December 30, 2005

The odyssey begins....or continues??

First, an update on Wednesday. We met with Dr. Sheehan for about an hour and left feeling blessed we found another good one! I won't go into all the details, just the conclusion. We are proceeding with chemotherapy. The schedule looks like this:
> Today: I have a bone scan and an MRI at 11:15. This is not a big deal, unless you consider having radiation injected into your body something of concern!

> Jan 6th: we have to meet with the Nurse Practitioner and the Financial Manager at the oncology office. We were very impressed with the fact the doctors office actually calls the insurance company and gets the details of all the expenses we can expect to incur. As for the NP, they will go over the schedule, procedure and side effects. Here is what we already know from the doctor and research we did:
- the treatments are once every three weeks for 6 to 10 treatments
- the day before, the day of and the day after treatment I'll have to take oral steroids. (helps the bone white blood cell count)
- fatigue does not happen immediately, usually 3-5 days later.
- 10-14 days post treatment is a critical time as white blood cell count is at it's lowest (white blood cells help fight infection)
- hair loss will likely occur
- nail discoloring might occur
- mouth sores are possible
- there are other drugs I may be given; anti-nausea and possibly Nuelasta. One of the side effects of the later is temporary bone pain so they might have to give me Vicatin. Nothing like taking a drug to deal with complications from a drug and then taking a third to deal with the second! Isn't modern medicine grand! Yes, I know, at least there are options!!

> January 9th (noon) treatments begin. Apparently it is a 90 minute IV drip and again there are no immediate side effects. I really wanted to start this upcoming week. I see no reason to put this off any longer. If we are going to do this, let's get it started.

So for now it looks like our trip to the beach (Spring Break) and Italy are on hold. However, that is not to say we won't try to work them in between treatments!
While we waited in the Oncologist office there were two men who came into the waiting area. One was in a wheelchair and I would guess in his mid 70's. The other man was probably in his mid 60's. Both were going through Chemo and looked very frail. It was just a reminder of how abnormal this condition is for a 42 year old..........I think a blue FLHW bracelet will fit perfectly upon each of their wrists.

December 27, 2005

Did I miss something…..??

Christmas has come and gone and aside for being spoiled by my wife (once again) I must have missed it? I guess being a little bit distracted, caused me to miss it. Was I being selfish not to stop thinking about me for a few minutes? At times I question my constant selfish thought, but I'm convinced there is no right answer. Mass was not as emotional as I thought it would be.
The church was bursting at the seams and in retrospect, I think because of the number of children and my family being there, it was much easier than I anticipated.

For the first time in over six months we had a meal containing red meat. For the past six or so years our traditional Christmas dinner has been a beef tenderloin dish served with a of these incredible roasted red onions in a balsamic vinegar glaze. As with past years, it was incredible! I savored each and every bite. I must have consumed at least eight ounces! Want the recipe? Just let us know…..

What lies ahead tomorrow is perhaps one of the most frightening days we will experience since this ordeal began. Last week with Dr. Davis, our disappointing trip to Houston last April, the initial meetings with Dr. Davis after the biopsy and x-ray; these were all bad in their own right, but each offered choices and hope. I am not sure what to expect tomorrow - Chemo might be the last treatment option for now….perhaps? I pray that once the treatments begin it is a semi-painless experience. I wonder how I'll look without hair? What other side effect will I experience?

I started reading a book on cancer survivors this morning. It was published by the Lance Armstrong Foundation and a gift from my niece (a wonderful young women). As I reflect on the situations that Lance and the young women in first story experienced, I'll repeat something I have said here before; I would trade places with these people in a heartbeat. In their cases they began treatment immediately, versus our current ten month drama. No one wants to have cancer but once you do, treating it and attempting to be cured immediately are critical. There is no cure, my treatments just keep putting off the inevitable.

Why me? Why now? Why oh why God are you testing me in this way?

December 21, 2005

Ships passing......

On April the 4th I wrote about a young man named Mark Holt. We met briefly at a mutual friend's bachelor party. Mark lost his battle with Hodgkin's and passed away on Monday. I find myself sitting here at my computer, fighting back the tears. I met this man one time and only spoke with him for about an hour, but I felt like I knew him forever. We discussed the emotional stages of cancer and how he had exhausted most of his options. He was remarkably upbeat. We left promising to stay in touch (we lived less than a mile from each other), but besides a few emails, never met again. I have felt very comfortable from the beginning that help is right there if I need it. I pray at this time that he was surround by a support group of similar strength. My heart goes out to his wife and his family. Mark would have turned 33 this Friday.

December 20, 2005

A partial answer....and some hope....

We just left Dr. Davis, as I said before, he's an awesome doctor, I challenge you to find one with a better "bed side manner".

After discussing my situation with him we agreed that the next step should be Chemo. Radiation is not required at this point because my back pain is not constant, not debilitating. Additionally, radiation is used as a pain reliever, not a curing agent.
We discussed Mayo, Sloan-Kettering, etc. with Dr. Davis but Mary and I are not real comfortable with those options. The reasons are this; 1) the "standard" next step is chemotherapy using a drug called Taxotere. This can be administered locally here in Kansas City. If we went to one of these other facilities it would be to explore any clinical trials. However, as a participant in a trial there is no guarantee I would receive anything other than Taxotere, especially at this stage. A clinical trial is basically a crap shoot, a lottery, a chance we don’t want to take at this point. 2) Based on my case and history, I might not even qualify for the trial.

Given these two items, we are meeting with an Oncologist here locally next week. After that meeting I will have bones scans, CT Scans, possibly MRI's again and then begin a chemo regiment. The timing of all these events and our schedules for the next several weeks are now in flux. However, nothing happens until after Christmas!!
One item to note is that there are documented instances where Taxotere has been very successful in managing cancer at my stage! This was news to us both! We are not getting too far ahead of ourselves but finally a small speck of encouragement!

December 19, 2005

The dichotomy that is my life, today.

It's Christmas, the birth of Christ and all that represents, new life, new beginnings etc. and so on. Tomorrow we go see my Urologist to discuss next steps; chemotherapy, radiation, experimentation. Both are full of unknowns; one you look forward to the discovery of and living through, the other you dread and pray to God that it's ultimate conclusion is one that is positive.

We managed to get through the weekend without issue. We agreed that though it's not good, we won’t know anything until tomorrow. So it was a "normal" weekend of disc golf (25 degrees and a light snow - it was beautiful).

