Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Results Are In

And it is the best possible outcome under the circumstances. "No evidence for active lung cancer." "No evidence of recurrent disease." Anywhere. Good blood work, physical exam normal. I was elated and thrilled, hugging and screaming (Neil tried to stop me but he couldn't). We celebrated with martinis and wine, a nice dinner, and coconut ice cream with chocolate sauce for dessert.

But in between screaming in delight and the celebratory dinner I remained sober and attentive in my meeting with Dr. Herbst. I am not cured. Presently, there is no cure for lung cancer beyond surgery. The Tarceva will stop working. It is not a matter of if, but when. Could be three months, could be eight years. Unfortunately, not only is there no Tarceva II, there is no standard protocol to follow when Tarceva fails.

The plan going forward is to be scanned every 3 months, alternating between Houston and Atlanta. Dr. Herbst also suggested having a chest x-ray every six weeks. I have information on other physicians around the country working with lung cancer patients, active clinical trials and the latest research projects; I have met the people driving the Lung Cancer Alliance, Joan Gaeta Lung Cancer Foundation and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. They will not let me down, not without a big, fat fight.

I still have a difficult road ahead of me but I am going to take some time to revel in this good fortune. I am going to finish my rehab program, continue my never-ending doctor visits, and soak up some (metaphorical) sun.

According to Scheinberg, Tarceva + prayer is a perfect cocktail. Thank you all for providing such a great mixer.



Burton said...

Whoo Hoo!

I am leaving the office, headed by Birdwood on the way home, and am not leaving without my own celebratory hug.


Anonymous said...

Hooray! We'll raise a glass to Tarceva (and a spectacular patient). Thanks for the good news.
Chris & Sharon & Helen

Anonymous said...

Oh Wow!!

I am so happy. It is good to cry over good news for a change!!! With many people behind you and all the prayers in your behalf-YOU MADE IT GIRL.
I will still keep up the prayer vigil forever--for that is how long I plan to have you around.

Love always
Joyce Denys

Eric said...


Burton said...

Well, since it turns out you wrote this good news from home back in Atlanta, a cyber hug will have to do.


Anonymous said...


Wendy said...

Whew, Elyse..Hugs to you and will see you soon. Keep on keeping on and enjoying life! Wendy

Amy A said...

What thrilling news!!! I am so happy for you and yours. Now you can continue your fight with a renewed strength. Let the sun shine in.
XXOO and all that jazz
PS Thanks for introducing me to your four legged family. Loved learning each pal's unique personality

Anonymous said...

Truly joyous news!
Love, Cynthia

Carole said...

Oh happy day!

Speak with you soon.



Susan said...

Hard to write through the tears of Joy. L'chiam, Here's to YOU!
Hugs, Susan & Mark and Sam

Walter said...

Fantastic news - enjoy the moment - miracles do happen

Walter Cohen

Anonymous said...

That is wonderful news. I love your spirit! I hope to hear many other people have stories like yours.

Anonymous said...

Thank G-d!!! The prayers will continue. Michelle S

David S. said...

I *KNEW* you looked good when I saw you a couple of weeks ago! Great to have the official confirmation -- the good thoughts from here will keep coming. We're very, very happy.

- D.

Ann said...

Such good news for such a deserving person! Nothing more to say other than THANK GOODNESS!!!

Anonymous said...

We are all so thrilled about your great news. I rarely cry because I'm happy, but when I heard about your test results the happy tears were flowing! It was great to spend time with you and your mom. I checked out the pictures of your dogs and they are adorable. Next time you are in town I'll be sure that you meet my three furry babies. Love, Catherine

Bruce M. said...

great news for a great lady

Jill B said...

Wonderful news!!! Keep getting stronger and enjoy every day! I am hopeful that your doctor visits will be fewer and that you will live in remission for a very long time.


lmescon said...

You take my breath away. Prayer and Tarceva indeed! You are amazing and the prayers and positive thoughts are all yours. We love you so much and are ecstatic down here in Columbus!!!
Lauren and Tim

Betty, Ralph and Beck said...

E, Needless to say, we're thrilled about your good news! We knew you were doing well, and now your tests have confirmed it. Looking forward to a walk on the Greenway with you and the dogs or some water aerobics at LTF... the dogs will have to sit that one out.
Love to you, John and B.

Steve Beagle said...

Ali - wins of course in not only a knockout but a standing O knockout. Yes there will be more fights because you have been forced to become a professional fighter however you are the best I have seen since the real Ali was actually doing his thing. We are all so happy for you.. Keep floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.. ok... what did you miss this week in absurdia land you ask? Here you go.. LH&P Steve and family

George W. Bush is doing pretty well for a retiree. He will hit the lecture circuit next month for a reported 150,000 per speech. Actually it’s $150,000 per speech and an extra 25 grand if you want to throw shoes at him.

