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Cancer Stories are Tough to Tell

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We're gonna start with Bob in Chicago. Bob, you're up first. Open Line Friday. Great to have you here, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Great to be on, Rush. Just to let you know, I've been listening to you probably 20 years and I just want to say you're doing this country a great job. You're keeping people in it basically informed. I turned on your show a little late today, and when I heard you talking about something, and I said, "What's he talking about, raising money?" And then you said lymphoma, leukemia. You're raising money for that. I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma two days ago.

RUSH: Whoa, whoa wait. Wait, wait, wait. Two days ago?

CALLER: Yes.

RUSH: Wow.

CALLER: Yes. Yeah. And when I turned on your show, I'm like, "I'm late for Rush!" I jumped in the truck. My dog Charlie always goes with me to work and I'm listening to you, and when I heard you say lymphoma, blood diseases, and then you're raising money? Wow. Two days ago, yes, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, follicle B.

RUSH: What were your symptoms?

CALLER: You know what? There really weren't any. I guess I've had this for a while. I had a bump sticking out of any neck, and I was watching it. Because I lift weights all the time and I always thought maybe I did something to my neck. So I went to a doctor. We were watching it and then, all of a sudden, they started popping up underneath my chin, everywhere.

RUSH: What is your prognosis? What did they tell you?

CALLER: Well, right now I have what's called the wait-and-see approach, because I'm not actually sick. I do have cancer. I'm not actually sick. I had body scans and all that, and my lymph nodes inside my body are cancer. They said they don't want to poison me yet with the chemo 'cause I'm healthy and strong. He told me to keep lifting weights, keep going to work. "When you start feeling sick, within a certain period of time come and see me." It's called "wait and see." I thought that was kind of crazy but he says, "If you're not sick now, we don't want to knock you down and make you sick with the chemo." So I'm supposed to go back in three months and get a body scan and if they've grown larger, now it's time for chemo and all the fun stuff begins.

RUSH: Did you expect this? You had a lump, so were you expecting this? Were you at all mentally prepared to hear this, or were you surprised?

CALLER: No. You know, I look at it this way: The Lord's in control. No matter which way, he's in control. I'm fine. I have no fears of death. I trust in the Lord Christ. So I'm good to go. But I actually get sad, not for me. I get sad for my wife, who was crying in the room when I was diagnosed, and my kids. It's kind of sad when you wake up in the middle of the night and you see your son staring you.

RUSH: Yeah, that's the thing: The next day. You wake up the next day and you remember what you heard.

CALLER: Right.

RUSH: That's a toughie. I remember when I was losing my hearing. It's nothing like what you're going through, but I remember the day I was officially told, "You have something more going on here than just genetic destruction." It was one thing to hear it that day and deal with it that day. Waking up the next day, remembering, "You know, you're gonna be deaf here." It's an entirely different mind-set you have the next day. At least it was for me.

CALLER: Right. I kind of thought maybe something was going on. My daughter works at a hospital and when she saw that she said, "Dad, you better get that checked out." So I did, and we were watching it. So I guess it's a slow-growing cancer. I probably had this for a year or so and I didn't know it and it just started coming out of my neck.

RUSH: I'll tell you something. I don't know any of the specifics. I'm not even gonna pretend that I know anything about what you've got, but I can tell you this. There are all kinds of people that are working around the clock to make sure to do what they can so that the way you are right now stays the way you are, to make sure it doesn't worsen -- and, if it does, there are ways to deal with it. That's what we're here doing today is trying to generate resources to continue that work.

Bob, best of luck. I'm glad you called. I'm glad you were able to get through.

It's 877-379-8888. Curing leukemia, the objective here today, 23rd annual Cure-A-Thon here at the EIB Network to cure the blood cancers. RushLimbaugh.com the website. I had an e-mail sent to me this morning. It said, "Rush, here's a personal story might be of use today in bringing all of this to life. Last summer, my high school friend's wife started to feel sick. It was only a few months before the big 40th birthday they had planned out in California. She was diagnosed with two aggressive forms of leukemia.

"She fought with all the tools that the good people at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society have helped develop. She endured a bone marrow transplant but, unfortunately, it didn't work. During this time she moved back to New Jersey with her husband and her two small boys to be closer to the treatment that she needed. She spent her last months living in a hospital, but on Monday morning this week, she lost the fight.

