Post-Round 3

For our readers who don’t know, Gwen and I are both high school math teachers. This weekend, we had the pleasure of celebrating the Pi day of the century (3.14.15), and Gwen loves a reason to celebrate!


We gathered at her house for all kinds of pies.


We were also joined by our Lake George friends Paul, Barb, and Kevin as they were passing through the state heading back North after a week’s vacation.


As fun as the day was, it was the first time I had witnessed the fact that the chemo effects are adding up, my friends! Thankfully, Gwen is not having the allergic reactions she had after round 1, but she is seeing that the chemo is taking a toll on her body. She had also had her Xgeva shot for her bones. This is the second time she has had the shot. The first time, she was sore for one day, but this time she was sore for several days.

And then there’s the fact that she’s a teacher.  We’re in a weird profession, and those of you who aren’t teachers just won’t get it. This profession takes a toll on the healthiest person’s body! Gwen had missed 3 straight class periods for one of her classes; 2 for doctor appointments and 1 for chemo, so she worked the rest of the week following Monday’s chemo because she felt she had to. Needless to say, she was pretty wiped out this weekend. You may be saying, “Gwen! That’s crazy! You should have stayed home! You just had chemo!” I know I said that to her on Saturday… But she’s a teacher. She feels an obligation to those kids in her fourth period class who are already behind because of 8 snow days and have an AP exam to take in May! She can’t miss that many days in a row! I know, Gwen, I get it. I worked a crazy amount more than I should have back in 2011-2012…

Monday (yesterday) she came home to a gift on her porch – Xalkori; her targeted treatment pill for the ROS-1 mutation. So, she began taking that last night!

Pro: we should see results quicker than the chemo was producing. Let’s all pray for that!

Con: Gwen is currently experiencing side effects of the chemo she got one week ago AND the side effects of this new drug.  Her body is going through the wringer! She is a bit tired and a bit frustrated with the multiple side effects. Hopefully her body will adjust soon.  She will be meeting with Doc G again on Monday.


By the way, have you ever seen a more perfectly shaped head?

Gwen loves hearing from people, so please keep the well-wishes coming as they help keep her spirits up!



6 thoughts on “Post-Round 3

  1. Hi Gwen! Not sure if you remember me from high school, but I heard about your diagnosis on Facebook and think of you often and I am so sorry to hear what you are going through! On December 30th I was diagnosed with colon cancer and its thrown me for a loop! Mine was stage III, I’ve had my tumor removed, but did have positive lymph nodes so tomorrow I will be finishing round 2 of chemo. Unfortunately, I too feel the side effects adding up as it goes on, but from what I have read about your journey on this site, I think we have the same drive to just keep going on with life. Stay strong and know you have a lot of people who are thinking of you and wishing you well!!


  2. Gwen, you are so amazing! This has got to feel hellish and you’re pushing through so diligently. A lot of people support you, hope you are feeling all that love! Kev and I live close by, in Fuquay, and I’ll be back in town by end of next week. If there is anything we can do for you guys, we are here for you.


  3. Hi Gwen: I write this on the 38th anniversary of my diagnosis of acute granulocytic leukemia. Back then, in 1977, the survival rate was 5%.

    Thirty-eight years later, I sing in the church choir with our mutual friend Jeanne Gill Schmidt, who I adore; am news editor of The Chronicle, a wonderful and vibrant weekly newspaper in Glens Falls, NY; and try to serve as a beacon of hope and faith.

    Chemo sucks. But hope is a powerful thing. It can overcome long odds. I know. I’m living proof.

    I will continue to pray for you. Keep doing what you’re doing. Stay positive. Stay strong. Many people are behind you. Even folks like me, virtual strangers with a shared experience.

    God Bless You.

    Love, Gordon


  4. Hey Gwen I just wanted to say I have been thinking of you and wanted to say that you are strong and you got this you beat the first step of great spirits just stay positive and when you have a rough day lean on family and friends . Keep being strong and if you ever need anything let me know do anything that I can to help.


  5. Gwen, we love you!! So glad to see you kicking butt- you’re an inspiration to your students and all of us that know you. I am constantly amazed to see your dazzling smile in these pictures despite what you’re going through. I feel so luck to know you. You and your family are in my thoughts- Stay strong woman!!


  6. I love reading this blog, Gwen (and Allisen!) It helps those of us on the sidelines cheering you along feel that we’re right there with you in this journey. It also is filled with great inspiration and hope, which gives all of us courage in whatever battles we are facing. So thanks for the incredible witness you are to the rest of us, Gwen! Keep the faith and know that our thoughts, love, and prayers remain with you daily.

    Blessing you,
    Betty Connette


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