So, it you are interested, here are the two avenues that lie ahead. This is likely not an either/or, both will be administered:

Radiation therapy: a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other types of radiation to kill cancer cells. There are two types of radiation therapy. External radiation therapy uses a machine outside the body to send radiation toward the cancer. Internal radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance sealed in needles, seeds, wires, or catheters that are placed directly into or near the cancer. The way the radiation therapy is given depends on the type and stage of the cancer being treated. Impotence and urinary problems may occur in men treated with radiation therapy. [in my case external beam is about the only thing that will help]

Chemotherapy: Taxotere® belongs to the taxane class of chemotherapy drugs. The active ingredient in Taxotere® is derived from the needles of the European yew tree (Taxus baccata). In 2004, Taxotere®, in combination with prednisone, was FDA approved for the treatment of patients with androgen-independent (hormone-refractory) metastatic prostate cancer. In addition, Taxotere®, in combination with doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, has been approved by the FDA for the adjuvant treatment of patients with operable, node-positive breast cancer. Taxotere® continues to be tested in clinical trials for various stages of many types of cancer. As a testament to its potential, in 2004 alone the American Society of Clinical Oncology accepted over 200 abstracts of studies with Taxotere® regimens for its annual meeting. Numerous studies are ongoing, that may offer promising new therapeutic options for healthcare professionals and their patients.
Sounds exciting! As I told Mary last night, I am not scared, seriously. Worried, oh course but I don’t have time for fear.

December 16, 2005

Not very good....

7.18 was the number
We have an appointment with Dr. Davis Tuesday to discuss next steps.
I'm not shocked
I'm not sad
I am worried
I am strong
I am a fighter
I will beat this thing
Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art though amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of they womb, Jesus

Holy Mary mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Peace to you all and Merry Christmas
In nine minutes I have the first of two meetings to end my day,
do you think I'll be engaged and productive?
Perhaps I better - at least it will make time pass quicker........

December 14, 2005

Pins and needles

Tomorrow is the date of my next PSA test. It's just the beginning because we'll likely not know the results until early next week. Therefore, we will have a weekend filled with anxiousness and anticipation. Not that we haven’t already been experiencing this for most of the past week. We did a pretty good job of "moving on" over the past 5 weeks, but time has caught up with us.

Sleep over the past week has been restless. Between hot flashes and worry, I've been tossing and turning more than usual. Over the weekend my back/neck acted up. I was having more pain than usual. Up to that point, my pain was usually something that flared up at the end of the day. Sitting on the sofa would clear things up every time. On Saturday the discomfort would not go away for the most part, it increased on subsequent days peaking yesterday afternoon. The good news is this morning it was virtually gone. We were getting quite concerned. Let's hope it continues the rest of the day and beyond.

What's next, beyond this test? Let's all pray (please) my PSA number comes down. If that is the case we just continue in this watch and wait mode. If it's up, we have a very difficult choice to make - which of several treatment choices do we make? All are experimental, all are risky, all are only moderately promising? What a great position to be in, what lies behind door 1, 2 and 3???
Where all three are not good…….

I just noticed I used the word "usual" a number of times in this entry, what part of this entire experience is "usual"????

December 08, 2005

Mary and I were looking at some old photos the other night and I created a little "before and after"!!! In the one on the left, that's me in the white....almost 60lbs lighter and feeling better than ever! The one on the right illustrates the old David who regularly enjoyed cheeseburgers and pizza!!!

December 05, 2005

Is this effective?

From time to time I wonder if there is anyone out there reading this? Is it having any effect? Is it helping anyone at all? Just about the time I start thinking that way I get a comment posted, a phone call or as the case was this weekend, an email from a complete and total stranger.

John (from Austin, TX) doesn't even have Prostate cancer, he is battling Leukemia. He ran across the Blog and found the time to thank me for encouraging him, for making him look at the positives and not the negatives (something that as a reader you know I struggle with all the time). John offered his prayer and wondered if as a Catholic having a Baptist pray for me was appropriate? I'll just say this, at the time I find myself at St. Peter's gate I pray that that the entrance criteria has nothing to do with Catholic, Baptist, Methodist etc. - I hope it's something as simple as:
1) Do you believe? 2) What did you do for your family, friends, neighbors and strangers?

So my questioning of the value of this has been put to rest (at least for awhile). It's all a big circle, I encourage you and you encourage me. I prop you up and push you, and you return the favor as needed.

It's the second week of Advent, the emotional pressure of Christmas grows heavier. It's such a wonderful, beautiful time of year…….Ho, Ho, Ho!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ P.S.: I promised someone I would refrain from my shot by shot accounts of Disc Golf so I'll just add this; yes it was 25 degrees on Saturday, yes we played and yes I improved by one more stroke (two over for the day!).
P.S.S.: Friday marked 10 months since the Blog began! This next week marks the one year anniversary of my first doctor visit and my first PSA test.

December 02, 2005

Long Overdue

Tonight on the way home from work I made a long overdue phone call. I called my best friend from high school. The oversight was not planned, I had actually thought about making the call and telling him many times. Like happens so often, one thing led to another and I kept forgetting to call him and tell him.

We talked for 10 or 15 minutes, I got his email address and plan to stay in touch. We even discussed getting together when we are in St. Louis over Christmas. We spent a lot of time together the last two years of high school and beyond. For the past ten years or so we’ve not stayed in touch, unless you count the annual Christmas card exchange. I know this is not a unique way for friends to grow apart. I felt better for finally calling him – I felt bad for not doing it sooner.

November 30, 2005

Emotion commotion

Attending Mass this morning was a little difficult, emotionally. I'm not sure if it was because of the holiday season, or the fact that this was my first school/weekday Mass of the school year? Perhaps, it was the topic. It was the feast day of St. Andrew. The reading spoke of Christ asking Andrew to follow him. Andrew did so, without question.

My thoughts were "am I ready"? Is what I'm going through a test, or a calling? I pray that if it is the former, I am capable and if it is the latter, like Andrew, I am ready.

If the last 9 1/2 months were turmoil, the next month has the potential of being worse. We are praying that the PSA test results from 12-15 will be encouraging, while at the same time, we are trying to prepare ourselves if it is not. We're praying for a Merry Christmas at the Emerson house…….

November 28, 2005

Time out for a bit of braggadocio....