"She'd wasted away to well under a hundred pounds. She never got the 40th birthday party; she won't live to see 41. Her boys are barely in preschool. They'll never know what a wonderful person their mother was. She was the kind of person that you could talk to at an event where you didn't want to talk to any of the other people there, like a high school reunion. She was the one that you would talk to when nobody else interested you. Those kinds of people are rare. Her funeral is tomorrow.

"It's been kind of leukemia week for me, Rush. I'm sure that all the research that you and the audience have supported the past 23 years are responsible for giving her those extra months, so at least she could have a little bit more time to say good-bye." I get a number of these on our Cure-A-Thon day, and don't share a whole lot of them with you because you know the drill. But now and then I think it's important to personalize this in order to facilitate what we are all about here today -- which, again, is continuing our record breaking fund-raising.

It's phenomenal. I think we've only had one down year. It was the 9/11 year. That was the only year that we've been down. Every other year we have beaten the previous year. That's why everybody involved here is just overwhelmed and shocked that that continues to happen, no matter what the economic circumstances are. Again, the number here is 877-379-8888, or go to RushLimbaugh.com. If you go to RushLimbaugh.com, we've got all the details about all of the premiums, the gifts that are offered at certain donation levels. Everything is explained there.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We're doing our annual Cure-A-Thon today of the blood cancers with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America, and the show today is about survival, about extending life once the diagnosis of a blood cancer has been made. Greetings, folks. Great to have you here. We do this one day a year -- less than three hours a year -- and the amount of money that you have contributed to this cause is incredible. I don't have the numbers.

It's multiple millions, obviously. I don't have the exact number off the top of my head, but it's astounding. It is incredible. Every year has been up over the year prior, other than the year that 9/11 happened, that 12-month period. Now, what are we talking about? What are the blood cancers? Let me tell you specifically what we're fighting here. Leukemia is cancer of the bone marrow and of the blood. Now, this cancer, leukemia, causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under 20.

One-third of cancer deaths of children are from leukemia. Despite that, the disease kills ten times as many adults. I don't know if you're like me. Leukemia is a cancer I've always associated with children for some reason. But every year it seems you read about somebody in their sixties or seventies -- somebody in the public domain, somebody you know -- being diagnosed with this. For some reason it always surprises me, but it shouldn't because it's a cancer. It's cancer of the blood, leukemia.

Cancer of the bone marrow, the blood. Lymphoma is cancer of the lymph system. Last year, 43,000 people were diagnosed; 260,000 people total are battling the cancer in America right now. Hodgkin's lymphoma currently affects 154,000 people. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma affects almost half a million people in this country. Myeloma. That is cancer of the plasma cells that begins in the bone marrow, and that touches 70,000 people today. In all, there are about 148,000 new cases of blood cancers every year.

There are 57,000 people who die.

Now, during the program today, 48 people are gonna get this diagnosis; 48 people will hear this terrible news. Twenty more during these three hours today will lose their battle with blood cancer. Now, these numbers are daunting. There's no question. But you have to know the progress that's been made against these numbers, against these diseases that is in no small part due to your donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America. We've been doing this for 23 years now.

A big part of the increased survival rate has taken place in that period of time directly attributable to what you are doing here. Leukemia patients in the late seventies... This stuff always fascinates me. Leukemia patients in the late seventies had a five-year survival rate of 34%. Today, that is 57%. That's astounding. Kids with the most common form of leukemia are up to a long-term survival rate now of over 90%, and, despite that, it's still the leading cause of death by disease in kids 14 and under.

It's not guns.

It's not 32-ounce sodas.

It's not secret tape-recordings in Kentucky.

It's not rap videos.

It's leukemia.

It's the leading cause of death by disease in children 14 and under. Hodgkin's lymphoma, long-term survival rates in that same time frame went from 72% to 86%. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survival rates went from 47% all the way up to 70%. Myeloma, which is a really tough cancer, had five-year survival rates of 12% in the sixties, but we have managed to triple that to 41% for myeloma. As I say, that is a toughie. Now, folks, almost half of the new cancer drugs approved by the FDA were developed initially to attack blood cancers.

Many of it, again, with your funding through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America. These drugs are being used in battling other cancers beyond the mission of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. So maybe you and your family haven't been affected by leukemia or lymphoma, but you ought to know that your donations fund breakthroughs that have been applied to other diseases as well. That's a great thing. The research into curing blood cancers has led to discoveries that have been applicable to other cancers, other diseases.

