The Minnesota kid with cancer, Daniel Hauser and the Farrah Fawcett TV special have me thinking and reflecting on getting chemo. To start, I should say that I realize not everyone has a chemo experience as relatively easy as mine -- so I'm speaking from the position of someone who has been quite fortunate.
In Farrah's case, an off-hand comment about chemo got me thinking. The comment was made by one of her doctors about her hair. In essence, he said that she wanted to avoid kinds of treatments that might cause her to lose her hair. Folks -- that's a very common thing for chemo to do -- mostly because it attacks those fast-growing cells in the hair follicle.... because cancer cells are also fast growing. It makes me sad that she was concerned about that, because the chemo earlier might have been more effective.
In terms of Hauser, I'm very disturbed. Some of the interviews on TV imply that he's making an informed decision about his own treatment. The boy has learning disabilities -- he can't read and has told people that he's not sick. This is because his mother has told him that -- he's not a young adult making this decision -- he's an uninformed child strongly influenced by his nut-job mother.
The mother claims to practice two faiths... Catholicism and a Native American faith... but, she's only a recent convert to the Native American faith. I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, but I'd also be willing to bet a ride to the chemo clinic that they joined the band AFTER Daniel's diagnosis.
Her plan is to fight his cancer with natural medicine and prayer. Some of her statements bought into the worst hype about chemo -- that it's all a part of the cancer-industry's goal of pumping poison into her son. She's deathly afraid of chemo and isn't willing to take the risk that it will save her son. I find this appaling, especially since his cancer has about a 95% cure rate with chemo, and less than 10% without it.
I also doubt the sincerity of their religious objection because the kid had one treatment. IF it were a sincere religious belief, they wouldn't have allowed even the first treatment.
This poor kid is at the mercy of his wackadoodle mother -- and recent reports are that she's left the state and is heading for Mexico to do "natural" treatments.
I suppose what really gets me going on this topic is that these stories get a lot of attention and feed the impression that chemo is a horrific experience. That impression scared the hell out of me about a year ago.... when I was being diagnosed with breast cancer.
I hope to God that poor Daniel survives his mother, just like I hope that Farrah survives her own vanity.