December 31, 2008

Another year closes

So here we are at the end of another year, anticipating the beginning of a new year. I'd like to tell you that I am looking forward to 2009, but as always, I try not to look too far ahead. At this point, looking or planning beyond January is difficult.

Where some of you may be planning Spring Break or a big summer vacation, Mary and I cannot look that far ahead. I'd love to do something special with Brad this year, but we have no idea where we are headed, treatment wise, after the end of January. We have several options to consider, but we have not made any decisions. That decision will dictate a lot.  

Monday is treatment #11. It has been a fairly easy journey to date. I still have my hair, and the side effects are very manageable. After my last treatment on the 15th, the fatigue was a little worse than after previous treatments. Work was busy on Tues-Fri and I even attended several after work Christmas parties.  However, by Friday night and Saturday I was wiped out. I spent Saturday in the house, enjoying the Christmas decorations and reading a book. I'm not a particularly fast reader but I flew through all 359 pages of James Patterson's '3rd Degree' in just over one day.  I have since completed Sue Grafton's 'P is for Peril', and am about to embark on 
'Q is for Quarry'.

Christmas in the Emerson house was wonderfully relaxing. We had nineteen over to the house for Christmas and ten more last Saturday. A quick trip to St. Louis lies ahead and then life returns to normal.

The weather has warmed slightly in the last week and I have played a lot of disc golf. So much that Mary reeled me in this morning! I was pretty willing, as I needed a break. I'll try to get in a few more rounds before returning to work next week, but we will see!

So what lies ahead for 2009? I think I'll use the following mantra as the year begins; LBC - Life Beyond Chemo. A week after my last chemo treatment I will complete year four and begin year five. My how time has flown. The future is somewhat limited but we remain hopeful and confident we will find the right path and God will guide us appropriately. The number of options continue to lessen but we march onward and I therefore ask for your continued support and prayers.

December 19, 2008

And so it goes....

It seems treatment number ten is being tolerated as well as those that I have previously received.
I have been tired in the afternoon and evening the past few days and am able to fall asleep soundly by 9:30pm. Metallic mouth is reeking havoc again, I could really use a grande, skinny, vanilla latte, the caffeine would do me good, but the taste would not be so good!
I am about 30 minutes away from being off work for the rest of the year! Mary and I are headed to lunch, then I have to run a few errands. One of those is a trip to the post office, ewww!
Winter has fully engulfed Kansas City. With the temperature for tomorrow morning's forecast at 21 degrees, I'm going to pass on disc golf. However, don't doubt there will be a number of the regular gang out there tomorrow!
Updates over the next two weeks might be sporadic at best, we'll just have to wait and see.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you and may the new year bring you much happiness and joy!
Peace be with you!

December 15, 2008

When a little is a lot

Let's get right to it, no messing around.....

PSA = 38.99 !!!

Yes it is a small decline, less than a point, but less is sometimes more!

We are just a little happy around here! May your week be as happy as our day has been!

Peace be with you all.

"...hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

December 14, 2008

Update before ten

Before I get to your real reason for coming here an update from today I have to share a weather 'event'. We were driving back from our annual shopping spree at Lake of the Ozarks and we stopped in Clinton, Mo, about an hour from home. When we got out to stretch out legs, etc. it was 65 degrees outside, absolutely beautiful. As was started back out, 15 minutes later it had dropped to 40 degrees and when we arrived home an hour late, it had dropped 41 degrees and was a mere 24! Overnight it is supposed to dip below 9 degrees! Crazy weather...

Hopefully the freezing rain we are also supposed to get won't make our trip to KU Cancer Cancer too dangerous. The only thing that might make things easier is that this appointment is not until the afternoon, with treatment not beginning until 2:00pm.

I am somewhat reluctant about treatment #10, particularly after the last time. Ten days before Christmas, I could use some good news, something a little encouraging. I spent part of this morning updating a matrix Mary and I keep with all my test scores, as well as a list of what options lie ahead. After looking it over, my mind is all over the place. I'm not really sure what direction I want to go? If we have to make a change we can add DES or estrogen while continuing to see Dr. V, if we want to seek others options and possibly other clinical trials we are in all likely hood going to have to leave KC. Where we end up going would entirely depend on the trial. This is a decision I have dreaded for years. Not much has changed, the dread is still there....

So, that is where I'm at mentally, a little bit all over the place. Apprehensive, scared, encouraged, hopeful, indecisive....... wondering.... what lies ahead?

December 06, 2008

Fold 'em? Hold 'em!!

On Monday December 1st we held the 5th FLHW Texas Hold 'em Tournament.

24 players attended and we were able to raise over $1,300!
The big winner was John Meyer Sr., he walked away with two round trip tickets on Air Tran Airlines.




December 01, 2008

Four Hundred

It was early December 2004 when this train wreck began. December 10, 2004 I had my first PSA test, the results was 189. It got worse before it got better peaking at 271 in early February 2005.

It was at that time this blog was 'born' and here we are 400 posts later. The original post from February 2, 2005 was titled "The start of the end?", here is a portion:

So here I am, a 42 year old, white male and tomorrow I am having a biopsy to determine if the problems I am experiencing are ultimately diagnosed as Prostate Cancer. Grim thought indeed.

Worse case, unsuccessful treatment, or surgery and death. Best case, it's simply prostatitis (sp?) and the wonderful world of medications will cure all. I'm remaining somewhat hopeful but because of family history and the number of symptoms I have, I am fighting to remain positive. I pray a lot more than I ever have.

I worry most about my wife and young son and how they would go on? Braggadocio aside, I am her life. We are very close and literally are each others world. She lost her mom at 8, the same age he is now. Financially she will be fine because of insurance and other investments we have made over the years. But I worry about them both emotionally and psychologically. I can't imagine going on without her or him, it saddens me deeply. I pray a lot more than I ever have......

I can still feel the fear in my inner voice as I typed those words. It was a lifetime ago, so much has changed, but one thing remains the same; I still have it and it's not going away.

The last three years and ten months have brought so much change, mostly positive, happy changes. Not all have been so.

Four hundred posts, I would have never imagined I had enough to share to fill four hundred posts?

The next four years are sure to bring as much change, chaos, ups and downs as the last four. Reading post number one, and comparing it to where I am today, it almost seems like another person wrote those words.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
After last weeks chemo treatment my week was about the same. I experienced a pretty bad case of metallic tongue which kind of ruined Thanksgiving. I was also pretty run down on Wednesday night through Friday morning. Things have returned to 'normal' this week as have my taste and appetite!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On another note Mary and I have a very dear friend in Minneapolis, Mark B. I wrote about him back on October 29th. Mark is currently in the midst on his own chemo treatment for sarcoma and he and his family need all of our prayers. So I ask that you send one their way as they could surely use our help.

November 24, 2008

What's up with you? Don't ask me.....

It's my PSA, up to 39.97 (from 31.18)

What the hell?  
Yesterday's post was 100% dead on regarding my feeling better than I have in weeks, so where does this come from?

Dr. V tried to put a positive spin on it "... it's only one data point, PSA can go up and down.." blah, blah, etc.
I appreciate his comments, but as you know, we were looking for it to go in the other direction, looking for the downward trend to continue.

So we just keep on keeping on; I am minutes away from Chemo # 9 (of 12). Two treatments from now, when we come in on January 5th, we will make, or come close to making a decision about what will be the next treatment after we have completed this regimen.  The likely choice will be DES. DES is an oral pill taken once daily. It is basically women's estrogen.

Before beginning DES I will have to have one treatment of radiation across my breast bone. This is to help alleviate one of the potential side effects, breast enlargement.
Yeah, that's right, it just keeps getting better and better!

