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Epilogue

What happened to the subjects of our stories after June 15, and how they are doing now

Globe and Mail Update

Marguerite Sadowy continues to struggle with lymphoedema and worsening heart problems, the fallout of her cancer. But she still wakes at dawn to watch the sun rise.

After several months of Vitamin C treatments, scans showed that Star Rosenthal's cancer was still growing. She is now back on chemotherapy

Eugene M. died on Oct. 11. He is buried in the Mission's plot at the Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, his name recorded on a shared monument. Pat Klus has saved his wallet, but has not heard from his family.

Ken Trueman and Kiersten Eyes were married in August and had their honeymoon in Italy. His tumours have started growing again, and he began a new clinical trial on Nov. 6.

John and Cathy Gow flew home to Nova Scotia on Sept. 28, when it became clear the Careseng treatments were not working, and they were running out of money. John died in hospital 10 days later, with Kathy holding his hand. “We had a few more months' hope,” she says. “John always said, ‘I am so lucky to have you with me. How could I ever walk away?' I would gladly have changed places with him.”

Angela Tomsic continues to manage her multiple myeloma. She is currently baking Christmas fruitcake for her friends and family.

Diane Daghofer finished her first triathlon on June 17, and ran a second race in July. Last month, her MRI showed no trace of cancer.

Dr. John Williams started chemo again in September after his PSA test went up and bone scans showed that his cancer had spread to another vertebra.

David Whitehead continues to drink smoothies and bike to yoga.

Claire Z. had her surgery on schedule and finished her treatment. She is on social assistance while she recovers, but hopes to feel well enough to find a job soon. She is volunteering with a breast-cancer awareness program for immigrant women. She still plans never to tell her parents.

After a summer of complications, Yvonne Merchant's oncologist halted her chemo treatments. A CT scan revealed her lymph nodes had shrunk. She plans to go south for three months in January.

Norm Loat completed chemotherapy, and on Oct. 31, he was told that his cancer is stable. He and Lynn returned yesterday from a two-week holiday in Palm Desert, where Norm was able to squeeze in some golf.

This summer, Mark Cuss attended a retreat hosted by RealTime Cancer, a group for young people dealing with the disease. But by fall, another clinical trial had failed to stop the progression of his cancer. His doctors have no other options for him. He says, “We are waiting for the end.”

Wendy Mundell's prognosis has improved. Chemo and Avastin treatments appear to have eliminated the active cancer in her liver. Although it is likely to return, she is enjoying life with Mark and their three dogs. She is also still fighting to have Avastin covered in Ontario.

Nancy Logan's cancer is currently stable, although she continues to take medication for pain. She has recently gone on long-term disability.

Alexander Oswell's casts came off at the end of July. He is still wearing knee-high orthotics, but it is hoped that eventually he won't need those, either. He is now in Grade 11, competing with his swim team, and about to start snowboarding lessons.

George Maher is finishing his chemo treatments. His cancer remains stable: “I'm holding my own.”

Michael Baker finished his radiation and main chemo this fall, while managing his portfolio as Nova Scotia's Finance Minister and serving as House leader for the Progressive Conservatives.

Steve Edson's surgery was a success. But for now, he remains a member of the club of “guys who have to sit down to use the washroom.”

Naheed Ali's cancer remains stable, though she continues on medication. She is trying to regain her strength so she can practise medicine again one day.

Doug Bonderud and Crystal Anderson were married in Saskatoon on Aug. 26. Three days later, they learned his cancer had spread to his liver. He died at home on Oct. 3, with Crystal in bed beside him. She has hired a lawyer to recoup medical expenses from the province, and has been told to refer her case to the provincial Ombudsman.

Danielle Rettie worked as a counsellor this summer at the camp run by the Kids Cancer Care Foundation in Calgary. Her operation on Oct. 17 was successful, but she is now back at school on crutches.

Maureen Griffin did not walk again after the June 15 operation. A few weeks later, she went into palliative care. When her grandsons visited, she refused painkillers, to be alert and talk to them. She continued guessing the doctors' shoe sizes. She died Aug. 14, and was buried in a coffin full of poppies.

Karin Kondas brought her mom, Emmi Linder, to Red Deer Hospice on July 3. Emmi died six days later.

Parnee Noah never did get home to Grise Fiord. She opted for chemo, and remained at Larga Baffin. On Oct. 6, she was rushed to the hospital in the early morning, and passed away later that day.

In August, a surgeon in Toronto removed the right side of Adam Beldycki's liver. In September, three small tumours on his left side were zapped with radio frequencies. A recent CT scan shows no active cancer, though he's started another preventive round of chemo. He writes a blog at www.adambeldycki.com.

