Today is our 35th wedding anniversary.I don’t know what else to add.I miss her terribly.So do many of you.She was something special.
Progress is being made against cancer; my hopes are
rising.But ovarian cancer seems to be
one of the toughest nuts to crack.I put
most of my paltry charitable contributions toward ovarian cancer research.It may not make much difference, but it makes
me feel better.Maybe you should, too.
Our 45th President has proposed a huge reduction
in the NIH budget.That cannot be
allowed to stand.Contact Congress.
I reviewed, and presumably read, this book last year (http://ljb-quiltcutie.blogspot.com/2016/03/warts-and-all.html),
but now I wonder if it truly WAS the same book.This time through I encountered so many important passages, topics and
zingers that I didn’t remember that at one point I checked to see if I was
reading a second edition!(I
wasn’t).I’m afraid the explanation is
that my power of concentration has slipped a little in the 50 or so years since
I left school.Ya think?
Anyway, the bottom line is that you really should read this
book if you possibly can.If anybody
exists who has more right to an opinion on these subjects than the author, he
or she must be a hermit sitting on a sunny rock outside a cave high in the
mountains, in constant communication with God!I can’t do justice to the book without writing a very long review, which
neither you nor I would enjoy, so here are some highlights:
The pace of drug development currently is such that most
cancers can be rendered non-fatal by converting them into chronic diseases, or
It almost always is a mistake to “give up” on a cancer
patient, because that fast pace of drug development may spew out an effective
remedy at any time.
The FDA is in great need of reorganization.Too slow, too cautious, too bureaucratic, too
like a mass of roots clogging a sewer line.According to the author, Obamacare will make matters worse – but the
Donald will fix that, won’t he?Ha!
Two things that disappoint me about this book:
discussion of where the money for all this will come from.
2)No discussion of ovarian cancer, at all.
you, Dr. DeVita, for a valuable book, and a lifetime well spent.
It's a good flower season here in Borrego right now,
and half the world is here to enjoy it
However, this is about platelets, not flowers
This is encouraging news, and a good use of Moonshot money.Platelets are the little cellular firemen who
dash in to combat problems; they cause blood clotting.Some smart guys have figured out how to
combine platelets with immunotherapy drugs.That way when a solid tumor is removed surgically these platelets, eager to help, surge
to the sight of the wound, and in the process cause any escaped cancer cells to
croak.Not a breakthrough, but progress.
I’m not exactly recommending this article; more like
bringing it to your attention.If you
want a painless, science-free summary of the development of cloning technology
and the politico-ethical war over stem cells, waste a few minutes on this.Otherwise, take a nap.I usually rave about Economist articles, but
not this one.It appears possible that
Donald Trump has thrown the Economist into a tizzy.Not only can they write of little else, and
without their customary touch of irony – they are sending me the magazine here
in Borrego, while simultaneously informing me by increasingly frantic emails
that copies sent to Bellingham are being returned and that they will have no
option other than to suspend my subscription.It is said that “elections have consequences”.Who knew this might be one?
blog will be depressing well beyond anything I have ever written.I won’t post it anywhere other than
here.If you are having a happy day and
don’t want to spoil it, stop reading r now.
What, still there?Well, you have been warned.
I have been wallowing in gloomy thoughts today.Why, I don’t know; my aches and pains are no
worse than usual, my bird feeders are aswarm with little creatures of a dozen
descriptions, and the weather is warm, clear – and, of course, windy.I get to go home to PNW weather in less than
a month.Joanne is feeding me
tomorrow.I’m having dinner at the
Moaning Mongoose next Thursday with Paul and Mary.So what’s the problem?
Hell, I don’t know.Whatever it is, I have devoted most of the day to thinking about my good
friends who have died of cancer.
First there was Dr. Norman Watkins, way back in the 1970s.He died of colorectal cancer in his 40s.Norm was a pioneer paleomagnetist, making big
waves.He was fearless, and he made some
enemies.We will never know what he
might have done, given the time. Lots, I think.
And then there was Dr. Robert Speed, a geologist mostly
associated with Northwestern University.Bob was one of a very few go-to guys where Cordilleran geology was
concerned.I met him at Stanford, and
worked with him in Nevada and the Caribbean.Bob was the only guy I have ever met who could really enjoy a very hot
beer at the end of the day – hot because we had forgotten to stick the beer in
the ice chest that morning.Bob died of
melanoma at about age 70.He had just
My golfing mentor, Dr. Richard Levin, died at about that
same age (70), of a kind of cancer I cannot characterize other than to say that
it was recurrent and affected the mouth.Rich was a math professor at my university, and perhaps the nicest, most
patient, gentlest man I have ever met.
Next came my lifelong friend, Dr. Samuel J. Sims.I first encountered Sam on a high school
football field.I went to Caltech and
Stanford with him, down mines with him, into drinking establishments, low and
high, safe and unsafe, with him.He may
qualify as my best – long-term – friend.Sam died a few years ago, of what I believe may be called soft-tissue
sarcoma.He was a great guy.
And finally comes the death of Dr. Robert Keller a few days
ago, of something called “Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation”, a very rare,
and invariably fatal, condition most often caused by cancer.Bob was a history professor at Fairhaven
College, a part of WWU. He also was the
person who introduced me to mountaineering
in the Cascades, and with whom I first explored the Wind River Range of
Wyoming.He was a unique and enigmatic
(to me) character about whom much more should be written.
So, five good friends dead of cancer – and all younger than
me! I am approaching 84.Somewhere I think I read that a person’s
probability of dying of cancer roughly doubles with every decade of life.If so there may be dozens of cancerous mutations
lurking in my DNA, waiting to pounce.I
have written nearly 500 blogs about ovarian cancer, but OVCA can’t get me.If some other cancer does, I hope I have the
courage to spit in its eye.
But I would rather be hit by a bus.
You will have noticed that I made no mention of another cancer
death above, that of my beloved wife, Linda, at only 65 years of age.The guys enumerated above were important
friends; Linda was an essential part of my core existence.I have been stumbling on without her for
almost six years now, often wondering why it was that Fate took her and not
me.Hell, I was 78 and good for very
little; she was just beginning a productive, creative, joyful retirement.If fate had spared both of us, what fun we
would have had!And now, as I stumble
toward helplessness, she would have been here to help.
If you don’t know what the acronym USPSTF means, you haven’t
been taking me seriously.It stands for
United States Preventative Services Task Force and I have written about it
frequently, with usually a negative twist.I also have discussed evidence that indicates, fairly convincingly, that
a daily small dose of aspirin significantly reduces the probability of
contracting cancers of various sorts, including ovarian.Well, the USPSTF – which generally tosses wet
blankets on prevention/early detection protocols because of cost, false
positives and the like – has surprised me by recommending the aspirin