Before making this decision, we obviously have a little research to do. There are a few other clinical trials we might consider, including Provenge. 

It's all so crazy, unpredictable; I feel great, my bone scan was stable but......

A MUSIC UPDATE: I haven't included any musical suggestions in quite some time.
Last night I downloaded Darius Rucker's new album. If you don't recognize the name, he is/was the front man for "Hootie and the Blowfish". Well it seems Darius went a little country! I just listened to it in the lobby, it's really good. His strong voice come through loud clear all without too much 'twang'! It's a keeper, I give it two thumbs up!

November 23, 2008

Looking forward to .....

number 9.

Tomorrow, about twelve hours from now, I will be in the midst of chemotherapy treatment number nine.  I'm feeling a bit indifferent tonight; I feel great and in fact, overall I feel better than I have in sometime. Not that I have been feeling bad, it's just I feel really good right now.

Taking advantage of weather in the 50's today we played disc golf this morning (welcome back Pete, I really missed you).  Upon my return home I took advantage of the nice temperatures and my high energy level and proceeded to put up our outside Christmas lights. It only took me a few hours and I am glad that this chore is behind me. Next weekend we can focus on the inside decorations. That is, depending on the side effects from "old #9"!

I find it hard to believe that tomorrow I will be 3/4 of the way through this process. I want better results, a lower PSA number, and more, but I am a realist at the same time, and things are going extremely well.  I shouldn't be greedy but I should thank God for what has happened so far in this process.

I probably say this to often but I live this terribly ironic life; I try my best to go on day after day with my head up, trying to remain positive, trying to laugh and live. All the while I carry this unbelievable burden called cancer. Not a cancer that can come, and begone in short order, but a cancer that goes on and on, unknown to most. There is nothing in my outward appearance that would even let anyone know what a cruel war is waging inside of me.

I am and will remain the commander, the General of this war - I will not be defeated without a fight. Fortunately, even after four years, the battle has just gotten underway.

November 21, 2008

Life

I saw this quote and because it's so appropriate, I thought I'd pass it along.


Life is not the way it's supposed to be.
It's the way that it is.
The way you cope with it,
is what makes the difference.

Played disc golf this morning, 28 degrees when I left the house, but it was 45 degrees when we finished at 10:30.

Monday is treatment #9, more thoughts on that over the weekend!

November 17, 2008

Another successful year for FLHW

As many of you know, one of the first things I did after being diagnosed with advanced pc was to establish a non-profit foundation, the Faith - Love - Hope - Win Foundation. The simple mission of this foundation is to raise awareness of the importance of testing and early detection and to raise money to fund the research required to develop improved treatments and ultimately, a cure. In just three and a half years we have donated over $100,000 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Here is a recent message that we sent to some of our supporters:

On behalf of the Board of the Faith - Love - Hope - Win Foundation, we would like to personally thank you for your participation and support of the 2008 FLHW golf tournament.

This year's event was a great success; a success that would not have been realized without your generosity. We were blessed with a beautiful day, a full field of golfers, and an exceptional group of volunteers.

The result of this year's event is a $32,000 donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF). This donation will be doubled through a matching program at PCF. Furthermore, these funds will be dedicated to support research for improved treatments and a cure for advanced prostate cancer.

It is through your participation, coupled with the support of all of our sponsors, participants, and volunteers that we have, in just four short years, cumulatively donated over $100,000 to PCF for advanced prostate cancer research.
­
The research that our donation supports is what gives us hope that a cure will be discovered in our lifetime. Thank you for sharing in our hope.

Mark your calendar now for the 2009 FLHW Tournament which is scheduled for Friday, September 25th at Ironhorse Golf Course. We look forward to seeing you there!

I extend this message of thanks to all who have supported our mission through the years!

2008 was our most successful year so far:

November 13, 2008

The Quitter

I ran across the following poem by a 'cowboy poet', Robert Service.

It was part of a notice posted to one on the on-line boards I monitor regarding the death of another one of my brethren. I did not know the man, nor did I recognize his name but after reading this, his favorite poem, we were linked by more than PCa.

Read it in it's entirety, it is reflective of me, my thoughts, my battle and how I fight this fight.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Quitter

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it's according to Hoyle
To cock your revolver and.....die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow...
It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now, that's a shame.
You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know - but don't squeal,
Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,!
So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit; it's so easy to quit:
It's keeping-your-chin-up that's hard.

It's easy to cry that you're beaten - and die;
It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight-
Why, that's the best game of them all!
and though you come out of each gruelling bout,
All broken and beaten and scarred,
Just have one more try - it's dead easy to die,
It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.

November 11, 2008

Gloom without doom

OK, so you lovers of Fall, now what?

The leaves have all fallen and the gloominess of Fall/Winter has arrived in Kansas City
like a Mac truck! It was in the seventies last week, and now it's been rainy for two days and
the temperatures are hovering around 40! Bah humbug!!

It looks like this weekend disc golf will make it's annual return to the course in the woods, or "Down Under' as it is called. Ignoring the comments of my first paragraph, I love it! I'll snap a few photo's and include in an upcoming post.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Mary just called with the results of yesterday's blood test and bone scan.
Bone scan results - good news, no changes from the end of August!!
Blood Test - stay away from me! White and red blood cell counts now at an all time low!!!

November 04, 2008

Ever so brief.....

The good news is my PSA is down another 10% to 31.18
I was hoping to drop into the twenties but I am not complaining!!

Of course that was followed up by another night of no sleep. I woke up at 12:45 after less than two hours of restless sleep. I didn't fall back asleep until after 4:30 so I started the morning on just three hours of sleep.

I did watch a few more episodes of Dexter (again, very twisted) and I watched Ironman, loved it!

Until next time!

November 02, 2008

A premonition?


The title is just me kidding, I was going to add a joke about my mind being in a fog after tomorrow, but I'll spare you.

I had to share this picture from Saturday morning's round disc golf. (click the photo for a larger view) It was around 55 degrees yesterday, shorts, long sleeve t-shirt and a light pull over. When we arrived at the first hole, we could only see about 50 feet in front of us. We encountered the same on hole two. The fog slightly lifted for holes 4-8 but #9 was a blind shot as well. My drive on #9 disappeared into the fog and we found it 320 feet later, under the basket!

The picture above is hole #11. The tee shot and the fairway are covered by trees, thus keeping the fog at bay. However, as we approached the basket this was the scene.

Needless to say, it was fantastic Saturday morning!

October 31, 2008

Eight.....is great?

On Monday I will undergo chemo treatment number 8. Wow, how time flies.

I pray, and ask for your prayers, that my PSA decreases once again. I myself am hoping for a number in the twenties, it was thirty-four on the 13th. As part of the clinical trial I also will need to undergo a bone scan again the following week. Other than the inconvenience, these are really no big deal. What does concern me is the amount of radioactive material that will have been injected into my body this year. This will be my fourth set of scans since the first of the year. With each, as preparation for the bone scan, I have an injection of a radioactive isotope. This is what lights up the hot spots of the scan (x-ray).

Work is busy and now somewhat stressful as our company was just bought out. Yesterday a number of my co-workers were let go. Telecommunications is not a very stable industry to be in at this time. If I had the opportunity I'd go back or switch to health care. For now, I'm relatively guarded from lay offs but only because I am working on a very strategic and successful product. My thoughts and prayers go out to those that were impacted. I have been there before, the stress is unbelievable.

This weekend is supposed to provide ideal Fall weather with temperatures in the seventies.
Of course there will be disc golf tomorrow morning, and likely on Sunday as well - we have to take advantage while the weather is good.

October 30, 2008

Outraged!!

