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The End of My Cancer
Special to FreeRepublic ^ | 16 August 2010 | John Armor (Congressman Billybob)

Posted on 08/16/2010 10:46:29 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob

On 23 April I had a routine colonoscopy, and found out that I had cancer. I knew then I’d have to write this column once I knew the outcome. I had 25 days of chemotherapy, simultaneous with radiation therapy, followed by surgery on 11 August.

The pathology reports came back yesterday. They were, as my surgeon said, ‘the best possible, given the circumstances.” They were clean margins and clean lymph nodes. The margins are the areas all around the site of the surgery. The lymph nodes are where cancer usually spreads first, from its original site.

In laymen’s terms, I am cancer-free. Going in my purpose for this column was, and still is, to save some lives. Three of the most common cancers in America today are colon and prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women. All three have a common characteristic. They can be often and easily cured if they are detected early.

Let me repeat that, and pardon me for shouting, but THESE CANCERS CAN BE EASILY CURED IF THEY ARE DETECTED EARLY.

What stands in the way of early detection? The tests for these cancers, especially colon and breast, are obnoxious. Everyone winces and shudders when the tests are mentioned. I know.

I felt the same way when a routine examination with no symptoms showing, saved me from colon cancer once before. That one was only pre-cancerous. But it would have developed to the point of killing me years ago, if I had let it go.

After one time at the rodeo, you get cautious. I got routine exams on a routine basis. The readers of my columns are, I know, older and better educated than most. Many of you are woman or men “of a certain age.” Or, you may have risk factors for cancer in your personal or family history.

If there is any reason in your age or risk factors why you should have a routine exam for any of these cancers, set this column aside and make the call. A day or two’s worth of discomfort, yes, and embarrassment, is a small price to pay for a couple decades of not being dead.

I’ve written about my situation as if it was, or had become, a day at the beach. It isn’t and it hasn’t. Chemotherapy and radiation both tear up your systems. When my father died of cancer, forty years ago, both of those treatments were crude, in their infancy, and nearly as harmful as the cancer itself. Today, the reverse is true. Both treatments have been refined, and are used together to shrink the cancer in advance of surgery. That’s exactly what happened in my case.

With the good news I got yesterday, I ought to be in a good mood. Well, there is this gastric tube down my nose that is continuously draining my stomach. That is to compensate for the fact that my colon has not fully awakened from its slumber. And, did I mention that I’ve given up all pain killers to aid in that process?

Try being stitched up down your front like a baseball. Add to that your must cough to clear your lungs, to avoid pneumonia. Then add that I have refused any pain shots. Since 11 August I have eaten nothing but ice, and two cups of apple juice. Life ain’t easy for a boy named Sue.

I am not, however, complaining. As Maurice Chevalier said of old age. “It is fine, considering the alternative.” The alternative is what I came to talk with you about, today. There are people reading this right now, whose lives can be saved, if you get an exam right now.

Let me repeat that, YOUR LIFE MIGHT BE SAVED IF YOU GET A CANCER TEST TODAY.

I expect and hope that about five people will have their lives saved by my relating my experiences in this column. And, yes, the title of this column was a deliberate pun. If this works for you, please let me know.

Note that I haven’t mentioned my doctors or nurses. There were nine doctors, and many more nurses. I am grateful for the excellence of their medical care.

Changing subjects abruptly, part of the goal of my surgery was to be ready on 12 September to March down Constitution Avenue with 38 of my fellow citizens, dressed as the signers of the Constitution. I get to be Ben Franklin. There should be about a million Americans there. I hope the American press might even notice and cover that event.

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About the Author: John Armor practiced before the Supreme Court for 33 years. John_Armor@aya,yale.edu His latest book, now in print, is on Thomas Paine. www.TheseAreTheTimes.us

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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; Philosophy; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: 20august2010; armor; billybob; cancer; cancercure; cancertreatment; coloncancer; colonoscopy; congressmanbillybob; johnarmor; surgery
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Hope this saves a few lives.

John / Billybob

1 posted on 08/16/2010 10:46:31 AM PDT by Congressman Billybob
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To: Congressman Billybob

Great news!


