Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

Bill's Status - April 5, 2001

Bill finished radiation treatment last Friday and was discharged from the St. Mary's Nursing Center on Tuesday and is now back home. Bill's insurance, Champas, declined to pay for any more hospitalization and so we have arranged for the installation of a hospital bed and a nurse to come by once a day to make sure everything is ok.  Joyce and their daughter Teresa are taking a crash course in Practical Nursing and are getting a lot of help from many of the neighbors.

It is now about 1 week since the end of Radiation and Bill's condition seems to have improved considerably.  The radiation caused swelling of the brain which made him tired and groggy by the end of each week.  He is now much more alert and has regained the vision he lost in his left eye.  He is determined to get stronger so he can get out of bed, but that will take some time and physical therapy, which Joyce and Teresa are learning to administer. 

We have an appointment with his Oncologist next Tuesday at Walter Reed to begin his chemotherapy.  The drug they plan to use is Temozolomide, which seems to have fewer side effects than normal chemotherapy. The drug is administered orally and is taken for one week each month.  This is repeated monthly until the disease is in remission or he begins to get worse.

Last night on the NBC evening news there was a report on a new drug with very promising results.  I sent Dr. Flynn, his oncologist, an e-mail this morning asking about the drug and he responded that the drug was only being given in selected clinical trials and that Bill's condition would preclude him from being included in any trials.  I guess they want people who are in an earlier stage of the disease or one where the tumor could be surgically removed.  In any event, we will know more next week.  

In the meantime, Bill is already eating more and is much happier at home.

Here is a website that has a good summary of the treatment:

Bill has been very touched by the many cards and letters he has gotten from the Flight 800 community and I would like to add my thanks as well. For anyone who wishes to send a card, his address is:

Bill Donaldson
39175 Cobrum's Wharf Road
Avenue, Maryland 20609

Bob Donaldson

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