OK folks, I need your help.
Below is an article that announces a recent change by the Social Security Department inwhich they will accelerate the disability payments for certain diseases. While many types of cancer are included, advanced Prostate Cancer is missing.

As you can imagine, I find this outragous!

If you can find the time, please click here and write to your Senators:
US Senate

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Social Security Administration Expedites Some Claims for Disability Benefits

Social Security Announces Nationwide Launch of Compassionate Allowances Process Will Fast Track Applications For People with Cancers and Rare Diseases

Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, today announced the national rollout of the agency’s Compassionate Allowances initiative, a way to expedite the processing of disability claims for applicants whose medical conditions are so severe that their conditions obviously meet Social Security’s standards.

“Getting benefits quickly to people with the most severe medical conditions is both the right and the compassionate thing to do,” Commissioner Astrue said. “This initiative will allow us to make decisions on these cases in a matter of days, rather than months or years.”

Currently, getting social security benefits can be a long time process which often does not get “worked out” until after the death of an applicant. Hopefully this process will expedite the process so that people will be able to receive their benefits to which they are entitled when they actually need them.

The expedited decision process is starting out with a total of 50 conditions. The Social Security Administration has stated that, over time, more diseases and conditions will be added to the list of expedited illnesses. A list of the first 50 impairments — 25 rare diseases and 25 cancers — can be found at at the end of this post.

Compassionate Allowances is the second piece of the agency’s two-track, fast-track system for certain disability claims. When combined with the agency’s Quick Disability Determination process, and once fully implemented, this two-track system could result in six to nine percent of disability claims, the cases for as much as a quarter million people, being decided in an average of six to eight days.

“This is an outstanding achievement for the rights of the very sickest in our community. The high number of backlogged cases and appeals has made it a significantly time consuming task to obtain the benefits we are entitled to receive. Hopefully his program will break the log jam and people will be able get on with their lives.

“Unfortunately, many hardworking people with cancer may not only face intensive treatment to save their lives, but they may also find themselves truly unable to perform their daily work-related activities and as result, may face serious financial concerns, such as the loss of income and the cost of treatment,” said Daniel E. Smith, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. “The Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowances program will help streamline the disability benefits application process so that benefits are quickly provided to those who need them most.”

The list currently includes:
Acute Leukemia
Adrenal Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Alexander Disease (ALX) - Neonatal and Infantile
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Anaplastic Adrenal Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Astrocytoma - Grade III and IV
Bladder Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Bone Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Breast Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Canavan Disease (CD)
Cerebro Oculo Facio Skeletal (COFS) Syndrome
Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) - Blast Phase
Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) - Adult
Ependymoblastoma (Child Brain Tumor)
Esophageal Cancer
Farber’s Disease (FD) - Infantile
Friedreichs Ataxia (FRDA)
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD), Picks Disease -Type A - Adult
Gallbladder Cancer
Gaucher Disease (GD) - Type 2
Glioblastoma Multiforme (Brain Tumor)
Head and Neck Cancers - with distant metastasis or inoperable or uresectable
Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD)
Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC)
Kidney Cancer - inoperable or unresectable
Krabbe Disease (KD) - Infantile
Large Intestine Cancer - with distant metastasis or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome (LNS)
Liver Cancer
Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)
Metachromatic Leukodystrophy (MLD) - Late Infantile
Niemann-Pick Disease (NPD) - Type A
Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer - with metastases to or beyond the hilar nodes or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) Deficiency
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) - Type II
Ovarian Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable or unresectable
Pancreatic Cancer
Peritoneal Mesothelioma
Pleural Mesothelioma
Pompe Disease - Infantile
Rett (RTT) Syndrome
Salivary Tumors
Sandhoff Disease
Small Cell Cancer (of the Large Intestine, Ovary, Prostate, or Uterus)
Small Cell Lung Cancer
Small Intestine Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) - Types 0 And 1
Stomach Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent
Thyroid Cancer
Ureter Cancer - with distant metastases or inoperable, unresectable or recurrent

October 29, 2008

Relatively Speechless

When the phone rang, I was ill prepared for the news.
Though I was glad to hear the voice on the other end of the conversation, her words have left me numb.
A dear friend of ours in Minnesota has cancer, sarcoma to be specific. He has a rather large tumor on his leg and apparently some metastasis in his lungs. They have an appointment with an oncologist tomorrow and chemotherapy is imminent. Chemo much harder than what I am experiencing.
I pray for them and ask that if you are one to pray to join me.
May God bring you peace and the strength to get through this, we are here if you need us.

October 26, 2008

7, 617, 54...sorry

First and foremost, sorry for not posting for the last week!

Everything is fine, everything is 'normal'.

Being week two, my tongue returned to normal and work returned to being hectic.
I spent Wednesday and Thursday in Boston, MA (617 area code) for work. It was a quick but productive trip.

I spent yesterday playing 54 holes of disc golf with most of the members of the Saturday morning gang.
We left at 6:00am for Columbia, MO where we played two rounds; one as individuals, one as two-man teams.
During the first round my brother-in-law almost made a hole-in-one - the disc hit the front rim of the basket from about 275 feet away.
250 feet over water then, BANG! Would have, should have, could have......

Both yesterday, and this week in Boston, were absolutely gorgeous fall days. The trees have turned, the days are cooler and crisp
and winter is right around the corner. With winter's arrival will come my longing for spring. I have five more chemo treatments, lasting until late
January, a mild and short winter would be a welcome treat.

In the weeks ahead I have treatment #8, new bone and CT scans, a long overdue trip to St. Louis and ......?

October 17, 2008

Hope, in the future

It has been quite sometime since I provided any updates on PC research, etc.
Frankly, there hasn't been anything positive to report, as sad as that is.

Yesterday was news that a trial for GVAX was officially cancelled. Another promising drug,
Provenge looks like it is still 12-18 months aways from possible FDA approval.

Not to be a downer, but the outlook for us guys with the advanced disease is not all that promising. That is not to say that I, and guys in my situation are out of options. I'm just saying there are not many promising things on the horizon or many options besides hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

There are a few treatments that are currently being researched, one is Abiraterone. See the press release from Cougar Biotechnology below.
The current clinical trials exclude those that have previously taken ketoconizal, so for now, I'm on the outside looking in. However, since I responded so favorably to the keto, Mary and I are hopeful that this may be an effective treatment for me in the future. It offers an option and it offers hope!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Positive Phase II Data on Cougar Biotechnology's CB7630 Presented at Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat

Interim Phase II Results Support Efficacy of CB7630 (Abiraterone Acetate) in Advanced Prostate Cancer Patients

LOS ANGELES, Oct 17, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Cougar Biotechnology, Inc.
(CGRB:


cougar biotechnology inc com

CGRB 27.01, -0.18, -0.7%)
today announced that results from an ongoing Phase II clinical trial of Cougar's investigational drug CB7630 (abiraterone acetate) were presented today at the Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat. The Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat is currently taking place in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The clinical trial of CB7630 was conducted at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in order to investigate associations between serum and microenvironment (bone marrow) androgen concentrations and response to CB7630. In the trial, CB7630 in combination with prednisone was administered orally, once daily, to patients with castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), who had progressive disease despite treatment with LHRH analogues and multiple other therapies. All of the 44 patients who were enrolled in the trial had radiological evidence of metastatic disease with bone metastases. Thirty-eight patients (86%) had at least 10 metastatic bone lesions, 7 patients (16%) had metastases in the liver and 14 patients (32%) had lymph node metastases. Twenty-five (57%) of the 44 patients had received prior treatment with ketoconazole and/or diethylstilbesterol and 38 patients (86%) had received prior treatment with chemotherapy, with 27 patients (61%) having received two or more prior chemotherapy regimens before entering the trial.
In her poster presentation entitled, "Identification of an androgen withdrawal responsive phenotype among patients with castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) treated with abiraterone acetate, a selective CYP17 inhibitor (COU-AA-BMA)," Dr. Eleni Efstathiou from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented data on the 41 evaluable patients treated in the trial. Of the 41 evaluable patients, 21 patients (51%) experienced a confirmed decline in prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels of greater than 50% with a median duration of 6+ months. In addition, 5 patients (12%) experienced PSA declines of greater than 90%. Of the 41 evaluable patients, 24 (59%) experienced an improvement in performance status.
Of the 16 evaluable patients with bone metastases, after 6 months of treatment 4 patients (25%) showed an improvement in their bone scan and 11 patients (69%) showed a stable bone scan. Also, 5 of 5 patients with lymph node metastases showed stable disease after 6 months of treatment with CB7630 and 1 of 2 patients with liver metastases demonstrated a partial radiological response (as measured by the RECIST criteria).

