A quick update is in order so we can also ask for specific prayer:
After reviewing the ASCO abstracts and coming across a research article that indicated Dr. Blumenschein has been having some success (complete remission) with treating inflammatory breast cancer using a combination of traditional chemotherapies, I presented the article to Dr. Patel. He briefly skimmed it, offered a terse criticism of the research methodology, and then agreed to “meditate on it” while I took my time to get comfortable with the idea of high dose chemo/stem cell rescue.
Well, the thing of it is that statistics aren’t everything. One thing they certainly aren’t is a guarantee. I like that familiar quote on our ministry web site: “statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off”. But one thing statistics can do, and which is their very purpose, is to help us define the difference between things. In the case of medical research, they help differentiate between treatments. And Dr. Blumenschein, flawed methodology and all, boasts disease-free survival rates that are better than what Dr. Somlo and his gang at City of Hope can claim. Are they really better? And are better reported outcomes any more of a guarantee for me? All I can say is that God knew long before 5/21/03 that I would have IBC and be at this point. And the harshness of the treatment, and relative uncertainty among the oncological community about the overall effectiveness of high dose chemo/stem cell rescue created an uncomfortableness in me that led me to contact Dr. Blumenschein in hopes of capturing his opinion about the treatment.
An e-mail turned in to a phone call. And a phone call turned in to an appointment being set on 8/25 with Dr. Blumenschein at the Arlington Cancer Center in Texas. He is a self-proclaimed “expert” on inflammatory breast cancer. Being that statistics indicate that only 2-5% of all breast cancer is inflammatory breast cancer, an “expert” opinion is very valuable! And his initial remarks to me on the phone were that he was disappointed that the HDC/SCR treatments are even still being tried, as it is not any more effective, and extremely toxic. Well now that we know Dr. Blumenschein’s not-so-modest opinion about it, we are sailing (or flying) to Texas to hear his case. He requested that I bring someone along, and a tape recorder. Any doctor that actually suggests to his patient that she bring a tape recorder to the consultation is either totally nuts, or pretty darn sure of himself!
Either way, it’s worth the time, effort, and substantial cost to get some specific medical discussion and evaluation about the HDC/SCR treatment before I jump into it. So we’re really stepping out….and really trusting God. And we ask you to join in prayer in this regard- that God would use this Dr. to give us a clear direction, a boldness, and a peace about the next step in my treatment. And don’t forget to give praises to God for providing a way for us go, because that in itself created a moment of uncertainty!
I’ll let you know how the trip goes……….bon voyage!