2 posted on 08/16/2010 10:48:04 AM PDT by Robbin (If Sarah isn’t welcome, I’m not welcome, it’s just that simple…)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Amen! Welcome back to Life!


3 posted on 08/16/2010 10:49:17 AM PDT by tanuki (Obamacare, Cap and Tax, Amnesty, in that order....)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thumbs up!


4 posted on 08/16/2010 10:50:02 AM PDT by earlJam
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To: Congressman Billybob

I had my first colonoscopy 7 mos. ago and the results were good (eg. no cancer) and just a couple of polyps he removed. The absolute worst part was the day before, drinking that gak and then crapping like a goose.


5 posted on 08/16/2010 10:52:19 AM PDT by cweese (Hook 'em Horns!!!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Glad to hear you are on the mend, my FRiend.

I am scheduling an exam shortly. ‘Pod


6 posted on 08/16/2010 10:52:44 AM PDT by sauropod (The truth shall make you free but first it will make you miserable.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

This is a very important post. My father-in-law enjoyed clean living. He often rode his bike to work (in Canada, no less), was 6’3” and 170 lb., ate VERY healthy, and was rarely sick and always toughed it out. BUT, both his parents died of colon cancer. He was only in his early fifties when he contracted colon cancer. By the time it was discovered, it was too late. He took it well, had provided for his family financially through insurance, and died a holy death. He is also very much missed by his wife, children, six brothers, grandchildren and many friends.

Listen to Congressman BillyBob. If you have any of those markers, or are hitting your strride in middle age, get tested. It’s not as bad as the Dave Barry column makes it sound.


7 posted on 08/16/2010 10:53:03 AM PDT by Dr. Sivana (There is no salvation in politics)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Great news - congratulations....

(My one-year follow up PET scan - one year after the end of my Chemo-Radiation treatment - is scheduled for this coming Thursday, and I, and my Oncologist, are fully expecting the result to be “One year cancer-free”.... )


8 posted on 08/16/2010 10:53:19 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: earlJam
Maybe I'm being overly sensitive, but...

Please never say "thumbs up" when the post is about colonoscopy...

9 posted on 08/16/2010 10:53:26 AM PDT by ZOOKER ( Exploring the fine line between cynicism and outright depression)
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To: earlJam

Had mine in May - 2 benign polyps zap zap - Colonoscopy - This is a must. All is good.


10 posted on 08/16/2010 10:53:46 AM PDT by BigEdLB (Now there ARE 1,000,000 regrets - but it may be too late.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

God Bless and hope you doing well all things considered! My mother has had pre-cancereous colon polyps removed, twice. So, according to my dr. I will need to start having the colonoscopy around the age or even before the age, when my mother had hers discovered. Not looking forward to it but it is good to be aware.


11 posted on 08/16/2010 10:54:59 AM PDT by gore_sux_2000 (Sarah Palin can touch M.C. Hammer.)
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To: Dr. Sivana

That Dave Berry piece is totally ROFLOL!!!!


12 posted on 08/16/2010 10:56:16 AM PDT by Osage Orange (MOLON LABE)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Ok Billybob. It worked. You can count at least one person who will VERY RELUCTANLY sign up for a colonoscopy. I have put if off for decades! Guess I’ll call an make an appointment for next week. This week is already full!


13 posted on 08/16/2010 10:56:27 AM PDT by Sunshine Sister
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To: cweese
The absolute worst part was the day before, drinking that gak and then crapping like a goose.

Ten years ago I drank the crap. This year I took pills and just drank a lot of water. It wasn't bad at all. Also, the doctor really snowed me so after the ten seconds it took to lose consciousness I wasn't aware of anything for the next two hours. It was great. I remember the last time watching the monitor throughout the procedure and asking things like, "So, do you ever see anything during one of these exams and say, "Oh, CRAP!""

The doctor this time probably read the notes from last time and decided to significantly up the amount of Versed.
14 posted on 08/16/2010 10:57:10 AM PDT by aruanan
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To: Congressman Billybob

Prayers up for your continued recovery.


15 posted on 08/16/2010 10:57:32 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Obama suffers from decision-deficit disorder." Oliver North 6/25/10)
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To: Congressman Billybob

As one whose father had colon cancer surgery and survived for 33 years afterward, and as a guy who had 2 polyps removed a week ago during my 2nd colonoscopy, I salute you and wish you well!

