by Peter Freyne
And I just heard for the 10th fricken’ time that I "looked really good" on the “Vermont This Week” reporters' rountable on Vermont Public TV this weekend.
Hadn't been on in a couple months - not since the visual effects of the ol' cancer chemo started to kick in.
You guys/gals are very, very sweet, BUT, I watched the program, too. Not all of it, just as much as I could take. And I didn’t think I looked so bloody good. Fellow panelists Kristin Carlson from Ch. 3 and Bob Kinzel from Vermont Public Radio - now, they looked good!
Ah, Pedro, is that really you?
With most of my hair fallen out, my beard gone and the “other state-of-beingness” that I’ve found to be a byproduct of the, so far, marvelous R-CHOP cancer chemotherapy, it was a wee shock for meself to see meself. [I'm slowly getting used to it.]
In fact, since VTW Host Stewart Ledbetter had announced on the program weeks ago that yours truly had come down with cancer, I expected he’d bring up the "C" subject before the end of the program. Make some reference. Television is, after all, a “visual” medium, is it not?
Besides, it was a big cancer week newswise with Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow going public with their latest cancer diagnoses.
But Ol’ Stew pretended nothing had changed and it was the same old me. even though I obviously looked. and I think, sounded a bit different. In fact, I lost my train of thought at one point - drugs will do that to you.
C’mon Stew. We talk about it in public now. And the more we talk about cancer in public, the quicker we’ll develop better, more effective tools/strategies to beat it.
Thank you, Elizabeth.
Thank you, Tony.
The New York Times had a great cancer series on Sunday including an eye-opener by a dude named Ralph Moss, a weekly cancer newsletter-writer from State College, Pennsylvania:
WE could make faster progress against cancer by changing the way drugs are developed. In the current system, if a promising compound can’t be patented, it is highly unlikely ever to make it to market — no matter how well it performs in the laboratory. The development of new cancer drugs is crippled as a result.
The reason for this problem is that bringing a new drug to market is extremely expensive. In 2001, the estimated cost was $802 million; today it is approximately $1 billion. To ensure a healthy return on such staggering investments, drug companies seek to formulate new drugs in a way that guarantees watertight patents. In the meantime, cancer patients miss out on treatments that may be highly effective and less expensive to boot.
In 2004, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that an off-the-shelf compound called 3-bromopyruvate could arrest the growth of liver cancer in rats. The results were dramatic; moreover, the investigators estimated that the cost to treat patients would be around 70 cents per day. Yet, three years later, no major drug company has shown interest in developing this drug for human use. More here.
Ah, well, I sure "feel" much better than I think I "look." That's what counts. Eating well, gaining a few pounds back.
So far, the drug that stimulates production of white blood cells - the must-have infection-fighters - is doing its job well. And this steroid-thingy whatever it’s called, I think I’m starting to like.
And meeting and chatting with more and more people with whom I now share the ol’ cancer connection has been a wonderfully mind-opening and enriching experience.
Talk about "getting real," eh?