Janice Burrows took her kids swimming this summer, lounging poolside with her “faky” in her bathing suit and a bandana over her bald head. She finished her last radiation treatment Friday. She and her husband separated last month.

Sue Lamy has finished treatment with a positive prognosis. She hopes to return to nursing next year.

Robert Blair returned to getting MRIs every three months after his doctor found blood leaking in spots of his brain. This week, an MRI showed that his tumour has started growing again. He has decided to start a new clinical trial for chemotherapy.

Dina Isabel received a clear report on her second check-up a few months later. She and her husband, Pierre, are now trying for their second child.

Shirley Kiss continues to play cards and build puzzles in Abbotsford, B.C.

Carolin Cameron recently returned from a trip to Singapore with her husband and daughter. Her doctor has promised a reprieve from chemo until January.

John Haine is back in British Columbia, raising money for his foundation to build a second home for orphans in the Siaya area of Kenya. His cancer is still growing.

Glenda Rutka declined a clinical trial because of possible side effects. Her cancer continues to grow.

In August, Nicole Dooley's third embryo transplant failed. She and her husband hope to try again in 2007.

Spike Harris and Elaine Miller separated in August. Spike believes her cancer, which shows no sign of recurring, was a factor. Elaine doesn't entirely agree. Spike is heading off for three months to a Gulf Islands cottage for some time alone.

Pol de Montigny died at his home on Aug. 18.

On June 17, radioactive seeds were implanted in Pauline Sykes's breast. Her doctors tell her she has a 99-per-cent chance of living the rest of her life cancer-free.

George Wheeliker died on Oct. 15, three days after his oncologist halted chemotherapy because it was no longer working. Despite his meeting with the MLA, Avastin is still not covered by the province. But the concert George helped to organize will be held Dec. 7 at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay.

Alfonso Santos died in hospital on Father's Day, surrounded by family, with close friends near. His funeral was full of people who respected his community work, from aboriginal chiefs to the mayor of Yellowknife.

Hayley Mezei finished her last Herceptin treatment this month, and returns to work in December.

Alicia Merchant found a doctor this fall, and her blood work came back spotless. She continues elevating the blogosphere as Louise Anonymous, at http://bombinmybelly.com.

Cole Sierens had his bone-marrow transplant Oct. 13. The donor was a twentysomething man living outside Canada, whose name the Sierenses do not know. Cole is recovering in hospital and his parents hope he'll be home in the new year.

Brenda Pinder Parsons decided against another course of chemo. At this point, she has no active cancer. She looks forward to Jamie's first high-school wrestling matches.

Lynda Coghill is at work on the report cards for her students this term.

The cancer in her lungs has made it increasingly hard for Glenda Henniger to breathe. She is about to start another clinical trial, continuing to hope for new treatments. She feels overwhelmed by the number of people she knows with cancer: “Our parents' generation isn't losing friends to cancer. It is the younger generation, in their prime, that is being victimized by this horrendous disease.”

Penny Edwards finished two sweaters to leave to her granddaughters. She died in hospital on Oct. 24. In one of the last entries on her personal cancer blog, she wrote: “I am wishing so much for the end to be here that I spent all night praying that I would not wake up this morning.” Yet even having lost her voice and vision, hazy with pain, she shared a joke with her husband on her final day.

Vera MacIntosh, now 80, has taken up bowling while her dragon-boat team is on winter hiatus.

Kathleen Richards was not surprised to find out that her biopsy was benign.

Babz Chula had two lumps removed from her chest in October. She chose not to have radiation. She does not regret her earlier decision to refuse chemotherapy: “I still feel fantastic. But before, I didn't have this feeling of something brewing inside me.”

Stella McNamara is still receiving chemotherapy. She used her casino winnings to pay off some bills.

Frank Brown continues to be free of cancer.

Samuel Northcott died in palliative care on the evening of June 16.

Lynn Chouinard underwent a second surgery at M.D. Anderson this fall to remove the cancer in his left lung. It was deemed a success.

Shelby Gagne died quietly in her mother's arms on July 9. Four dozen butterflies were released in her honour at her funeral. Emileigh, who turned 6 on July 8, insisted on leaving a cellphone in her sister's coffin. Her mother, Rebecca, says: “Half of my heart is alive and living for Emileigh. And half of my heart is just shattered.”

NEXT: Acknowledgements

To comment or read the comments of the others on this series, please click here to use the comment function on the introduction page. (Comments on the individual pages of this story are closed.)

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