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Outsmarted by the cells within Tom Basinski | Sat, Oct 19 2013 12:00 PM

You may recall I started the clinical trials program at the Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla in February. During the 12-hour infusion days I received a targeted cancer drug not yet approved by the FDA, but had been given to patients for over a year with good results.

I responded well to the treatment initially and my first few radiological scans showed that the lung lesions stopped growing.

I was in the trial with a Hall of Fame athlete I had followed for years but had never met. We spoke every week, talking about sports and life. I liked him because he laughed at my jokes. He liked me because I knew about sports, didn’t fawn over him and made him laugh.

No one ever accused me of being smart. The irony of my lack of smarts is that the cancer cells within me began to outsmart the drug and made the drug ineffective. I am now out of the program. So here I am, a guy who isn’t very smart, but grows cancer cells that are smart. Go figure. My athlete friend is also out of the program.
I am starting on another chemotherapy regimen and my family and I hope for the best. I continue to work out almost daily at the South Bay Family YMCA and try to lead as normal a life as possible. I’ll keep you posted.

• • •

Lieutenant Roxana Kennedy recently was presented with the Trail Blazer Award, given by the California Peace Officers’ Association. The inscription reads: “For Demonstrating Excellence and Inspiring Others to Follow in Your Footsteps.”
As a real trailblazer, 21-year veteran Lt. Kennedy is the highest ranking female Chula Vista police officer in the history of the department. Lt. Kennedy is also a graduate of the FBI’s 243rd National Academy.

Kennedy wears a few hats within the department, as do many others in this day where duties of people who retire are added to the workload of those who are left. In addition to her police responsibilities, Lt. Kennedy is involved with Athletes for Education, an organization that helps youth on the fringe realize their self worth by meeting professional athletes and seeing what one can experience through hard work.

Chief David Bejarano said, “Lt. Kennedy enhances the visibility and stature of women leaders in law enforcement.” The CPOA event that honored her was attended by more than 600 law enforcement officers, including 50 chiefs of police. Kennedy was the only one to receive this award. Bejarano said, “This was a huge honor for her and the Chula Vista Police Department.”

Lt. Kennedy traveled to Malawi this summer with Project Compassion to deliver medical and all-purpose supplies to the underprivileged (almost everyone) in that country. She and her 23-year old daughter, Taylor, also provided medical assistance in the form of first aid and triage screening in order to help the medical staff determine who were most in need of medical help.

Kennedy and Taylor have also been to Uganda and Mozambique. Lt. Kennedy said the experiences changed her life.  After her first trip she was hooked. In mid-May Lt. Kennedy is traveling to Romania to help children abandoned in orphanages, a common situation in that country.
• • •
Tomorrow, Oct. 19, I will be working at the Chula Vista Heritage Museum, 360 Third Ave. in Memorial Park, from noon until 3 p.m. Admission is free. I’ll be there to answer questions. If I don’t know the answer I’ll make one up. Tax deductible donations are graciously accepted.

Basinski was a police officer with Chula Vista and the district attorney for 35 years.

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the weed Says:

Mon, Oct 21 2013 06:09 AM

Well Tom, you combined the good work that Lt. Kennedy is doing and the bad work the cancer in doing on you. Your attitude towards this demon in your body has to inspire others who read your column and have the same problem....outstanding.

I visited the Heritage Museum and found it a very nice tribute to the Police Dept. and the City of Chula Vista, and encourage all citizens of CV to visit it.

Karen S Says:

Sun, Oct 20 2013 04:29 PM

Your story about Lt. Kennedy and her daughter is nothing short of inspiring. So often only the bad news makes the paper; an article like yours sparkles like a diamond in the sawdust.

Good luck with your new chemo regimen, and here's to "dumbing down" your cancer cells. (Hoist and swallow beverage of your choice here.)

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