I haven't written much about disc golf lately, probably because my game hasn't been worth chronicling! Yesterday morning was an ideal day for disc golf. Yes it was November 27th (Happy 74th Pops!) but the temperature at 7:30am was a balmy 58 degrees. I choose shorts, a tee shirt and a sweat shirt, the sweat shirt was gone by 8:15! The groups course of choice for fall/winter disc golf is a track that is literally cut through the woods. It provides ideal protection from the wind and the elements and provides visuals like a small white tailed deer that we have seen the last few weeks.

So, I slugged my way through the first nine holes and carded an unimpressive 6 over, 33. When I started the 10th hole by slamming my tee shot off one of several thousand oak trees, I thought the back nine would be reflective of the front. However, a great approach shot and a gimme putt and I carded a par. The next hole, #11, is the postcard hole. The tee box sticks out over a valley about 40 feet below. The basket lies about 300 feet ahead on the other side of the valley. The basket is closely guarded by a giant 100 foot oak and several hundred of it's smaller brethren. When my tee shot left my hand I knew it was a good one. It followed an untraceable path through the branches and planted itself ten feet beyond the hole. An easy putt and it was off to the next hole - things were changing! The next hole is much easier, uphill and most of the trees lie at the end of the shot, at the top of the hill. Again, when it left my hand I knew it was good. Due to the elevation change it is difficult to guess how close it landed, when we arrived we found it lying 6ft to the left of the basket. Three holes into the back nine and I'm -2!! #13 is my hole-in-one hole (see entry from mid February). The pin position yesterday made this another 300 foot hole, but it's all downhill requiring nothing more than a straight drive. Easier said than done! My drive floated about 80% of the way to the hole, hit a tree, rolled a little more, leaving me about a 30 foot downhill putt for bird. I jammed it in the basket! Walking to the 14th at -3 was a very, very good feeling, unbelievable! On 14 and 15 I made relatively routine pars, nothing spectacular. The 16th is perhaps the shortest hole on the course, perhaps 150 feet. However it's all uphill (perhaps 25 feet above the tee pad) and slopes severely right to left. Any tee shot that is the slightest bit to the left is usually a bogey at best. The basket was tucked in a position that put it tightly behind a small grove of trees. Any chance of birdie requires an ideally placed tee shot. Mine was anything but ideal. It reached the top of the hill but was at least 40 feet short. All that stood between my disc and the basket was the tangled grove of trees. I could have taken the safe route and just flicked it out to the right side and left myself a 12ft+ putt for par but I thought, what the heck! A quick flip of the wrist and the APX sliced through the trees, BAM! My forth birdie in seven holes! 17 was another routine par and I blew my putt on 18 carding my first bogey on the back, proving once again I was mortal! In the end a 24, three under par was good enough to win the day at 57 - three over! Thanks Pete, Joe and Rich for allowing me to gloat a little!

November 23, 2005

Giving Thanks

So you are probably wondering, "What does David have to be thankful for?" It's nothing elaborate, but it's more meaningful than words do justice. I have:
- A wonderful, supportive, loving, adorable wife. I'm not sure how I would have gotten even this far without her.
- A beautiful, healthy, vibrant, sensitive son.
- A merciful God who's plan continues to be revealed to me daily.
- Family that supports me, encourages me and worries for me.
- Friends who are there with a smile, a hand shake, a hug, or a simple pat on the back.
- Strangers, who as I said in the past, "…are just friends you have yet to meet".

We will be staying in KC, gathering with the family on this side of the state. Giving thanks that we are all here together, to enjoy the day, each other, and food and cheer.

May each of you be blessed with a Happy Thanksgiving, good health, and much happiness, this year, and all the years ahead.

November 18, 2005

Milestone - 9

Think about your life and try to imagine a nine month period that was both as memorable and yet as tumultuous as February 18, 2005 to November 18, 2005 has been for me, and my family. This is not to say that what has, and is happening to us is unique. I cherish some of the memories and fight to forget many, many others. It's still surreal, at times,I have to remind myself what is actually happening to me.

February 18, 2005: On one hand it could have been yesterday, time ticks by faster and faster as we get older. On the other hand, so many things have happened, it could just as well been a lifetime ago. I feel so different, but remain the same in so many ways. What's in store over the next nine months and beyond? Only God knows. However, I am actually anticipating living through His plan as it is revealed to me on a daily basis. I'm dying, but living and more aware of my surroundings and the little things than at any other point in my life. I am confident that there are many, many days ahead and many, many more memories to make and to cherish.

The "holidays" are here. This has always been my absolute favorite time of the year. From the gathering of family at the Thanksgiving feast, to the joy our children experience each Christmas, it's just so wonderful. This year, and the next and the next will now become even more meaningful for me. Each year I will certainly have much, much more to be thankful for! As for Christmas, the religious aspect, the real meaning of Christmas, will certainly become less blurred with the bombardment of materialism that has become so prevalent.
And so now I look forward to Milestone 12, and 18, and 120…..

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Bible, Hebrews 11:1
Yesterday we made a donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. As a result of the golf tournament we were able to contributed $16,000. Better than that, due to a current "promotion" our donation was matched dollar for dollar! I can't put into words how good this felt! I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who contributed! We’re counting on all of you for bigger and better results next year and the years ahead!

November 17, 2005


Hope is finding stories like this one;
Read this

Thanks to my wife for looking out for me....

November 11, 2005

Back on Top

We met with Dr. Davis this morning, and again we left much more hopeful! He's good, take my word for it!

Here is the insight:
> 4.64 in the grand scheme of things is not anything to panic about. When compared to where I came from (219) it's not so bad. If I were just a guy off the street and this was my first test, the doctor would likely just put me on a "watch and wait" program, without medications.
> Yes, the up tick in my PSA is not good, but it is also not unexpected. Yes, we/he had hoped we would not have reached this stage so soon, but it is what it is. The cancer cells have basically begun to outsmart the hormone blockers and now we need to make changes.
> Next step is to stop the daily oral blocker. There has been good success in taking this path. In laymen's terms it basically confuses the cells that are starting to get around the hormone blocker and the cells die off, lowering the PSA number. We begin this step today and will follow up with a blood test December 15th to check the progress. If the number comes down, we ride it out as long as possible. It could be successful for many months. If it goes down and then at some time starts back up, we begin the oral meds again. Long term, we try this on/off/on process as long as we can.
> If the PSA number from the December test rises, then we consider going to see a General Oncologist to pursue clinical trials and/or experimental treatments(probably Sloan-Kettering in NYC) That will mean chemo etc., but I'm not going to get ahead of myself. First things first!
As for the title above, it is somewhat misleading, I don't consider myself to be "on top" of anything except perhaps my mental attitude toward my condition. So, after a brief two day funk, I'm back and ready to kick cancer's rear end!

