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Salesman Chooses Life-Extending Surgery

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Fred Bynder is a 67-year-old who is retired from a long and successful sales career. All his life, Fred was extremely active. For 17 years, while his sons were growing up, Fred coached and played soccer and spent every opportunity camping with his family. On January 10, 2003, he was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma.

In February 2002, Fred and Madeline Bynder purchased a mobile home in a senior community located in the beautiful foothills of Newbury Park, California. This would allow them to be close to their children and grandchildren while enjoying their retirement years. In the month before their move, Fred and his closest friend were able to paint and remodel the entire house. On March 16, 2002, Fred and Madeline, after 45 years of being together, finally moved in to their long-time dream retirement home. What a wonderful life they thought to themselves, not knowing what the future held in store for them.

In October 2002, after completing all the work on their home, Fred and Madeline, along with their good friends, went on a trip to the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park. Fred was able to hike miles of the canyons with the highlight being a helicopter ride at Bryce Canyon. This was the first of many trips the Bynders had planned on taking.

In November 2002, Fred developed a violent cough, which prompted him to seek medical attention. A chest x-ray revealed fluid around his lung and after preliminary testing, it was determined that he had developed a spontaneous pneumothorax - a sudden collapse of the lung that occurs as the result of a tear in the lung tissue. In December 2002, Fred underwent a transthorascopic lung biopsy and pleurodesis. In January, the fluid returned, causing the staples from the original surgery to become undone. A thorocotomy was performed on January 8, 2003, at Ventura County Medical Center, after a chest x-ray revealed a recurrent pneumothorax. During the second exploratory surgery, Fred's thoracic surgeon saw nodules throughout his chest cavity. Tissue specimens were removed and sent to the University of Southern California School of Medicine for pathological testing which, two days later, resulted in a diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Fred and Madeline, along with their three sons and daughters-in-law, were completely devastated by the news and particularly so because malignant mesothelioma is a cancer so rare, few have ever even heard of its existence. The children immediately began researching this deadly disease. The children followed links from various websites which eventually led them to MARF (www.marf.org), the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, the national non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating mesothelioma as a life-ending disease. It was through MARF the Bynders discovered there were several nationally-renowned expert treaters for mesothelioma. One of whom was right there in California - Dr. Robert Cameron of the University of California at Los Angeles School of Medicine.

On January 28, 2003, Fred and Madeline, along with their children, consulted with Dr. Cameron who told the Bynder family there was no cure for mesothelioma but that he felt Fred was definitely a candidate for surgery should he make that choice. This was good news for Fred since he was willing, with his family's support, to do whatever was necessary to prolong his life.

On February 4, 2003, Dr. Cameron performed a left posterolateral thoracotomy, a life-extending parietal pleurectomy, a complete pulmonary decortication, partial resection of the diaphragm with complex reconstruction using bovine pericardium, ligation of the thoracic duct, and mediastinal lymph node dissection. During the surgery the left vagus (a cranial nerve distributed to the pharynx, esophagus, larynx, lungs, heart, stomach, liver and spleen) was removed because of its involvement in the mass. As a result Fred was left literally speechless. Fred was given a collagen injection in the hope that his voice would return, and by the time he left the hospital on February 18th he was able to speak somewhat above a whisper.

Fred began five weeks of radiation on March 27th. While undergoing the radiation, Fred experienced extreme redness and itching on his skin, loss of appetite, difficulty in swallowing, and extreme fatigue. Since the conclusion on April 30th, he has begun to slowly recover from the radiation treatments and extensive surgical procedures.

Through it all, Fred has been able to maintain his extraordinary sense of humor. He refuses to give up on his will to live. As he slowly regains his strength and when he feels well enough, he and Madeline plan to travel over the next several months and see some of the places they've only dreamed of visiting. They are looking forward to the arrival of another grandchild in late August. Fred feels he has been able to endure the last six months of physical and emotional pain in part because of the love, dedication and support of Madeline, his wonderful children, his extended family and close friends. He is ever grateful for the expertise and care that he has received from the medical team at UCLA. The Bynders remind us there is an old cliché, "never give up". It's become their motto now, what they live by. Fred and Madeline say they take one day at a time and will continue to do so for however long they can.

*** POSTED JUNE 10, 2003 ***

Madeline and Fred with Dr. Robert Cameron at the First International Mesothelioma Symposium held in Las Vegas, Nevada. October 14-18, 2004

Madeline and Fred with Dr. Robert Cameron at the First International Mesothelioma Symposium held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
October 14-18, 2004

Samuel "Fred" Bynder passed away on December 30, 2004