update everyone who reached out with thoughts, prayers, or otherwise and let them know the latest.  I hope that some of you reading now will take this as it was intended.  Perhaps it will inspire you to recognize all those who share your life.  Who compliment your presence with theirs.  Like really does attracts like.  And as far as I'm concerned, we're all connected.  Health shouldn't have to be lost before we realize that--before we find each other.  Because when we do, that's when we fully find ourselves. 

Let the healing begin.



Anne Fowlkes

Andrew, you, Diana and your family are in our prayers.You are very inspiring!

Michael King

I’m so thankful we live in a time where there are options for the people I care about. So glad to hear the news Andrew and I’m looking forward to many more positive updates from both you and Sue in the decades to come. You two inspire me each and every day. Here’s to hope and second chances!


Thanks for sharing this. You’re blogs have been very inspirational. In the short time I’ve worked with you in the past, you were very instrumental in directing me toward the healthy lifestyle that I live now regarding nutrition, etc.
I haven’t experienced what you have been going through, but your optimism definitely helps energize me to face my own physical issues! Keep doing what you do, and stay positive. It’s people like yourself that help restore the world back to it’s natural balance that we were intended to live within. I will send positive thoughts your way!

Patti D

This has to be one of the most beautiful pieces you’ve written. It says what I have felt about cancer.
That it allows you to value life more. To see your own place in it.

And it gives us a chance to make changes so that we can be more present to love.
Which at first is hard to do because of how much pain there is from the treatment and damage of surgery.

I do think that once that pain is lessened, that more than anything, the next step is to find love. To be able to be love. To heal others while we heal ourselves.

Thanks so much for this blog. It really helped me.

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