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Farrah's Story

Published:

Last Edited: May 17, 2009, 11:48 am

Anybody watch this on Friday night? I have to say this was one of the worst most uninformitive "documentary's" I've ever seen. Been reading people's reviews and comments on the internet and had to add my two cents. The majority of people were "touched", "saddened", or "moved" by this. My opinion ran with the minority.

Hey, cancer's an ugly thing and has affected most people's life in one way or another. It's becoming a rare thing if you've never had it or know someone who does or did. My own father died of it, and my mother just had a brush with breast cancer herself. But most people aren't sitting around filming themselves looking like death warmed over. I would imagine that would be the last thing on your mind if you were that sick.

I'm not sure what Miss Fawcett was trying to accomplish here. If it was to "inform" us about this certain type of cancer it failed on all levels. It left the biggest unanswered question of all, "How the heck do you get this type of cancer?" All sorts of lurid ideas come to mind when you hear "anal cancer" and perhaps that's why they chose to forgo any explanations. So, as far as "alerting" us of this awful disease, it basically said, "This is what happens after you get it, period."

And even that is misinformation because the doctor's suggested a "colostomy" for her in the first place which might have saved her life but she refused. Instead, she chose to go the alternative route and wound up in Germany 6 different times subjecting herself to painful needle probing and a machine that went round and round her belly looking as if she was going through a car wash. I would think after the 3rd...no 4th...no...5th time of going through these procedures her "hope" for a miracle would be dimming but a sixth trip was on the horizon.

She never was "cancer-free" since being diagnosed so I couldn't understand how she thought she would ever be even after her first treatments. They just managed to shrink the tumors but they always came back. And here they kept on and on about how smart she was and how she'd talk to the doctor's about every little thing. What they showed looked to me like a half out- of- it drunk person asking the same questions over and over, it didn't sound so intelligent. She looked like she wasn't even paying attention when she had her first consultation in Germany. Didn't she get criticized for some fiasco performance on David Letterman a few years ago?  

What struck me the most about her character is how afraid she is to die. Now that might sound like a strange quote because nobody really wants to die but we're going to anyway. Her determination to "live" in her condition is what mystifies me. She spared nothing to "live". Watching her sitting on a bed with a tote bag FULL of medicines and placing them in their little compartments made me sick. Is that really "living"? 

I think of all the hundreds of thousands of dollars,(probably more like millions!) she spent on these treatments. The private jet to Germany 6 times! The fancy looking house she stayed at there. The treatments alone, my God. Everyone knows how expensive those are, I can't imagine any insurance paying for that. 

If she had really wanted to "bring attention" to this type of cancer she would have instead donated that money towards research, don'tcha think? The selfishness of all this is what really galls me. I mean in the beginning, of course you're going to hold out hope that someone will be able to fix you so you can get back to your life. But how long do you hold out that hope? Geese, I just think the 6 trips were a little overkill. And then even after that as a last ditch effort she went ahead with some study here in the U.S. where they were poking the crap out of her arms trying to get a vein which took forever and AGAIN, the treatment didn't work. Can you say, "Enough is Enough," already?

And then you've got her "companion" of 30 years, Ryan O'Neal in tears half the time babbling about how "scared" he is and "I don't know what's going to happen". Well, DUH! She's going to pass on like anyone else in her poor spent condition. What are these people all afraid of? Where's their faith? I just didn't feel a warm second in the entire show. The moments were forced especially at Christmas when Farrah made her pies. Well, yes, of course they were trying to act normal and pretend nothing was wrong but you always got the feeling that the cancer just totally absorbed her thoughts every minute and anyone else who was around her. It's like they just couldn't forget about it and let it go and actually "live". And sitting there on the couch reading letters sent to her by other cancer patients was supposed to make us think she's helping people. But that was the only scene! Why didn't they show her reaching out and giving someone a call? Or visiting other patients? There was a time in 2007 she looked like she was feeling pretty good but instead she was out vacationing!

Then the nerve of spending time complaining about how the tabloids "exploited" her condition and her medical records were breached. What the hell did she think this documentary was? She wanted it exploited, just HER way and no one else's. 

Of course I feel sorry for the lady,may God bless her, but they could have done so much more with this. Thumbs down! Thumbs Down

Entry #29

Comments

1.
four4meComment by four4me - May 17, 2009, 3:39 pm
No i didn't see the program but from what i gathered from the very beginning of her illness is she didn't want them to do any surgery, no kemo, or none of the treatments most Americans get. She wanted to go the holistic approach.
2.
konaneComment by konane - May 17, 2009, 8:00 pm
Didn't watch it but from your outline sounds like she's trying to summon her fans to pray or visualize (take your pick) her well because there is enormous power in collective purpose.

