March 30, 2007

Today's double dose

I just picked up my bone scan from Tuesday, this time I requested a copy of the Radiologist report instead of waiting for Dr. H on Monday. For the most part I like what I read. No mention on my back, neck, shoulders etc.! As for my rib and pelvis "activity, but no increase from 8/20/06 report". There is "some slight increase in activity" in my left thigh "orbital blah, blah..." basically, the ball at the top of my right thigh bone. (non-professional observation: I never have pain or discomfort there, it's always the left side, though that has been months ago).

So, more on Monday, my guess is Dr. H will give us the classic "stay the course"!

Also, I haven't blogged about music lately so here's something to ponder.

There's a one hit wonder band from back around 2003 "Finger Eleven". I don't know much about them other than they are originally from Ontario, Canada. They briefly hit the Billboard Top 20 with the song below.

I created a playlist for my iPod last summer which included the song "One Thing". The playlist is titled '1st Therapy', I listen to it all the time!

I'm sure the song is about a girl or something similar, but the lyrics is italics hit real close to home. Enjoy!

Also, try Matt Costa, "Songs We Sing". Great CD.....thanks to 'the other David' for turning me on to Matt last summer.

"One Thing"
Restless tonight
Cause I wasted the light
Between both these times
I drew a really thin line

It’s nothing I planned
And not that I can
But you should be mine
Across that line

If I traded it all
If I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out
If I knew all about this one thing
Wouldn’t that be something

I promise I might
Not walk on by
Maybe next time
But not this time

Even though I know
I don’t want to know
Yeah I guess I know
I just hate how it sounds

What would you do with four more months?

I've been following this company and their trial almost since the beginning. Yesterday was perhaps the best news related to PC in my two years of dealing with it. There are still more hurdles, but good news none the less (see article below).

The bottom line is the same though, it it not a cure. Basically the early trial results show additional life expectancy of four months for Hormone Refractory prostate cancer patients. I'm not there yet (Hormone Refractory is just a nice way of saying the testosterone blocker has stopped working), but I will be someday (years from now!), I just pray that with this news, and further research by Dendreon, four months will turn into four years.....and more.

Four months doesn't sound like much, but stop for a minute and think "What would I do with those four extra months?"

Personally, I don't have an answer right now. That's not my frame of mind at this time. I continue to try to remain positive, I continue to pray Tuesday's x-ray results are encouraging.

Friday , March 30, 2007
A new immune system treatment for advanced prostate cancer is safe and effective enough to begin U.S. sales, a panel of FDA advisors concluded Thursday.

Many experts said they were uneasy about backing the vaccine-like treatment, known as
Provenge, because it showed only slight evidence that it prolongs the lives of men with the disease. But most agreed to recommend approval anyway, citing the scant options available to patients, many of whom are facing a terminal illness.

"I wish we all could have voted ‘maybe’ on this, but I don’t think we can," said Farshid Guilak, PhD, a professor of surgery at Duke University who was a member of the panel.

New Treatment Class
Dendreon Corp., the biotech firm that makes Provenge, touted the treatment as the first cellular therapy against cancer. To undergo treatment, patients have immune cells removed and treated with immune agents.

The cells are then reintroduced into the body with chemical programming that, in theory, allows them to mount an immune response against cancer cells.
Men with advanced prostate cancer often undergo hormone treatment used to block the action of testosterone and related hormones. The treatment can cause disturbing side effects, including breast enlargement and sexual dysfunction.

Limited Evidence
A pair of studies suggested Provenge may slow by one to two weeks the progression of prostate cancer in men who have cancer that does not respond to hormone treatment.
Men who used the treatment also showed some evidence of living longer than those who took a placebo. In one trial, men who got active treatment lived an average of 3.3 months longer. In another, they lived four and a half months longer.

Experts criticized the studies for enrolling only roughly 100 to 130 patients, a relatively small number that can limit scientists' ability to interpret results.
But most said they support Provenge anyway, given the limited choices for men with advanced disease.

"If we can buy them a couple of minutes or a couple of months or a couple of years, then it's our obligation to do that," said Robert J. Samuels, a member of the panel who said he was diagnosed with prostate cancer 13 years ago. "We understand it’s a risk. But it’s a risk most of us are willing to take."