Both serum and bone marrow testosterone levels were measured before and after treatment with CB7630. A decline in both serum and bone marrow testosterone levels to below detectable levels (<10ng/ml) was seen in all patients in the trial. Also, patients with depleted baseline bone marrow testosterone levels (<10ng/ml) appeared to progress earlier when treated with CB7630 (p=0.05) compared to patients with measurable baseline bone marrow testosterone levels. Further examination of the bone marrow biopsies of patients treated with CB7630 in this study revealed both overexpression of androgen receptor and CYP17 overexpression.

Alan H. Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer and President of Cougar Biotechnology, said, "The data from our COU-AA-BMA trial of CB7630 presented at the Prostate Cancer Foundation Scientific Retreat continues to support the potential role of the drug in the treatment of CRPC. We continue to be pleased with the strong evidence of antitumor activity in patients with chemotherapy refractory disease, which represents a significant unmet medical need in prostate cancer."

Arturo Molina, M.D., M.S., ACP, Cougar's Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Clinical Research and Development, added, "We are pleased to present the results of this Phase II study and we are intrigued by its findings. The identification of CYP17 expression in CRPC tumor metastases and observation that both serum and bone marrow testosterone levels decline after CB7630 therapy suggests that treatment with CB7630 results in the inhibition of adrenal and intra-tumoral androgen synthesis."

About Cougar Biotechnology
Cougar Biotechnology, Inc. is a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company established to in-license and develop clinical stage drugs, with a specific focus on the field of oncology. Cougar's oncology portfolio includes CB7630, a targeted inhibitor of the 17-alpha hydroxylase/c17,20 lyase enzyme, which is currently being studied in a Phase III clinical trial in prostate cancer; CB3304, an inhibitor of microtubule dynamics, which is currently in a Phase I trial in multiple myeloma; and CB1089, an analog of vitamin D, which has been clinically tested in a number of solid tumor types.

Further information about Cougar Biotechnology can be found at www.cougarbiotechnology.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are often, but not always, made through the use of words or phrases such as "anticipates," "expects," "plans," "believes," "intends," and similar words or phrases. These forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to the benefits to be derived from Cougar's drug development programs, including the potential advantages of CB7630 and its potential for use in the treatment of CRPC and in second-line hormone and chemotherapy treatment settings. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause Cougar's actual results to differ materially from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. These statements are only predictions based on current information and expectations and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual events or results may differ materially from those projected in any of such statements due to various factors, including the risks and uncertainties inherent in clinical trials, and drug development and commercialization, including the uncertainty of whether results of prior clinical trials of CB7630 will be predictive of results of later stage clinical trials, including Cougar's ongoing Phase III clinical trial, COU-AA-301. For a discussion of these and other factors, please refer to Cougar's annual report on Form 10-KSB for the year ended December 31, 2007, as well as other subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. This caution is made under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement and Cougar undertakes no obligation to revise or update this press release to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof.

SOURCE: Cougar Biotechnology, Inc.
Cougar Biotechnology, Inc.
+1-310-943-8040
Alan H. Auerbach, Chief Executive Officer and President
ahauerbach@cougarbiotechnology.com
Mariann Ohanesian, Director of Investor Relations
mohanesian@cougarbiotechnology.com
or
Russo Partners, LLC
David Schull, +1-212-845-4271
David.schull@russopartnersllc.com
Andreas Marathovouniotis, +1-212-845-4235
Andreas.marathis@russopartnersllc.com

Copyright Business Wire 2008

October 13, 2008

The 504th hour

As we sit in the treatment room this morning, I thought I'd provide a peek into what it is we go through.

This, without exception, is the worst part of the cancer treatment process, in my mind.
It is not all the days and nights of little sleep, filled with stress and worry.
It's not the scans, x-rays, poking and prodding.

By far the worst part of the treatment process is the 60 minutes (approximately) between the time my blood is drawn and the moment when we are given my PSA number. Perhaps it's the build up, day after day, week after week, waiting, worrying, anticipating, and questioning, "Did the treatment have an impact this time?".

Tick, tick, tick…..is the clock even moving? Where are the results? Can I read the look on the doctor's face when he comes in the room? So, this is what we go through every three weeks (504 hours). Very little conversation, but the stress in the room could be cut with a very dull butter knife.

Did I mention, the nurse dropped off my test results a minute ago?
PSA: 34.47
That's down from 39.57 three weeks ago!!!!

If you are curious, Mary wins the bet this month.
Even better news, only 502 hours until we have to start this process all over again!
Peace be with you all, enjoy the next 501.75 hours….

October 09, 2008

Lucky #7

Monday I will undergo my 7th chemotherapy treatment. More importantly we will receive the results for another PSA test. This will determine if the first six treatments are working. To date, the overall results of chemo are marginal. My PSA went down about 25%, but it has not dropped measurably since treatment three.

I hold out hope and pray that the second half of this regime is as well tolerated and more successful.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
I finished watching 'The Wire' and I must reiterate that it is by far the best crime drama ever produced. Finishing the series was somewhat of a let down, kind of like finishing a good book...you just don't want it to end. As a viewer it was easy to become attached to the characters. Again, I can’t recommend it enough.

So now I am faced with a dilemma; what to watch during Dex marathons? I better find a solution before Monday night!

October 01, 2008

The needles go on, and on, and...

My Oncologist's Physician's Assistant called yesterday afternoon with the results of Monday's blood test.
When it was her, I knew it wasn't good, as the nurse usually calls.

After increasing the blood thinner dosage to 12.5mg three days a week and 10mg the other four, she had the results. My INR was DOWN from 1.8 to 1.5! WHAT?!!!

She had spoken with Dr. V and he was concerned that perhaps the study drug (Atrasentan) was interfering with the INR number. The short story is this, I could increase the Wafarin yet again, or just suck it up and use the Lovenox exclusively (Lovenox is the thinner I have been self injecting since the clot was discovered in early August).

The choice was easy. I was already getting a little concerned about the large amounts of Wafarin I was taking and going to 12.5mg a day, everyday was not a guarantee that my INR number would ever get to 2.0.

So, just like every morning for the past seven weeks, I got up this morning and stabbed myself in the belly. I'm already bruised from side to side. I can’t imagine how my stomach will look after four more months of this daily ritual!

OK, so the whining about this is over...it's just another bump in the road!

September 29, 2008

Why I do this or IINAM, chapter?



I was going through the photos from the golf tournament last night and thought I would use the one on the left. My plan was to post an entry about why I put so much into the annual event. Not to be repetative, but It is not about me (IINAM).