Very sorry for her, also very sorry for Patrick Swayze and other non-celebs who have or will be diagnosed with cancer. I hope politics and greed are set aside in the future so cancer can be a disease of the past.
3.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 18, 2009, 4:04 am
It is 4 in the morning, but I had to sign on when I saw your blog. I am surprised at the number of people who are criticizing the choices of a very sick woman and her choices. I am also disappointed that so many people turned on the TV with expectations and, because they weren't met, are passing judgment on a dying woman for sharing her story. This wasn't a reality show or a beauty pageant. Well, in a way it was a reality show, the reality that this insidious disease doesn't show favor to the rich & beautiful. It was very sad to see her suffer so much and my prayers are with her and her family.

Shame on you for questioning her motives or questioning her faith. We all experience life, sickness, death and grief in our own way. You have no idea what she did or did not donate to charities in her life. Private doctors and alternative treatment was her business. You sound bitter because she spend millions on her own treatment, maybe millions you don't have. Fri & Sat the number one google search was for info on anal cancer. So maybe her message got across, huh?   

She is very close to death now & in great pain and people are still judging her. May God lead you to the light, Farrah, and into a better world.

4.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 18, 2009, 4:16 am
I am falling asleep on my keyboard, so I apologize for all the repeated words and mistakes in my post. I should have read it first.

I want to add this, however. I saw ads for "Farrah's Story" all week long and it was never supposed to be a documentary. I guess I got annoyed when I saw your "I just didn't feel a warm second in the entire show. "   So that's supposed to mean a woman who is dying of anal cancer that has invaded her liver and her son is lying in bed next to her crying "Mommy" is supposed to do a better job at making you feel all warm and fuzzy? You mean when her hair was falling out and she was vomiting and down to about 88 lbs, you didn't want to pour yourself a cup of cocoa? Aw, shucks. Maybe next time you should turn on Andy Griffith.   I just don't get it when I read stuff like this. I really don't.
5.
Comment by lottolaughs - May 18, 2009, 9:36 am
Well,JustX, everyone has their opinions. I've read worse than mine but in no way am I bitter about it, it's just a show for chrissakes! I just called it as I saw it and I'm sorry if you got upset over this but it's really not worth it. You and I are very sensitive just perhaps about different things. When you sit and watch a woman who defies the doctors at every turn (refusal of a colostomy) (refusal to stay at the hospital to recover in Germany after treatment) it is hard to feel (what's the word, sympathy?) for that person because everything she refused came back and bit her later. It seemed to me like she was making up her treatment and she was fortunate to have the money to do so. I just think it's kind of a slap in the face for people who have had the same kind of cancer to see the treatment she got. Of course doctor's aren't Gods and don't always know best but she just wanted to find one who would tell her what she wanted to hear and she finally did in Germany. There's no question they did do some good for her, I'm all for alternative treatments. Sometimes they really work and sometimes they don't, it's just the chance you take. There was just something about this show that left a bad taste in my mouth and to tell the truth,I'm still not sure what it is. Your comments suggest that I'm looking for "warm and fuzzy" which made me chuckle because those are my LEAST favorite kind of shows.
6.
Comment by lottolaughs - May 18, 2009, 9:50 am
I just want to add that I thank you all for your opinions. That's what my intent was here to see what others thought. Like I said, my opinion was in the minority but I was curious to see what everyone else thought.
7.
rcbbuckeyeComment by rcbbuckeye - May 18, 2009, 10:16 am
I wasn't going to comment because I didn't watch the show, and have no desire to watch it. I just know that I don't think I can pass judgment on Farrah for her decisions. My mother died of cancer. It started in her lung, which was removed, went thru chemo, the whole works. Doc tells Dad we got it all. Well, don't believe they "get it all" because I don't think they really know what cells are still lurking in the body. Anyway, it came back 6 months later in the form of 2 small tumors in her brain. Inoperable, but they gave her radiation treatments which they were able to pinpoint the tumors, and chemo again. All I can say is that after those treatments, the person that was my mother was not there anymore. To this day, I believe the treatments changed who she was and hastened her death. Maby I'm wrong. But after what I saw, I'm not so sure there is a right way or wrong way to treat cancer.
8.
jarasanComment by jarasan - May 18, 2009, 10:49 am
Cancer is brutal. USA has the best survival rate for diagnosed cancer in the world, if medical care in this country eventually gets socialized this survival rate will go down, unless they find a cure, there are so many different types of cancers, it ain't going to be easy. I actually have heard younger people saying they aren't worried about lifestyles because by the time they are older they'll have cures, no kidding. The new faith in science.

