Sunday, May 17, 2009

Farrah's real story

It was really tough for me to watch Farrah's Story on NBC the other night. Farrah Fawcett is my friend. I pray that she's comfortable and not in any pain.

But here's the deal: The special didn’t get it right, and the review in The New York Times hit it right on the head:

"...Ms. Fawcett’s reliance on European alternative treatments is more poignant than persuasive. Her exuberant German doctors seem far too giddily invested in their visiting patient’s fame to give her realistic prognoses — or even dissuade her from flying home to Los Angeles before she was strong enough to travel..."

Most of the doctors on the special were and still are my doctors. Dr. Jacob and Dr. Vogl are NOT AT ALL like they were portrayed in that special. They are absolutely brilliant. Dr. Jacob is the most focused, passionate doctor--make that person-- I've met in my life. Google Dr. Vogl... enough said about that.

As far as their convincing Farrah to stay in Germany until she was strong enough to travel, Dr. Jacob told her exactly what could happen if she flew home too soon and strongly suggested that she stay at The Klinik for a couple of more days. Farrah’s friend Alana Stewart told her the same thing.

How do I know? I was there. I was in Farrah's room when Dr. Jacob called and said that Dr. Vogl had suggested that Farrah stay at least one more day. I also urged her not to leave. But Farrah had made up her mind and she was going to go home no matter what anyone said and that was that.

That's what really bothered me about the special. I'm guessing that NBC News had more than a hand in the final cut.

Here's another quote from The New York Times:

“...During one painful procedure, a German doctor asks Ms. Fawcett to name her best work. The actress mentions a few of the films she made that were critically acclaimed, including ‘Extremities’ and the television movie ‘The Burning Bed.’ The doctor reminds her about her 1970s television show ‘Charlie’s Angels.’ Ms. Fawcett replies weakly, ‘Well, I only did that for one year’...”

The first time Farrah had the tumors burned off her liver by Dr. Vogl, I was in the next operating room being prepped for my first embolism. For both procedures, the patients have to be awake. They only give you a local to numb the area for entrance. Dr. Vogl will talk about a number of things during the procedure, but make no mistake about it, the first thing he does is explain what he's about to do to you and what you should expect to feel during the procedures.

I know for a fact that Alana has that on tape. I was there.

One last quote from The New York Times and then I'll shut up... for now.

"Those trips evidently gave Ms. Fawcett hope and lots of encouragement and personal attention, but the film doesn’t shed much light on how much or whether the treatments actually helped..."

Point blank Ms. New York Times: “Hope... encouragement... personal attention... or whether those treatments actually helped?” Farrah went to Germany because doctors here in the States told her there was nothing else they could do for her. That was almost two years ago.

Let’s consider the choice: Go to Germany for what they call "alternative" treatment-- or stay here for what I call "primitive" treatment.

I've had both. I choose “alternative.”

One more thing: At the end of the special, Farrah said, "I have some questions. Like why isn’t there more research done on certain types of cancer? And why doesn’t our health care system embrace alternative treatments that have proven to be successful in other countries?”

How about these questions, among others:

Why do some medicines cost five to ten times more
in the United States than they do in Germany?

Why don't we do chemotherapy sensitivity tests here
like they do in Germany and other countries?

And why is the United States of America so far behind
in treatment for this horrendous disease?