Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hello, Houston; Good-bye Catfish

My visit to M. D. Anderson today was eight hours of driving and four hours of clinic (and a cherished lunch with my pregnant niece). All in all, I felt encouraged by the appointment, even though Dr. Homsi encouraged removal of the remaining lymph nodes in my groin. He was not, however, and advocate of interferon. Characteristic of other surgical and medical oncologists, the “standard of care” (node removal and interferon) was the recommended treatment. I communicated early in the meeting that I was not interested in the standard treatments for several reasons:

1) They are at best 10%-15% effective
2) They have really bad side effects
3) It’s the lazy way out. I realize that this is a harsh statement and that there just isn’t anything new out there for treatment except for melanoma in an advanced, metastasized state. Sad, isn’t it, that we don’t focus more on prevention instead of treatment?

So, when I communicated my thoughts, he said, “I can see that you have done your homework on this.” He and his resident were very receptive to a more “integrated” treatment that focuses on building up your immune system through good nutrition, anti-oxidants, and exercise. He also picked up the phone and spoke with Dr Aggarwal about the use of turmeric in cancer treatment (a study he did not know about even though it was being conducted down the street.) Now, in defense of the good doctor, there are 17,000 employees at M.D. Anderson, and I know that although they try to operate out of their own tunnel, they cannot know about every ongoing study.  The bottom line is that, of this minute, I will not have additional node removal nor take interferon. I will :

• See an Integrated Medicine Specialist at MDA within the next few weeks
• Return to MDA within three months for a sonogram of my groin lymph nodes
• Have a PET Scan in three months
• Continue praying for complete healing and non-reoccurrence

I am so grateful to all of you who read this blog and have prayed for me. I covet those prayers and hope you will continue to lift my name when you talk to our heavenly father. Hudson, my best friend and biggest supporter, is concerned that we will be dropping fried catfish from our diet. All things in moderation, honey!


  1. Oh, Mrs. Karen, you have been in my thoughts and prayers. Thanks for this update. I have a couple of cousins who used to work at MD Anderson. If they might help in anyway, offering encouragement, or suggestions of people to call, please let me know.

    You will never, ever know the depth of your influence and impact on my life. You were (and are) truly inspiring!

    Continuing to pray,

  2. I have "met" Erin through blog friends and we have been emailing/twittering, etc. I am a La Tech girl and we know many of the same dear friends (Hi Jada!). Both of my parents have had cancer (breast and colon) and I somewhat understand your journey (probably understand Erin's journey better). I want you to know I am fervently praying for you and am greatly blessed by your blog and your reliance on God and the "plan". My parents have both beaten the odds and as I told Erin, " Man's words are just words, God's words are LIFE. He is not defined by statistics!" He has given our family many more years (18 so far!)and I pray the same for yours. Blessings! Catherine Asher