Yes, a cure in my lifetime would be ideal, but not realistic. I hold on to hope however. You see, I do this for the Wes Witchers of the world. Wes was a young father like myself who was also diagnosed with advanced PCa. Wes' diagnosis was more agressive and we lost him earlier this year. I've never met his wife Sheri or his daughters but hope to do so later this month.
Sheri sent me the picture on the right yesterday. One of the daughters races sprint cars on tracks around central Missouri. As you can see, they made a little room on their car for 'the cause'. I knew nothing about this until I got the photo, I was brought to tears.
And so, this is why I do this.....
[The pictures from the golf tournament are on your right]

Sunny day, keeping the clouds away....

For the fourth straight year we were blessed with ideal weather for our golf tournament! There was not a cloud to be found, a very mild breeze and the temperature was in the low eighties. Someone up there is watching over us!
The events of the day have left me somewhat at a loss for words...did you ever think that was possible?

We don’t have a final tally, but things are looking good for making our goal. I should have a better estimate after a few more payments come in over the next week and I receive the final bill from the golf course.

After two holes-in-one last year, no one was able to win the car or cash this year. All three flights resulted in scorecard playoffs and last year's overall winners were able to defend their crown. The final scores and winners can be found at:

I'll upload all the pictures tonight and provide a link in a blog post tomorrow.

I really cannot thank everyone enough, including those who volunteered, played, sponsored and supported us through donations. Each year this event seems to be more successful. Once again I am reminded not to underestimate the kindness and generosity of others!

This morning I find myself feeling really blessed!

September 23, 2008

Meet my friend Dex

A few milestones yesterday, one personal, one not.
Yesterday I had my sixth treatment of chemo. Although this will continue until the end of January, I am now half way through! The good news is my PSA was down, though only slightly, down is not up!
PSA: 39.57

Other good news, my INR (marker to measure blood thinner pharmaceuticals) was finally up to 1.8. The doc increased my dosage once again and we are pretty certain that the injections in my stomach will be a thing of the past next Monday!

On the other hand the steroids (Dex) woke me at 2:15am…..I never went back to sleep! I'll be dead tired by 9:00pm or so and am hoping I sleep through the night!

The other milestone was yesterday was the first day of fall. As I've written here before I'm not a big fan of fall. Winter is the worst. Fall, except for the beauty of the trees for a brief period, represents death in my mind.

As I let the dog out this morning I noticed our elm tree had almost completely changed to purple and had even began it's annual dumping of leaves into our backyard. The nights are cooler, the days are shorter and it seems that we went from summer to fall overnight.

Three days and counting until the golf tournament. We still have a lot of loose ends to pull together but I am not concerned that it will all come together and the event will go off without a hitch!

September 18, 2008

#'s

What I forgot to include in yesterday's post was an update on the continuing saga of "The Clot".

For six weeks now we have been trying to get my INR number high enough and stable enough to discontinue self injections of Lovenox. (INR is a blood marker used to determine the level of Wafarin or Coumadin in your blood).

In order to deal with "The Clot" I was put on Lovenox (self injection) and Coumadin (generic is Wafarin). The optimistic early prognosis from the doctors assistant was I would have to continue the self injections for 3, maybe four weeks until my INR reached a level above 2.0. It has now been over six weeks.

Things were progressing quite nicely, but not fast enough, when I reached 1.6 over two weeks ago. Last week we had a set back when it dropped to 1.3, this week it's up a little to 1.4. My Coumadin dosage was increased again on Tuesday and we are hoping when we see Dr. V on Monday it will be really close to or above 2.0.
The worse side effect of the self injections is bruising at the injection site. So, needless to say, my stomach looks like Mike Tyson used me as a punching bag!

…oh well, life goes on…..

September 17, 2008

'Faith', a different kind

I didn't mean to let 8 days slip by, but I've been a little busy. We are wrapping up the plans for our fourth annual golf tournament and that has been consuming my spare time.

The event is once again sold out! Thanks to a number of generous individuals and companies, we have great player's packs, many, many raffle items and a list of exceptional live auction items. It is sure to be a great day!

The second and third week after my last chemo treatment have been somewhat 'normal'. The metallic taste disappeared after about eight days, the fatigue was gone after the first weekend and life resumed, as much as that is possible. My upcoming treatment number on Monday, which will be #6 will mark the halfway point. Already?