Lottolaughs your opinion is not necessarily the minority.

One thing I've accepted and understand, is that no matter how much money, hope, love, the best doctors etc. one has, your days are numbered. Since there is no avoiding the inevitable, make what time you have on this Earth count.
9.
justxploringComment by justxploring - May 18, 2009, 1:36 pm
Lottolaughs, I didn't watch the beginning of the program where she turned down treatment, but I did see where she disregarded the doctor's advice when she was told not to fly after treatment. Then, when she was in horrible pain coming home on the plane, it was difficult to feel sorry for her, although I did nonetheless. People are told to stop smoking, but does that mean when they are gasping for their last breath with lung cancer, I should start yelling at them "I told you so." Her decisions (wise or not) have nothing to do with how I feel about watching a woman opening up her private life. We don't know how much control she had over the production since, by the time it aired, she was already too ill to make those decisions.   This wasn't 60 Minutes or TLC or Discovery Health. It was a show called Farrah's Story. Nobody was forced to watch it.

BTW - did you stop to think that, by NOT choosing the colostomy she showed an estimated 9 million viewers that she might have made the wrong decision? Do you remember when Jacqueline Smith made the comment about her hair and said it wasn't as important as life? Yes, Farrah turned it down at first but, to me, it was showing how wrong she was to wait. After all, the show didn't end on a happy note. She was dying with her son crying in her arms. Wasn't that a message to everyone about how important it is to have checkups & treatment a.s.a.p.? I don't think it had to be a technical, medical program. After all, how does she know how she got cancer? I'm guessing you read a few blogs that questioned why the HPV vaccine wasn't mentioned. First of all, most women who watched this show were probably over 16 and, once a girl has been sexually active, it has proven to be ineffective. Also, HPV is very common and there are many different types of the virus which are not affected by the vaccine. Also, since it hasn't been around long enough, researchers don't know how long it protects.   This is from a site about HPV:

"The only sure way to prevent HPV is to abstain from all sexual activity. For those who are sexually active, condoms may lower the chances of getting HPV, if used all the time and the right way. Condoms may also lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases (genital warts and cervical cancer). But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV. "

BTW, my aunt died from lung cancer a year ago and never smoked a day in her life. My mother died from cirrhosis of the liver and never drank.    Just a thought.

Like rcbbuckeye I watched someone die after the doctors "got everything." My mother-in-law was given 6 months to live after being diagnosed with colon cancer. One doctor suggested immediate surgery, chemo, etc. This was back in the early 80s so I'm sure treatment wasn't as advanced, but I remember when she showed me the staples after surgery and said "I'm going to live. That's all that counts." She went home and a few weeks later she found out the cancer had spread. The last thing I remember her saying in the ICU (she was in & out of consciousness) was "I don't want to die with a tube stuck up my nose" and pulled out the plastic tube.   She was very angry at the doctor who put her through so much pain & gave her false hope.

Sorry to go on like this, since this is your blog, but you mentioned many things that annoyed me. One was "There was a time in 2007 she looked like she was feeling pretty good but instead she was out vacationing!"   How do you know how she felt? Grrrr. I've heard the same thing. Some people look great in a coffin too. It doesn't mean they're not just as dead. Another was "the nerve" of her complaining that her privacy was violated. A worker at the hospital sold her medical records to the tabloids. You don't think that's criminal & invasive? The National Enquirer headlines read that Farrah's cancer had returned before she had even told her family & friends! By fighting that violation of privacy, she got the attention of law makers, including the Gov of CA and legislation was introduced to prevent this from happening to other patients.   Why is this the same as making a program about your cancer treatment? Guess I'm stupid, since I can't find the connection. Sounds like what you are saying is that anyone who is in the entertainment business or political arena should have no privacy and is a target for the press and the paparazzi, right? Yes, it was "her way" as you wrote. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I don't understand what you mean, really. Why shouldn't her personal story about her cancer be told in her own way? Explain that to me. Your blog and the others that are tearing a woman who might be dead as I'm writing this, who has harmed nobody, puzzles me. Did you ever stop to think that her family got a lot of money for that 2 hour program? It was the most watched NBC program in years and drew almost as many viewers as the Olympics. That money might (a) pay for medical bills so her family isn't burdened with them when she dies or maybe (b) be donated to charity to help others with cancer.   

