My metastatic cancer is shrinking

The best Christmas gift I could have had

Shefali O'Hara
2 min readDec 26, 2021


Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I checked my email an hour ago and noticed an update to my Patient Portal. I checked it out. I finally got the result for my CT scan that happened a couple of weeks ago.

I had met with a nurse after the scan. I asked her about my results. She said, “you’re stable.”

Since I have metastatic lung, brain, and liver cancer — I assumed stable meant that my cancer was either not growing or growing very slowly. Because it’s very unusual for a third time cancer patient with metastatic cancer to actually see their tumors shrink.

However, when I checked out my CT scan results… my tumors have shrunk.

Not by a lot. Most have only shrunk by .1 cm. One, however, shrunk by .6 cm. That’s huge. Like, 15% smaller.

I am calling this my Christmas miracle.

I praise God for this. Frankly, the doctors have not expected me to survive.

My surgeon told me, when I asked him for an honest answer, that he expected me to live about 6 months after my brain surgery. That was 8 months ago. My oncologist didn’t want me to travel. She thought I was too fragile. My other oncologist (I’ve got two because of the extent of the metastases) expressed surprise at how well I’ve responded to radiation. However, when I asked her if she was sure she wanted to do a CT scan since that could have long term effects, she told me, “We need to worry about the short term.” In other words — chances are I wouldn’t be around for the long term.

Don’t get me wrong. My doctors are great. I am a big proponent of science, and modern medicine saves lives. But it is not the only factor.

Hopefully, anyone reading this who is suffering from a chronic condition will take heart. Don’t give up. Don’t assume that a doctor is right when they expect you to die. Miracles happen. It’s possible to beat the odds. Have faith and stay positive. Don’t give up. You have no expiration date.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.