Chocolate-dipped Fresh Strawberries
May 16, 2011 6 Comments
I returned from the hospital late-morning on Monday, May 2, to find a tray of succulent, ripe strawberries, dipped in dark chocolate. When I inquired the source of this largesse, I was informed that it was a celebration. My very sweet patient, Sue Allen, had brought us these lovely desserts in recognition of her sixth anniversary. It is now six years since this charming Neonatal Intensive Care Unit nurse presented to my attention with widely metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.
I remember, as if it were yesterday, sitting across from her and her husband and examining the dreadful findings on her CT scan: “Hilar mass, extensive bilateral mediastinal adenopathy, bulky right supraclavicular andenopothy.” When we met, I had no idea what lay ahead. We were meeting for the first time and I had yet to run a study to explore treatment options. The gratifying good outcomes since then reflect her very favorable laboratory profile results.
On Monday, Sue was in and out of the lab before I could see her and congratulate her on this momentous occasion. But, I know how well she is. Her most recent family ski trip to the Sierras a few weeks ago once again reminds me that even the worst cancers can be beaten back. Although she has suffered recurrences, we have succeeded in controlling every new area of disease. While there have been compromises and hardships, she leads a normal life, raising her 10-year-old son and enjoying social and sporting activities with her family and friends. It is difficult to imagine what might’ve happened to Sue had we not met and determined her best treatments from the onset of her disease.
What I can say with certainty is that there’s something particularly sweet about those strawberries knowing the significance for Sue, her family and all the patients with lung cancer.