RUSH: Lake Worth, Florida. Not far from here. This is Tony, I’m glad you waited. Welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. What an honor. Something interesting before I start. You know, I’ve tried to call your show so many times, never got through, and today it’s your Cure-A-Thon, and I happen to have CLL leukemia and got through, so there has to be some special meaning in that. I wanted to thank you personally and your audience, and maybe put a face on this disease and let your audience know how grateful people like me are for what they do.
RUSH: Well, that’s very, very nice of you, Tony. One problem with throwing around all these numbers, is that numbers on radio are tough to follow. It’s up to a talented host to make sense of ’em, and I certainly qualify. However, when you start talking about the numbers of millions of people with cancer, it’s a statistic, but one person, when you know them, then it’s a tragedy, right? And that’s you.
CALLER: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, Rush, you know, like you said earlier, my whole life changed on a dime during a routine blood test, which led to a bone marrow, which discovered that I had this disease.
RUSH: Did you have any symptoms? Why did you get the blood test?
CALLER: None, Rush. None at that time.
RUSH: So just a routine blood test as part of a checkup?
CALLER: Routine blood test, yes. Many people, Rush, with CLL find out through a routine blood test early on. That’s the way it’s usually detected.
RUSH: How are you being treated, Tony?
CALLER: Well, most CLL patients go into what they call a watch-and-wait for a period of time, and you feel like as that time is going by, that you’re hoping that something will turn out positive. And what happened to me was I’m a patient at MD Anderson in Houston, a wonderful hospital, and a couple of months ago my leukemia started to give some red flags to the doctors there, and they decided to put me into a clinical trial on two drugs together that have never been combined before. One is Rituximab and the other one is called Revlimid. I’m going into my third month. So far, so good. My white count was 80,000 or better, and just in two months it’s down to 13,000. The clinical trial is giving some hope to me.
RUSH: Congratulations. We love hearing this kind of stat, and it’s a testament to the great work that’s being done throughout the country because of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thanks, Tony.
CALLER: Thank you. I want to say that it is a pleasure to talk with you, and I want to thank you for your generosity and all that you’re doing for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
RUSH: Let me tell you something: This audience is who’s really doing things. I appreciate your comment, but they’re the ones that are really giving. They’re dwarfing me.
CALLER: (chuckles) Well, that’s good news.
RUSH: It is! (laughs)
CALLER: (chuckles) But what you say about cancer touching everyone, that is absolutely true. In November of 2003 my husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and that is a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it’s non-curable. It’s a cancer of the plasma cells of the blood.
CALLER: And because of the stage that his cancer was in, they gave him two-and-a-half years to live, and at that time, our daughter (choking up) was two-and-a-half months old. She was just born when he was diagnosed.
CALLER: And… of course, we do what everyone else does. We look for hope and we look for information, and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, they had a lot of great information for us, and they gave us a lot of hope where we went through all the information. He had two stem cell transplants in 2004 and has been in remission since September of 2004.
RUSH: Oh, congratulations! So you’ve gone way past the two-and-a-half year expectancy.
CALLER: He sure has.
RUSH: And, of course, his relationship with your child is entirely different than he thought it was going to be.
RUSH: She was too young to have any clue. He had no chance. Even in those two-and-a-half years he wouldn’t have had a chance to really have an adult conversation with her. But now he has, probably, right?
CALLER: Oh, yeah. Well, we haven’t had those critical conversations yet. We want to wait until it’s apparent that he’s sick. I mean, she knows that he doesn’t feel well a lot of the times. (chokes up) But she doesn’t know.
RUSH: But he’s in remission, correct?
CALLER: He is. But, you know, the side effects of his remission… I’m drawing a blank here. His maintenance therapy.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. It’s not easy.
CALLER: But we’re trying.
RUSH: “Remission” doesn’t mean “cure.” It doesn’t mean return to “normal health.” You know, the National Institutes of Health standard is five-year survival. That’s considered “cured” in this disease.
