Christine is gone; my dear friend is gone. She was my closest OM companion, consultant, supporter, and commiserator during the 7 years we traveled this awful trail together. We each knew that the other truly understood. We didn't have to worry about withholding the truth to protect the other. We each knew the truth and could, and did, approach and work with that truth in utter honesty.
We both relied entirely on science, the scientific approach, and scientific research. We shared and discussed every new paper we came across. Christine was terrific at tearing apart these studies: not good enough controls, dosage too low, results wouldn't generalize to OM, etc., etc. Neither of us was trained in any medical field; Christine didn't even have a college education. We taught ourselves; we shared our confusions and shared the answers we found. She was one of the smartest people I have ever known.
Once we impudently attended a conference at NIH on cancer immunotherapies, a conference meant for medical researchers. We flew in, met at the airport, shared a room, and went under the titles of "Dr. so-and-so." We heard a multitude of papers, and learned a lot, but she learned more than I.
Christine generously gave of her knowledge to those who asked. Countless others have benefitted from her big heart, marvelous brain, and vast wisdom.
Christine was the first person to join the pina colada trial, and we both celebrated with a pina colada every time we met. Who knows, maybe it was the pina coladas and the scientific research combined that kept her alive long past the grim 6-month prognosis. I will miss her terribly.