My best friend, lover, partner and wife, died on December 13, of 2009 as a result of an autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant, after her four plus year battle with
diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a severe blood cancer.
It’s a 180 year old medical and political thriller, if you’re not privy to this information, read on:
It began with an 1832 paper published and written by a gifted British physician and pathologist, way ahead of his time named Thomas Hodgkin.
Hodgkin‘s paper, entitled “On Some Morbid Appearances of the Absorbent Glands and Spleen,” was the first peer-reviewed publication of described abnormalities of the lymph system.
35 years later, on December 24, 1898, 225 km southeast of Melbourne in Yarram Victoria, Australia a child is born to Benjamin J Willis a bank accountant and his wife Mary whom they named Rupert Allan Willis.
Rupert Allan (RA) Willis was an Australian born scientist who earned a BS, an MB, an M.D. and a D.Sc., at The University Of Melbourne.
Another brilliant scientist, way ahead of his time, Willis became a Rockefeller Foundation fellow in 1933, wrote “The Spread of Tumours in the Human Body” in 1934 and was awarded the David Syme research prize in 1935.
“The Spread of Tumours in the Human Body” was published in 1952, 18 years after it’s writing, and is where Willis is credited with the widely accepted definition of the term neoplasm: “an abnormal mass of tissue, the growth of which exceeds and is uncoordinated with that of the normal tissues, and persists in the same excessive manner after cessation of the stimulus which evoked the change.”
Jump 30 more years, to 1982, by now it is being called “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma” and classified according to a working formulation that recognized 16 different types.
Now, we’ll begin to move a little more slowly.
It was introduced by “pro-lifer” and Republican right wing nut ”hizzoner,” Representative Jay Dickey, and his partner in crime, another ”pro-life” right wing nut conservative Republican, and a former member of the House of Representatives, now Senator, Roger Wicker (thanks to yet ANOTHER Republican right wing nut, Mississippi Governor ) Haley Barbour.
I think you may see where I’m going with this, if not read on:
With the Dickey-Wicker Amendment as law, the United States fell woefully behind the rest of the world in this critical area of medicine.
Leaving the political arena, just for the moment, let’s catch up on the medical side.
Skip forward 15 years to 2001, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is still law, and now the 3rd edition of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues” is published.
Look what has happened, it’s 2001, the dawn of the 21st century, and yet, it took 120 years to turn “Hodgkin’s disease,” and 169 years to differentiate it to “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma”then to neoplasms, and what we’ve finally simply come to call “Lymphoma.”
OK, back to politics:
Agrrhh, and as the bard say’s, here comes the rub…..
Bush, ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH!
Well, almost, he almost goes as far as saying so in this address to the nation, on August 9, 2001, I’ve entitled:
Yep, HE PUSSIED OUT, and changed what was left of my life forever!
At precisely 10:05 PM, EDT, from the comfort of his ranch, in Crawford Texas, Bush addressed the nation on this critical issue and in the final minute of a ten minute speech, he gets to the rub:
“Eight years ago, scientists believed fetal tissue research offered great hope for cures and treatments, yet the progress to date has not lived up to its initial expectations. Embryonic stem cell research offers both great promise and great peril, so I have decided we must proceed with great care.
As a result of private research, more than 60 genetically diverse stem cell lines already exist. They were created from embryos that have already been destroyed, and they have the ability to regenerate themselves indefinitely, creating ongoing opportunities for research.
I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life-and-death decision has already been made.
Leading scientists tell me research on these 60 lines has great promise that could lead to breakthrough therapies and cures.
This allows us to explore the promise and potential of stem cell research
while allowing me to pussy out without crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human embryos that have at least the potential for life.
I was appalled, but I didn’t yet know how closely these words would strike.
The debate over embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) has motivated and reinvigorated the pro-life movement, whose members are concerned with the rights and status of the embryo as an early-aged human life.
They believe that embryonic stem cell research violates the sanctity of life and is tantamount to murder, the fundamental assertion of those who oppose embryonic stem cell research is the belief that human life is inviolable, combined with the fact that human life begins when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell to form a single cell, though an embryo is only human once it has developed cells that perform human functions.
A portion of stem cell researchers use embryos that were created but not used in in vitro fertility treatments to derive new stem cell lines.
Most of these embryos are to be destroyed, or stored for long periods of time, long past their viable storage life.