On another note, I received the attached story from my friend Tom and thought it was worth sharing. At times God tests us all.
~~~~~~~~~~~
This dog was born on Christmas Eve in the year 2002. He was born with 3 legs - 2 healthy hind legs and 1 abnormal front leg which need to be amputated. He of course could not walk when he was born. Even his mother did not want him.


His first owner also did not think that he could survive. Therefore, he was thinking of 'putting him to sleep'. By this time, his present owner, Jude Stringfellow, met him and wanted to take care of him. She was determined to teach and train this dog to walk by himself. Therefore she named him 'Faith'.

In the beginning, she put Faith on a surfing board to let him feel the movements. Later she used peanut butter on a spoon as a lure and to reward for him to stand up and jump around. Even the other dog at home also helped to encourage him to walk. Amazingly, after only 6 months, like a miracle, Faith learned to balance on his 2 hind legs, and jumped to move forward. After further training in the snow, he now can walk like a human being. Faith loves to walk around now. No matter where he goes, he just attracts all the people around him.


He is now becoming famous on the international scene. He has appeared in various newspapers and on TV shows. There is even a book entitled 'With a Little Faith' being published about him. He was also considered to appear in one of Harry Potter movies.

His present owner Jude Stringfellow has given up her teaching post and plans to take him around the world to preach that even without a perfect body, one can have a perfect soul.
In life there are always undesirable things that occur. Perhaps one will feel better if one changes the point of view from another direction.


September 09, 2008

DOB: 9-9-96

It seems like yesterday, it seems like a lifetime ago.

To see him born, to see him grow into a young man and bring me the joy that he does. It makes me proud to be his father.

Twelve years is not nearly enough.

So today, on his twelfth birthday I have a request to God, please allow me to continue my battle with Prostate Cancer long enough for me to:
- watch him graduate from middle school and move on to high school (May 2011)
- teach him to drive and get his first drivers license (2012)
- celebrate his high school graduation (2015)
- send him off to college
- attend his wedding
- hold my first grandchild
……so much more…..

Happy Birthday Brad, I love you son, you are the best!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So where does a twelve year old ask to go for his birthday dinner? Houston's, where else! We had a great evening and I even cheated by having bbq ribs for the first time in four years! They were fantastic, just as I remembered! It was a great meal, for a special occassion, spent with special people.

September 03, 2008

Some good, some not so good

What a whirlwind day yesterday was.

First, I barely slept Monday night. I would guess I got about 4-5 hours of sleep. Most of it was tossing and turning. Must have been the Dex!

My treatment appointment was at 1:00pm. We usually do mornings but with the holiday we had little choice. Morning avoid delay and backlog…..afternoon appointment tend to get you want we got. I checked in at 1:00pm and just before 2:00p, I was called back to have my blood drawn for lab work (PSA, CBC panel, INR all the good stuff!).

The phlebotomist says "I can’t believe you checked in at one and they just gave me your paperwork. We've just been back here catching up on paper work and refilling supply cabinets". I don’t believe you could describe the look on my face as a smile.

So, needless to say that was followed with a meeting with Dr. V's Physician Assistant. All went well there. She did review the radiology report from Friday's bone scan. "No new areas, all existing areas (i.e. tumors) are stable and show no uptake". She did not have my INR or PSA but my CBC showed my WBC had fully recovered and was actually a little high. She said it can indicate that I am fighting an infection but after further discussion and a re-cap of my activities over the last two weekends she was confident I am not. I shared with her the lovely bruising across my stomach (from the Lovenox shots) and expressed my desire to get off them ASAP. No such luck as I'll share later.

After this we went up to treatment. This takes about two hours with all the preparation, pre-treatment medications and then one hour of Taxotere. Mary was catching up on work, I watched most of the movie "Sideways" on my iPod [great movie!]. As the time was approaching 5:00pm Mary went back down stairs to get my lab results.

PSA - 41.36
INR - 1.6

The PSA was 'stable' using her words. The increase was just 1.38. As others have described this is 'statistically insignificant'. Whatever! We had pinned our hopes on another decrease, but oh well, we looked forward to the next test on the 22nd.

As for the INR (test for blood thinner to deal with blood clot in leg). They want this number to be over two. After almost four weeks we obviously are not there yet. They upped the dosage of Coumadin but I have to continue the shots. I am getting REALLY tired of poking myself with a needle each morning. I mean REALLY tired! I think I do a pretty good job of not complaining or whining here, give me a little slack for once….this just plain sucks! So it's back to Walgreen's to get a new stock of needles!

The good news at the end of the day is last night, after all the Dex that I took and that they pumped into me I actually got some sleep! It was not complete or without interruptions, but it wasn't the standard night after treatment when I am awake from 1-5am! The silver lining, well perhaps bronze but I'm not complaining!

And so the saga continues…..

September 01, 2008

#5, 9-2-08

Tomorrow is chemo treatment number five.

We spent Friday night through Sunday noon at my brothers place in Macon, Mo.
We ate really well (grilled glazed salmon one night, smoked chicken with grilled pineapple another)! Brad got to ride the four wheeler all by himself, he was getting pretty good tearing through the mud by the time we left! As in the past I mowed grass for about two hours on Saturday morning and then chopped about a quarter cord of firewood. Strange, but very therapeutic for me.

Last night I finished another book, James Patterson's "1st To Die". A very interesting murder - mystery. What I didn't know before I started the book was that the main character begins a battle with a potentially incurable disease. I have a knack for movies and books with characters like this one. This was the first in a series of six. I bought numbers two and three at Target today.

This morning we played disc golf. I shot four over par at a course we don't play very often. After I returned home I spent around two hours doing much needed yard work. Tending to the vegetable garden, trimming and fertilizing our roses etc. After that, I spent another two hours painting window frames.

Why bore you with all these details? Just trying to point out that once again, I seem to have fully recovered three weeks after my last treatment.

Here's to number five; may my tests bring good news and may God grace me with the strength to combat the side effects one more time.

Peace be with everyone.

August 28, 2008

Hi, remember me?

Back in September 2006, I posted this.

Tomorrow I have to go in for what I am estimating is my 8th bone scan. This is a routine part of the clinical trial I am taking art in, so don't get worried. There's not much to it; I'll go in at 8:00, get injected with some radioactive fluid, then I'll come back two hours later and lie on an x-ray machine for about 40 minutes and that will be it!

Tuesday I'll review the results and they my provide me with chemo transfusion number five.

We have a big, busy weekend planned, more details on that in a later post.

Here's to long weekends, may each of you your Labor Day: be safe and enjoy some time with your family and friends!

August 24, 2008

54? Let's make it an even 72!!

Yesterday was a little more that a typical Saturday in August for David. Why let Prostate Cancer and chemotherapy keep you down when you love disc golf?

Joe, Rich and I decided we had talked about a disc golf road trip long enough, it was time to act. We decided we would make a day of it and play in Marshall, MO and two different courses in Columbia, MO.

So yesterday morning Rich and I left my house at 6:00am, picked Joe up and headed 60 minutes east on I-70 to Marshall, MO. They have a great little disc course there, Indian Foothills Disc Golf Course. When we tee'd off a little before 8:00am it was damp, due to heavy dew overnight. Our feet were instantly soaked, and they remained that way for the next 12 hours. This had no impact on our day however! The course was new to Rich and myself and the three of us really had a great time, despite the face full of spider webs each us experienced multiple times. Eww!!!

By 10:30 we were in Columbia, MO at Albert Oakland Park. I love this course. It had been almost four years since I played in Columbia, certainly - BC (before cancer). The threat of rain had long passed, the sky was still overcast but the humidity was typical for an August day in the heartland! Joe shot a nice round at even par and Rich and I finished equal at +3.

Next it was off to the campus of the University of Misssouri and lunch at Shakespeare’s Pizza.
The pie was delicious and with little delay we were off for our next round at Indian Hills Disc Golf Course. The previous time I played this course I really liked it. This time, by the time we reached the back nine we couldn't wait to leave. I'm all for a challenge, but this course is in need of some serious trimming! There was at least one tree and multiple limbs on every hole that needed to be removed. I even questioned at one point whether the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department owned it or knew how to operate a saw. I'm not whining here, but the condition of this course was ridiculous.

By the time we finished it was only 4:00. We agreed we couldn't finish on a bad note. A quick phone call to Mary and we were on our way back to Oakland for round four! 72 holes of disc golf in one day!

The last round was perhaps the most fun. We played in less than 90 minutes and finished the back nine in 28 minutes! Joe and I barely missed ace's on number 16. His shot went right over the top, mine cut right across the front of the basket!