Dendreon argued their studies showed the product has benefit. "Even though small, you can take the results with a great deal of confidence," said Mark Froelich, the company’s vice president for clinical affairs.

The company is conducting a third study to test whether it improves survival in more than 400 patients. Experts said the results of that trial should have a heavy bearing on whether the FDA decides to approve Provenge.

Federal regulations compel the FDA to make a decision on the treatment by May 15. The agency isn’t forced to follow advisory panels’ recommendations, but it usually does.
Approximately 27,000 American men will die of prostate cancer in 2007, according to estimates from the American Cancer Society. Dendreon estimates 27,000 patients per year could be candidates for Provenge.

Several experts said the company had not established that Provenge works, but then voted to back it once FDA officials told them to base their votes only on the question of whether the evidence was "substantial."

Panelist Richard Alexander, MD, chief of urology at the VA Maryland Health Care System, in Baltimore, voted against approving the drug. "But very close," he said.

Several patients testified before the committee about the need for more therapies, even ones of questionable benefit.

Patients "are pleading for something other than the one drug that’s been approved in the last 30 years," said Jim Kiefert, chairman of Us Too, a nonprofit group for prostate cancer patients.

March 26, 2007

More positive press for FLHW!!!

Many, many thanks go out to the writer Ann Spivak!!!! She did a fantastic job turning the interview she and I had two weeks ago into a wonderful article. This was published in the March 25th Kansas City Star Magazine. Click Here

March 23, 2007

Damn this cancer!

In 1999, I had the privilege of being admitted to the Rockhurst University Executive Fellows MBA class. The two year program, which consisted of classes on alternating Fridays and Saturdays, made a remarkable change in my life.

There was one individual on the staff, an angel much like my grandmother, her name is Marian. I am not sure to this day what her title was? She was basically, the coordinator of everything. From admission, to guest speakers, to travel arrangements, you name it, she got it done.

Well she's in trouble, in November she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has had a number of treatments and surgeries and now she needs our prayers.

For the first time in months there are actually tears rolling down my cheeks. If ever there was someone who didn't deserve this, it is her. She is such a wonderful women, like I said, an angel if there ever was one. With Faith, Hope and or Love she will WIN this battle.

March 19, 2007

Chasing snakes....

This weekend another milestone or anniversary passed, this is perhaps one the hardest ones to deal with each year. See March 16, 2005
'Just know she is is God's hands and there are others around you that need you to remain strong. Keep the faith my brother, you continue to be in our thoughts and prayers."

The weeks fly by, while each day is precious. I am having a hard time dealing with the speed at which the days and weeks are zooming passed. I can't seem to get anything done even though I am constantly busy doing 'things'. There are applications to complete and submit for the foundation. There are flyers and forms to create for the golf tournament (mark your calendars; Friday September 28th, 1:00pm shotgun at Sycamore Ridge). There is work, volunteer activities at church, and finding time to be a husband and father. And oh, did I mention dealing with this lousy hand of cards called cancer. Doctor appointments, lab tests etc. and on and on......

The wheels of life seem to spin out of control one minute and the next I know exactly what I am doing and making great progress in one or some of the these areas. Focus on the details but keep the big picture in mind. I found that have 'settled' into this groove where I just live each day and try not to plan to far ahead. Sometimes I feel good about this, others it annoys me that I have to live day to day. I can look out a month or so, but beyond that it's difficult to commit. We want to take a family vacation to Florida after school gets out, maybe early June, but we are reluctant to plan that far ahead. Who knows what will happen between now and then? So this is what the life has become two years later....

The blog title is somewhat of a double entendre, as most are. In this case it is not only a reference to St. Patrick but my life. It seems to be moving like a snake, back and forth, side to side but pressing forward faster than is desired.

March 15, 2007


Something that struck me as I spent time at the hospital in ICU last week. I really don't like hospitals. The doctors office is no big deal, neither is the imaging center. Patient rooms, ICU, that 'smell', at times it really got to me.