This is an excerpt from the title track of Van Morrison's 1999 album "Back on Top". Many thanks to my friend, my brother Pete for turning me on to this one - an EXCELLENT album that brings back fond memories of strolling the streets Zurich back in March 2000.

How you get there will be anybody's guess
With all the so called trappings of success
Left all the deadbeats on the top of the hill
Too busy raisin' cain
I'm back on the street again
I'm back on the top again

Back on my feet again
I'm back on the street again
I'm back on the top again

November 10, 2005

David kicks off the 1st annual FLHW Golf Tournament!

Conflicts of interest

Hope - Fear
Future - Present
Life - Death
Living - Dying
Happy - Sad
Thankful - Angry
Bitter - Peaceful
Anxious - Calm

I accept that God has stricken me with this, but what I am having trouble accepting are the lack of treatments options! It's been months since I've said this but I would welcome ANY treatment; chemo, radiation etc. ~ light me up from head to toe, nuke me to the edge of death! Just allow me more time here to breathe, to pray, to live, to love……

November 09, 2005

Sooner versus later......

It's not the news we were hoping for at this point. My PSA scores are starting to rise now and though we need to wait until we have seen three consecutive rises, it's not trending very well.

We have an appointment with my Urologist on Friday to discuss….not sure what's next? From what we’ve read there are a few things:
- try a start/stop approach with the pharmaceuticals (on a few weeks, off a few weeks)
- begin chemo and possibly radiation treatments
- look for a clinical trial (though I am not real excited about double blind trials and placebos!!!)

This is definitely one of the low moments…….I'm looking for something to be positive about….not sure what that is right now…..

This really sucks!

November 03, 2005

With trepidation….

In less than sixty minutes blood will be drawn from my arm. The thought of the needle, the feeling of it piercing my skin are personally no cause for a rise in pulse or blood pressure. It's what comes next that fills me with anxiety.

After seven straight months with declining PSA levels, my number went up in late September. My doctor assures me that we have nothing to concern ourselves with until we see three straight test with rising numbers. So when do I panic? After two? Right before the third test?

In a bit of irony, the next test will be December 22nd and the results won't be know until after Christmas. To me, that makes the personal need for this score to be lower all the more important.

It's been a while since I shared this, not sure there would be a more appropriate time than now.
Hail Mary,
Full of grace.
The Lord is with thee,
Blessed art thou amongst women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus.
Holy Mary mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now
And at the hour of our death.

October 31, 2005

Crystal Ball

No, I'm not going to quote the lyrics from that mediocre Styx song from the 1980's but Looking back, before looking forward; the past month has just raced by! Our golf tournament was four weeks ago already, amazing.

Wednesday will mark nine months since my initial biopsy and the first entry into this blog. Where has the time gone?
Time is racing by, but what am I racing towards?

This Friday I go in for my next blood test. I guess I should be apprehensive, a little scared, worried? I'm not.
I find myself in this very accepting and calm state of mind. I don’t have much to share with those close to me regarding
how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking etc. because things are somewhat normal at this point. Whatever happens, happens. As bad of a cliche as that may be, I really feel like "bring it on!". Throw the best you have at me because I'll get through it! What ever lies ahead will certainly not be easy, but I am strong mentally, spiritually and physically.

Have you started listening to Christmas Carols yet? We have….it's fun to be sitting at a stop sign bellowing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas" and the people around you have no idea what you are doing!

October 28, 2005

Medical News, part II

Again, some news that is encouraging but likely to have no short term effects. But it is good news none the less!

New prostate cancer clue

Fusion of genes, also seen in other types of cancer, may lead to better screening and treatment, study says


October 28, 2005

Prostate cancer may result when two genes accidentally combine within a cell, a research finding that may point to new ways to diagnose and treat the disease.

The fusion of normally separate genes in prostate cells was observed in more than half of cancer samples in a study released today in the journal Science. The combined genes cause the overproduction of proteins that spur cells to grow out of control, according to research led by Arul Chinnaiyan, a biologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

"There is really intriguing evidence that this particular gene fusion is the causative agent of prostate cancer," Chinnaiyan, 35, said in an interview. What causes the genes to fuse isn't known, he said.

Newly diagnosed cases of prostate cancer in U.S. men will total about 232,000 this year, and deaths from the disease will top 30,000, according to the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society.

Gene rearrangements involve the movement of a gene fragment from one segment of DNA to another, often affecting whether the gene is turned on or off. Such rearrangements previously were found in leukemia, lymphoma and soft-tissue cancers.

Tests for the presence of the fused genes in blood or urine would be "far more accurate than current screening tests," according to Chinnaiyan. Doctors now test men for prostate- specific antigen, a substance released by the prostate gland.

PSA tests often are positive even when cancer isn't present, so biopsies are needed to confirm cancer. Better tests would reduce the need for biopsies.

Knowing that gene mutations can cause prostate cancer also gives drug companies targets at which to aim new medicines. The discovery that gene fusion is at the heart of chronic myelogenous leukemia, a disorder known as CML in which the body produces cancerous white blood cells, led to the development of a Novartis drug called Gleevec.

In the new study, the researchers found "overexpression" of two proteins in 95 of 167 cancer cases, and in none of 54 tissue samples with no cancer. Two genes involved, ETV1 and ERG, previously were implicated in cancer-causing genetic rearrangements in a rare bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma, according to the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md.

The gene fusion in prostate cancer "is likely to be the most common rearrangement yet identified in human malignancies," including the majority of prostate cancer cases, the researchers said in the journal.

Other gene fusions not yet identified may account for the remaining cases of prostate cancer, Chinnaiyan said.

The study provided the first evidence that "non-random, recurrent" genetic rearrangements can occur in cancers derived from so-called epithelial cells, which line the body's cavities, the National Cancer Institute said. Unlike the random scrambling of genes seen in some tumor cells, prostate cancer appears to involve a recurrent pattern that can be used to predict the disease.

