If you’re wondering why VFR has been relatively inactive over the last few days, the reason is that I had a much stronger than usual negative response to my treatment last Thursday. Since last Saturday I basically have had no energy for anything beyond lying down and sleeping, which after four days is not much fun. There seems to be no pattern to the degree of the side effects I experience from my treatment. For example, after the previous treatment, four weeks ago, I had almost no negative effects at all.
However, since I’ve brought the subject up, this might be a good time for an update on my medical situation, as the previous update was posted last fall.
The situation happily continues as before: I am still showing what the doctors call a complete response to treatment, meaning that there is no radiographic evidence of disease in the body. The pancreatic cancer tumors that filled my abdomen in early summer of 2010, and that had completely disappeared by early 2011 as a result of chemotherapy, have not come back. At the same time, the treatment continues, in order to help suppress any return of the tumors. The treatment reduces my general energy and functioning a great deal, though exactly how much varies enormously, from week to week, day to day, and hour to hour. The physical problems I have now—general weakness, weakness in the legs, and tingling and loss of sensation in the feet—are all due to the treatment, not the disease; another side effect from the treatment is that I sweat when I’m asleep, sometimes going through several T-shirts in the course of a night. My doctor expects the disease to return at some point, though when is not known. It could be next week. It could be years from now. The disease is not generally considered curable. When I’ve asked my doctor the possibility of a complete cure, given my extraordinary complete response so far, he has replied that if I die in 15 years from a car accident without having had a return of the tumors, then it could be said that I was cured. I replied: This is like what Sophocles said in Oedipus the King: never call a man happy until he’s dead.
For many months past I have had treatment every other week, instead of the original three weeks out of four. Sometimes I am given an additional week off, so that I go for three weeks without a treatment.
I have been doing so well that the company that developed the drug used in my treatment, and that is conducting the clinical study in which I am participating, interviewed me three weeks ago. They brought a full camera crew to the doctor’s office where I am treated and interviewed me for a half hour, and also interviewed my doctor. It was for an in-house motivational video. The idea was to give their employees a positive sense of the good they are achieving, and I am one of their success stories. I was glad to do anything I could to help. One thing I said in the interview was: “What has happened with me is a result of our private health care and pharmaceutical industries. The drug that you developed, and that has so far saved my life, would not have been developed in the government controlled health care industry that has been mandated through Obamacare.” I wonder if they left in that part in the interview.
I’ve received many nice notes in response to this entry. As with the original entry on this subject last June, I’m keeping the e-mails private.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 15, 2012 04:40 PM | Send