Harold and Sara Barnes
In December of 1996, Glenn Barnes went to his doctor in Jackson, Mississippi,
complaining of shortness of breath and chest pain. His cardiologist ordered
various tests, including a treadmill test. He advised Glenn to lose weight.
The pain continued. In April of 1997, Glenn returned to his doctor. At
this visit, his doctor took a chest x-ray which showed fluid on his lung.
A thoracentesis was performed at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson, Mississippi.
The doctors tested the fluid and diagnosed mesothelioma. In order to confirm
the diagnosis, a core biopsy was performed. The tissue was sent to the
Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic confirmed the diagnosis.
Glenn met with the doctors at the Mayo Clinic about his candidacy for surgery.
But due to the advancement of the numerous tumors, Glenn's doctors
ruled out the extra-pleural pneumonectomy. Glenn moved on, disappointed,
but not dispirited.
In the spring, the Barnes traveled to Philadelphia to discuss his eligibility
for the Gene Therapy study at the University of Pennsylvania. They spoke
to Doctors Larry Kaiser and Dan Sterman. The Barnes discovered that the
first available opening was not until the fall of 1997. Glen's tumor
was growing rapidly and they decided they could not wait. Again, they moved on.
The Barnes heard about Onconase. In June, Glenn and Sara traveled south
to Knoxville, Tennessee to enroll in the Onconase study at the Thompson
Cancer Survival Center. Unfortunately, they were denied enrollment in
the Onconase trial because the computer had randomly excluded them. The
program offered two to four different regimens, each of which compared
another conventional drug to Onconase. Three of the regimens included
Onconase, and the fourth regimen restricted the chemo agent to adriamycin
only. The computer randomly earmarked Glenn for the adriamycin only. The
Barnes had their hopes on Onconase and, since they were excluded, they
again decided to move on.
The Barnes' next stop was the University of Texas/M.D. Anderson Medical
Center in Houston, Texas. The surgeons at M.D. Anderson again ruled out
the EPP procedure. Their oncologist suggested a chemotherapy regime. The
Barnes were able to complete their treatment cycles back home in Jackson,
Mississippi. Mr. Barnes was given a combination of cyclophosphamide, adriamycin
and cisplatin (CAP) once a month for three months beginning in June. However,
based on the examination done in September at M.D. Anderson this combination
did not appear to be working.
In late October, the Barnes' returned to M.D. Anderson for doxil treatments.
Glen underwent another fine needle biopsy. The diagnosis remained mesothelioma.
After one cycle of doxil the tumor showed a 20% reduction (via CT scan).
The doxil dosage was 50mg, with twenty (20) percent given during the first
hour and the remaining dosage administered over one and one half (11/2)
hours. He developed orthostatic hypotension (when he stood up, Glenn's
blood pressure dropped rapidly). When sitting down, Glenn's blood
pressure was 115/80 and dropped quickly to 100/60 when he tried to stand.
Glenn then began to experience pain in his neck that traveled down his
back to his limbs. Glenn and Sara were curious as to whether the pain
was related to the doxil. "Should we continue with the doxil? Is
this a Catch-22?" After careful consideration, they decided to continue
Unfortunately, after the second treatment, the tumors showed slight growth.
The pain in his neck continued. On December 18, 1997, he underwent a lumbar
puncture where doctors removed fluid from his spine. The initial report
was that the mesothelioma cancer cells had reached the spine. He underwent
a second lumbar puncture on Monday, December 22, 1997. Again, the cells
in the spinal fluid had cytologic features identical to the cells from
the aspirate of the mediastinal mass.
Harold Barnes and Family
Glen's pain had decreased to point where he was able to be discharged
from the hospital. Under his local oncologist, Dr. Stubblefield, he continued
the doxil treatments. Glenn also elected to under go intense radiation
to stop the growth of the mesothelial cells in his spinal fluid. At first,
Glenn seemed to handle the radiation and chemotherapy well, but late last
month he had a major set back. The family was called together and prayers
were said. Doctors believed that Glenn had a blood clot. They were wrong.
Glenn's lung had collapsed and doctors struggled to inflate his lung.
Glenn rallied and within days he was well enough to return home the last
week of January.
Then on February 15, 1998, Glenn was again rushed to the hospital. He was
in a coma. At the time of this writing, doctors do not know if Glenn suffered
a stroke, a reaction to the morphine, or if the cancer has now reached
his brain. Tests are currently being done to determine his condition.
Sarah and the family hope that Glenn will again rally and prove once again
how strong he is. If their prayers are answered, they plan to visit Tampa,
Florida to try another drug, taxotere. Sarah has told us that they would
not have attacked this disease any differently. They only wish that they
could have known about the cancer earlier.
Mr. Barnes was an executive with IBM from 1958 to 1987. In the early to
mid 1950s, Mr. Barnes was a fireman and electrician in the U.S. Navy.
We are pursuing their legal remedies in California.
POSTED FEBRUARY 18, 1998
Mr. Glen Barnes passed away on March 26, 1998