One of my all-time favorite bands is The Killers. I still remember calling in to 104.9 in Baton Rouge when I would drive home from high school asking the DJ to play “Mr. Brightside.” I didn’t realize then that they were from Las Vegas, but I should have, because it affects so many of their songs.
Almost exactly a month before I was diagnosed, my husband and I went to the grand opening of the T-Mobile Arena, and The Killers were the headliners. I was so excited to finally see one of my favorites live, and especially in a hometown show. It was so amazing, easily one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. I stood up and sang my heart out for almost the whole show. I was pretty wiped afterwards, but thought I was overworked, overtired and not 18 years old anymore.
The Killers’ fourth album is “Battle Born,” which is named after the unofficial motto of the state of Nevada. I’ve never related more to my adopted state’s motto or to The Killers’ music before than I do now. The past eight months have been a battle of epic proportions.
But like a phoenix, still I rise.
Last week, I had my first CT scan since starting Cabo in September. On Thursday, my oncologist sat down with us and shared I’ve had an 80 percent reduction in my tumor burden. Yes, EIGHTY PERCENT. EIGHT-ZERO. I’m stunned. Thrilled! But stunned. I had become so conditioned to bad news that I was almost unsure as to how to process it. I started crying when Dr. V told us, unable to contain my emotions.
The liver tumor is completely gone, eliminating the need for CyberKnife radiation. The lymph nodes and lungs tumors are all greatly decreased in size and quantity.
So, what does this mean? I stay on Cabo on the same dosage (60 mg) for the foreseeable future. I have another scan in 3 months. The side effects are still there, but I can’t argue with 80%. My eyebrows have grown lighter and thinner. My skin has gotten overwhelming scaly, so I’m having to do heavy moisturizing, as I’m starting to get rashes on my legs (the cold weather isn’t helping). My skin’s also losing its pigment, so it’s time for me to go to the Clinique counter and see what they can do to help me switch up my makeup so I look less like Casper. I had to add a blood pressure medication to my regime to help with elevated rates due to the Cabo.
But really, all of it is better than the alternative, and it’s still not as painful or challenging as what most chemo or radiation patients go through. It’s all about perspective.
So in the words of Brandon Flowers and The Killers, “So boots and saddles, get on your feet. There’s no surrender, cause there’s no retreat. The bells are sounding, bring this match to an end.”
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, y’all.