The End of Chemotherapy

In February of 1996 I had completed the regulation six infusion cycles of Taxol®/Carboplatin® and Dr. Sharma recommended we stop.  It was not what I was prepared to to hear.  A cancer patient comes to look on chemotherapy as a "friend:" the oncology nurses and your family fuss over you and make you the center of attention, but most of all chemo is your security.  It protects you from the disease that is trying to eat your insides out and nourishes your fighting spirit--your psychological need to do something.  I was not ready to stop.  Continuing was the wrong decision medically, but Dr. Sharma allowed me to make it and on March 4th, 1996 I took my 7th and what turned out to be my last infusion.

I was feeling like a child on an overcast sea: wanting to row for dear life but couldn't get my bearings. Dr. Sharma was telling me that to continue chemotherapy would do more harm than good, but I couldn't put down the oars--it sounded like a death sentence. He suggested a second opinion.  Kendall had found out about the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on the Internet and Dr. Sharma, in classic understatement, allowed that it would be adequate for a second opinion. Later, we realized it is among the foremost centers in the country for the treatment of cancer, and Kendall managed a consultation with the head of the department, Dr. Wuan Hong. Luck seemed to be with us because my cousin, Dr. Guilherme Bezerra de Castro, a leading oncology-surgeon in Brazil was at MD Anderson for a conference at the same time and went with us for moral support. Kendall has kept Guilherme up-to-date on my case, he has always been ready with advice and encouragement. Dr. Hong reviewed my treatment and the lab work and imaging we brought with us, and concluded I had gotten the best known treatment for my diagnosis, Non Small Cell Lung Cancer. He would have recommended only one change: six chemotherapy cycles instead of seven!

So that was it: there was nothing more to be done. Either the chemotherapy and radiation had gotten the cancer, or they had not, and there was nothing I could do about it, so with no choice I accepted the routing monitoring regime Dr. Sharma recommended.

previousPrevious Index Next next page

Home | Kendall & Neila | Medical History | português