Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Royal Treatment

Susan and I returned from Houston on Saturday and boarded a plane for Chicago on Tuesday to meet with the Board of Directors of The Gateway for Cancer Research --a nonprofit that funds cancer research and which is funding the clinical trial I'm in. The people at the Gateway could not have more generous in taking care of us. First class airline tickets, stretch limo to pick us up at the airport and to take us to our various appointments and then back to our hotel and the airport for our return flight. Our meeting with the Board was scheduled for about 15 minutes but we were there for more than an hour. The Chairman of the Gateway Board, Richard Stephenson, is passionately committed to finding cures for cancer. His commitment comes from his experience with his mother's death from cancer. As a result he founded the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), which has 5 facilities around the country. CTCA provides all of the funding for the administrative costs of the Gateway Foundation, thus, 99.9% of funds donated to the Gateway go to cancer research. Even more amazing, the organization (being financially supported by CTCA), funds clinical trials at cancer centers around the country (such as MDA), even though such institutions are competitors of CTCA.

After the Board heard from Susan and me, Mr. Stephenson immediately asked us if we could stay an extra day in order for me to be seen by a variety of specialists at CTCA to see if they could help me with some of the long term side effects I've got from all the chemo. So, we took an extra day, and I was seen by a doctor, a physical therapist, a nutritionist, and a naturalpathic doctor. CTCA has a holist approach to treatment and thus has all these specialists on staff. Without boring you with the details, the doctor provided instant help for some of my back pain and the others had some recommendations we're going to follow up on. Gifts keep falling down upon us for no reason we can think of and we continue to be full of gratitude.

All in all it was a very interesting and helpful trip. Once we got home, I got terribly sick, but am recovering quickly. Fortunately Dr. Rifkin did not hospitalize me despite the very high temp. I'm sure it's just too much travel over the last 2 weeks.

I'll check in after my next trip to Houston, sometime in February.


Sandy said...

Truly wonderful to hear that competition does not mean division or separation and for you to get some 'gifts' like this is encouraging.

I am beginning to think that airline travel is about as dangerous as visiting someone in a hospital for anyone with immuno-compromised systems, however.

Big Frank Dickinson said...

Wonderful treatment for you and Susan. Sounds like it was both helpful and a lot of fun. Hope the good news keeps coming - in buckets!


sigun said...

Dear Dan,

A royal treatment for you and Suz, well deserved! Glad the doc in Chicago could help with your back pain. Bises, Sigun.

Lesli said...

Dan, I'm curious to know what your back pain consisted of. My mom is an MM fighter and despite her analogous SCT in December, she's still having lots of back pain. She does have an intrathecal pain pump but still has lots of pain. How did they remedy yours?

Any info would be greatly appreciated. lesli Neilson lneilson (at)

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