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24 October, 2002
The Media Desk
[ OK. I've told the story four times and typed it twice in two days and I'm sick of it. So I'll step back into Dr. Leftover the Journalist and run it down hard and fast, and some would say: coldly. ]
There are NEW spots. Some of the old spots may have gotten larger. The number, size, and locations of the new spots are irrelevant, they are there, that's enough.
The cancer didn't even notice the Taxotere which she has just had half a dozen treatments of since it is a cousin to Taxol which it had already seen. There is no indication the bone-enhancing drug she has been on is working or not working. The anti-estrogen drugs she had been taking until she started this last chemo were evidently a total failure.
He is going to order a CT scan of some of the spots, probably in her back, to see how much bone is left in the vertebrae that are almost fully involved. She is at risk for breaking a bone due to the cancer in them.
They are switching her chemo to something that is brand new and that she has never had before. Gemzar, it is a chemo drug previously used for lung and pancreatic cancer. Since her cancer has never been subjected to anything like it before he is hoping it will respond to it. While supposedly milder to the system while working against the cancer cells, its side effects read like the Greatest Hits list of the last four she's had.
Her last blood work is encouraging. While the tumor marker is still high, another indication of continued spread, she is not as anemic (she has been on one of the anti-anemia drugs for a month now), her white cell count is up, and some of the other factors are either in the low normal range or just below what is considered normal. Her weight is more or less stable, and her outlook until she received this latest news was what could be called positive. After the news, guess. She has been in pain now and then from the pressure on various nerves in her back from the cancer, something that had been lessening, but now it is returning and is more noticeable more of the time. She is still tired more often than not and gets overwhelmed by events, noise, or smells easily.
On the doctor's advice she has applied for Social Security Disability but the paperwork and endless repetitive questions and all from them is almost as bad as the disease. There is no estimate as to when or if she might start getting a check. She is unable to work, even if she felt like it, the doctor doesn't want her exposed to too many people and their germs.
The good news is that Coventry Healthcare hasn't had a fit lately. Johns Hopkins is still threatening to turn her over to a collection agency for a billing snafu that was the hospital's fault, but the Insurance paid part of that bill so they are happier than they were.
The Girls know more about what's going on than they did. The Oldest (to be 14 next month) wonders how this will affect her. The Youngest (just turned 12) took it hard but is dealing with it, she has been in counseling since spring to help get through it. Both are doing OK in school and are involved in some outside activities.
As for Dr. Leftover. He is still working nightmare hours at his second job at the shelter [total hours for two weeks on paycheck dated 10/11: 108.5 (80 regular, 28.5 OT). Coming check 10/25: Estimated in excess of 90 hours] just to keep the bills even. The website, The Media Desk broke 25,000 hits for September. The community service outfit he belongs to the USS RAVEN (IFT) and their church has been helping out finding the girls something to do and, in the case of the RAVEN, a never-ending series of strangeness that most civilians may never understand. The church has been bringing a meal now and again, one of the ladies stops by and helps Mrs. Desk with some housework once in awhile, and so on, but things are still getting further behind every week since her in-laws left earlier this month.
Household wise, some things aren't getting done that perhaps should. The girl's fishtank has some new small colorful residents. And the dog Taffy is Mrs. Desk's constant companion. Mr. Jon delivered a rebuilt computer for the girl's schoolwork, but the printer they were to get has seen better days, it will have to be replaced.
All in all. The family appears to be holding their own against it all... and except for the slow progression of the cancer... things would be all right.
[Please forward this to any other interested party. thank you.]
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.' "-selah-
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