Just since our last Cure-A-Thon a year ago, immunotherapies have seen some phenomenal progress. There's a doctor by the name of Carl June and his team at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia. With funding from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, they've developed a new approach using a patient's T cells. Now, these are disease-fighting cells found in the body, obviously. What happens is they are genetically reengineered with a disabled form of the HIV virus.

They're then put back into the body to attack cancer cells. They act like living drugs that provide an ongoing, continuous assault against cancer over long periods of time. Do you realize how special the people involved in this research are, how committed they are, and how brilliant they are? The things they conceive to try. That, of course, requires money. But this approach is new, this approach of using a patient's T cells genetically reengineered with a disabled form of the HIV virus to try to wipe out cancer cells.

It works.

Stunning!

Now, in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia this therapy has already received some long-lasting remissions. Nine out of 12 patients in this study continue to be cancer free. Dr. June said, "Our goal is to have a cure. We can't say the word yet, but that remains the goal." Everybody involved is aiming for a cure. The same therapy has recently been used on advanced cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia. The results have been mixed, but it's improved the outcomes of cases thought to be hopeless.

I've told you in the past about all the wonderful drugs that have been developed that are having so much success. Now, we say we're here to cure the blood cancers, and I've made mention of the fact that the doctors don't use the word "cure." There's a reason why the people in this fight against blood cancers don't use the word "cure." It's because relapse happens. Treatments don't work in all cases. Some treatments are bringing about long-term survival, but too many other patients don't see that outcome.

It's those patients that drive the Society and this program today. Now, your dollars have funded these promising treatments. Since the 1960s, survival rates of people with blood cancers have doubled, even tripled. It's unimaginable that what used to be only hope is now survival to so many people. It's astounding. I think back on the 23 years that we've been doing this, and the way this began. We began as an afterthought to what was an already-in-place, nationwide radiothon.

That was being conducted on all the ABC owned-and-operated stations at the time back in, I guess it would be, 1989. My program in New York from noon to three was not technically, obviously, a local New York program. So the people -- who are still the same people, Pam Edelstein and Larry Vanderveen -- came to me. They sheepishly walked in and said, "Would you just kind of mention it?" The management at WABC then came tiptoeing in.

"Would you give this phone number out?" 'Cause the rest of the radio station was wall-to-wall with this. Sun up to sundown, that's the only thing they did was engage in Cure-A-Thon programming, and I wasn't. My three hours were not the same program. So they came in and asked, "Will you just give the number out a couple times?" I said, "I'll be happy to," and eventually it evolved, and now we're it, and that's just the way it is. That's why I've always said, because of that, "Never be afraid to ask for what you want."

These people traipsed in and they were prepared for me to say, no. "Are you kidding? I mean, I've got this national show here. I can't stop this to do that." But I've always been a team player. I was on a bunch of ABC stations at the time, and, if this is what they were doing, I wanted to be a part of it and help it work. It's now evolved to where it is. It's a very satisfying thing, and all of us here at the EIB Network are very honored and proud to be associated with this.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here's Chris, Corona, California. Hi. Great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Hey, how's it going?

RUSH: Very well, sir. Thank you.

CALLER: Yeah, I just want to call and say that, you know, I'm grateful for what you're doing with the cancer, especially for the children. I had a 9-year-old son that died January 4th, 2013, due to a tumor.

RUSH: Oh. Oh. That's not supposed to happen.

CALLER: Yeah. The doctors told us that he had a 98% success rate, and later on he went through the chemo treatment to shrink down the tumor, which was in his kidney. They shrank it down, took the kidney out. He did the whole chemo, thought he was gonna go into remission. He ended up relapsing because they found the tumor had spread to his lung. They took out part of his lung and then they gave him radiation again, gave him a bone marrow transplant, and, you know, that was May of last year when they thought he was gonna go critical. Well, come November, the week of Thanksgiving, they told us that he only had three weeks to live.

RUSH: It's just heartbreaking to hear this kind of thing. I don't know what to say. I wish there was something we could all do to make that outcome change.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: As I've gotten older, I know more people who get cancer. A really wonderful woman in Kansas City passed away last weekend after fighting various forms of cancer for four years, maybe even longer. It was everywhere, including blood cancers. Had I not met this woman when I was in Kansas City... Her name is Joanie Frey. Had I not met her, I was thinking the other day of all the people I would not have met while I was there. Just that one person. As I say, she was a wonderful person.