Apparently you don't like this woman, but that's ok. I've criticized a lot of celebrities & politicians. But since you called her selfish, irresponsible, etc, I wish you didn't end your blog by saying you feel sorry for her. It would have had more credibility IMO.
10.
four4meComment by four4me - May 18, 2009, 2:08 pm
There's no right or wrong answers to this dilemma. Lots of people ignore the warning signs and dismiss blood in urine, stool, phlegm and any other suspected area. My wife had a pea size lump on her breast bone area not in the breast itself. I found it one night as i usually hold her their before i fall asleep, i told her that i though see should have it checked out she didn't for almost a year and it was getting bigger all along.

Well as i suspected she had a lump found to be cancerous it was caught before it spread to her lymph nodes. They removed part of her breast her lymph nodes three operations later and a bout of kemo the cancer was arrested. Because she waited so long to have it checked out.

Farrah's story however tragic is just one of the millions of story's like hers because she is an actress it's getting good coverage. Millions of other women and men have suffered the same fate.

Cancer in the world escalated since the testing and dropping of nuclear weapons back in the 40's 50's and 60's this fallout fell on food crops streams and everywhere imaginable. Do you think the government will own up to this one day, will anybody pursue the government for facts and figures about how many generations will be affected as a result of weapons testing. Will the ever find a cure, and stop the funding for cancer research put a hundreds of thousand people out of work. Don't count on it we are the guinea pigs for science one can only hope they aren't predisposed to some element of cancer and that they don't inherit the gene.

Please don't ignore the warning signs.




11.
Comment by lottolaughs - May 19, 2009, 10:31 am
Well,this has been a very interesting subject and obviously had the potential to reach and touch a lot of people in different ways. The biggest problem I had with this show was that is seemed more "self" serving than "people" serving. I do not dislike Farrah, in fact, I have Charlie's Angels DVD's sitting right here that I enjoy watching. Since she was such an icon in the 70's, her power to get a message across was there and was not executed as well as it could have been. The gauzy/ slow motion /sad music montages were meant to evoke emotion from us and sometimes I don't care being "guided" how to feel. I saw a lot of scenes from this a year or two ago so ago when it was in the making and I believe at the time it was supposed to be more like a reality show, not just one 2 hour special. I guess they decided it would be too depressing.

Ryan O'Neal should not have made an appearance in this, if you want to talk about "credibility",lol. He and Redmond just got arrested for Meth possession last September and that is why the son is in jail. This is not the first time the O'Neals have been in the spotlight over drugs. Tatum O'Neal also has had her share of drug problems. It's unfortunate Farrah has chosen to surround herself by some negative influences but you love who you love,right? Warts and all even though I don't think her and Ryan have really "been together" since the late '90's.

four4me,you are right. There are no right or wrongs about this subject. Maybe my original posting was unclear, I was mainly telling how I perceived the show and how it came across and what I felt it lacked. Somebody wanted to make a fast buck with this and I think they felt pressed for time because of her condition so maybe that's what the tone felt to me, "rushed", and without all the facts,ma'am.

12.
Comment by chouquounette - June 27, 2009, 5:18 am
My Dad passed away from cancer 30 years ago and my 80 year old mother is a breast cancer survivor (she was 40 when she was diagnosed and she is a walking miracle). I actually called her in Europe today (I thank God everyday that she is still in my life!) and she mentionned to me that she thought that it was indecent to show the true face of cancer. My mother said no one wants to see that... I personally think it was a necessary thing.. Farrah used her celebrity to show people the trials of cancer. Yes she was a rich woman and could afford the luxury of the treatments she received but there was nothing pretty in watching the pain that she suffered for at least the past 3 years... She was so brave and such a fighter.. I personally was moved by the documentary. It moved me even more because I saw my father slowly dying from this terrible disease and when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer I remember the emotional pain I underwent...So this documentary brought all the emotions back to the surface. There was nothing pretty about it. Regardless of Ryan O'Neal recent actions, I am glad he was there for her and her friend Alana is an outstanding person.. Anyone who knows they are on the clock need that support.. We cannot take life for granted because we are just on standby until we get to the other side. While I can appreciate your point of view I do not agree with you...This documentary was necessary...

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