Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Telling the Family

The latest episode continued the saga of Kitty and her cancer. She was diagnosed with stage III NHL, given only two treatment options: R-CHOP and some other protocol in Boston, and sent home. Contrast to my experience, my cardiologist sent me immediately to the ER for an emergency CT scan before I even knew it was cancer. I had state IIb and my situation was so severe (not dire, just severe) that I stayed at the hospital for a full week before I eventually left to start chemo at NIH. Meanwhile, Kitty goes home and her family debates on whether she should have standard R-CHOP or some other protocol (I've never heard of it). She goes wedding dress shopping, has dinner with her family (where she eventually tells them all), and looks pretty good for someone who was just diagnosed.

I liked the way the writers handled the storyline for the most part, but there were a lot of things that irked me. I also felt that they made it political and part of the national health care debate with their discussion of the Boston clinical trial and how the FDA is so slow to approve new treatment and such. I was just annoyed because they tipped their hand as to their "agenda" when they could have focused on what a newly diagnosed person feels and goes through. Thankfully, they moved past that pretty quickly.

I wish the oncology doctor had also explained the treatment options a little better. I understand it's tv but her explanation felt really rushed and short. She also said there were only two options and it's not true. EPOCH is highly regarded in the National Cancer Institute as an effective treatment over R-CHOP. The success rates have been very good (and I'm proof!) There are other treatments out there so they could have just said that and then said the standard is R-CHOP. Another option is radiation and they didn't even mention it.

Let's see how they handle the rest of it. I am glad to see them try, but please be a little more realistic and educate the viewers. Unfortunately, a lot of people have experience with cancer and we will all be watching carefully.

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