Medical History -
Is the first diagnosis ever questioned?
Personal Case History
Cancer - Overdue Diagnosis
Presumption - charted disease only needs extended treatment?
Patronize - a doctor knows more about disease than a patient?
Schedule - hurry to another patient?
Doctors' rationale for their actions may be in question. Whatever the reason is not in question here.
The point is that a human being is suffering because cancer was discovered too late.
This is a real case.
In June 1996 I started recognizing differences in my body. My monthly periods had stopped, I was always tired and because of this lethargy, I was not maintaining a weight I'd held for years. My body ached.
Knowing something must be happening I went to my doctor for a check up. After a blood draw for thyroid testing I was told it was just that my hypothyroidism was acting up again and my doctor changed the dose. Upon moving away from the area I decided I needed to resolve this as I was NOT improving.
Two years, six doctors and a metabolism expert later I was still battling chronic fatigue, no periods and body aches - and all the doctors wanted to test was my thyroid.
Frustrated, I return to my original doctor, who upon opening my chart states, "What the hell have they been doing to you?" He ran a "blood screen", a simple blood analysis. Then I get a call telling me that the laboratory botched the test, could I return for yet another needle poke. The results of this test confirmed his suspicion that I had an unusual protein spike. I relay to him that I'm on a Protein Only diet. "No", he says, "This has nothing to do with a diet. We need to schedule you for a bone biopsy."
Weak in the knees, this was not the answer I had been searching to find for the past two years. Upon meeting the Hematologist/Oncologist my heart sank. He presented such a gloomy outlook, such a dismal scenario and I hadn't even had the biopsy yet.
When I heard the results, this is what I was told. You have had Multiple Myeloma for about two years. The cancer (bone marrow cancer) has metastasized through 45% of your body.
We recommend three avenues of treatment; one is to just treat the cancer as best as we can with drugs we have available; two is to start a search for a bone marrow donor; and three is to have a Stem Cell Re-infusion.
The best outcome would be to have a bone marrow transplant, BUT because we have so much cancer to kill, your immune system will be so depleted that you stand about a 2% chance of survival - you probably won't leave the hospital alive.
The next would be the stem cell re-infusion where we harvest healthy stem cells from your body, freeze them, kill your bone marrow and then re-infuse the healthy stem cells and thereby curing you.
|Scared, heightened by my doctor's "You're Gonna Die" attitude, I opted for the Stem Cell Re-infusion. He told me to put my final directives in order, my will, and to send for family to help me with the effects of the chemotherapy, re-infusion, and home care after the procedure. "What's my prognosis?" He looks at me weepy-eyed and says, "No more than three years."|
For the next four months I wore a belly-bag that held a chemo-pump, swallow a bazillion pills from steroids to antibiotics and then in August I have two doses of high chemo, come home for three days, and then I'm admitted to the hospital to wait while my red blood counts can continue to rebuild to a healthy number.
All the while I am vomiting up anything I try to eat. The chemo had deadened my taste buds and wet cardboard was all I could taste. I didn't see my doctor until close to three weeks later as he was never the on-call, so other doctors were prescribing this drug and that drug, and how-about-this drug to calm my stomach and give me a chance to actually digest some food. The IV food started causing sores all over my body, so that had to be stopped.
Odansetron, a supposedly strong anti-nausea drug, was attempted, but at $130.00 a pill it did nothing. I begged and pleaded with my doctor to let me go home, once home I could start to eat. He wanted to know what I could do at home that would work when I was getting the best drugs available at the hospital and they weren't working. I simply said, "I want to go home and smoke a joint."
|He released me and within two days I was keeping my food down. Of course, he states it was just the other drugs finally kicking in. The stem cell re-infusion was not as successful as he had hoped. My numbers had only dropped fractionally. Now we had to just hope that we could keep me alive for another year or so as all that I'd bought with the stem cell was about a years' time.|
The story doesn't end here.
But there is a very serious point to be considered.
Further words from the same real case - quote: "My attitude has changed because my new doctor knows that patient care must include the psyche too. We are hopeful and in just a couple of months I will have beat the first doctor's deathbed of three years...and still kicking!
It is important to all patients, that if you believe in the nasty critter that has made a home in your body, then you feed it. By voiding it into the toilet or telling yourself you still have too much LIFE TO LIVE you take bigger strides in your cure than the doctors....
Cancer can be devastating to the body, but why should we allow it to rule our minds and life as well? Eat vitamins, breathe fresh air, take walks in the sunshine, live your life. I'm not scared to die, I've been very fortunate in my life with great friends, travel, love of my son, etc.,
it's how my body will shut down ultimately that frightens me...
if I let it!
Now we have an idiot (Reagan) in the White House who presumes to tell me, a woman, that he's going to try to put women back where they belong, barefoot and pregnant.
Does he realize how I would love to be that fortunate?"