I appreciate all the response, and I'm very glad that I am able to give hope to others. I spent the weekend with a friend who came up from Arkansas. We went out and spent 3 glorious days enjoying God's creation, so I haven't been online all that much. I haven't had much of a life this past year. I'm still afraid to breathe too easy...feel like that black cloud is still hanging over my head, but I am encouraged. I had a very rough time with chemo and don't relish the possibility of ever having to go through it again. I told my doctor not too long back that I wasn't questioning his professional expertise, but also wasn't taking it as gospel either. There are simply too many variables....genetics, individual chemistry, attitude, lifestyle, general health, etc. He agreed that it isn't an exact science; that they just do what they know to do and hope for the best. I was told that one thing I had in my favor was that I was in otherwise excellent health and good physical condition at the outset. I look like crap now...got a lot of work to do to get back on track. Spent too much time not having too much choice about what I ate or craving all the wrong things. Lots of times I would crave things you'd think would be awful on the stomach and be unable to tolerate things that should've been easier. Very weird.
My good news has been bittersweet though. In the midst of all this, I lost my dad to lung cancer just a month ago. I had been helping with his care throughout my own treatment. My niece was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a double mastectomy a week before that and starts chemo tomorrow. I have a cousin in the last stages of throat cancer, another cousin with leukemia who has exhausted his treatment options and another cousin newly diagnosed with cancer (not sure what kind yet). On a more positive note, another cousin with colon cancer has had 2 clean scans, so we're hopeful of a positive longterm outcome for him.
Thanks, everyone, for all the good wishes. I hate this disease so much. It is evil through and through. I hope for the best possible outcome for each of you.