March 30, 2006

PC Research Update

It's been some time since we ran across any encouraging news related to advanced PC research. This one is worth posting.

The most promising aspect of the article below is the fact that the drug is already approved by the FDA. I looked further and found the most common side effects are hot flashes (been there, live that!) and leg cramps (bring it on!). However, these are also listed (the last two don't sound very good but are said to be very rare):

> leg pain or a feeling of warmth in the calves
> swelling of the legs, hands or feet
> sudden chest pain, shortness of breath or coughing up blood
> sudden change in your vision, such as loss of vision or blurred vision

The compound is known as Raloxifene, Lilly uses the name "Evista".
Source: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Posted: March 24, 2006

Raloxifene, Drug Used For Osteoporosis, Shown To Potentially Benefit Prostate Cancer Patients

In a study to be published in the April 2006 issue of the British Journal of Urology International, researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have shown that Raloxifene, a drug commonly used to treat osteoporosis, has a potential clinical benefit in treating men with prostate cancer. This study has implications for the approximately 35,000 men who will die this year of advanced prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men living in the United States. Approximately one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. "We undertook this study because we desperately need new therapies for patients with advanced prostate cancer," said David B. Agus, M.D., research director of the Louis Warschaw Prostate Cancer Center at Cedars-Sinai and principal investigator of the study.

Since Raloxifene is a drug already on the market, researchers were able to move directly into a Phase II clinical trial. They identified the presence of the beta isoform of the estrogen receptor in prostate cancer tissue samples, then moved directly into studies of animals with human prostate cancer, and then onto human clinical trials. The entire process took only 2-3 years.

"It used to be that to show effectiveness through research studies, cancer drugs needed to shrink tumors by 50 percent," Agus said. "Now, the new way of thinking about the effectiveness of cancer drugs is whether they can slow cancer's growth, which ultimately may significantly benefit patients."

Through the study, patients were given a daily oral dosage of Raloxifene, and the disease and its symptoms were followed on a regular basis. Some of the patients in the clinical trial taking Raloxifene showed evidence of disease stabilization manifested by a slowing or stopping of the growth of their prostate cancer.

According to Ronald L. Shazer, M.D., primary author of the manuscript, "The outcome from the Phase II clinical trial merits further study in a randomized clinical trial to demonstrate the clinical benefit of this targeted therapy."

The study was funded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Elle and Paul Stephens Family Foundation.

For more information about the work of the physicians and researchers at the Louis Warschaw Prostate
Cancer Center, please visit:

March 27, 2006

In case you forgot, you are a mortal

My guess is that this is not an original thought...What I've been thinking is that perhaps the thought of mortality gets to the root of what makes cancer so devastating. Cancer forces one to deal with what we all know, but do not spend a lot of time contemplating; we are mortal, we will die. I can't imagine many people actually think that they will live forever, but we as humans, we just don't spend a lot of our time considering when and how we will go.

Even in my case, who really knows, it might be a car accident or a lightening strike? Like the rest of you, one just never knows. On the other hand, considering the odds, it is more than likely it will be cancer. So what do I do with that wonderful piece of knowledge? So far, it hasn't become all consuming. It bothers me, it bothers us, but we go on.

Mary and I had a real good streak going. It had been months since we cried about it. In Florida the streak ended. On one of our last nights we went for a walk late in the evening. We sat down on the bench where we watched the sunset each night. It was very brief but a much overdue moment.

Here are a few verses I penned, I hate to even refer to this as poetry, it gives poetry a bad name!
There you stand
weathered, beaten, tired
surrounded by sand,
and the beauty and warmth of the sun.

Years have passed,
your scars show clearly,
you rest in a place,
that I'll forever hold dearly.
A Line of Separation
There's a line in the sky,
a place in the atmosphere,
that separates the world
from heaven.

It was always there,
for me to see,
but until this happened,
it was shrouded to me.

I looked upward,
my focus is external,
to the day that comes,
when I cross that line.
She needs to know,
my love for her,
has never wavered.

March 21, 2006

7 nights, 7 perfect sunsets

Instead of boring you with seven photos that look nearly the same, I chose this one. No, it's not Hawaii or St. Kitts, but the sunsets from Anna Maria Island are, at times, second to none!!! We enjoyed each of them.