He’s not alone; he’s got a couple of guys with him. It’s called the 2009 Blue Collar Comedy Tour.

Things aren’t going so well for New York Gov. David Paterson. He’s had a shake-up in his staff. He’s had a tough time, and he’s hoping that a change in his staff will bring about a happy ending to his time in office. Though a happy ending is pretty much what brought down the last guy . . .

President Obama gave his first State of the Union address. They say it was the best State of the Union address ever delivered by an African-American president.

He says we can overcome this crisis if we all work hard and make sacrifices — which means we are screwed.

The address is a very formal thing, but it’s really more like a boxing event. He comes into the room with little satin shorts and makes his way to the stage.

The president says he intends to expand healthcare, improve education, and decrease energy dependence — all while cutting the deficit in half. Then, he’s going to make the Washington Monument disappear.

There were a lot of parties for the Oscars last night. The biggest was the annual Vanity Fair event. US Airways pilot Sully Sullenberger showed up with his wife who wore an unusual dress. It had a goose strapped to it.

He was supposed to attend the governor’s ball, but at the last second he veered into the fountain outside the hotel.

Oprah held her annual Oscars show. She had all the big winners on. Not only is it an annual tradition, it’s also Oprah’s way of letting the big stars know that she still owns them.

The Academy Awards are Sunday. This is a special time for Hollywood — celebrities take a break from worshipping Barack Obama to worship themselves.

They’re scaling back this year, due to the economy. To give you an idea of just how they are scaling back, Joan Rivers is being assembled in Mexico.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in China. She met with a group of children today. She told them, “You kids are doing a great job making those pantsuits.”

The new chairman of the Republican Party, Michael Steele, says that he wants to bring a greater Republican presence to the urban setting. There’s already a Republican presence in the urban setting — it’s called the landlord.

Top Ten Signs Your Film Is Not Going To Win An Academy Award

10. It stars Brad Pitt . . . but not the famous one
9. To save money on sound effects, gunfights have actors running around yelling, "Kapow!"
8. World premiere was on a Greyhound bus from Reno to Topeka
7. It's titled "The Curious Case of Benjamin Bernanke"
6. It's got any of the following words in the title: "Paul," "Blart," "mall," or "cop"
5. Half of $70 million budget was spent on craft service meatballs
4. No one wants to see your all-raccoon remake of "The Wizard of Oz"
3. It's rated "P" for "Piece of crap"
2. Only person who made a profit from your film is Bernie Madoff
1. It's two hours of Christian Bale swearing at the crew

Everybody’s going bankrupt. The latest? Muzak. So the next time you’re in a crowded elevator, try to organize a sing-along.

Academy Awards on Sunday. You know who won’t watch them? John McCain. He doesn’t like the talkies.

It takes a lot of nerve for a four-and-a half hour TV show to give out an award for editing.

The show seems like it lasts forever. This year’s nominated songs will be put together in a medley. It’s part of President Obama’s pledge to end torture.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking time off as the governor of California to shoot a new movie. The movie’s about a terrible disaster — it’s called, “Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California.”

It’s the countdown to the Oscars. In less than 48 hours the Motion Picture Academy will bestow its highest honor on a movie that you’ve never seen.

I think “WALL-E” should have gotten a Best Picture nomination. It’s an amazing story about a robotic creature dealing with over-polluted air. It’s based on the life of Al Gore.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Japan this week. There was an awkward moment when at one point she saw some sumo wrestlers and she said to the prime minister, "Oh, you have interns here too."

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi met with the Pope this week, and after the meeting, she asked for the Pope's blessing. Another embarrassing moment . . . when he asked her to close her eyes, she said, "I can't . . ." Botox and all . . .

California finally passed a budget. The impasse was finally overcome when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger threatened to make a sequel to "Kindergarten Cop."

Now Californians can go back to doing what they do best — buying homes they can't afford and letting murderers go free

Top Ten Things Overheard at Kim Jong Il's Campaign Headquarters

10. "How do we improve perfection?"
9. "Maybe it would help your likability if you stopped killing people"
8. "Remind voters there have been no Godzilla attacks on my watch"
7. "After promising nuclear Armegeddon, throw in a folksy, 'You betcha!'"
6. "Remind people you come from Pyongyang just like Kim Jong-Lincoln"
5. "Korean food again?"
4. "Maybe we should hire a new chairman and move Kim to 10pm"
3. "Get a load of that bodacious booty!" (Sorry, that was overheard at Kim Kardashian's house)
2. "With 0% of the precincts reporting, you've won in a landslide"
1. "Hillary's running against me?"

The economy is bad. I didn’t think it would last this long. I thought a week, tops.

