After heart disease, cancer is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer is currently the cause in approximately 13% of human deaths. It is estimated that 547,000 Americans will die from cancer this year. Prostate cancer is the most diagnosed cancer followed by breast cancer. Children are more likely to have leukemia than any other cancer.
Cancer is commonplace in our society. We all know someone or have a family member who has suffered or died from cancer. Cancer is generally defined as an overgrowth of cells that interferes with regular body functions. It is a dreadful disease that can call for strong treatment. Cancer treatment often involves aggressive drug therapy commonly known as chemotherapy. Many chemotherapy drugs have to be administered intraveneously. Some of them can be very expensive.
There are many types of cancer, and many people who suffer from them. Because it is so common it has become an accepted component of the current healthcare situation in our country. Insurance companies do not balk at covering cancer treatments. Although, as with Lyme disease, the insurance companies have been known to deny benefits for costly regimens.
Prior to Lynette's visit with Dr. J on Tuesday, we had heard through the Lyme community that changes were afoot. We had heard that Dr. J was being pressured by governmental entities in South Carolina to cease his practice. Upon establishing his practice in South Carolina in 2007, Dr. J met with the SC Attorney General and some of his staff members to educate them about Lyme disease and its impact on residents of the Carolinas. Dr. Jemsek was warmly received by the Attorney General and was impressed by the level of understanding shown by members of the AGs staff, several of whom had personal experience with Lyme disease. Dr. Jemsek felt comfortable relocating his practice to the Palmetto state.
Dr. Jemsek admitted to us that he had some political capital that he could have called in. He also felt that he was misled and that legal action may be called for. The bottom line is that his practice is no longer welcome in the state of South Carolina. Jemsek Specialy Clinic will be relocating to Washington, DC very soon. Dr. Jemsek has a lease on a property in the Georgetown section of DC. He has obtained his license to practice medicine there as well. He is hoping to get his practice up and running in DC by the beginning of November.
Lynette finished up the first round of the tigecycline a week ago. She also had to take flagyl last Thursday and Friday. I figured the combination of these two drugs would wipe her out for Saturday. Quite the contrary. Lynette was as vibrant as I have seen her in a long time on Saturday. Because of her weight loss, she has been frustrated with her wardrobe options. Lynette found a pair of jeans in Danielle's closet that fit her perfectly. She and Anna went out shopping that day and spent hours at a time in individual stores. Her face was alive, her body was alive, her attitude was alive.
Dr. J has prescribed Lynette 3 more weeks of antibiotic therapy. She'll be getting meropenem and tigecycline morning and night on M, W, F. We are hoping that Lynette got over the worst of the tigecycline with the first cycle. She did feel worse at the beginning of the first cycle than she did at the end, and she hasn't had it for a week. We're thinking she might not have it as rough for this cycle.
Anna went with us to Dr. J's this time around. He has started to treat her for babesia. Anna's azythromycin dosage has been increased and she will be taking an anti-malarial drug for this part of her treatment. Anna is very active and doing well, but she is somewhat discouraged that she has to take so many pills and continues to have frequent headaches and fatigue. However Dr. J thinks that the symptoms that Anna is experiencing are due to her treatment and that they are a good sign that she is on the right track.
There are two major roadblocks to Dr. Jemsek relocating his practice to Washington, DC. Earlier in September, Dr. Jemsek's wife Kay was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a week his 5 year old daughter Jordan was diagnosed with leukemia. It's just a horrible situation. He has so many sick people that depend on him. But he has to put his family and himself first. It's amazing that he is putting forth so much effort on behalf of his patients in light of his current personal situation.
I've heard Lyme patients say that they'd be better off with a cancer diagnosis. Their bills would be paid, people would understand when they say they are sick, and they wouldn't continually run up against brick walls when trying to get treatment. I don't think you can say you would want one disease over another. I would just wish that nobody has to have any of them.