Saturday, March 04, 2006

Who's Jim Hurting

I think I am going to make a new Saturday feature with stories of people who would be positively affected by stem cell research, but are being hurt by Jimbo's quixotic position. Big thanks to the DCCC for compiling these, and without further ado, here is the first installment:

My reason for supporting stem cell research is very personal as well. My youngest son, Benjamin, is 18 years old. He has cystic fibrosis and he has been on a multiple transplant list for an en-bloc liver-pancreas transplant for almost a year and a half. His liver is totally dead and he is in end-stage liver disease. His spleen takes up one-half of his abdominal cavity and his enlarged liver pretty much takes up the rest. His stomach is squeezed in-between and he is in constant pain. When he tries to eat, the pain is even worse. CF has destroyed the better part of his GI tract. Because of the CF, he has CF-related diabetes which is almost impossible to control, especially with the liver so diseased; he has chronic distal obstructive disorder that caused him to have to have a G-tube permanently installed in his stomach so that he can get a laxative solution called "Go-Lytely" every night so that his gut doesn't obstruct, and because of all the medications he takes (written on a full 8 1/2 by 11 inch page done in 8 point font to get everything on it) , he developed a seizure disorder. Benjamin takes 24 mg of Dilaudid every 24 hours—more if he has breakthrough pain, and he takes 30 mg of Methadone as well in a 24-hour period. All of this barely keeps his pain under control. His pain medication has to overlap because it takes about an hour and a half for the medication to metabolize through his liver.

Cystic Fibrosis is one of those diseases that would really benefit from stem cell research, as well as diabetes, kidney and liver disease, and cancer. One of my best friends recently had a radical mastectomy after 5 previous surgeries failed to eradicate the breast cancer that didn't even show up on a mamogram. She is a young woman with 3 sons. It is heartbreaking to watch the ones you love suffer so much when stem cell research can offer so much good—maybe not for our friends and loved ones today, but within the next decade. Stem cell research could offer solutions to transplant rejection by showing us how to build new, disease-free organs using a person's own DNA, so the new organ wouldn't be foreign.

I find President Bush's reasoning for limiting stem cell research extremely faulty. Babies are not dying so stem cells can be used. These fetuses are procured either from women who voluntarily had abortions and didn't want the child to begin with, or from excess fertilized eggs from in vitro attempts that are going to be disposed of anyway and never made into a baby. The potential for life from stem cell research is tenfold from the lives that were going to be thrown away from abortions and in vitro excesses. Please know I support stem cell research with all my heart and hope there are enough Republicans brave enough to override Mr. Bush's veto of this very important legislation.

Pro-Life means for life, Mr. Walsh, you should think about that.


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