American Bedu Personal Update


I like to think that life is like a roller coaster with its ups and downs.  My own battle against  cancer can be described as a roller coaster too!  This past week I met with my oncologist to learn the details of a recent PET scan since I had completed a six month regime of chemotherapy.

I should start with advising that I have an aggressive cancer which likes to hide itself in the lymph nodes.  I’ve been feeling pretty good since stopping the chemo so I was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been when I heard the results of my scan.

My bone metastasis (ie, cancer within the bones) has remained about the same or in some places the cancer tumors did shrink some from the chemotherapy.  That is good news.

However, on the flip side of the coin, my cancer has now spread into the liver.  That is the bad news.  It is never good when a cancer starts making its way into the body’s organs.

What this means for me now is several things.  First, since this is a metastasis to a new area I will require a liver biopsy.  (ugh)   Then the next plan of action is that I am going to start a phase I clinical trial.

Clinical trials are having a group of screened participants agree to try a medication or procedure for research purposes since said medication or procedure has not yet been approved by the US FDA.

  A Phase I trial is a trial where the medication is first given to humans.  In my case, AMP-224-01, (the name given to refer to the medication), has had favorable results in mice and monkeys.  Hopefully I will have equally or more positive results without carrying around bananas or talking like a monkey.  (smile)

There are risks associated with clinical trials and especially Phase I trials since little is known yet on how a human will react.  My doctor explained to me that I will be like a bug under a microscope.  They will want to know even if I hiccup!  Because I will be under such close scrutiny, I have additional confidence in going forward with this trial.

I am also realistic in understanding that this increased metastasis of my cancer means that fewer options are becoming available for me.  If I do not have a favorable response to the trial, it could be the beginning of the end for me.  At least the end of life as I know it on this world.

My faith in God keeps me calm and focused.  However I would be lying to myself and others if I did not acknowledged that there are times of fear.  But there is no point in burying my head in the sand.  I receive the facts and prepare myself for another battle.

I don’t know what the new treatment will mean yet in regards to my ability to keep up with my blog.  I will be spending A LOT of time at my oncologist’s facility for treatments and observations.

Thankfully I have two great individuals who help with moderation.  Aafke has helped immensely with guest posts when I’m having bad days and unable to post.  I may have to consider more guest posts to have a cache I can refer to if I am sick or too weak to write.

While I still have energy and feeling good, I’d welcome the opportunity to interview any American Bedu followers.  It is nice to share why someone has chosen to follow American Bedu and what their specific interests and/or experiences are in Saudi Arabia.  If you’d like to be interviewed, just email me directly at:

In closing this post, thank YOU for following my blog!


33 Responses

  1. I’m sorry to heard about this. I wish you the best and I’m praying for you.

  2. Gosh, Carol, I don’t know what to say except that your courage and determination are inspiring. If anybody can hold out and overcome, it is you. My kind thoughts are with you, always.


  3. Dear Carol,

    Salam Aleikum. May God be with you during this time and know that you have MILLIONS of people praying for you. You are an inspiration to us all.


  4. Thanks for the update. I admire your positive attitude. you are inspiring!

  5. Good luck!! Wishing you the best.

  6. I wish you well. There are no words that I can offer to help ease your fears or increase your hopes. I wish there were. My hope is that you have family and friends by your side more and more in the months to come. I know that even with all those who may be around you, your journey through this will at times be a lonely one. My hope is that you understand how much you have touch others lives; even if it is through a blog. How very much appreciated that small offer is to all who have come to be informed, insulted, slammed, uplifted, and just inspired. You have touch far more than you may ever know and provided an everlasting imprint. I shall hope for a miracle.

  7. Wishing you all the best. Keep up that positive attitude. It means EVERYthing!

  8. Carol,

    Just started following your blog yesterday. I am so sorry to hear about your illness. Mashallah you seem to be a strong woman! I believe that these kinds of trials are sent to us by God to test us and to show how much He loves us! … I know it sounds weird, but I was told the same once by my Saudi wife and at the time I thought it ridiculous… but in a way I can now see the wisdom in it…. She told me that the Prophet said, ‘If Allah loves a servant, He sends them trials in life’ … Anyway, not hear to give a lecture. My thoughts and prayers are with you and I hope the treatment works well. You know you have a great attitude and I think positivity is an important element! … On another note, it would be interesting to know exactly how many Western men and women are married to Saudis!

  9. I am so sorry to hear this news. I grew up in Riyadh and love reading your blog posts – I am praying for you – particularly for you to have the strength to walk through this experience, as you have done so gracefully for a long time now. Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us here.

  10. I’m very sorry to hear that you are facing yet another momentos challenge. I pray that God grants you strength and energy to get you through this. My father was in a test programme when he was diagnosed, his team monitored him very closely and this gave my family great comfort and I’m sure will give you comfort too. My father survived and thrived, insh’Allah you will have the same outcome.

  11. Hi Carol, I could say how sorry I am about the news that you have gotten from your PET scan but I am sure you know how everyone on this blog feels. I personally hate the scan because I am always in fear of hearing that the cancer has returned or as in your cast gotten worse. I hope the new meds work for you, and it is great that you are willing to be a part of this study. I can only say hang in there because the object is for you to stay alive until the next great medication is created to find a cure. I think you have the prayers of many people Carol, Keep up you positive attitude as you have so far. I have 15 years and 4 bouts with cancer and am still fighting be sure you do the same.

