From Stephen, Karen's husband to all our gofundme supporters:
What a tumultuous 2 weeks.
Monday June 3rd, Karen was admitted to the hospital in the LA area not doing well at all. Her doctor confided to me later that when he examined her that day he was afraid she wouldn't make it through the night. She had pneumonia, liquid in her lungs, several infections and was anemic. Thank goodness for decent hospital care, she was put on IV infusions, antibiotics and minerals. After a week, she was healthier, but she was still breathless from a tumor near her lungs and was very weak. We feared the worst, her family flew in from all over. At that point I didn't see the point of raising money to "Help Karen Beat Cancer" when the cancer looked like it was beating her.
Just to backtrack a bit - We had always intended on going to Hungary in Europe to participate in program that is having great success there in clinical trials, but the Hungarian doctors told us back in late April that they didn't think Karen was strong enough to make the flight, the tumors were too advanced. They suggested doing a chemo treatment her at home in Los Angeles to knock back some of the tumor growth, get stronger and fly over then.
So flash-forward to June 3rd, Karen had now done 5 chemo treatments was showing signs of progress in the reduction of the tumors when she starting having problems.
So here we were this last week and a half. preparing for possible hospice and God knows what - and we a do a CT scan yesterday, compared it to the last one, and what do you know?
The tumors have stopped growing and even seem to be shrinking. There's other signs too - Karen stopped taking pain meeds and boy, what an appetite - a GREAT sign in a cancer patient.
So now the plan is simple, we go back to plan A: Karen gets stronger, a little more chemo to knock back the tumors, combined with the alternative treatments that do a good job of bolstering the chemo and rebuilding the system, and then, on to Europe.
But we are not there yet, we will know for sure what she is improving next week when we do some more test. I will do my best to keep you apprised.
None of this would have been possible without the overwhelming support, positive thoughts and prayers from all of you.
My fourth chemo treatment and good news, my doctor says there is a significant reduction in my tumors!
But the truth is that I couldn't have done this without the overwhelming love and support I have received from all of you. It has lifted my spirits and made it possible for me to confront traveling this long and often painful road that lies in front of me. Thanks again from the bottom of my heart.
I wanted to go overseas for treatment, but my doctors agreed that I should get some chemo to shrink my tumors before going anywhere. But first I had to get stronger to handle the chemo, and that is where natural healing came in. I have been taking supplements to rebuild my immune system and a strict regiment of Chinese herbs that have made me stronger and even seem to help with the cancer itself.
The good news is that I got some blood tests just over a week ago and my white blood count is surprisingly high, which means that I can fight infection and rebuild my cells after chemo treatments. So with that in mind I started my first round of chemo this last Friday. And what do you know, it wasn't that bad, Sunday I had mild flu-like symptoms, but today, Monday, I feel pretty good.
So now, after letting a few days go by to let the chemo do its work, I start vitamin C drips and other anti-oxidants treatments starting tomorrow to rebuild my good cells and prepare me for the next chemo round.
So the future is looking bright.
I am FLAT OUT FLAT OUT THANKING YOU for giving me this opportunity to get well.
Because of your generous donations, I can continue doing the combination of traditional chemo and alternative medicine and diet that will lick this cancer.
And also because of the unexpected media attention my fund-raising campaign has brought, I can use what I have learned to help others navigate the shoals of cancer treatment in all its forms. I have learned a lot in the last two and half years.
Most of all I want to thank you for your positive thoughts and prayers. Knowing so many people care has given me hope, strength and willpower to continue. And continue I shall.
I am writing this to tell all of you wonderful ones that I was astonished, flabbergasted at the response to my husband's request, that there was so much support for me so much love expressed!!!!!! How can I ever thank you?!
All my life -all of it- I will remember your gifts, big and small, but moreover the flow of love and support you have given to me at this -for me- dreadful time and the courage that your generosity has given me to continue my fight!!!