Here's how bad it is: Now when you go to the airport and you have to put all your change in that pan to pass through the metal detectors? They’re not giving it back.

A family in Brooklyn found a boa constrictor in their couch. They were beginning to get suspicious because they were the only apartment in New York that didn’t have rats.

A boa constrictor is a snake that squeezes the life out of you . . . no, wait a minute — that's a mortgage company.

This is the 16th season of "Late Night with Conan O’Brien." That's five more than "MASH," five more than "Cheers," and 10 more than anybody wanted.

All week, I've been receiving a lot of calls from other TV hosts. Jay Leno called to wish me good luck, and Larry King called to ask me what time he’s supposed to take his pills.

A new study says that in America rich people are ruder than poor people. I didn't think anyone hadn't figured that out.

But I don't think there are any rich people left.

Rich people are rude because of what's happening in Switzerland. One of the largest Swiss banks is revealing their secret client list to the IRS, according to The New York Times. The Times wrote about it so it must be partially true.

President Obama made his first trip abroad today. He went to Canada. I guess it’s tradition for new presidents to go there first. It was a brief trip. He got off the plane, greeted, then turned around and got right back on. Who could blame him?

Bad news for the octuplet mom, Nadya Suleman. The house where she lives with her mom is in foreclosure. If she loses the house, Nadya will be forced to get pregnant again so she can live in the hospital for another three months.

It might be time to sell one of those kids to Jennifer Aniston . . . or one of her friends.

Anonymous said...


That is such incredibly good news! I know that the "cocktail" will continue on into the future to provide you the shield you need and deserve.

With all wishes and prayers,

Bridgette said...

Wow!!!! I'm so happy and of course crying for joy! Amen for Tarceva and of course all the prayers have no doubt led you to the next steps in this journey towards saving your life. And by the way I want Mr. Brent to come visit sometime this year:) I'm still crossing my fingers that Eric gets a job with Genentech and I'll lobby for Tarceva II! I love you. Bridgette

Anonymous said...

You know I love good news. So happy for you. And put getting some real Sun on your list. Love, Ellen

sandplay said...

Great news!
Count me in for years of the mixer.
We're working on Prayer II while the med. researchers work on Tarceva II.
Love and hugs,

Anonymous said...

Dear Elyse,
All things are possible including snow in ATL. on March 1, 2009. The best news I've heard in a long time brought tears to my eyes. You have made a lot of people REALLY happy. Now it is time to SHOP!
Obama, the Steelers and Elyse. What more could anyone want? Keep getting stronger and stronger.
I can't wait to see you.

Anonymous said...

Way to go girl. Looking forward to seeing you around.

Joe Rosen

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Dear Elyse- I just spent the last few hours (heard @ your condition in Dec. at OVS via Michelle Rich but didn't get your blog link till I saw Leah last Sat. at OVS)catching up on your blog. I wanted to let you know I'm so sorry you've had to face this challenge and at the same time elated that you got great news last week. Sorry to hear of your Dad's passing, I know how much you loved him. Glad to see you still have your sense of humor and the dachshunds!! All the best- Merrill

Laura said...

Dear Elyse,
WOW!!! I just heard the news!!! I'm so happy for you, your family and your numerous friends who have been waiting anxiously for this remarkable outcome! Not only will I HOPE for continued health but will PRAY for it as suggested by your doctor.
With love, hope and prayers,

Terri said...

Great news! We are both so happy for you and John and Brent. Keep on doing what you are doing.Love,

Terri & Barry

Lenore and Scott said...

And last but not least...HI ELYSE! I'm glad we caught up on the phone, but I promised I would chime in, so here I be. You've always been at the other end of the phone when I call and I expect that it to always be so. To say, "not if, but when" still leaves a big open door. Tarci (aka Tarceva) has proven a good friend and I don't think she will let you down any time soon. BTW, you couldn't feel my 'vibes' because of the Dachshund Force Field.

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!!!!I am so happy for you and for all your friends and family that care so much about you... like me.
Karen Wolf

lwborden said...

Wow, what wonderful news! Ray and I are hugging you from our respective spots. One thing I have learned over the last year with my mom is that miracles happen at M.D. Anderson.


Jeff Johnson said...

Elyse -

This is wonderful news! My continued thoughts and prayers will be with you.

Jeff Johnson

Forrest said...

What great news Elyse. I hope you start feeling like your old self soon. We all miss you at our meetings.

Anonymous said...

Great going, Elyse! Such awesome news...Justin was so happy to get that phone call from Brent!
Keep up the good news - the weather is getting nice and its time to get outdoors!

nancy said...

Great news!!
Tarceva+prayer+Elyse's amazing willpower= great results

You are in our thoughts and prayers. We hope to get a "crew" in May. Nancy