Tom Love's backyard in Pittsboro, Indiana June 27, 2001
In September of 1999, 68 year-old Tom Love was hunting grouse and woodcock
in Michigan with some of his lifelong friends. Tom says that normally
he walks his buddies "into the ground", but he found he could
not keep up and was constantly out of breath. He discussed his problems
with his friends, and they suggested that he get his heart checked out.
When he returned home, he made an appointment at the Methodist Hospital
in Indianapolis, Indiana.
In October of 1999, he met with a heart specialist, Dr. Doug Pitts. After
several tests, Dr. Pitts told Tom that his lung needed to be "fixed."
The tests showed fluid around the lining of his right lung, as well as
a dime-sized "spot" on the same lung.
PLEURAL EFFUSIONS AND FIBROSIS
Chest films taken on October 15, 1999 showed pleural effusions on the right
and a three centimeter mass in the right inferior peritracheal region.
On October 20, 1999, Dr. James Pike, a pulmonologist, performed a thoracentesis
which produced 1400 cc's of straw-colored fluid. Tom's history
of extensive asbestos exposure suggested a differential diagnosis of mesothelioma,
and his doctors recommended a pleural biopsy. On November 17, 1999, Dr.
David Hormouth conducted a fiberoptic bronchoscopy and thoracoscopic pleural
biopsy, resulting in a working diagnosis of fibrosis and reactive mesothelial
proliferation. The tests did not confirm any malignancy.
Tom was then referred to a cancer specialist, Dr. Frank Workman, who wanted
to perform surgery, which Tom was reluctant to undergo. In the past, Tom
has had a couple bad experiences while under anesthesia and continues
to avoid any medical procedure that requires anesthesia. Tom then learned
through a neighbor of a physican who offered an alternative therapy using
Chelation therapy is a medical treatment that purportedly improves metabolic
and circulatory function by attempting to remove toxic levels of metals
from the body, such as lead and cadmium, and abnormally located nutritional
metallic ions, such as iron. This is accomplished by administering an
amino acid, ethylene-diamine-tetra-acetic acid (EDTA), by an intravenous
infusion using a small 25-gauge needle.
Tom's first chelation treatment was in late November, 1999. He had
24 additional treatments. He felt well enough in January to take his dogs
to Childress, Texas and hunt. When he returned he had twelve more treatments.
He stopped his treatments in August of 2000.
In December, 2000 Tom began to have shortness of breath and right-sided
pain. Even short walks with his beloved hunting dogs were wearing him
out. A chest film showed the spot on his lung had grown to the size of
a quarter. He underwent two more weeks of chelation therapy and returned
for another chest film. The films showed no reduction in the spot.
PLEURAL SCARRING VX. MALIGNANT PROCESS
Tom met with his osteopath, who suggested that Tom find a physician that
would inject chemotherapy directly into the tumor to destroy it. Before
making a decision, Tom wanted to hear what Dr. Pike had to say. Dr. Pike
reviewed Tom's latest chest films and felt that the nodule was reflective
of pleural scarring rather than any malignancy. He ordered a CT scan to
give Tom a "complete sense of comfort."
On April 13, Tom underwent a pulmonary function test, which revealed a
significant decrease in lung capacity and respiratory reserve. On May
7, Tom underwent a needle biopsy at the Indiana University Medical Center.
The surgeon was Dr. Meyer. On May 9, Dr. Pike telephoned Tom and informed
him that the pathology department had reached a definitive diagnosis of
DR. PASS PREPARED TO OPERATE
On May 17, Tom drove to Detroit, Michigan and met with Dr. Harvey Pass
at the Karmanos Cancer Center. After reviewing his records, Dr. Pass wished
to examine more closely the slides of the procedure performed in 1999,
as well as the tissue specimens taken at Indiana University. After an
initial workup, Dr. Pass approved his candidacy for surgery. Tom expressed
his reservations regarding surgery, and Dr. Pass responded that he should
consult with Dr. Nicholas Vogelzang in Chicago.
Some of Tom Love's many champion bird dogs
Tom is currently pursuing a less invasive treatment strategy. For the past
four weeks, he has been taking Poly-MVA, a form of liquid chemotherapy.
He feels this is helping and that his condition has stabilized. He plans
to continue taking Poly-MVA as long as it is working. Tom reports that
one good side effect of the Poly-MVA is that his appetite has improved.