Thanks for helping spread the word. As you said, a couple of days of minor discomfort beats the heck out months of suffering as you die from cancer that was detected too late.


16 posted on 08/16/2010 10:59:06 AM PDT by DJ Frisat (How's that change workin' out for ya, Obama voters?)
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To: Dr. Sivana

Thanks! I was thinking of that column when I wrote my first response! Funny man that Dave Barry.


17 posted on 08/16/2010 10:59:09 AM PDT by Sunshine Sister
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To: Congressman Billybob

Wonderful news for you. I can’t imagine the relief you must feel. I hope everybody on FR over the age of 50 heeds your advice and talks to their physician about a screening colonoscopy. As they say, the prep is the worst of it — the procedure is not uncomfortable. Yes, it is embarrassing but I work in a hospital and trust me, these doctors have seen lots of rectums and yours isn’t anything special to them so get over it. I see the surgeon who did mine on an almost daily basis in the hospital hallways. He pretends mine never happened which is exactly what I told him to do!


18 posted on 08/16/2010 10:59:26 AM PDT by McLynnan
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To: Congressman Billybob
Hang in there dude....

Use you Incentive Spirometer...Cough and deep breath when you think about it. And get up and walk as much as you can.

My best to you....FRegards,

19 posted on 08/16/2010 11:00:11 AM PDT by Osage Orange (MOLON LABE)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Congrats on the good news. I had my own miserable
battle with cancer in 1985 from August to December.
Surgery and 3000 rads of radiation did the job. A
couple CAT scans and lymphangiogram were done
for good measure. Hang in!


20 posted on 08/16/2010 11:00:13 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Congressman Billybob
I'm so glad for the good news and for your article.

My oldest brother has stage 4 prostate cancer and another brother caught his prostate cancer early because of the diagnosis of the oldest brother.

The scary thing is the younger brother was told by his doctor not to worry about his rising PSA "because it was still in the normal range". All I can say is what an idiot! Half of his prostate was eaten up with cancer, but amazingly enough had not spread.

This has become my entire family's mission now. To top all of this off, absolutely NO FAMILY HISTORY of prostate cancer or any other type of cancer. It has scared my entire family.

So two of my four brothers have prostate cancer. Scary.

My husband just had a colonoscopy and all is well. The worst part for him, in his opinion, was the liquid diet the day before. He handled the icky cleaning out better than that. :-)

21 posted on 08/16/2010 11:00:47 AM PDT by republicangel
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To: Congressman Billybob

A fellow survivor offers congratulations.


22 posted on 08/16/2010 11:00:50 AM PDT by ArmstedFragg (hoaxy dopey changey)
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To: ZOOKER

LOL.... very funny.

Reminds me of this story.

Last year I went for my first prostate exam. I was the doctor’s last patient for the day. He quickly finished his business and left the room, telling me to take the paperwork to the nurse at the front desk.

By the time I got up to the nurse, the doctor had already left the building without speaking to her about my appointment.

She said, “So, I guess, everything felt normal?”

I said, “It didn’t feel normal to me. He just stuck his finger up my butt!”


23 posted on 08/16/2010 11:01:02 AM PDT by earlJam
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To: Congressman Billybob

God bless you and thank you for your wonderful post.


24 posted on 08/16/2010 11:02:26 AM PDT by Hostage
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To: Congressman Billybob

Praise God!
You need to stay healthy, patriot, your countrymen need you.


25 posted on 08/16/2010 11:03:13 AM PDT by Repeal The 17th (If November does not turn out well, then beware of December.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thank you for this and congratulations.

My family has some heavy duty history with this type of cancer, including me. You might want to ask your doctors about bone scans. My father had also been “cancer free” but after a year or so the cancer reappered in his bones.

In the end it was a blood clot that killed him.

Salud,

cll


26 posted on 08/16/2010 11:03:52 AM PDT by cll (I am the warrant and the sanction)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Congrats on your prognosis! I am due to have a colonoscopy this year as I am now of the age that it becomes a good idea to get one.