In total, it was an unbelievable day! I haven't had that much fun playing disc golf since Europe in 2006.

Here are the scores for the day (Par is 54)
Joe - 53, 54, 60, 50 = 217 or +1
David- 61, 57, 64, 57 = 239 or +23
Rich - 57, 57, 70, 57 = 241 or +25

One thing to note - I definitely had an advantage over Rich in one aspect. I had played both courses in Columbia previously. Due to the layout, my experience did not provide an advantage at Oakland however, at Indian Hills, due to the number of blind shots, I had a leg up.

In the end, the scores really didn't matter. We had a fantastic time, a nice trip and great conversation on the trip home. Thanks Rich and Joe for sharing this day with me. You both are great guys. I wonder where we'll go next?

EPILOGUE: I was slightly concerned that after all that activity I'd be a little sore today. And of course, Mary shared in my concern. Well I was not fatigued or hurting in the least bit! Take that chemotherapy and PCa!!

August 22, 2008

Belated Milestones

This completely slipped my mind as I wrote my last post.
I actually spent a lot of time on the airplane Monday thinking about this, but forgot to include anything….

August 18th, 2008

This date might not mean much to most people. To me it marked 42 months, or three and a half years post diagnosis.
So much has changed, yet so much remains the same.

First and foremost, we, Mary and I have settled into a somewhat comfortable way of dealing with having cancer on a daily basis. I am not suggesting that it's easy, I'm just saying that it does not feel like this all encompassing burden. We have learned to deal with it, and we continue to live our lives, and maintain as much 'normalcy' as possible.

Next, I have met so many fellow Prostate Cancer survivors, it's incredible. From all over the US, from all over the world! I really cherish their friendships, advice and feedback. However, there are a number of good people that we have lost; Ric, Wes, Rick, Aubrey and more. This is the sad part, merely typing their names makes me cry. God bless them, God bless their families.

Finally I come to our foundation;
Faith, Love, Hope, Win. As the planning for our fourth annual golf tournament continues, I stop and think about what we have done in such a short time, with such limited resources. By the time our tournament is completed on September 26th we are hopeful that will be able to have raised over $100,000 for advanced prostate cancer research. Wow!

If you feel like reminiscing with me, this is a link to all the references of the word '
milestones' in my blog. Pretty interesting, at least it was to me.

I'll finish with a list from my blog entry dated July 21, 2005:
So these are my milestones, these are the things I roll out of bed each morning and work for, these are the things I live for and fight for:
- We will celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary (Aug 2006, no doubt! ~ at a minimum 25 in 2016!!!)
- I will celebrate my Grandmother's 100th Birthday in November
- I will see my niece graduate from college (May 2008, for sure ~ as long as she doesn’t begin a 5 year plan, no pressure Meg's!!)
- I will see my nephew graduate from high school (May 2009)
- I will see my son get his drivers license (September 2012)
- I will see my son graduate from high school (May 2014)
- I will live to see him graduate from college
- I will live to see him get married
- I will live to be a grandfather
- I will live to be cured………

The first two are completed. The third…looks like I'll see her married before graduation, but that's OK. No doubt about number four. As for the others, I still have a few years, but each is getting closer and certainly more attainable as the days fly by! The final one is what I fall asleep praying for each night.

August 20, 2008

Running from Fay

I have been trying to put off work travel as much as possible, but I had to go to Orlando on Monday and Tuesday. I was originally scheduled to return Tuesday night on a 7:20 flight. As it turns out, that was supposed to be nearly the exact time hurricane Fay was to cross over Orlando.
After meeting for most of the day, the folks I was traveling with and I scrambled Monday afternoon to move to a hotel closer to the airport and onto flights that departed Tuesday morning. Things seemed to be in order, I was scheduled to take a direct flight and be back in KC by 12:30pm.
As fate would have it, things turned out a little differently. First, Midwest Airlines decided not to send the planes for their 11:20 and 12:30 flights into Orlando. They were the only airline that pulled the trigger this early. In order to shorten the story I'll just say my day was filled with many hours of standing in lines, employing patience and dealing with airport security. In the end, I was home by 7:00pm Tuesday night, about 12 hours after arriving at the Orlando airport. That sure beats the first response from the employee at the Midwest ticket counter…."The next flight we can get you on is Friday morning".
And now a health update, the reason most of you are here…..
I was pretty fatigued over the weekend, but I was able to get in a round of disc golf.
Blood test results from Monday showed the following:
WBC: 1.6 (all time low)
INR: 1.5 (Needs to be 2.0 to 3.0 so they have increased my coumadin from 5mg to 7.5mg)
The first accounts for the fatigue and elevates my risk of infection, amongst other things. The latter is being tracked for the blood clot medication.

August 13, 2008

Hair today....gone tomorrow?

First, I'm going public with this a little early: my hair is at best 'thinning' at worst I'm losing it.
It started last week at some point. I noticed more than normal on my towel and then Tuesday morning Mary said my pillow was covered in hair. It has not started coming out in clumps (that will result in me immediately shaving my head) for now, we're going with the description of 'thinning'.
On another note, the Lovenox shots will only have to continue for another two weeks or so. I just talked to Dr. V's assistant and I will start taking Coumadin (an oral or pill form of blood thinner) tonight. It might take a few weeks to get the dosage correct, so I will have to keep taking Lovenox at the same time.
I slept very little, three hours on Monday night however last night I was out for seven uninterrupted hours. That was a first in weeks, perhaps months!

August 11, 2008

BIG NEWS, GOOD NEWS....BIG GOOD NEWS!

I was going to drag this out, be cute, be creative, etc. but I am tired!
My PSA today was 39.98, a 25% reduction from three weeks ago!!!
WOO-HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
As I mentioned above, I am beat. We did not sleep well last night, and we had to leave the house at 7:15 this morning to make the 8:00 appointment. I had both my monthly appointment for Lupron and Zometa and my three week chemo treatment all in the same day. We were through at the hospital 12:30ish. In the four and a half hours we were there, I had the following procedures:
- 8:35 blood drawn
> White blood count back up to over 12 !!!!
> Most other markers were back in range, red blood count was still a little low, but no show stopper
- 9:00 Met with Doctor V, the Physicians Assistant and the Clinical Trial Coordinator
Everything seems to be progressing as expected with the blood clot in my leg. The good Doctor did give me the green light to play golf on Wednesday afternoon, so I was happy
- 10:00 Began pre-treatments
- 10:40 Began Taxotere infusion #4
- 11:45 Began Zometa infusion
- 12:20 Received the Lupron shot
Mary and I made our usual stop for lunch at The Blue Koi and were home by 2:00.

August 08, 2008

I'm not 'Lovenox'

Last night I came home from work and after cleaning up dinner I noticed my right leg was slightly swollen and felt rather firm or tight.

Even though it was going on 7:00pm we called my Oncologist office, since they told us when I started chemo to call for whatever reason. Dr. V himself called back in ten minutes. He told me to keep it elevated the rest of the evening and come see him at 8:00am this morning.

Knowing that he would have to work us in, we prepared for another long day at the doctors office.

I was in the lab waiting for an ultra-sound by 8:15, finished with the scan and in his waiting room by 9:15. So quick my head was spinning.

So it turns out I have small blood clot or a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in my right calf. The good news is clots in this area, though a reason for concern, are far less serious than if it were located somewhere else. The bad news is for at least the next six months I have to take yet another drug, Lovenox.

At first blush this might appear to be so bad, expect the Lovenox is self administer as explained here. And comes with these side effects:

• Bleeding or oozing from surgical wound
• Any other bleeding episodes; for example, bleeding at the site of the injection, nosebleeds, blood in your urine, or if you cough or vomit blood
• Spontaneous bruising (a bruise not caused by a blow or any apparent reason)
• Pain or swelling in any part of your leg, foot, or hip
• Dizziness, numbness, or tingling
• Rapid or unusual heartbeat
• Chest pain or shortness of breath
• Vomiting, nausea, or fever
• Confusion

OK, I know this is serious, but Mary Brad and I are currently laughing about the last one!

With nothing more to say, I'll just end with this; the saga continues......

August 07, 2008

Click here, sign here!

Today I am writing to ask for your help.

There is a petition that the PCa community is circualting.
On January 20, 2009, a new President of the United States will be sworn in.
On January 21, 2009, that President will receive this petition.

http://www.prostatecancerpetition.org/

Please click on the link above and, after reading it, if you feel compelled to do so, please sign it.
There are currently over 9,000 signatures and we are trying to get to 10,000 by the end of September (Prostate Cancer Awareness Month).

August 05, 2008

The Dog Days

We spent the weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks and it was HOT! The temperature was in the upper 90's all weekend but the worse part was at night and in the evenings it was so humid sitting outside was not even an option.

Some how, we had a good time anyway. We shopped, just a little, and went out for a few good meals. The most fun was at the water park. We were there for almost five hours and wiped out when we left. The heat is supposed to break tomorrow and last through the weekend.
