Thursday, August 26, 2021

Clinical trials are they worth it?

 I have a friend who recently lost her husband to pancreatic cancer. Over the past year, I followed each event on his health care journey doing my best to offer love and support. As his tumor marker numbers went up and down, the constant rollercoaster became very stressful. The chemo worked for a while and then it stopped, that's when we knew his time was short. 

When the doctor told them there was nothing more he could do, they became desperate for a cure, and who wouldn't? There's an innate desire for survival in all of us. I wasn't shocked when they said they were willing to try anything but when the doctor mentioned a clinical trial using a deworming medication used on dogs, I was dumbfounded. 

Panacur, the brand name for pet strength medication, Fenbenzadrole, is used for ridding animals of parasites but apparently, some doctors are finding it to be a possible treatment for cancer. 

When we received the call that Jack wasn't doing well and wasn't expected to make it through the end of the week, we immediately went to visit. We wanted him to know that we loved and supported him, that we would be there for his wife in the future. That visit was very difficult. When we arrived, it was evident his physical condition had greatly declined and he was indeed on his death bed. Though he did his best to communicate, the strong doses of morphine made him too sleepy to stay awake. As he lay in the recliner resting, I noticed a package of Panacur on the side table. When his wife saw me looking at it, she explained the doctor had told them about a clinical trial and suggested they try it as a last attempt at a cure. I had mixed feelings about it but kept them to myself. 

In the car, on the way home, I told my husband about my concerns. I didn't understand how Jack's wife could give him a strong, antiparasitic medication when he was in such terrible shape. His belly was bloated from the cancer and he was unable to eat. How could he swallow a pill that was going to wreak havoc on his system like that? And how could she encourage him to take it? 

Every person with cancer has to fight it in his/her own way. I understand and respect that but when does one draw the line at ending treatment? I imagine, if I was stage 4 and had no other recourse for a cure, I might try an off the wall remedy, but I'd hope I'd have sense enough to do some research before accepting anything the doctor threw my way. 

Maybe I was appalled at the thoughts of my friend, a person I loved and cared about, being treated with a medication for dogs or maybe it was just the thought of him taking it and becoming violently ill on top of what he was already going through, I don't know. 

More than likely, we'll never find a cure for cancer. There's too much money in Big Pharma to ever hope for that. Wouldn't it be nice if someone stumbled upon a helpful option through trial and error, something so simple and so benign that people would shake their heads and say, "Wow! We had this all along!" 

I'm all about science and understand many medical discoveries have come to us through trial and error, but it doesn't seem right to play around with human lives. 

My friend, Jack, died 5 days after we visited him. It was a great loss and I'll always wonder if perhaps the Panacur contributed to or hastened his death but I can't bring myself to mention it to Jack's wife. I know it would be too painful. 

Learn more about Panacur & cancer

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Earth is not our home

Tomorrow I'll say goodbye to a dear friend who recently lost his battle with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. After fighting for almost a year, Jesus finally called him home. 

My friend's name was Jack. He was a kind and simple man, very loyal and friendly. He loved to tell people he was an alien and claimed that status due to the fact that he was born in Roswell, New Mexico. Roswell, New Mexico is famous for the legend of Area 51- a supposed crash site for an alien spaceship many years ago. Jack even bought alien facemasks and tshirts so he could dress the part and he always got a good laugh when he suited up, but really, Jack was telling the truth. He was an alien. As a follower of Christ, Jack knew the Bible gave clear insight on this fact, "But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ." Philippians 3:20.

Janice, Jack, and Bonnie
Jack's death is a reminder that I'm an alien, too. Though I may not dress up in funny masks or bright green alien laden clothing, my home is in heaven. 

The world we see today is getting uglier and uglier. There are wars and rumors of wars, there are plagues and pestilences. There are earthquakes in diverse places...all the things that the Bible warns us will happen during the end times. The constant lawlessness abounding around us should make us all want to go HOME, and I do!!

Thank you, Jack, my dear friend, for helping me remember this world is not my home. I can't wait to leave this wretched world behind and travel to Heaven's celestial shores. 

One day soon, my friend, we'll have a reunion. Until then, I'll hold on to the memories we shared, and I'll do my best to help watch over your sweet wife. You were such a dear friend. I'll love you always and forever. 

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