For a humorous look at the experience, do read MY COLONOSCOPY BY DAVE BARRY.

27 posted on 08/16/2010 11:05:41 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte ( Pray for Obama- Psalm 109:8)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good to hear. Stay well. :-)


28 posted on 08/16/2010 11:07:17 AM PDT by roaddog727 (It's the Constitution, Stupid!)
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To: Congressman Billybob
Prayers for your continued healing and thanks for the reminder.
It is time for me to make another appointment. About 2 years ago I had my first colonoscopy and they found, IIRC, three polyps and removed them. They turned up to not be cancerous yet.
29 posted on 08/16/2010 11:10:56 AM PDT by RedMDer (Throw them all out in 2010... Forward with Confidence! Forward!)
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To: Congressman Billybob

CBB is right.
The checkup is frankly pretty easy.
Prep is so-so but its only a day of uncomfort and its done at home.

Beats the heck out of the options!

Glad you are still with us CBB!!!!


30 posted on 08/16/2010 11:10:58 AM PDT by Zathras
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To: roaddog727

Good news Monday. Keep us posted.


31 posted on 08/16/2010 11:11:15 AM PDT by Digger (If RINO is your selection, then failure is your election)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Hope you’re totally well soon!


32 posted on 08/16/2010 11:12:09 AM PDT by Jeff Winston
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To: roaddog727

Congratulations and may you stay cancer-free. It is a frightening experience I know. I’m a breast cancer survivor and I’ll never forget the feeling I had when the doctor told me I had breast cancer. Been over five years now and still doing well. Do report to my oncologist every six months and also had a colonoscopy earlier this year. As some of the other posters said the liquid diet etc the day before was worse than the procedure itself.


33 posted on 08/16/2010 11:15:30 AM PDT by Newfy
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To: Congressman Billybob
I began to be more serious about Mammos and Pap smears after my s-i-l died in 1992, from lung cancer, which originated as cervical cancer. She had neglected to go for a pap smear for over 10 years, and when it was diagnosed, it was treated, and the Doc though they'd gotten it, but three months later, it had moved to her lungs. The pathology confirmed that it was the same cancer.

After that, and after two maternal aunts developed breast cancer. I made SURE I got a pap smear and Mammo, EVERY year. And a couple of years ago, at the age of 55, I got my first colonoscopy. Now there is a baseline, and I don't have to go back for another few years. Yes, they're uncomfortable, but cancer treatment is much worse!

Take good care of yourselves, folks. Even if no one is depending on your presence, there are many who prefer that you are here!!

34 posted on 08/16/2010 11:16:45 AM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Congressman Billybob

Here I was just sitting here thinking about my 50th birthday next month and wondering how lng I could stall my Dr insistance on a coloscopy.I’m female but have a family history of that so I already know he’s going to want to send me for one. :( *sigh* Guess I’d better quit wanting to stall it?


35 posted on 08/16/2010 11:17:25 AM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: Congressman Billybob

Glad to hear everything has gone so well for you. I’ve had two colonoscopys and found drinking the ‘stuff’ prior was the worst and even that wasn’t that bad.

Last month I had surgery for an incarcerated hernia and had the nasal gastric tube for over a week and no food or drink for 6 days, so I know what you mean about those two things. I, too have that nice long incision.

Ummm, when they remove that nasal tube. It stings real bad. Took my breath away. Felt like they pulled my eyeballs down my throat. Doesn’t hurt for real long, but, it does get your attention.

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. :)


36 posted on 08/16/2010 11:20:43 AM PDT by Netizen
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To: Congressman Billybob

Congrats!! Thanks for posting this!


37 posted on 08/16/2010 11:21:53 AM PDT by gimme1ibertee ("In a time of universal deceit,telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"-George Orwell)
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To: Congressman Billybob
“THESE CANCERS CAN BE EASILY CURED IF THEY ARE DETECTED EARLY.”

Can't be said loud enough. Colon cancers are one of the deadliest if not caught earlier, but also one of easiest and less evasive ones to cure if caught early.

I had my 50,000 mile check-up last year, and I'm glad to announce I have a colon of a 20 year old.

38 posted on 08/16/2010 11:23:54 AM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: Congressman Billybob
My best friend and you HAD the same cancer surgery. After wards, she took a routine of chemo pills and 7 years later, she remains cancer free..

From this cancer survivor to you, dear BillyBob...having cancer is indeed a humbling experience. Life is good. God is good.

sw

39 posted on 08/16/2010 11:24:12 AM PDT by spectre (Spectre's wife)
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To: Congressman Billybob
I know everyone thinks that routine colonoscopies are 'obnoxious' but having just had one a month ago I have to say it wasn't that bad.

Of course I was completely oblivious to it because of the drugs. The worst part was the 'prep' and with the new stuff even that isn't unbearable.

One thing's for damned sure. It's a lot less unpleasant than a case of fatal colon cancer.

Glad to hear you're going to be ok. Good luck, sir.

40 posted on 08/16/2010 11:28:06 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Congressman Billybob
A day or two’s worth of discomfort, yes, and embarrassment, is a small price to pay for a couple decades of not being dead.

Bears repeating.

Actually, you sleep through the whole procedure, and even after you wake up, you don't remember very much.

Also, please keep in mind, should the diagnosis be bad, that radiation treatment and chemotherapy are much, much better than they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. Much better.

Once you reach "that certain age", or if you have a family history of colon cancer, GO GET THE COLONOSCOPY. You won't regret it.

41 posted on 08/16/2010 11:29:47 AM PDT by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the People's Republic of Boulder)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Good news! I hope you feel all recuperated very soon, and I look forward to seeing your photo, with you dressed as Ben Franklin, on FR!


42 posted on 08/16/2010 11:29:53 AM PDT by little jeremiah
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To: chris_bdba

these days, they put you completely out for the Colonoscopy, and you wake up none the worse for wear.

As has been commented before, what sucks is the “cleansing” beforehand. Argh.


43 posted on 08/16/2010 11:30:17 AM PDT by roaddog727 (It's the Constitution, Stupid!)
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To: NavyCanDo
I'm glad to announce I have a colon of a 20 year old.

Wow I bet that 20 year old is really pissed at you.

44 posted on 08/16/2010 11:30:25 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Sans-Culotte
Colonoscopy from My Wife And Kids - with Dr. Rawls
45 posted on 08/16/2010 11:36:37 AM PDT by ItsForTheChildren
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To: roaddog727

I haven’t had the colonoscopy, but I just wanted to say something about the Versed that was given. I had Versed when I had some oral surgery a couple of years ago. I can describe it thusly: I little Iv injection, then the doc said “open your mouth wide”, and then he said “Get out of the chair, we’re finished.” That Versed is really an amazing drug. And no. I didn’t leave anything out between open your mouth wide and get out of the chair. As far as I knew, that was all that happened. Versed also contains an amnesiac, which makes it the best way to go as far as I’m concerned.


46 posted on 08/16/2010 11:38:00 AM PDT by navyblue (<u>)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Actually once you are done with the “cleansing” phase, it feels really good. People in Switzerland go to clinics and pay $1,500 a day for “colon cleansing” which is just an expensive way to accomplish exactly what the “go juice” does.


47 posted on 08/16/2010 11:39:02 AM PDT by Random Access
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To: Congressman Billybob

I missed your earlier column. I am so glad the first I hear of this is on the side of good news rather than uncertainty. Fantastic news!


48 posted on 08/16/2010 11:40:25 AM PDT by Protect the Bill of Rights (.)
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To: Congressman Billybob

Thanks for taking the time to write this. Am so happy to hear how well you are doing.


49 posted on 08/16/2010 11:41:15 AM PDT by freespirited (There are a lot of bad Republicans but there are no good Democrats.--Ann Coulter)
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To: sima_yi
Also, please keep in mind, should the diagnosis be bad, that radiation treatment and chemotherapy are much, much better than they were twenty, or even ten, years ago. Much better.

It should be noted that everyone handles it differently. I lost my mother to lung cancer 2 1/2 years ago. She made it through the radiation just fine, able to function and go places, but the first round of chemo about killed her. She passed out and they had to revive her and she wound up hospitalized after wards. She never did recover from that.

50 posted on 08/16/2010 11:42:15 AM PDT by Netizen
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