Epithelial-cell diseases include breast, lung and colon cancers, Jacob Kagan, a program director at the National Cancer Institute, said in a statement today. The institute, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was among sponsors of the study.

New drugs might be aimed at inactivating ERG or ETV1 or at inhibiting their expression in the first place, Chinnaiyan said. The study results must be verified in a larger number of tissue samples before new detection techniques or therapies can be developed, the National Cancer Institute said.
Copyright 2005 Newsday Inc.

October 26, 2005

Encouraging medical news

A New Approach to Chemotherapy

Doctors Try Lower Doses, Given Continuously, To Reduce Side Effects and Starve Tumors

October 25, 2005; Page D1

In the battle against cancer, doctors are finding new ways to use an old weapon: chemotherapy.
The idea behind chemotherapy has long been that more is better. In order to kill the tumor, patients are traditionally given the highest dose they can tolerate. But because the drugs are so toxic, the process must be periodically halted for several weeks to allow the body to recover. Some doctors argue that this resting period can allow a tumor to rebuild the network of blood vessels that it needs to keep growing.
Now, these doctors are experimenting with a new approach, giving very low doses of chemo drugs for extensive periods of time, with no rest. The approach represents a significant shift in thinking because the target isn't the cancer tumor itself. Rather, the aim is to halt the underlying growth process. Because the method spares patients the toxic side effects of high-dose chemo, such as vomiting and anemia, it can be given continuously for the long term -- perhaps turning the cancer into a chronic, manageable condition.
Sometimes called "chemo lite" or "metronomic chemotherapy," the method is being studied at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the University of Toronto and other centers. Doctors are reporting promising results in a handful of clinical trials on cancers that include brain tumors, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and breast and ovarian cancer.

The low-dose approach isn't widely accepted, however, partly because of fears that it may result in undertreatment and jeopardize survival. There is also evidence from lab studies that even in low doses, side effects such as suppressed immune systems do eventually appear over time. So far, the approach has been used in patients with advanced cancer who have failed previous therapies. For these patients, the lack of immediate side effects has improved their quality of life. But doctors have just launched or are planning some new trials for people with breast cancer, ovarian cancer and some pediatric cancers who have less-advanced disease but are at high risk for a recurrence.

The new method comes at a time when there is increasing hope that, when cancer can't be cured, patients at least can continue to live with the disease for many years. Newer "smart" drugs such as Tarceva and Iressa are designed to target only cancer cells, not normal ones, minimizing toxic side effects that make chemotherapy so hard to tolerate and creating the prospect that they can be taken for years, not months. New attention to some of the side effects of treatment, and an increasing understanding of the biology of cancer have also helped create excitement about one day making cancer a chronic condition, much like diabetes or heart disease is today.

Low-dose, continuous chemotherapy is also part of a rising focus in oncology on the process known as angiogenesis, whereby the body develops new blood vessels that can feed tumors. A number of drugs in development, along with some current smart drugs such as Avastin, also work as so-called anti-angiogenic agents that aim to choke off a tumor's blood vessels. Instead of solely targeting tumors, which vary greatly from person to person and organ to organ, these drugs also target the blood vessels that tumors need to grow. Some researchers believe this approach could ultimately be far more widely effective.

Keeping Growth in Check
Researchers believe the low-dose chemotherapy, which is being given in combination with anti-angiogenic drugs, may work because it keeps the development of blood vessels in check. It is able to do this because the less-toxic treatment eliminates the need for rest periods, which give blood vessels a chance to start growing again. Even tumors that had become resistant to standard chemo drugs still responded to the low-dose approach in studies, these researchers say, because the treatment stemmed the growth of new blood vessels.
"So much of our current cancer treatment depends on understanding the intricacies of a specific tumor," says Mark W. Kieran, a pediatric oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who has led low-dose chemo trials. With this new approach, Dr. Kieran said, "we're attacking the tumor's supply line."

Many doctors are trying different ways to give chemotherapy, such as changing dose schedules, with the goal of making the regimens more bearable. A traditional chemotherapy regimen may last about six months and includes high doses -- such as 1,000 milligrams of the chemo drug cyclophosphamide every three weeks. Some doctors have experimented with how to spread out the dose, giving a little less at a time, but every two weeks. But this new low-dose method typically involves a fraction of the standard chemo amounts. In a number of anti-angiogenic trials, patients were given 50 milligrams of cyclophosphamide every day, with no breaks.

Still Responding
In one of the first published reports from the current wave of human trials, Dr. Kieran and his colleagues at Children's Hospital Boston and St. Louis Children's Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., will report next month on a trial of 20 children with various kinds of cancer. In the trial, the children received a cocktail of drugs known to interfere with the angiogenesis process, including Celebrex and thalidomide, as well as low doses of the chemotherapy drugs cyclophosphamide and etoposide. Five of the 20 patients are still responding to the treatment, according to the paper, to be published in the Journal of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Kieran says even just a 25% response rate is significant because these patients had no treatment alternatives left.
One of those children, Michael Shelley, age 10, was diagnosed five years ago with a brain tumor called ependymoma. He had surgery but the tumor came back. He underwent a second surgery followed by radiation, but the cancer came back again. So Diane Shelley, Michael's mother, enrolled him in Dr. Kieran's trial. At one point, she says he was up to 16 pills a day, drinking huge quantities of orange soda in order to take the regimen, which he was on for a year and a half. Mrs. Shelley says there were side effects: Michael was very tired, and because his immune system was so suppressed he got massive warts on his hands that made it hard for him to write. They ended the treatment after he needed a transfusion because his blood count got too low.
But Michael recently had a brain scan and "it was clean," said Mrs. Shelley. He just signed up to play basketball and baseball at school. "Compared to what other kids go through for chemotherapy, the side effects were minimal," says Mrs. Shelley.

Dr. Kieran is working on a new trial, which will study 160 children at hospitals that include New York University Medical Center and St. Louis Children's Hospital. He pays for these trials in large part with private donations.
There have been arguments in the medical community that perhaps the drugs are actually killing the tumor cells themselves and that is why the regimen works. But Dr. Kieran and his colleagues note in their paper that three of the patients had previously been treated with high doses of the same chemo drugs and seen their cancers grow. Now on low, sustained doses of the drugs, their cancers weren't growing or in some cases had shrunk.