Everybody thank you so much for the donations and kind thoughts. Karen and are touched beyond belief. It's so great to know she can make this trip. I promise to keep everybody updated. Any additional money that is raised beyond our goal will go towards my going with her. THIS IS AMAZING THANK YOU SO MUCH
As of June 3rd, we have stopped accepting donations. We are keeping this page open for updates to all our wonderful supporters.
This is my original message for this page:
Some of you may remember my wife, Karen Black. She contributed tremendous work as an
actress in movies of the seventies and eighties. If you've ever enjoyed her
work, now is your chance to reach back to Karen "“ because Karen needs your help.
Karen has waging a battle for over two years with
cancer. She has not talked about
this publicly because she was hoping it would be cured and she could call
herself a cancer survivor.
Karen was diagnosed with ampullary cancer in November of
2010. She immediately had the "Whipple," one of the most serious operations
that is performed at the Mayo clinic were she had it done"“ a third of her
pancreas was removed. This was
followed by extensive chemo and radiation back home at UCLA in the Spring and Summer
of 2011. After suffering through
nausea, fainting and losing over thirty pounds, she was finally declared NED "“
No Evidence of Disease in July.
But by December 2011 a small tumor developed and another
surgery was in order, which left her completely bed-ridden. Her cancer seemed conquered though. By spring 2012 she was doing a lot
better and could walk around and was almost normal.
But in June 2012, the cancer came back "“ and it started
spreading "“ one near her lungs and one in her lower back.
We started trying different things "“ through hit and miss we
found some alternative treatments that seem to help, and she went to Cedar
Sinai in Los Angeles and had two operations in January and February to freeze the
tumor in her lower back that by then had grown to be four pounds. Even though the operation was a
success, Karen was completely debilitated "“ even now she can hardly move around
and is mostly bed-bound.
The cancer is minimized, but we know from past experience that
it won't be long before it comes back.
Her oncologist in Los Angeles has recommended that she do chemo therapy,
but the problem is that she is skin and bones - before starting on this journey
she weighed 156 pounds, she now weighs 96 pounds. That's a third of her body weight! Part of the problem is that missing a pancreas she doesn't
digest food, and also chemo makes it very difficult to eat.
Karen has been confronting the fact that she would die soon
if she didn't do something.
BUT THERE IS HOPE.
Karen's family physician of many years called us two weeks ago and told
us of success she has had with several of her patients doing a treatment in
Europe as part of a clinical study there.
I cannot go into more details now, but I promise I will in the future as
we get involved. I will say that this
is a medically supervised program and it targets Karen's kind of cancer. In fact, we personally know two of the
patients that have had remarkable recoveries from cancer there. So we know it works, and right now it
is her best and only shot.
But we have to move fast, Karen needs to go in the next few
weeks, otherwise she might be to weak to go at all.
Karen will be there for two months.
So here is the big question; why would someone like Karen
Yes, she was an actress in movies, but most of the high-paying work dwindled
out many years ago. She has a
modest pension and medical insurance (thank goodness), but as anyone knows who
has fought cancer, that is not enough.
In the last two years we have used up all of our savings keeping Karen
alive "“ traveling "“ treatments, getting people to help her. We have nothing left. And the European treatment is not
covered by insurance.
contribution will cover travel, living and treatment expenses for two months
and will give Karen a chance.
Please help anyway you can, we humbly accept it.
Hi Karen :)
When I was Child in Middle scholl I wanted to be a pilot...
And that years I wached all Airport series films. But when I saw Airport 75 I was very very exited...And I wached your beautiful face and that amazing film 7 times...And I bring my cassette player to cinema and recorded all voices of film. Then when I went to bad for sleep,listen and imagine all of film from casette players next to my pillow Every night...
Many years later I am to be a pilot then Airline captain and my first Europa flight I bought Airport 75 film as a Video casette first then I bought DVD...And I am steel waching and exiting time to time that amezing film...
First I'd like to say Congratulations to you as a Actrist for all good films...
And I wish you a healt to be good very soon. I extrimly belive this...
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