He has not gained any weight back, but he has not lost any weight since
taking Poly-MVA. Tom provides the following ordering information:
539 Telegraph Canyon Road #281
Chula Vista, CA 91910
Tom and his wife Janet live in Pittsboro, Indiana. He was born in Nashville
and raised nearby. He is one of seven children. According to Tom, as a
youngster he was taught the Three Rs: "Reading, Writing and Route
31." Route 31 heads directly north out of Nashville and is the road
Tom and several of his buddies took as soon as they were old enough.
Tom was trained to work in battlefields in Korea as a medic. He was sent
to Germany after the cease-fire. The injuries he witnessed as a medic
were mostly sustained as a result of bar-room brawls. When he was discharged
he wanted to "go to work, make money and enjoy life."
Tom did so, and created a wonderful family life in Pittsboro, Indiana.
Tom has three adult children, and four granddaughters. The baby is almost
two years old. She lives one mile away and he sees her daily. The six
and nine year-olds will arrive any day to spend the summer with him and
his wife. The oldest granddaughter is eighteen and Tom sees her three
or four times a week. She just graduated from high school with honors.
Tom and his wife helped raise her after her mother, Tom's daughter-in-law,
was killed in a tractor accident when the granddaughter was five or six
years old. Tom loves spoiling his granddaughters and spending time with
them. He regrets that he can no longer pick them up or play with them
like he could before falling ill.
Tom and an old, loyal friend
TEXAS BIRD HUNTER
Tom is an avid outdoorsman and bird hunter. For the last 20 years, he traveled
to Childress, Texas, where he shares a bird lease. He would often stay
as long as a month. He also hunted in Michigan for grouse and woodcock,
and Indiana for duck and dove.
The Love spread is "just a small place" on 240 acres in Pittsboro,
and the Loves share the land with around 20 bird dogs -- pointers, setters
and labs. The labs he uses only for dove hunting, the other bird dogs
for ducks, grouse and pheasant.
Until last year, Tom's greatest hobby, sport and thrill was raising,
training and showing his bird dogs. He and his wife would often travel
to competitions in Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Iowa, Illinois and Texas.
They would usually be gone for a few days, sometimes up to a week. His
son and granddaughter would fill in around the farm. Tom spent a lot of
time and money promoting the competitive bird dog association called National
Shoot to Retrieve Field Trial Association. His dogs have won or placed
at several national competitions, as his trophy case attests.
In April 2000, Tom felt so bad he could not attend a competition that was
only 30 minutes away. He said it is embarrassing to have the ole'
boys he used to run with see him like this. Since last December, Tom has
not been able to do any bird dog training. He can no longer walk with
the dogs or bend over to pick up the pups. He has not been able to hunt.
He says he is in trouble if he has to run three steps.
LIKE HAVING AN ITCH YOU CAN'T SCRATCH
Since falling ill with mesothelioma, there is little Tom can do on his
place. His son, daughter and son-in-law help out. He is no longer able
to pick up feed or load it in the truck. He cannot perform repairs around
the house, or even help his wife with housework as he used to. He cannot
lift the vacuum cleaner. He cannot visit his friends and he takes frequent
naps. Tom says if he could visit friends, he'd be visiting East Texas
friends and West Texas friends.
Tom is currently experiencing shortness of breath. He feels if it gets
worse he will have to be put on oxygen. Before going on Poly-MVA, Tom
had noticed that his appetite was diminishing. He had lost eight to ten
pounds over the course of three weeks. He has been trying to eat very
healthy foods, lots of fruits and vegetables, but he can no longer eat
tomatoes, which he has loved all his life.
Tom and his father's foxhorn
Sometimes it's hard, because everything he loves -- but can't enjoy
-- is at his fingertips, every hour of the day and night. He looks out
his window on a fine summer day and sees beautiful cornfields stretching
to the horizon. He sees his dogs springing, expecting their daily run.
He sees his children working on the farm, and his grandchildren playing
in his house.
THE CALL OF THE FOXHORN
When Tom passes by his trophy case, something will catch his eye and trigger
memories. He picks up the foxhorn that his father made and sold to an
old friend, and which in turn the old friend later gave to Tom. Tom picks
up the horn and tries to make it sound, but he does not have the breath,
and his eyes mist up as he thinks of the meaning of this gift, of the
past, and of the future.
For the most part, Tom Love plows ahead, cheerful and affable. Even though
he knows that he faces grim odds, he keeps looking for a way to beat this
thing and keep going -- for himself, his family and his friends.
We will keep you posted on the progress of this remarkable gentleman.
*** POSTED JULY 9, 2001 ***
Tom Love passed away on July 22, 2002