January 17th, 2003

Nescafe rabbit

(no subject)

Dr. Smith, screaming, in the front of class, in a sturdy German accent:
"No sleeping! I can't stand it when you sleep! I have to put on my lederhosen!"

Rachel dropped out. She's a first-year student. At the beginning of the school year, she went in to see her doctor because she was coughing up blood. They figured it was pneumonia, and sent her in for a CXR. And that's when they found the softball-sized tumour growing around her inferiour vena cava. "It's okay," they said. "We'll do a biopsy. It's probably Hodgkin's lymphoma. You're young, you're mostly healthy, it's got a 95% survival rate in someone your age after radiation therapy."
It wasn't. It was non-Hodgkin's, trampling on the odds (more men than women, most patients are 40-70) and putting her in a category with a far higher risk of dying. She started 6 weeks of chemotherapy. And took classes. And passed classes. Last Friday, she went in for a CT scan at the end of her chemo. It should've been gone. If it'd been gone, then everything would have been fine.
It wasn't. It was still three inches.
She's going to U of Nebraska to have her bone marrow sucked out. Then they'll irradiate her whole body, kill everything in it, all the B-cells that are running rampant. Then they'll stick the good stem cells back in, and hope it finds her bone marrow again and makes new, non-cancerous bone marrow. Bone marrow transplant is so risky. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is so nasty. I think...if we've been told correctly, she has a 40-50% five-year survival rate.

She's a medical student. She wanted to be a doctor. She stuck it out, through all of first semester, going to classes, going to labs, going to chemotherapy, and she passed. Maybe you're starting to get an idea of the kind of dedication it takes for a healthy person to pass. I don't understand why, this time. I don't know what the reason is.
God, please let this treatment work...
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