Gordon Aldrich was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer, on May 13, 2004. He died May 13, 2006, two years to the day later. He was 43.
But maybe he died too soon? Maybe his treatment was ineffective? Maybe his cancer team wasn’t the best for him?
His widow, Joni James Aldrich, can’t change her husband’s outcome but she believes she can possibly change the future for other cancer victims.
She and Gordon did not discover how to effectively treat his cancer until it was too late, she says in her book, “The Saving of Gordon: Lifelines to W-I-N Against Cancer.”
“Cancer is the toughest fight many of us will ever face,” she says. “Knowledge is your armor and the right cancer treatment is your weapon.”
Q. You say cancer has become a huge part of our society?
A. There is nothing like it. Four thousand people are diagnosed every day. The medical community is overloaded and that makes resources for patients and families even more important. Everyone has to be more aware and alert and involved in the treatment.
Q. Tell me about thecancerlifeline.com
A. What I have wanted to create is a resource any person going through the journey of cancer could relate to and easily read and understand. In the book and on the Web site, I give readers guides to find the right facility and oncologist, how to look at clinical trials.
Finding the right doctor who wants your input, respects your body and your choices is critical. Cancer is not like a diagnosis for a pacemaker. Even with all the research and information Gordon and I had, we made missteps and mistakes.
Q. You are not “impressed” with doctors simply because of their credentials?
A. You want to believe your doctor has your best interests at heart. Sometimes that’s true and sometimes not.
Q. And hospitals?
A. Check the annual caseload of hospitals for cancer type. Use a 50-mile radius or zip codes. Do you want a hospital that only treats 50 patients a year with your type of cancer or one that treats 350? You will find there are places you can go that will do more for you.