Some Doubts
Not all trial results have been so promising. Ian Tannock, a medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital and the University of Toronto, led a study of anti-angiogenic chemotherapy in kidney-cancer patients. He said that of the 30 patients, one saw his tumor shrink and two others were stable. Dr. Tannock, who believes anti-angiogenic drugs like Avastin are beneficial, called the low-dose chemo results "not remarkable." "I think it's a reasonable idea to test," he says, "but I don't see this as the wave of the future."
Sandra Fraley, 56, of Boston, has advanced breast cancer and has been on a low-dose daily chemotherapy regimen plus Avastin for a year as part of a current clinical trial. She says she had chemotherapy when she was first diagnosed in 2001, and "it took me a year to regain my strength."
When she started having intense back pains in 2004 and was told the cancer had come back in her bones, she was worried about the side effects of more chemo. She says with the low-dose approach, her cancer has remained stable and the main side effect has been fatigue. As part of her current regimen, she gets one of the same chemo drugs she took in the past, cyclophosphamide, but instead of 1,000 milligrams once every three weeks, she takes 50 milligrams every day. Compared with the higher doses she previously endured, she says, "this is a walk in the park."

Next Phase of Research
Harold J. Burstein, an oncologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who is the principal investigator of Ms. Fraley's trial, says he thinks the biggest benefits of anti-angiogenic chemotherapy will be in patients whose cancer isn't so advanced. He and researchers at Indiana University in Indianapolis have launched a pilot study open to women who got chemotherapy prior to surgery for breast cancer, but who had residual cancer in their breast or lymph nodes. These women are at high risk for recurrence, Dr. Burstein said.
Both this and his current trial are funded in part by grants from the National Cancer Institute and the Avon Foundation, as well as Avastin's maker, Genentech Inc.
"We need to generate more compelling clinical data if this approach is going to be useful," Dr. Burstein says.

October 19, 2005

Songs about......

Latley it seems like I have this knack for finding songs that either mention death or are primarily about death. Today for example, 3 of the 4 songs I heard on the way into work were just that. Here are parts of the lyrics for two of them:
The Calling - Wherever you will go
So lately, I've been wonderin
Who will be there to take my place
When I'm gone, you'll need love
To light the shadows on your face
If a great wave should fall
It would fall upon us all
And between the sand and stone
Could you make it on your own

If I could, then I would
I'll go wherever you will go
Way up high or down low
I'll go wherever you will go
Goo Goo Dolls - Broadway
Broadway is dark tonight
A little bit weaker than you used to be
Broadway is dark tonight
See the young man sitting
In the old man's bar
Waiting for his turn to die
So, with a mind set influenced by that, I came up with this:

Motionless in the curb, in the lawn,
succumbing to a slow death.
Your life was too short,
less than a season.
At birth you brought hope,
in death a reminder of darker times.
Your parting brings thoughts of cold,
of damp, of darkness.
And so begins the season,
that weighs most heavily on my heart.

Please don't misinterpret, I'm actually doing quite well. No I'm not depressed. My back pain is 100% gone due to a new office chair! Too think we might have considered radiation treatment!!! Many many years from now perhaps I will be "the old man sitting in the young man's bar......"?

It's Fall now, 5 months until Spring!

October 13, 2005

Why are we here?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. Is there a purpose, a meaning to why we are here? Part of me says it is to help each other. One can see this every time there is a crisis. People want to help and they do help...sometimes in overwhelming or extraordinary ways!

However, when there is no crisis, and we meander through our day to day lives, what is it we are doing to help one another? It seems very easy (natural?) to make decisions that benefit ourselves first and foremost. When it comes to making tough choices between something that will benefit you or your family or something that will assist a total stranger, that's when it gets tough. I have no answer, I struggle with this like the rest of you. It's just something that has been on my mind.

I also wonder, was the time and effort we put into our recent golf tournament worth it? It was successful but will the money we donate "make a difference"? The direct benefit to me and my case are unlikely. The longer term benefit to others is more likely, but unknown. I'm not discouraged, that is not my intent in this message….I'm just wondering about this as well. It's not about me, my case, or me leaving a legacy. It's about some 30 year old guy that in 10 or 15 years goes through this and will have more choices, better choices and hopefully, a cure!

And for my final topic of the day...Did you know that September was 'Prostate Cancer Awareness Month'? I didn’t think so. Did you know that this month is 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month'? I thought so! Here is my concern: A man has a 33% greater chance of getting Prostate Cancer than a women does of getting breast cancer!! I feel that there is so much work to be done to expand the awareness prostate cancer. My greatest concern is that what has happened to me can happen to so many others. The people that run the Komen Foundation are very good at promoting their cause. PCF can definitely learn from their example and vision! I read a story on Tuesday that Kodak is placing a pink awareness ribbon on the NASCAR that they sponsor? (click here) Where is the blue ribbon? Where are the blue ribbons on NFL, NHL or MLB helmets? I hope that the research that is supported by the breast cancer awareness campaign will benefit cancer patients suffering from other types of cancer. (Maybe even me!) I hope and pray that the organization that supports the PCF mission will continue to evolve and become more effective in promoting an awareness of prostate cancer and continue to acquire funds that will support the research required to find a cure. Personally, we are committed to support PCF and to do our best to raise the awareness of this disease in our community.

BTW - Go Cardinals!!!

October 06, 2005

Gratitude and more opinions

I apologize for they delay but Monday was a whirlwind and things are finally winding down. It felt to both of us like a wedding reception. Old friends and new, co-workers from the past and present, family... it was all quite overwhelming. There were so many people I saw that I wanted to spend more time talking with, but we just ran out of time. In the end it appears that through the help of family, friends and complete strangers, we can accomplish almost anything!

Strangers are friends you have yet to meet.

Life is too short to go through it alone. Be thankful everyday for the friends that surround and support you.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.

Regarding the last; I personally consider everyone who helped, sponsored, donated, played, etc. part of MY clan. You have my deepest appreciation. Your support means more to me than you will ever know.

