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8 July 2002
The Media Desk
As most of the regular readers of the Desk know, its wife has had metastatic breast cancer since early in 1999. She has had a mastectomy, a full round of chemotherapy including Adriamycin (the infamous 'red devil'), Cytoxan, and Taxal (Taxol?), radiation, carrot juice, hormones (and anti-hormones), a second surgery, bone enhancing drugs, and an experimental treatment at Johns Hopkins.
All which has proved useless. The disease has now spread to the majority of her vertebrae from the mid thoracic area well down into the lumbar, several large spots on her pelvis, and at least two spots on her left and right femur, and possibly to her sternum and a few other outlying places.
Now she essentially starts all the treatments all over again: Radiation directed at the main concentrations of disease in her spine and pelvis. Chemotherapy with a variation of Taxal. More hormones. And other treatments as the doctors think her condition requires.
Mrs. Desk was 38 years old at her original diagnoses something over three years ago. In her surgery the doctor took 14 lymph nodes.
The pathology on the tumor was grim. The report on the nodes worse, it was in 13 of them.
If you took the textbook worse case scenario for breast cancer.... then took one step back... maybe half a step... THAT is what she has.
So far one of the ranking best medical oncologists going has thrown everything in the war chest at her cancer. To no avail. The Best Hospital In America- has failed. Nothing has worked.
Inspirational greeting cards.
Everything except the 'green health ray machine'. (long story there, don't ask)
And this cancer hasn't even noticed.
With the Desk's permission GOD in all HIS manifestations has been inundated.
Wiccan priestesses have sent her 'white energy'.
Catholic candles have been burned.
Hindus and Muslims have prayed for her.
Conservative Born Again TV Preacher types have mentioned her.
There was even a prayer stuck into the Wailing Wall on her behalf.
GOD listened. Her faith is strong and her will still unbroken.
The Cancer didn't.
Now. The Prognoses.
Well. It is this simple.
The version of Taxal they are using this time around is about the best they have under these conditions. It has a success rate between forty and fifty percent in stopping the spread of the tumors. They start her on it in two weeks, after the course of radiation she is getting.
40 - 50 %
And so far exactly NOTHING they have done has impressed this disease at all including the standard version of the same drug.
IF this treatment, coupled with the radiation does not put the cancer into remission....
...they are not talking about cure here, just remission...
...if it does not work she has a life expectancy of three to five more years.
So IF and WHEN in the coming months things on the Desk are not as fresh as they should be...
2 Kings 20 1 - 6
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, "This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover."
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, "Remember, O Lord , how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the Lord , the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.' "
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