March 20, 2006

Paradise, the conclusion

It's the first day of Spring and we're expecting up to 8" of snow by tomorrow!! Just 48 hours ago Mary and I took our last morning walk on the beach before packing and returning to K.C.
The weather last week was picture perfect. When we checked out of the condo, the manager said he couldn’t remember a better week in March since he'd been living there (1982).

Some friends from church/soccer/school were staying about 10 minutes down the beach. It was their first time in the area, they loved the area as well. The best part of this location is that although it is Spring Break, there are no teens, college students! It's very family friendly!!!

We did absolutely nothing all week (except for the trip to Busch Gardens). We ate fresh seafood daily and went to the beach and that's it. It's amazing how relaxing doing nothing can be. I want to go back! Laying on the beach, listening to the iPod and the surf, what a life!!! I can really imagine a life of 7:00am walks on the beach, a work out, disc golf, fresh seafood for dinner, early to bed and then repeat the whole thing - day, after day, after day!!! I hope that this brief bout of winter goes away quickly. They are calling for 50 degress by Saturday and 60 degrees next week - I hope for once they are correct!

Has anyone else noticed how bad travel has gotten? Every plane is full to the gills! On three of the 4 legs we traveled the airline was offering vouchers for people to get off the plane. The airports were all crowded,but the airlines are in such bad financial shape they won't add any flights……

Health-wise, things are good. Two weeks until my next blood test, currently on cruise control.

March 16, 2006

Paradise, Part II

Day 6, still wondering where all the clouds are? Six straight days of awesome weather, the first four were in the low 80’s and the last three have been in the high 70’s.

On Monday we drove down to Venice Beach to meet some friends and watch the sunset. Again, a post card sunset, worth the drive, I just wish they were closer.

Tuesday we headed off to Busch Gardens for a day of roller coasters. It had been close to 20 years since I had been there. My things have changed! If you are in to roller coasters, I would recommend this park over any in Orlando. There are two older coasters that are OK, but are not worth adding any details on. They have one where your legs dangle below you, it is frightening but pretty good as well. The three that are a must are:
- Sheikra: you climb to 200 feet and they stop the cars at the edge and hold you there for what seems like an eternity (4-5 seconds), then you drop straight down (literally). It's an unbelievable experience.

Kwazi – more twists and turns and invertered loops than I have ever experienced. This one was the best.

???? – the most fun however, it was the old wooden one. 3500 feet, 3.5 g forces of laughter. I laugh on roller coasters. Some people scream; I laugh, and laugh and laugh. The best part of riding this one (7 times) was having Brad in the car with me each time. He was loving every single bump, corner, hill, etc. (I have whiplash, but nothing a few Advil didn’t clear up!!!)

(On another note, on our way up I-75 to the park I had a thought about a guy named Dan. Dan is from Tampa and has PC. I’ve mentioned him here before. He drives 150 miles or so round trip for chemo therapy several times a week. Anyway, I just wondered if we passed each other on I-75. Now here is the ironic part….I check my email later on in the day, and there is a comment on the blog from his wife Paula…..spooky stuff (see the comment on the previous entry)!!!
Yesterday our deep sea fishing trip was cancelled because of choppy seas so we spent the day at the beach. Imagine that! My brother and I found a hoard of sand dollars at the end of the day, 20-30 in about 30 minutes, and we had to stop for dinner.

Mary turned 39 again yesterday and we took her out for a wonderful dinner. If you ever find yourself in Longboat Key, FL I would recommend “Moore’s Crab House”. A family owned place, right on the inner-coastal waterway. Not much on atmosphere but the seafood was excellent and the service was great.

I love the ocean, I love being by water. There is something peaceful, tranquil about the sound of the waves, the sand, even seagulls (winged rats). Though the thoughts of cancer are still there, I must admit there have been a few times this week where perhaps 30 or 60 minutes have passed without those thoughts being top of mind.

With two days left I don’t want to go. I’d love to live here; I love to die here (in 30 years). I think I understand why people come here to retire. Everyday you get up, walk the beach for an hour (or two), have a little breakfast, do your errands, eat lunch, play golf or tennis or God forbid, walk the beach again, etc., etc. I know it’s not something that interests all of you, but for me, this is a little slice of paradise.
(Please excuse typo’s etc. We are sponging off someone’s internet connection and don’t have a lot of time for edits. My better half will surely clean this up later. After all she’s 39 and better looking than I am!!!)