The tournament was an incredible success, and we have received many compliments. We hope that each participant had a great day out at the course. We had almost 120 golfers and beautiful weather throughout the day (just a little warm, but definitely bearable). At this point we still have a few checks to collect and several bills to clear up, but it looks like we be able to exceed our goal of making a $10,000. donation to PCF to support research for advanced PC. It's hard to believe that all of this came together in just under four months. We owe a debt of gratitude to the FLHW Board, Rich, Mark, Steve and Chris. Additionally, special thanks goes to the many volunteers who helped keep everything running smoothly throughout the day.
…and so, with very little sleep, we had an appointment on Tuesday with a radiology oncologist, Dr. Smalley. I have been having back pain at the end of most days and wanted to check in with an expert. We got lucky again and found a great doctor. He was personable, highly intelligent and most importantly ~ HONEST. We spent almost an hour with him discussing both my case and his approach. To summarize -
1) He was supportive of the dietary and exercise regimen [and somewhat envious]
2) He was willing to administer radiation treatments to my back and was 100% sure they would help, but was cautious about playing this card to soon. He also wasn't 100% sure there is a correlation between the pain and the cancer, based on my description of the pain and a few test he administered. He suggested for now I begin taking Advil, as it has been effective in relieving the back pressure.
3) We discussed the hot flashes at length and there are a few FDA approved drugs that can address this symptom.

We are going to discuss further with Dr. Davis before moving forward. (One of the drugs is Prozac ~ it is a milder dose than what is normally prescribed and would have no effect on my mood, being that I'm a pretty happy person to begin with ~ however, just the idea of another drug leaves me a bit reluctant.) My next appointment with Dr. Davis is in 3 weeks, when I am scheduled to receive my next Lupron shot and will have another PSA test as well. We pray that the PSA # will resume to a lower level.

That's it for now…...

September 28, 2005

There is some good news....

I saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geiko!
OK, just kidding, but humor is an essential part of dealing will all this....

On a serious note, not that I ever had an issue with blood pressure but mine was the lowest ever yesterday morning, 126/66!

Dr. D called me back yesterday on my way home, here is the synopsis. First, no need for panic at this time. Intermittent spikes in PSA levels do happen from time to time. There is no need to change anything we are doing for now. However, if the next two readings are also up, then we will begin to make some changes. First I will stop taking Casodex (the daily hormone blocker that only stops about 10% of testosterone production). Though this sounds wrong, Dr. Davis has said that in similar cases allowing your body to produce/release small amounts of testosterone can actually bring the PSA back down again. As always, he was VERY positive about the current situation.

My general practitioner recommended a new doctor yesterday. He is a radiation oncologist (Dr. Davis knew who he was). I hope to see him next week to discuss the back discomfort I have and just to get another opinion.

And now for more good news: the golf tournament is sold out! We could squeeze in one or two players if they show up on Monday, but at this point it looks like we'll have 32 teams! As I've previously mentioned we had hoped to raise $10K, it looks like we should exceed that without an issue. As of today, the forecast looks like 81 and sunny!
Emotional strength is just your mind reminding your body who's in charge.

September 27, 2005

A step in the wrong direction…..

It's been a hectic morning with meetings etc. and I have a very important meeting in 90 minutes so this update will be brief.

This morning I received the results of my latest blood test (taken last Thursday) and my PSA number went up slightly (from .35 to .80). Though I know this is not good, I am not sure how significant/bad this is? I hope to talk to Dr. Davis before the day is out, may be tomorrow?

Crank up the prayer chain…….

More information to follow as I receive it.

September 16, 2005

It's Cool, in a Bizarre Way ........

Thanks go to Jeff for sending this my way.
I like Tony Snow, he sent me an autographed picture last year, before this happened to either of us. He inscribed it with "Keep the Faith"

It's not because of him, but there is a reason "Faith" is the first word in our foundation. You chose your own definition of what faith means to you, I again am not hear to preach. However, believe me, and read Tony's article, when you hear those dreaded words "You have cancer", the first place you turn, and the place you return to hundreds of times each day is to your faith.
You can probably tell from recent postings that this (fear) is THE hardest part for me personally. However, the good news is I spend far more time being positive. I know that I will live to see 50, and 60 and hold a grandchild….and all those other little things we have planned WILL happen!
Fear is a waste of time
Tony Snow
September 16, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- My doctor has tried manfully over the years to talk seriously about important health matters, usually with mixed success. But he really grabbed my attention when he called just before Valentine's Day and said two little words.
"It's cancer."
People respond in different ways to such news. My first reaction was to think it was cool, in a bizarre way -- as if I had been inducted into a club known not just for its danger and darkness, but also for promising survivors something precious and rare: a fuller glimpse of life itself.
That feeling didn't last long. Within hours, the novelty dissolved and panic set in. My wife and I lay numbly in bed, fretting about what might be. A neighborhood friend had died of cancer only weeks before, leaving behind young children. We both thought, "What if ... ?"
Meanwhile, I felt pings and pangs in every conceivable organ and extremity. I interpreted transitory pains as evidence that micro-tumors had begun spreading wildly throughout my body and were attacking with fiendish efficiency. At one point, I mistook normal, allergy-related sinus pain for a brain tumor.
Fortunately, this panic didn't last long, either -- mainly because I received a very important visit from a friend. She came over to our house, armed with books and advice. Lounging on the couch, she talked about how she survived simultaneous cancers of the breast, lungs and lymph nodes.
There's nothing quite like a pep talk from a cancer survivor, especially one who by normal calculations ought to have died long ago.
Here is the most important thing she said: "When I was sick, my husband and I would sit in a group with other women who had the same thing. We sat in a circle, the same people each week.
"Some looked strong and vigorous; others were pale and weak. But none of that mattered. We discovered that we could figure out who was going to live and who would die just by looking into their eyes. The ones who were afraid didn't make it. The ones who were pessimistic didn't make it. The women who made it were the ones who wanted to live, and were ready to fight. Some of the big, strong women weren't ready to fight."
From that moment on, I haven't felt a pang of fear or trepidation. My friend inspired me to stop acting like a passive nut-job, performing diagnoses based on toe twinges and random gas pains, and to get moving. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to enter the hospital, where a terrific surgeon removed my colon, and then to undertake a six-month course of chemotherapy, complete with annoying side-effects and days of dreary exhaustion.
And so I did.
Winston Churchill once noted that there is nothing quite so thrilling as being shot at without effect. One can say much the same thing of grappling with cancer, with one difference: When a bullet passes, you know it. When cancer passes, you have to wait at least five years to mop your brow in relief.
Still, the last few months -- my time of surgery and chemo -- have been the happiest and most thrilling of my life. They have confirmed lessons that seem at once too good to be true, and too important and vital not to be.
Here is a short inventory:
Faith matters. Prayers heal. Love overcomes.
People want to do good for others; they just need excuses.
Fear is a waste of time. The worst that can happen is that we'll die -- which happens to everybody, anyway. Until the Grim Reaper comes knocking, we're alive.
We can count our hardships, but not our blessings.
Life does not revolve around us. It envelops us.
There is no condition that someone else has not already overcome.
Nothing makes one feel more alive than the prospect of death and the requirement that one fight for the things that give life its richness, meaning and joy.
Seven months into my little adventure, I love my wife and children more than ever; relish my work more than I could have imagined; and feel joy that I cannot begin to describe. I also have some street credibility when it comes to counseling cancer patients. I now can do what my friend did: Dispense a little advice and encouragement, so someone else can replace fear with hope and anxiety with determination.
Which leads to the final healing lesson. When you find a good thing, don't be selfish. Pass it on. You'll feel better -- and so will someone you love.
Tony Snow is the host of the 'Tony Snow Show' on Fox News Radio.

