Only it wasn't. Six weeks after learning she has anal cancer, Fawcett, 59, is two-thirds of the way through a difficult six-week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. Having undergone radiation every weekday since Oct. 13, Fawcett is dealing with normal but grueling side effects: fatigue, nausea, sleeplessness and pain. Though she still sometimes drives herself to the hospital, which is near her home, she's often accompanied by Ryan O'Neal, 65. Their son Redmond, 26, and her father, James, 89, have also been tending to her. At one point the pain—"like a very, very bad sunburn on the inside," she told Nevius—was so extreme she considered taking a break for a few days. "But when she realized that would also give the cancer a break," he adds, "she decided to move forward." Perhaps toward better days. Says Nevius: "Her doctors feel she's responding well."