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MM "Still Here" After 44 Months

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Dear Roger Worthington

I was diagnosed with Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma on July 31, 1996 at Hermann Hospital. The original thoracic doctor told my wife that I had perhaps three months to live. The only thing we would allow the doctors at Hermann hospital to do was close up the hole in my lung that occurred while draining three liters of fluid, do a biopsy and let us get on down the road to M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

We made an appointment with Dr. Frank V. Fossella in the Thoracic clinic. He stated at our first meeting that MDACC didn't remove the lung as that would not improve my chance of survival. He started me on chemotherapy during August of 1996. I was given adriamycin, cisplatin and cyclophosphamide (citoxin) once a month for six months. At that time I was given the option of entering a clinical trial using "Doxil". I received twenty courses before I had used up my lifetime supply of doxorubicin.

During May of 1998 I heard a snippet on television about a drug called Lovastatin (Mevacor). I dug the article out of an obscure medical journal and made a copy to show Dr. Fossella.

I was offered Gemcytabine (Gemzar) in November 1998. I have been receiving this drug ever since. I'M STILL HERE. I have few side effects from this drug and will continue as long as I am permitted. In January 2000 I received a CAT Scan which showed some decrease in the tumor.

I am writing this e-mail to let all the visitors to you web site know that there are other stories that don't end so early.

I was a smoker for thirty years but had quit thirteen years before I was diagnosed.

I would recommend M.D. Anderson Cancer Center above all others.Of course, I live about sixteen miles away so it's a piece of cake to go there.

Charles S. Lingle (I'm still here)
cpoo@hal-pc.org

P.S. I forgot to say I still have the MM, it's not in remission but it isn't growing either. I have discomfort occasionally (on a scale of 0 to 10, I call my discomfort .15 to .20 ). I am 66 years old

*** POSTED MARCH 7, 2000 ***

An Update -- 07/28/00

On July 28, Charles Lingle wrote:

Dear Roger,

I will have survived MM for 4 years on the 31st. of July 2000. I am still doing very well thank you. I am still receiving treatments at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. I still receive Gemzar twice in each 28 day cycle. A piece of cake. I still take Mevacor 20mg every day. I haven't changed my life style in any way. My discomfort level is still 0.15 to 0.20 occasionally. I am now corresponding with 10 other families with a relative that have been diagnosed with MM. They are from all over the globe. I talk to some over the telephone. I have been able to improve their spirits and give a small amount of hope.

Chuck Lingle

An Update -- 01/31/01

On January 31, Charles Lingle wrote

Dear Roger Worthington,

It's hard to believe, but I am still here on my four and one half year anniversary on January 31, 2001. I am still doing very well. I haven't changed any thing in my life style. I still receive Gemcitibine twice in each 28 day cycle. I still take Mevacor every day although I stopped taking it for a 30 day period to see if the leg calves cramping would go away. It didn't so I started back taking it. My internist said it probably was clogged blood vessels in my legs. He wanted to do an ultrasound and if that didn't show the problem then they would do an envasive procedure in my groin. You can imagine what I told what to do with that procedure. I had a CT scan done at my last MDACC visit. The results showed no progression and perhaps some thinning of the tumor. My discomfort is still minimal and infrequent. My doctor still does not know what is keeping me going but he thinks my attitude has a lot to do with my doing so well. He is already talking about a fifth anniversary party. I don't plan that far ahead but I think in terms of some special day in my life or my family's lives.

Keep in touch

Chuck Lingle

An Update -- 08/01/01

Dear Roger,

I celebrated my fifth anniversary yesterday of being diagnosed with MM. I catered a party for the thoracic clinic and the treatment center where I still receive Gemcitibine twice a month.

I still take Mevacor once a day. My lifestyle has not changed. I still eat all the unhealthy foods and still drink way too much booze.

I am afraid to change anything!

My tumors remain stable, they aren't progressing or going away. I am glad that M.D Anderson chooses to go with chemotherapy instead of surgery. I am sure I wouldn't be here if I had been carved on. My discomfort level remains minimal

I recently became the poster boy for the Thoracic center. You can view my picture at:

http://www.mdanderson.org/care_centers/thoracic/

Chuck

An Update -- 02/4/02

Dear Roger,

I celebrated 66 months (5.5 years) of survival on Thursday the 31st of January 2002. I'm still doing very well.I still take chemo twice a month. I think I am on the 45th cycle of Gemcitibine and I am still tolerating it very well. I still am taking lovastatin each day.

My lifestyle has not changed, my tumors remain stable. I am now thinking in terms of 6 months instead of 1 month at a time.

I will write again on July 31, 2002.

Chuck

An Update -- 10/17/02

Dear Roger

I thought I would touch base with you. I stopped taking chemo last April. No one had noticed I had gained weight and had gained a rather large belly. I went to M D Anderson's emergency room. The attending doctor diagnosed the problem as ascites or fluid in my peritoneal area. The next day they removed almost four liters of fluid. The cancer had spread to the belly. I had a tube inserted to allow fluid to be drained. I had the last tube removed about a month ago as the ascites was gone.

My doctor had me placed under the TMC Hospice care. What a piece of work they were. (see the Houston Chronicle story about them in today's (October 17 2002) edition. I asked to be released from them at the end of 6 months and I was released from their care as of October 7 2002. I am doing well as can be expected.

I am still here after 75 months - Chuck Lingle

Mr. Charles Lingle passed away on August 1, 2003