Thursday, April 3, 2008

Fighting off cancer with a $92,000 shot, tennis, weightlifting -- and a very positive attitude

Had a call from an old friend that I had not heard from in some time. Turns out since our last contact (last summer) he had been to hell and back.

Gordon I., 78, is a hale and hearty and gregarious MIT-educated engineer, retired, and passionate tennis player and captain. He has organized tennis activities for men's (and women's) teams in his hometown, Winnetka, Ill., for more than 20 years.

During a routine medical exam, it was discovered he had colon cancer, mantle cell lymphoma to be specific. Some $25,000 worth of CT and PET scan tests showed it moved to his bone marrow as well. He found a doctor who had confidence in the latest technology -- radioactive, injected chemo drugs that found there way to the cancer and killed only the cancer, not all the surrounding cells, like conventional chemo.

Called the "Zevalin regimen" ($92,000 hospital list price) --- a one shot procedure which is good for three months.

Side effects were minimal, a bit of tiredness. Meanwhile, Gordon kept up his tennis regimen ("dawn patrol" doubles, 6:30 a.m., three to four times a week), and added weightlifting apres-tennis!

At 78.

Credit mostly the medicine, but the combination of the shots, the tennis, the fitness regimen, and especially his positive attitude worked. Gordon reported the latest tests, colon and bone marrow, showed no signs of cancer. He is in remission!

All the more remarkable because Gordon fought and defeated (lung) cancer several years earlier.

Hats off to Gordon -- his athletic regimen, (and positive attitude) puts many of his younger tennis partners to shame!

Regarding any more travels to hell, Gordon is planning NOT to go back, he tells me. "And Thank God for Medicare and my secondary health insurance!"

No comments: