Monday, October 27, 2014

Joan Larson

Sunday February 21, 1993

I took pain pills every 4 hours all night. I don't feel too well when I get up at 9. I eat some yogurt. I go back to bed about 11 for awhile. I call Joan Larson. She has bad news. She now has 5 tumors and has decided to accept her death in about a year. Her other options were surgery to cut off blood supply to the tumors or AZT. Both had terrible side effects. We talk a long time. I understand. She's worried about Hal. He seems to be mentally slipping.

I'm finally up and dressed by 2:30. John March calls me from Arizona. We talk a long time. I read awhile and take a nap.

At dinner I feel awful. I turn off the pump. Later I eat more of last night's egg fu yung.

Joan Larson was our neighbor across the street from the Lemona Avenue house where I grew up in Mission Hills. She died of colon cancer a few months after Mom passed away. After Mom's death she phoned me to tell me how much she appreciated Mom's support and understanding as they battled their cancer together. I didn't know that AZT was ever used to treat cancer so I did a little research on Wikipedia. Today it is used for treatment of AIDS, with little mention of it being a cancer drug. According to Wikipedia, "AZT is the first U.S. government-approved treatment for HIV, marketed under the brand name Retrovir. AZT was the first breakthrough in AIDS therapy, significantly reducing the replication of the virus in patients and leading to clinical and immunologic improvements...Early long-term higher-dose therapy with AZT was initially associated with side effects that sometimes limited therapy, including anemia, neutropenia, hepatotoxicity, cardiomyopathy, and myopathy. All of these conditions were generally found to be reversible upon reduction of AZT dosages."

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