I’ll wrap this all up on Sunday but in closing, from Anna Maria Island, Florida here is something to consider:
A beach is sand, sand is pretty much made up of crushed shells and dead sea organisms. When has death ever looked so beautiful?

March 13, 2006

Paradise, Part 1

It’s the morning of day three. By 8:30 AM I’ve already been for a walk on the beach with my brother, had a light breakfast and am contemplating how to spend today doing, nothing. Tough life, I know.

We had fresh seafood each day and spent most of yesterday on the beach. The temperature has been in the low eighties and the clouds are nearly non-existent...paradise for sure.

This is something I really needed, something I really wanted.

Various thoughts so far:

The mixture of old people and young people – it’s like the ocean itself: the fresh new sand is created from the older shells dying and over the years being ground into new life, fresh sand.

I can see the attraction of retirement down here. A morning walk on the beach, perfect, perfect sunsets, fresh fish, the water, the sound of surf…..God’s perfection on display.

More to follow on deep sea fishing, Busch Gardens……

March 09, 2006


I'm not sure how to begin this or if I should post it at all? The topic is somewhat vague, but then again, it's not. I've been thinking about emotions, and conscious thought and how we as humans deal with tragedies and calamities in our lives.

You all are aware of how I deal with the speed bumps in my life, but I have a friend that is struggling. It's a completely different situation, but the emotions and personal struggle are similar. I look up to him. He is a man who I admire for a number of reasons; because of his intelligence, his humor and his laissez faire approach to life.

It's been a year and I never broached the subject with him. That is until the other day on the phone. As much as that event last spring destroyed him and as much as he struggled to regain a semblance of a life he "thinks about her every minute of every day". I told him that month after month I wanted to reach out and tell him I'm there if he wanted to talk or not, to cry or not, to just sit there in silence, because we could. I just saw him return to his old self and didn’t feel right about asking. Being the selfless, thoughtful soul that he is, his concern was that I have enough going on in my own life. All I could tell him was, "I can handle it, don't ever doubt it, that's what I'm here for!".

It was a very brief conversation, a small step, but one that I hope has opened a door, if only just a crack. In the weeks ahead I have made a promise to myself, to him and to God that I will reach out to him more often. I pray that he hears me and reaches out as well. Perhaps we both will benefit from the experience, I know that I will and I pray that he will as well.

As much as I struggle with the fact I have Cancer (every minute of every day), I continue to find solace and peace in the fact it's not about me or just Cancer. This journey is about people like him and other close friends, it's about complete strangers getting tested, asking questions and becoming educated about prostate cancer and other cancers as well. It's about trying to live another day looking out and around instead of just within.

March 06, 2006


If I've learned nothing else it's this - don't expect good news to arrive too many times in a row.

My PSA number now stands at 1.45 - this is up from .44 on January 27th, but still down from 1.85 on December 28th.

Worse case, we have two more rises in April and May and we start Casodex again (oral hormone blocker) and pray that it has some effect on the number. Better case, the number bounces around from time to time but remains at or near 1.

Are we worried? No. Are we concerned, of course. Fluctuation will happen so we just have to be patient, keep doing what we are doing, continue praying, don't get stressed - relax and really enjoy our upcoming trip to Florida!

I was reading through my blog entries from last year at this time over the weekend, my how things have changed - and yet, stayed the same. So much unknown last year, so much unknown this year. But hope springs internal, or something like that…..

It's March, it's spring around here and life is renewed. I spent a few hours outside yesterday, tilling the garden, cleaning up the leaves that had collected over the winter. Hyacinth and tulip bulbs are exploding from the ground and the weatherman is calling for more rain this week to encourage the bulbs further. Unbeknownst to them, they will help encourage me.
You may have noticed the banner ad above for the "Cancer Mosaic" project. Click on it for further details - it's a very worthwhile project in my opinion. You can find me there in a very meaningful location.......
Details will follow, but mark the date now;
2nd Annual FLHW Golf Tournament
September 29th @ 1:00pm

March 01, 2006

Thoughts in Solitude

There is nothing new to report and since it is Ash Wednesday, I thought I'd pass along this very appropriate prayer, which I recently received from a friend.

Thoughts in Solitude
by Thomas Merton

My Lord god, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actuallly doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you ,will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore, I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.