Month: September 2016

The promises, and challenges, of precision medicine

I’ve been talking a lot lately about immunotherapy — with family, friends, neighbors, anyone who asks me how my treatment is going. But when someone politely inquired the other day about my “amino acid therapy,” I realized that I’ve been spending too much time in Club Cancer! Not everyone speaks this lingo (and I’m glad they don’t have to).

So, let’s take a step back and I’ll try to explain the basic difference between chemotherapy — which a lot of people are familiar with, at least the word itself — and terms like “precision medicine” and “immunotherapy,” which are getting a lot of press in the past year or two. (more…)

Courage, dear heart.

I’m tracing my thumb over the smooth, soothing surface of a necklace sent recently by a dear friend. Beneath a bubble of glass, it features a silhouette of a lion’s head and a quote from one of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books: “Courage, dear heart.”

I’ve cherished those books since I was a child, but it’s been a while since I’ve read them, so I had to look it up to remind myself of the context. I was glad I did. It’s from a chapter called “The Dark Island,” in Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and it seems a very apt metaphor for what I’ve been up against lately: (more…)