Mary didn't know it at the time, she does now. With all that was going on with him, how selfish or whiny would it be to talk about me? One day, we continue to pray, many years from now, that could be me. The purpose of my visit would of course be much different, but all those tubes, monitors etc., people coming and going, checking vitals, providing meds, the smell. I pause and pray it's a LONG time for David!

A morbid thought? I guess it is perhaps. However, receive a diagnosis similar to mine and try not to have these thoughts. They don't consume me, I just 'go there' from time to time. This was one of those times.

March 13, 2007

Apparently, not!

The title is in reference to the disc golf tourney titled 'Can You WyCo?', well I guess the answer in my case in no, I cannot! I had an abysmal first round, played much better in round two, but finished 21st (out of 23 in our division). Pete took fourth in the 'Masters' [over forty]. I think 'Masters' is a misnomer, over forty means these are the guys that have been playing the sport for years. That makes Pete's effort that much more impressive!

It was fun, I didn't enter to win anyway. We met a lot of great people and next up are tournaments in Des Moines, IA and Omaha, NE ~ April 14-15th!!!
A potentially interesting change at the FDA. (article)
I'm not sure where I stand at this point? There is a lot of hype surrounding the idea of greater access to clinical trials, this quote stands out:
He remembers one trial that tested a vaccine for deadly pancreatic cancer. Although all the patients wanted the vaccine, one group got it and the other got only supportive care. In the end, he says, there was no difference in survival between the two.

But Stephenson admits that it's heartbreaking to tell a patient he can't have an experimental drug. "It's a hard discussion to have with a patient and his family. There's a lot of tears," he says. "We all would love to be able to get them access to some form of therapy."

March 08, 2007

Is there a point?

Well, it's not quite a point when it comes to my PSA!!!
Monday's number came in at 21.87, less than a 1 point gain from February (.97 to be exact).

Here are the historic numbers:
Date PSA
3/5/07 21.87
2/5/07 20.90
1/8/07 18.90
12/11/06 24.86
11/13/06 43.61
10/16/06 51.48 (Started Ketoconazole and Hydrocortisone, 10/01)
9/11/06 83.97 (started Zometa)
8/23/06 41.77
8/18/06 54.66
(no tests in June or July)
5/19/06 11.37 (stopped Casodex)
4/3/06 4.253/
5/06 1.45
1/27/06 0.44
12/28/05 1.85

I'm not sure about you, but I am estatic!! Sure, we'd like for it to go down further, but steady as it goes beats an increase!

Looks like I get to enjoy March and the beginning of spring without any new complications or new worries. Ah, fresh mowed grass, tulips and hyacynth!!!
BTW - Sunday a few of the Saturday disc golf gang and myself are playing in a local disc golf tournament. If you are interested, here are a few links:
Tournament Site
Tournamnet Flyer
PDGA Player List and results

March 06, 2007

A life list.

Here's a really cool list sent to me by another guy with PC.
I highlighted the ones I really like:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God - He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take "no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your family will.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative! -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab yours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

March 04, 2007

Checking in…..

I haven’t updated in a week for a number of reasons.

First, I was in Tucson speaking at an industry conference. I was hoping to enjoy the warmth of Arizona and relax a little. While I was able to relax, the warmth of spring decided to wait a week until after the conference! I did play 36 holes of disc golf! Additionally, Mary talked me into having my first ever massage. The conference was at the “Westward Look Resort and Spa” so I booked thirty minutes on Wednesday afternoon. I was always a little leery of the whole massage thing, having a stranger rub you down?! Let me just say I ready for the follow up treatment! It was incredible!

The second reason for the delay is Mary’s dad had a triple by-pass surgery on Saturday. It all happened rather quickly. He is recovering very hastily and even walked around the nurse’s station this afternoon, just 24 hours after they finished the surgery! I was amazed!

Tomorrow I have my seventh Zometa treatment and monthly PSA test. There is not much to report beyond that? I still feel great and am praying for a lower number or stability at the worst. There were several clinical trial updates this week; some real promising outcomes, for the years ahead!!

Drug could Slow the Growth of Advanced PC

Green Tea and COX-2 Inhibitors