Monday, May 26, 2008

The Importance of Life Extension

It's very important to me to try to overcome this cell-replication problem (called cancer) I am experiencing, esp. as I am still parenting minor children. But I'm not ignorant; I see a lot of elderly people in a lot of discomfort at the cancer center--and some feel it's a little more pain and discomfort than they want to go through, esp. after a long life. Some of them, though VERY VERY FEW (and usually men who live alone, I note), just give up. Why fight? Why work so hard on nutrition and health and changing your lifestyle just to extend your life a few years?

Here's why to fight: cancer is on the cusp of being overcome. I just had an article from AARP magazine read to me over the telephone; in it, a doctor at Dana-Farber is predicting that in as little as just TWO YEARS, we will be able to say this about one of the nastiest, deadliest forms of cancer there is: that disease USED TO kill people.

“This was one of the worst types of breast cancer, with one of the worst outcomes,” says Eric Winer, M.D., chief of breast oncology at Dana-Farber. “Now it is highly curable in many, many women with early HER-2 cancer. For those with more advanced HER-2 cancer, these drugs mean they can live years longer.”

Winer predicts that in the next two years doctors will have several more drugs that target HER-2 positive cancer. “This may be the first type of breast cancer we look back on and say, ‘This used to kill but it doesn’t anymore,’ ” he says.


So even though I have been diagnosed with the final stage of one of the nastiest, deadliest cancers, there is no reason to fear: if I can keep using the antibody the doctors give me plus the nutrition God gave us, and keep exercising my body; the resulting good health will help my body's immune system drive any cells containing this genetic typographical error out---and in JUST TWO YEARS, there may be a drug that will cure the problem ONCE AND FOR ALL.

TWO YEARS. I can't help but tear up at the words. Two years was all one with this diagnosis used to be able to expect to live. (The curve actually goes out a little higher; but in real-world observation, most of my friends have made it two years after diagnosis of metastasis. Shortest time has been two weeks. Statistically, only 50% are alive 5 years later.) But now, ALL those prognoses are WRECKED and off the table.

I am so not a cancer victim and never have been: the words "Why me?" are absolutely foreign to me. I have always felt I was the little canary in the cage, going down into the dark unknown to make sure it's safe for those to follow. I don't mind being the guinea pig, to mix my metaphors; it's a role I've had a few times in life (beginning in childhood--and definitely in jr high, when I was studied at USC for a very rare bone condition).

We are pioneers of 21st C chronic-cancer management, helping to push the test envelope so that all the warriors yet to come will have therapeutic treatment for 4th-stage cancer, not just palliative care.

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