This is said a lot about people, but she was generally one of the nicest people and one of the least egotistical people. If she trusted you, she'd give you anything. She would introduce you to anybody, and she knew everybody. She was very protective of the people that she loved. But she had these various forms of cancer for four years, and every time you'd see her, you'd ask, "Hey, Joanie, how are you doing?" I can't imagine what it's like to have to answer that question every time you're asked it.

I mean, your circle of friends knows you. I have a couple of other very close friends who battling various cancers right now. You want to call 'em every week and say, "How you doing?" The changes don't happen that fast, but you want to show them that you're thinking of them and you want to show them that you care, but, at the same time, they don't want you to worry. They don't. So they say, "Oh, it's going great! Everything's fine. Yeah, I'm doing to this treatment and that treatment and everything's great.

"Oh, it couldn't be better. It's great. I did a hormonal therapy the other day and I'm now moving onto chemo and so forth." It's a very tough thing on everybody, but being asked how you're doing as often as cancer patients are has its own built-in pressure. Most people don't want others to worry about them. Most people do not want to, in any way, burden anybody else. But the questions that people ask, "How are you doing?" They're genuinely heartfelt questions, and people are genuinely seeking the truth. "Well, how are you doing?"

Everybody wants to hear, "I'm doing great, doing wonderful," and so forth.

As you get older and as things start to happen to people that you know and you watch the way various people deal with it, see their various support systems that they use, I have the most profound respect for the way people who are told they have cancer, the way they deal with it, strong, defiant. In the first hour I talked about the people I know, anyway, it has really, really focused them. It's solicited in their minds and hearts how rare life is. I mean, it's not rare, it's everywhere, but yours is rare. There's only one of yours. And you only get it one time, at least on this earth. You only get it one time, and every minute that's gone, you can't get back.

And people, some of them, start regretting what they think is the wasted time or the hours they spent being depressed or worried about what now are insignificant things. And there's some things about it that focus people in a positive way, to learn to get more out of what's left. This is where the research comes in because that three- to five-year diagnosis contains with it a chance that it'll improve during that three to five years, because of all the money that's being raised that enables all the research to take place.

I have so much of a greater appreciation and understanding for the people who have this diagnosis. And I marvel at everybody I've known who has been diagnosed with a blood cancer, some other kind of cancer, they rally, and they try to assure everybody else not to worry about 'em. My mother was that way. Joanie, from Kansas City, was that way. Joanie Frey was her name. People who you know, if I mention their names, fighting it today. I'm not gonna mention their names because they haven't gone public with it, but you want their three to five years to become six to ten years, for them.

You ask them, frequently, "How you doing?" And they're always looking for different things to tell you. And if it isn't going well, they don't want to tell you that. They'll lie, they'll say, "Oh, man, doing fine," unless it's obvious, "It's really, really good. I'm doing this and doing that," and that's rooted in hope in many ways because that's what the desired outcome is. What you do with your donations each and every year enable that hope, you enable that chance, you enable that three to five years to become six to ten years. You enable remission. That's a whole other ball of wax that we haven't discussed.

You enable the development and invention of new drugs that makes all this happen. It's an ongoing process where everything that's happening before gets added to what is new, and it just gets better and better and better in terms of the chance, in terms of the opportunity to help people live longer with this. So I just want to take a brief moment here to thank you again from the bottom of my heart and for everybody else involved here for doing what you've done over these years to enable people who are asked, "How you doing?" to be able to honestly say, "I'm doing better. I'm feeling good. I'm gonna beat it."

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Say, folks, I forgot to close the loop on something here when I was talking about how we always ask our friends and family who are suffering from one of these cancers, "How you doing?" The question has a myriad of effect on 'em. On the one hand, they appreciate the concern, but it's frustrating because a lot of times there's nothing new to tell. And a lot of times they don't want to recite how they're feeling. They don't want to talk about it. I've had people tell me that they get weary, but they don't want to say that, but, "How you doing? How you doing?"

I've had people say that a better question is, "Is there anything I can do for you? Can I take you somewhere that you need to be? You need lunch, coffee, what have you?" Because the question "How you doing?" partly is rooted in denial, and the people who have the disease can't afford to be in denial. They have to face it square on and they are, and it's made all the easier because of everything that you've done, and I really cannot overemphasize that.

The staff here at the Southern Command just donated 10 bucks, and they're challenging the EIB Northern Command to match it. Ahhh, it was more than $10, I'm just kidding.

END TRANSCRIPT

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