Her former TV costars rally around the actress as she fights cancer

A month and a half after learning she has anal cancer, Fawcett, 59, is two-thirds of the way through a difficult six-week regimen of chemotherapy and radiation, PEOPLE reports in its latest issue.

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, 21, and her father, James, 89, have also been tending to her.

But recently, on Nov. 1, it was Angels’ Night at Fawcett’s Beverly Hills condominium.

Just months after their triumphant reunion at the Aug. 27 Emmy Awards, Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson were doing what they’ve been doing since finding fame and friendship on Charlie’s Angels three decades ago: “Talk, laugh, gossip, have a good time and eat,” says Fawcett’s pal Craig Nevius, who produced her Chasing Farrah reality TV show. “It was just like old times,” he adds.

Her friends rallying around her has been a help at a difficult time. At one point the pain from treatment – “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 says, “she decided to move forward.” Perhaps toward better days. Adds Nevius: “Her doctors feel she’s responding well.”