The following article contains a few excerpts from the upcoming book, The Chemotherapy Revolution: The Truth About How the Cancer Moonshot Changed the World, by New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Dan Amira.
In the book, Amira chronicles his time in the trenches of the world’s most notorious war on cancer.
He describes the terrifying reality of working with cancer patients in the United States, which was the largest cancer patient population in the world at the time.
And he tells us what it was like for the thousands of other American patients, as well as other cancer survivors who fought and died in the war.
I was in Afghanistan when the first chemo trial started in 2003.
And I had just left my wife of 16 years.
In Kabul, we were in the midst of the worst cancer outbreak in decades, with tens of thousands of new cases per week.
We had been bombing for months, and the U.S. military had been ramping up the pace.
I remember going in to work one morning and seeing a little girl with leukemia, and I thought, I wonder if she has it.
And she had it.
So we started the chemo regimen.
It was very difficult to understand, especially since I’d been in Afghanistan and Afghanistan had been bombed so much, and it was hard to get a grasp on the whole picture.
There was no easy way to measure the number of people who were dying and dying because they couldn’t fight their way out.
But I started getting to know a lot of people and I was learning a lot about their experiences.
When the chemos started, we did two different kinds of chemotherapy.
One kind was called selective oral rehydration, which is a combination of the drug cocktail, which includes the drug, and a drug called ribavirin, which helps with clotting and lymphatic drainage.
It’s a lot like chemotherapy in that you have to take a lot to get rid of the cancer cells.
The other kind was a combination called adjuvant therapy, which means that the drug has to be given at the beginning of chemotherapy, then it’s given again at the end.
And in Afghanistan, we had to take this very aggressive chemo cocktail to get to the point that it would make people stop fighting.
I went into the first round with a bad case.
I had a very bad case of leukemia.
I felt really, really sick, but I kept trying to keep going.
And then I started to see a lot more of my patients.
They started to look like me, so I went back into my office and started getting some blood tests, and my blood tests said something else: that they were in better shape than I was.
I got a call from a nurse, and she said, Dr. Amira, I just had a blood test.
And this is the most important thing.
They said, I think that the patient that we’re seeing is on the chemoprevention regimen.
The chemopreservation regimen is to help them fight cancer.
That’s the first step in this.
So I was just so thrilled.
And the next day, I started the second round.
And, oh, my gosh, I was feeling better, but this time, I kept losing patients.
So my first round was really tough.
And my second round was just a total disaster.
The third round was the hardest.
And when the chemox started, I felt this terrible pain in my neck.
And it just didn’t stop.
The next thing I knew, my neck was swollen to the size of a football.
My blood was red and my heart was pounding so hard that my husband had to come home from work at 3 in the morning and drive me to the hospital.
I wasn’t even able to walk.
I could barely stand up.
I just collapsed in the hospital bed.
I don’t know how long I was on chemox.
The last thing I remember is waking up at home.
I’m sitting on my bed, and there’s this huge, gaping hole in my chest.
My heart is pounding.
It felt like a million bucks, and they told me I had pneumonia.
And they took me out of the hospital, and now my heart is beating again.
And after a few weeks, I woke up and it had completely healed.
And at that point, I realized: Oh, my God, I’m alive.
It took me a few months before I was able to see my husband again, and then my husband came home and I met him and he said, What happened to you?
I said, Well, my heart’s beating again, but now my neck is swollen to this size, and that’s why I’m dying.
And his words were: You’re dying.
But it’s not just my neck that’s swollen.
There are all kinds of other muscles that are swollen, too.
And there’s a certain type of cancer called metastatic, which has metastatic spread