In the United States alone, there have been estimates of at least 400,000 such embryos.
This has led some opponents of abortion, such as people as diverse as right wing Senator Orrin Hatch, to support human embryonic stem cell research.
On the other side of the debate the batshit, “pro-life” Republican right wing nut‘s argue about ”commodification,” an impressive sounding term indeed, however it is co-opted from the Marxist understanding of a commodity and yes, technically speaking human beings can be considered subject to commodification in contexts such as genetic engineering, social engineering, cloning, eugenics, social Darwinism, Fascism mass marketing, and even employment.
An extreme case of commodification is slavery, where human beings themselves become a commodity to be sold and bought.
Similarly, the use of non-human animals for food, clothing, entertainment, or testing, represents the commodification of other living beings.
I don’t like his politics, I didn’t vote for him and like most liberal and progressive Democrat’s I’ve always despised him.
However, in researching this topic, my view of his political savvy began to change.
Remember the text of the speech from August 9 2001, where he IS willing to USE the example of “without crossing a fundamental moral line by providing taxpayer funding that would sanction or encourage further destruction of human life…”
So according to “Dubya” the potential taking of one human life from an embryo already pre-determined to be destroyed, or stored for long periods of time, long past their viable storage life is a de-facto non starter, period.
“Operation Iraqi Liberation” (O.I.L.), appears to have been, in the words of some, “the worst foreign policy disaster in American history.”
The U.S. has been mired in Iraq for a good eight years, with a steady “trickle” of dead U.S. soldiers, a horrible flow of maimed U.S. soldiers, a disastrous flood of dead and displaced Iraqi civilians, and ongoing monetary costs that boggle the mind.
As of July 19, 2011, Anti-War Dotcom says 33,139 dead with 4335 since Bush announced “Mission Accomplished,” 3615 since Bush announced “The Handover,” and 246 since Obama was inaugurated, with 46 since February 17, 2010, when U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that as of September 1, 2010, the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom” would be replaced by “Operation New Dawn.” (Oh. New. Dead.).
According to Wikipedia, it’s even crazier, somewhere between ONE HUNDRED AND TEN THOUSAND AND ONE MILLION THIRTY THREE THOUSAND:
The one source I do trust, WikiLeaks now has me puzzled, as they say:
104,924 recorded IRAQI DEATHS INCLUDING 66,081 civilian deaths, but, not a word about Americans.
The most recent figure quoted above are from The WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs, dated October 22, 2010.
And this idiot, Bush actually limited the use of taxpayer money to only the 60 stem cell lines that had been produced before his decision.
He argued he was defending human life because days-old embryos – although typically from fertility clinics and already destined for destruction – are destroyed to create the stem cell lines.
Well, as much as I despised him for this, I would eventually come to despise him more!
Enough politics, back to medicine:
In September of 2005, Patti was diagnosed with what we were still calling “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.”
By 2007, Patti was on her second round of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, of 22
doses of per round, and we were still calling it “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.”
This is when the “cancer quacks” began swarming like lambs to the slaughter, when Patti
was first diagnosed in late 2005, prior to her death in December of 2009.
Patti and I had been together as partners and best friends for 33 years, since I was 17….
By 2006 when she was diagnosed, we were the best of friends.
Then along comes Eric Rentz a DO, a real “quack,”
Run a “Google” search on this guy, he was the initial offender and a paramount “Cancer “quack.”
Here, allow me:
(See? colloidal silver and a ragbag batch of other “alternative” therapies)
By mid-2007, after her the diagnosis which required chemo and radiation treatments, he had told Patti her Lymph nodes were swollen because she had eaten a rotten Apple she had left in her car which had “infected” her with a “fungus.”
She was desperate, as most cancer victims are for any kind of a miracle cure or “alternative” diagnosis.
I told her not to listen to this guy, that he was a “quack” and persuaded her to continue to see her Oncologists, and if she HAD too, simultaneous and always secondarily, go ahead and allow these homeopathic health hucksters to sell her “potions.”
So void of any real story (or social skills) I won’t bore you with HER details, if you’re interested in Ms Anmuth’s story, simply click here or read our article entitled:
Patti and I discussed the so called, “grief counselor” on many an occasion.
Although it was Patti who was the sick one, she felt the poor, sad, and lonely Ms Anmuth needed a friend even worse than she needed to be left alone, so she relented to having Ms. Anmuth accompany her to a few chemotherapy sessions, and religious services.