RUSH: It’s our annual Cure-A-Thon. We’re trying to find a way to put an end to the blood cancers, via the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And, by the way, the donation number and the website will be available all weekend. I can imagine some of you… I shoulda mentioned this earlier. It’s not easy coming up with money in this economy for something like this. And everybody understands. That’s why we are so humbled and — I don’t know — blown away by how much our donations are this year. The percentage increase is still way up. By the way, last year, if I may be so bold as to remind you, Donald Trump called and threw in $100,000.
That has not happened this year and we are still beating last year, and that’s all you, folks. This does not count me and what I have put in. And it’s just heartwarming as it can be to be part of this and to have you join us. We have this familial relationship, you and I. To continue to be this roaring success every year is overwhelming. Don’t think you have to make up your mind here ten minutes from now when we end the program. You’ve got all weekend. The number, 877-379-8888, will be active throughout the weekend, as will the donations page at RushLimbaugh.com.
Here’s Brian in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos from Baton Rouge.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Hey, I just wanted to thank you for hosting this fundraiser for 22 years. I can’t wait to hear the final total.
RUSH: Well, it’s gonna be big. It’s gonna be really big.
CALLER: I can’t wait. I’m gonna get right to the point. I’m a cancer survivor of 27 years. At three years old I was diagnosed with leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia, ALL. I was treated at St. Jude in Memphis. I was given two weeks to live, but God had other plans.
RUSH: Two weeks?
CALLER: Two weeks.
RUSH: How old were you?
CALLER: I was three. And I’m 30 now.
CALLER: And I’ve had no relapses, and I give glory to my Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. I was pronounced cured by the hospital. Treatment is expensive, and so fundraisers like this are tremendously important. So from all the childhood survivors, I wanted to thank you. Your generosity is just overwhelming, and because of your effort such a difference is being made.
RUSH: Well, I really appreciate that. In fact, you have reminded me the statistics that are involved in the childhood diseases. Brian, thanks much. I congratulate you. You’re cured, not just in remission? They pronounced you cured?
CALLER: I went to the hospital once a year ’til I was 18, and at that point they discharged me, and so I’ve been cured. Back in the eighties, remember, we were the guinea pigs, but treatment has evolved since then because of the research.
RUSH: Yeah, exactly.
CALLER: The survival rates are much higher now.
RUSH: So medicine has given you your life?
CALLER: Yes. And God’s healing.
RUSH: And I’m sure your faith, all tied together, but medicine has given you your life. Well, Brian, congrats, and thanks for the call. I really appreciate your sentiments, and I’m glad you got through.
Let’s run through this very quickly. Leukemia is cancer of the bone marrow and the blood. It causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and adults under 20. Now, just keep that stat by itself: It causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults. Yet one-third of cancer deaths for children are from leukemia. The disease kills ten times more adults. So as much as it affects kids, it’s ten times more so for adults. Then there’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is cancer of the lymph system. And non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, myeloma. That’s cancer of the blood plasma cells. The Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are cancer of the lymph system.
And, again, I think one of the most important things that I’ve tried to emphasize today (I’m sorry for being redundant but people are joining the program throughout it) is we’ve had touched by this disease here at the network and the whole notion of survivability rates has taken on an entirely different meaning for us. Take whatever example you want, whatever age a person is. A parent with a couple of kids, their age could be relatively young, and diagnosis and the survivability rate is such… Again, our example here is 40 years old, young children. The patient says, “Just give me ten years, just ten years. I want to see my kids graduate. I want to be able to have certain conversations. Just give me ten years,” and it used to not be ten years.
It used to be in the three-to-five year range.
Now in some of these cases it’s up to ten years. And that’s where this really, really matters. There are cases such as Brain who get cured. It does happen. Some people are in remission for a long time, but those are the exceptions that everybody wishes to make the rule. So the money that you donate can be tied to the research, the drug therapy that has led to the increase in survivability rates in significant numbers of years, which matters to people. And once it happens to you, it’s no longer academic. It’s no longer a statistic. It’s real. And it changes your life forever. And one of the things that really matters to people is knowing that there is constant research going on that can change the diagnosis even years after it’s been made if they can just hold on.
So that’s what you’ve been doing today is helping accomplish that at 877-379-8888 or RushLimbaugh.com.
Thank you, folks, more than anybody has the ability to express.