  12. Dear Carol,

    I am your daily and regular follower for your blog .My sincerely prayer will be with you daily . Please don’t give up hope because whatever things happend , happens with the reason .Believe and have a strong faith in Qadar and Qadaq .You can make it , I am very sure for that .Yes , you can do it because I know YOU CAN make it !! You means a lot to all your follower / reader !!! God bless and all the best ..

  13. This is really quite demanding on your health and psyche.

    You need to rest ..and tell us more about other stuff beyond just being an ex-pat Saudi Arabic observer/wife.

    What are your pet interests …beyond the history, culture and politics of Saudi Arabia? Your identity and skills is way more than what we read.

  14. We’re all facing death..

    Carol, please make Tawba now while you can. Stay off blogging and spend this time with real people. Faceless identities and nicknames will less likely to do you any good when in your grave and are in great need for real dua for God’s mercy – something we’ll all need during this time.

    I ask Allah to guide you and all of us to the Sirat Al Mustaqeem. May He ease your pain and be with you.

  15. Ah , , , ,*&^%$ RATS! . . . this is bad news.

    May this new technique/med work as well for you as it does for chimps and rodents!

    I’d certainly consent to being interviewed but I’m not sure why I have such an interest in the middle east. Perhaps focusing on the train wreck of Saudi culture and government takes my mind off the train wreck that is my own country.

    There was a Susan who posted awhile ago about falling in love and getting pregnant with a Saudi student. I’d like to hear more from her. Also I’d like to hear about any information Universities pass out about Saudi students and the laws of marriage in Saudi Arabia.

  16. So, what now about the Avastin?

  17. The good news is that you get to do the trial! Every little bit can help and every drug that prolongs life and gives time is a good one as we never know what fantastic treatments may be found tomorrow.

    What Steve Jobs said as he was dying has made me fear the process less. I mean what could be better than to hear “WOW, WOW, WOW”!!!

    You are a role model for fighting, Carol! Keep up the good work.

  18. My thoughts are with you, wishing you the best of luck!

  19. Carol,

    Insh’Allah I hope you get well.

  20. My home is in southeastern Pennsylvania and I’ve followed your blog for a few years. My interest in KSA and the middle east is political and social: the changes in that region seem inevitable, how that medieval culture embraces modernity is engrossing. I enjoy reading about people who are restricted and defined by a religion that is also the law of the land; dress codes, food laws, prayer times – fascinating.

    As to your tragic circumstances, Carol, thank you for enduring the tests. I hope that some experimental drug or procedure gives you years of life. For you and the many who follow, you are doing a brave thing and making a great contribution to cancer sufferers now and in the future.

  21. All the best with the clinical trial. I”ll be keeping you in my prayers that your cancer responds strongly to it. It’s amazed me how well you’ve kept up with everything while going through all this. Great to hear about the shrinkage of the cancer in your bones.

    I don’t comment much but I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned through your writings … and not all about KSA. I’ve loved all your blogs but I particularly love the ones you write about your late husband … you had such a beautiful relationship and it’s often made me think about what I REALLY want.

    Lots of positive thoughts going your way, along with the prayers, Carol!

  22. American Bedu,
    So you may be starting another journey? I pray your God takes good care of you on the other side and Abdullah is there to meet you.

    You are a great inspiration to us all! So until you leave us we are happy to read your post.

  23. Praying for you Carol and wishing you strength, steadfastness, and better health.
    All the best

  24. Hi Mrs. Bedu:

    I have been a follower of your blog for almost over a year or more now. And never wrote before, but had to wish you a speedy recovery and God be with you.

    I also have to tell you of all the bloggers out there, in any content/issue, yours is the TOP and the BEST, because it is educational, unbiased, and written so well. I always wondered if you were to make a book of your blog, you would do very well. I have learned so much from your blog, and I am not a muslim, just a very interested, educated reader who reads your blog first thing in the morning even before the NYTimes.

    All the best and may God be with you in your time of need.

  25. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I hope the trial goes well.
    Wishing you a blessed Christmas.

  26. Dear Carol,
    Ooooh. I’m so sorry to hear the news. Silver lining, come shine forth!
    I like the word “trial”–that Linda used in her message: something hard maybe, something perhaps new. Strength, courage, and JOY to you in 2012.

  27. hope your trial goes well carol, hope 2012 holds great promise for you and great joy .

  28. Oh man, that stinks! :C
    I truly hope that isn’t so and you’re able to reverse the prognosis!
    I wish you a very Merry Christmas nonetheless :’)

  29. Dear Carol,

    I’m sorry to hear about your battle with cancer. And I really hope that things turn out for the better with you. Just keep strong and keep fighting. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

  30. I thank EVERYONE for the support and prayers. I’m moving forward for the clinical trial. I had some pre-trial work up tests today and New Year’s week I will be having the liver biopsy. I will keep everyone apprised.

  31. I am so sorry for this news, but I am glad that there is still some hope open to you with the clinical trial.

    I have followed your blog for many years and came across it when I was looking for information about potentially living in Abu Dhabi. Though I didn’t end up moving, I was intrigued by learning more about Saudi Arabia. It’s such a mysterious culture from Western viewpoints and I love learning more about it.

    It is clear from your writing that you are a wonderfully kindhearted woman who is open and accepting to all. I am very sorry for the struggles you’ve gone through these past years, and especially for the loss of your beloved husband.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and a small portion of your life with us.

    All my best for the best recovery possible.

  32. […] post is a personal update on me, American Bedu.  I had written last month about the continued spread of my cancer.  Since that December posting I underwent a […]

  33. […] the last few months I have been undergoing a phase I clinical trial particularly because the cancer decided to spread from my bones to the liver. While the clinical […]

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