It became the bane of numerous jokes, during private moments between us.
I decided better she be upbeat, with a fighting spirit than downtrodden, besides it wasn’t my body, if she chose to spend a few of her last moments helping another, less fortunate woman, who lacks basic social skills, then so be it.
This was the way Patti was, always thinking of the other guy.
As for the cancer “quacks“ who took money, well, I knew these were hustlers, but what’s a few hundred dollars compared to your best friend and partner’s peace of mind?
Anyway, after her diagnosis with it’s inclusive chemo and radiation treatments, the real doctors were talking potential autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant, although they weren’t calling it that, just “stem cell transplant”as if such a procedure could possibly be “generic.”
NHL is an aggressive blood cancer with a poor prognosis and low long-term recovery rates, particularly for Patti, who was 66.
Patti didn’t know this, and I was scared.
I honestly didn’t know what to do, as this “quack,” (Rentz) was still giving her false hope, with his “fungal infections” and homeopathic prescriptions and potions.
What finally pushed me over the line, was his “Apple has given you a fungus theory” for which he “prescribed” her to drink his “potion” made of magical “natural green herbs” mixed with her own saliva, urine and blood.
Mind you, he was “working” in Florida, with no medical license.
He pulled a “vial” of blood (about 10 ml’s or cc’s) and had her mix a few drops with a little of her saliva, urine and his “magical natural green plant potion.”
Well, the “magical natural green plant” was simple wheat grass juice so the “potion” was no more than grass juice mixed with her very own saliva, blood and urine.
At this point he was charging $500.00 per visit!
I mean, why not?
Somebody had to pay for his flight, hotel and meals!
Why not my best friend, partner and me?
Patti and I had shared and pooled our money since 1977.
So now, here we are in 2007, still calling it “Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.”
Finally, in 2008, the WHO reclassified it to simply “Lymphoma.”
From an abstract, written by Elaine S Jaffe M.D. an Oncologist at The Center For Cancer Research, a branch of the National Cancer Institue, in Bethesda, MD, comes the following:
The 4th edition of the WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues published in 2008 builds upon the success of the 2001 3rd edition; new entities are defined, and solutions for problematic categories are sought. Recent studies have drawn attention to the biological overlap between classical Hodgkin lymphoma (CHL) and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL).
Similarly, there is a greater appreciation of the borderlands between Burkitt lymphoma and DLBCL.
Strategies for the management of these borderline lesions are proposed.
Additionally, age-specific and site-specific factors play an important role in the definition of several new entities, which also have biological underpinnings. Among the peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL), more precise definitions were introduced for several entities, including anaplastic large cell lymphoma, angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, enteropathy-associated T-cell lymphoma, and subcutaneous panniculitis-like T-cell lymphoma.
Several new variants of primary cutaneous T-cell lymphomas are proposed.
Finally, the sub-classification and categorization of the most common lymphoma subtypes, follicular lymphoma (FL) and DLBCL, were altered to enhance diagnostic accuracy and aid in clinical management.
The 2008 WHO classification also draws attention to early events in lymphomagenesis.
These lesions help delineate the earliest steps in neoplastic transformation and generally mandate a conservative therapeutic approach.
The 2001 classification was rapidly adopted for clinical trials and successfully served as a common language for scientists comparing genetic and functional data.
The modifications made in the 2008 classification are the result of this successful partnership among pathologists, clinicians, and biologists, but are only a stepping stone to the future. (End)
Here is how crazy politics is, the NIH IS The Center For Cancer Research, THEY ARE The National Cancer Institute, it’s located at Walter Freakin’ Reed National Military Medical Center, a merger of TWO Government Hospitals, the former Walter Reed Army Hospital and The National Naval Medical Center.
I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, I swear!
So here we are, the aforementioned abstract was written in early 2009, Patti had recently completed her THIRD ROUND of chemo and radiation and lost her hair for the third time, although by now, we were used to that part, but now the Oncologists had discovered the cancer had invaded every major organ in her body and she WOULD NOW REQUIRE the autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT), except THEY STILL weren’t calling it that, still just “stem cell transplant.”
Well, by now, I knew exactly what it was, I quit work in 2005, immediately after Patti’s diagnosis was confirmed by a second opinion
Anyway, we’re coming to the rub….
It’s now early in 2009 and Patti is preparing for her “stem cell transplant.”