Mary and I are hoping to get in another long weekend before Labor Day but we'll have to see.

While there I finally started a new book. I am reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini (he wrote the Kite Runner). I'm almost finished and must say that it is quite good. A much different story than the Kite Runner. It takes place in Afghanistan and though this one did not make me cry, it is equally as engrossing. I should finish it tonight or tomorrow.

My brother is recovering at home after having his gall bladder removed last week. Apparently the stone was the size of an egg and the bladder so swollen it was pushing into his liver. It was quite painful but after a few days he's much better.

My blood test results are due at any moment, I'll post tomorrow

July 31, 2008

What does David actually do?

I hope this doesn’t come across as braggadocio in any way, shape or form? My intent is this; I have shared so much about me personally, but very little about work and what I actually do for a living.

I am a Product Development Manager at EMBARQ. EMBARQ is the local phone company that was spun off from Sprint in May of 2006. We are in markets across 18 States, mostly in rural or smaller communities, however we provide services Orlando, FL, Las Vegas and some medium sized communities in other states as well. We provide local, long distance, high speed internet and re-sell DISH television services.

So what do I do as a Product Development Manager? In a nut shell I am a dreamer, an innovator and an inventor. For the past eight months I have been leading this project to fruition:

It's pretty exciting after spending months and months on a project to have it written up in the Wall Street Journal!

In addition to this project I have eight Patents on file with the US Patent Office and 16 more that are in various stages of pre-submission. Though it might sound impressive, in my opinion, until the Patent Office actually grants the Patent, it doesn’t matter a whole lot (though I do take a little pride in this).

I could go on but brevity is key! In the end I hope this provides another look into the man behind the blog.

July 29, 2008

"WBC" at an all time low....

I just received a fax with the results of Monday's blood test and my white blood cells have run off somewhere!
WBC count: 1.7

White blood cell count (WBC)
- The number of white blood cells in a specified volume of blood. White blood cells form the mainstay of your immune system -- a low number might increase your risk of infection and a high number possibly indicating that you have an infection.

According to today's report, normal is between 4.0 and 10.5. At 1.7 all I can say is Yikes! It's amazing that I'm not more fatigued. Overall, the key is to reach full recovery by August 11th. My red blood cell count is still in the normal range so there is some good news.

By the way, I'm sure you've noticed something looks different around here? Brown was so blah, this place needed a little sprucing up! I hope you like it?

Just a brief update, enough for today!

July 28, 2008

The brick wall

So last week caught up with me on the back 9 Saturday morning. I played pretty good on the front but when we made the turn, my body and brain forgot to follow! I flamed out due to a combination of wicked summertime humidity and overextending myself!

Just to recap last week:
Monday: Chemo treatment #3
Tuesday: Work day, then Tom Petty concert after 3.5 hours of sleep
Wednesday: Work day, 9 hole golf league after 5 hours of sleep
Thursday: Work day
Friday: 1/2 Work day, then 18 hole golf tournament
Saturday: usual disc golf round, then I took Brad to see "Journey to the Center of the Earth" in 3D

So by yesterday, Mary was none to happy with me, and frankly, I can't blame her. However, I have always been this way; I can't just sit around, I have to be doing something. Even yesterday, I had breakfast with a PCa friend, went to Mass and then I went to serve my time under house arrest. I worked on bills, the FLHW.org Foundation business and did a few loads of laundry. Just "took it easy"!

So we reach Monday. I got a great nights sleep, worked out and gave my blood sample this morning. I feel so much better than Saturday or Sunday.

I really don't have a conclusion here? I guess I'll just say this "Mary, I promise the week after my August 11th treatment, I will take things MUCH easier than this week!"

That is, unless Mark calls me with an 11th hour cancellation to the Jack Johnson concert on the 15th!!!!

OK, just kidding Mary.....sort of.....

July 23, 2008

I found a cure for the lack of sleep and Dex:

Yesterday, after getting through most of the day on 3 1/2 hours of sleep I got a call from my good friend Mark. He was quick and to the point, "How are you feeing today? Great, want to go to Petty?"

So last night, along with 14,500+ other Kansas Citians, we attended the Steve Winwood and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers show. We did not leave disappointed!
Steve Winwood's voice is still incredible after all these years. If I closed my eyes during "Dear Mr. Fantasy", I would have though it was off the original 1967 recording...it was awesome!

Petty and the Heartbreakers rocked for just over two hours. Here is the set list, one hit after another, after another!
You Wreck
MeListen
To Her Heart
I Won't Back Down
Even the Losers
Free Fallin'
Mary Jane's Last Dance
Sweet William
End of the Line
Breakdown
Saving Grace
Face in the Crowd
Honey Bee
Learning to Fly
Don't Come Around Here No More
Refugee

Encore:
Runnin' Down a Dream
Mystic Eyes
American Girl

All I can say is, thanks Mark for a wonderful time! Tonight, I go to bed early (after my weekly Wednesday evening ball golf game!) and try to catch up on some of that missing sleep!

July 22, 2008

I Don't like Monday's

...and a few others....

"Monday, Monday" -The Mamas & The Papas
"Manic Monday" -The Bangles
"Monday Morning" -Fleetwood Mac
"Come Monday" -Jimmy Buffet
"Stormy Monday" -The Allman Bros.

The Dex won the battle last night! I woke at 1:30, tossed and turned until 2:15 then got sucked into "The Wire" again until about 4:45am. Maybe 30 minute more sleep and Buck and I got up at 6:30.

I am currently attempting to function on about 3 1/2 hours of sleep. I should go home but have a number of calls to be on at work this morning.

Yesterday's appointment was long. I guess I am just going to have to stop complaining about it and get used to it. Things were running behind again; we arrived at 8:30 and left at about 1:45. We got lunch, ran an errand and returned home just before 4:00pm.

Somehow we found the energy to got see "Momma Mia" at 5:15, it was good. Definitely a 'chick flick' but I really enjoyed it, even the Abba music. You know they are from Sweden, apparently they opened a museum last year in Stockholm. I guess my visit there was a year early!

My White Blood Count returned to normal levels as did most of my others. My red is right on the border line of low but nothing seemed to alarm the doc.

My PSA remained steady at 53.4, at least it has reached a plateau. We were told by Dr. Van, and had read on-line, that it can take 10-12 weeks before we see results. This was just 6 week so we are hoping the tide will begin to turn next appointment (August 11).

That's the recap for my Monday!

July 18, 2008

Ready, set, 1, 2, 3 go!

Monday is treatment number three already. One and two have been, for the lack of a better term, a piece of cake! I have run into a number of people that, based on their reaction, are stunned I'm in the midst of chemo. Not sure what to say? We still have a long road ahead of us, but so far....so good.

The next thing I have to say might be a little controversial, but here goes anyway. I have tried to avoid topics such as this, but this one has been bothering me for quite some time. Remember, it's my blog, I started this and continue it to share what I'm thinking, and what I am going through. Please read the following, agree, disagree...if nothing else just think about it for a minute.

On May 30, 2007, President Bush announced his proposal to double America's initial commitment and provide an additional $30 billion to combat global HIV/AIDS over the next five years.

$30 Billion dollars! What about Americans dealing with cancer, cancer of all kinds?
In 1997 1.4M Americans were diagnosed with cancer. This was in addition to the millions who were already living with the disease, including yours truly.

The total proposed 2009 budget for the National Cancer Institute is just over $6 Billion and our government leaders send an equal amount, every year, for the next five years overseas.

That is all I have to say, I'm not going to present an argument of AIDS vs. Cancer, etc. I just wanted to present this one little position and ask you to think about it.

July 14, 2008

Check point

Nothing eventful to report today. My next treatment is in a week and I'm still feeling great, I have all my hair and am dealing with the metallic mouth.

According to this mornings blood test however, my white blood count is down to 2.9 (normal 10-12 range). This dropped from last week. During treatment 1 wbc dropped the first week and recovered in weeks 2 and 3. This time it dropped after week 1 and further after week 2. I sure hope it recovers for next week.

Overall my combined counts are fine, just a little low on the wbc and red blood cell count.
PSA will not be checked until next week.

The weekend was rather normal; disc golf three days in a row. Friday we had a department event and the managers cooked pancakes for breakfast then I taught 17 people how to play the game. I only walked along and gave guidance as we played nine holes, I think everything really enjoyed the morning.

Saturday I played with a small group but it included one of my co-workers from Friday! We were delayed by rain about half way through but finished in time to drive through a mid-summer monsoon on the way home. Sunday my brother in law Rich put a whooping on me, and even as competitive as I am, it was fun to watch!

Saturday we saw the new Indiana Jones movie, I'd give it a C+. We had most of the family over yesterday for dinner and as I mentioned above I had my monthly appointment this morning. This was for Lupron and Zometa, the chemo treatment is next week.

Back to the grind......