Oncologists in the know were looking forward to President Obama allowing federal taxpayer dollars to fund significantly broader research on embryonic stem cells.
Indeed, before a packed audience in the east room of the White House on Monday, March 9, 2009 he said he was revoking his “predecessors directive, as medical miracles do not happen simply by accident,” and promised his administration would make up for any ground lost.
Unfortunately, it’s too late for my best friend,the most valuable person by far to me on this planet and in life.
Patti had taken the most desperate measure possible, she had gone religious.
Some days Patti could barely eat, walk or talk, but at least three nights a week she had begun going to temple and had decided to go to Israel, and “get right with God.”
I was dismayed, I thought perhaps she was actually giving in and getting prepared to die, as she prepared for a trip to “the holy land” (Israel).
I didn’t know how right I was.
She left and returned in August and almost immediately made plans to go to New York for the transplant procedure.
We spent her last night in town together.
I took her to her favorite restaurant, plied her with Crystal Rose Champagne until neither one of us could drink any more, and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
It was the last time I was ever to see her healthy and one of our best times together.
She was full of hope for a healthy future.
Me, I was scared.
I wanted to tell her to try one more round of chemo and radiation to try arrest the development long enough for Obama to send Kathleen Sebelius, his recently appointed head of HHS to court and overturn Dickey-Wicker.
But at this point the Oncologist’s were firm.
The date was set.
She left towards the end of August and the procedure took six weeks.
Slowly extracting (aspherising) the multi-potent hematopoietic stem cells and harvesting them.
Treating them both in vitro and her in vivo with high doses of chemotherapy and her with radiation with the intent of eradicating her malignant cell population at the cost of partial or complete marrow ablation.
Her white count fell to 70,…70!
Then, her own stored stem cells were returned to her body, slowly, approximately 1/2 pint at a time where they hopefully had replaced the destroyed tissue and helped her to resume her own normal blood cell production.
We were only able to speak to her through a glass partition as due to the high risk of infection, she had to remain in isolation for the entire procedure.
She remained so positive and upbeat, even though she could barely move, speak eat or breath.
The doctors took a sample at the point after completion of the procedure where they’re hoping the patients white count has risen to 5000!
We all waited, tensely for the outcome.
Unfortunately this was the last good news we were to get.
Patti returned home in late November and I told her to take rest up in bed I would wait upon her hand and foot.
The next morning I awoke and she was gone!
I went running to our office to speak with our secretary and bookkeeper to see if they knew anything and to my astonishment and surprise, there was Patti, behind her desk.
I immediately sent her, and I’m glad I did, she was exhausted.
Three nights later she couldn’t hold any food down, she was up vomitting all night.
The next day, December 4, 2009 we rushed her to a local Fort Lauderdale hospital, Holy Cross, where our primary care physician, Harold Mellin, and a great childhood friend, Marty Grossman, the Chief Of Surgery at Aventura Memorial Hospital in Miami, had gathered to meet with us.
We were told the transplant had “killed her immune system” and three days later she fell into a coma, they placed her on a respirator and six days later, on December 13, 2009 she was gone.
I was devastated,
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I was contacted by a childhood acquaintance who said she was going to come in from California with her family to “help me heal.”
This was the new age narcissistic neophyte and alternative medicine charlatan who spams the Internet, combining Chopra’s preposterous Quantum healing with Vianna Stibal’s ludicrous “Theta healing“ known here at The Junction, (and elsewhere) as
James Hyman and his self anointed over weight and over bearing “practice manager,” ex-wife, Barbara, were next on the hustle.
Unbelievably the pseudoscience health fraud hucksters had gathered again!
Talk about “quacks”
James Hyman The Quantum Quack, Quacks Again!
The rest of the story is fairly long, if you care you may read about the Hyping Hyman’s hilarious homeopathic health hoax here:
Oh, and todays most excellent FB posts, by our “partner:”
Rob Halprin ”Why is it when we talk to God, we’re said to be praying – but when God talks to us, we’re schizophrenic?” -Lily Tomlin4 hours ago ·
Rob Halprin ”Ocean: A body of water occupying 2/3 of a world made for man — who has no gills.” -Ambrose Bierce4 hours ago ·
Rob Halprin ”Truth in matters of religion, is simply opinion that has survived.” -Oscar Wilde4 hours ago ·
How Lame is that “like” button?