September 13, 2005

Back to the proverbial drawing board.......

Here's a story that I read yesterday. It promised some real hope. It is followed with another story from today, the bad news....

FYI - This is the stage my cancer will take when the drugs I am on currently, fail. Our hope is that this will be many, many years from now!!!

What a way to go, "Gallo died in 1994 at age 58 with only a morphine drip from his hospital IV for pain and the comfort of his wife keeping him lucid.

"The pain was so horrible there were times you could not touch him because he was in such agony..."

Abbott's new drug for prostate cancer will also take aim at pain
By Bruce Japsen
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 12, 2005

The spread of prostate cancer into her husband's bones was enough of a battle, but Betty Gallo said her husband, Dean, also tried to fight debilitating pain in the last months of his life.

The congressman from New Jersey was unable to focus on his fight against cancer because disease had invaded his bones, a destination resulting in terrible pain for tens of thousands of cancer patients each year.

Gallo died in 1994 at age 58 with only a morphine drip from his hospital IV for pain and the comfort of his wife keeping him lucid.

"The pain was so horrible there were times you could not touch him because he was in such agony," Betty Gallo recalls of her husband, who served 10 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. "I think you can focus more on getting the disease under control if you can control the pain."

It may be too late for Dean Gallo, but a pill developed by Abbott Laboratories hopes to address the spread of prostate cancer while delaying the onset of pain.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel of cancer experts will decide this week whether the drug, called Xinlay, should be recommended for approval. The FDA typically follows the recommendations of its advisory panels.

For North Chicago-based Abbott, approval could mean up to $300 million in sales next year and eventually more than $1.5 billion annually, say analysts, pointing to studies that evaluate whether it can be used to treat other cancers.

Abbott believes Xinlay is a breakthrough that should merit strong consideration, especially because there are more than 2 million American men with prostate cancer. About 230,000 cases are diagnosed each year.

But the submission is unique and there are no slam-dunks, especially now that the FDA is under fire from consumer groups and lawmakers over perceived lax reviews of drug safety in the wake of Vioxx. The FDA approved Vioxx in 1999, but the drug was pulled last fall after a study showed increased risks of heart attacks and stroke.

"There has been some talk that because of Vioxx that sensitivities could be heightened," says Michael Zbinovec, director of corporate finance and a pharmaceutical analyst for Fitch Ratings in Chicago.

"Clearly, [FDA and its advisory panels] are looking more closely at existing therapies, which is why you are seeing a host of new warning labels. As far as the approval of new drugs and what kind of scrutiny they will face, I think people have a wait-and-see attitude," Zbinovec said.

Analysts expect FDA advisers to take a hard look at Xinlay, especially because the drug is trying to make a comeback of sorts. In 2003, Abbott halted a key clinical trial because the drug was failing to slow progression of the disease in end-stage prostate cancer patients.

But Abbott officials described that setback as an early-stage trial. The company says it now has more complete data and will submit to the FDA more recent studies that show the drug is promising in the sickest of prostate cancer patients.

Abbott sees the pain relief feature as an added benefit to slowing the progression of the disease.

"There is a bigger effect in pain than other clinical events," said Dr. John Leonard, vice president of Abbott's global pharmaceutical development.

The two primary studies being submitted to the FDA show the drug slowed the spread of prostate cancer and delayed the onset of pain in 20 percent to 30 percent of the patients who took Xinlay. Of patients who had cancer reach their bones, the onset of pain was delayed by as long as three months.

While that does not seem like a large percentage of patients, such rates of effectiveness often merit approval because prostate cancer patients often have few, if any, other hope for treatment, analysts say.

"Even if the drug only works in one-third of patients that would be a big step because 30,000 men a year die from the disease," said Dr. Jerome Hoeksema, an assistant professor of urology at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and immediate past president of the American Cancer Society's Illinois division. "You could have an impact on 10,000 men or more. That is a significant number of men."

Late-stage prostate cancer patients tend to be frail men who are about 70 years of age, and the next stage for most of these men is death because so few tolerate another round of treatment, such as chemotherapy, if they can handle any treatment at all.

Xinlay also is deemed important among clinicians, who say more drugs are needed for men with late-stage prostate cancer because they eventually stop responding to hormonal therapies such as Lupron, an injected drug sold by Abbott affiliate TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. of Lake Forest.

Abbott and some cancer doctors say FDA advisory panels look at cancer drugs differently than maintenance medications like arthritis or cholesterol pills because they can be the last hope for patients.

"When the disease progresses, we don't have a lot of active treatments and are looking for something to take us to the next level after hormone therapy loses effectiveness," Hoeksema said.

Xinlay is considered a more targeted therapy, which means it's designed to be more convenient and less toxic to the body than traditional chemotherapy.

Xinlay's side effects include runny nose, red eyes and fluid retention. "If you have a runny nose, it tends to go away," Leonard said.

"Targeted therapies are the new frontier and the promise is great," Hoeksema said. "Targeted therapies offer promise of treating the malignant cells without targeting the normal tissue, so the drug goes where it needs to work without exposing the whole body. It kills the cancer cells."

US FDA panel rejects Abbott prostate cancer drug
Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:23 PM ET
BETHESDA, Md., Sept 13 (Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories Inc.'s experimental drug, Xinlay, should not be approved for treating men with advanced prostate cancer, a U.S. advisory panel unanimously recommended on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration will make the final decision, but the agency usually follows the advice of its expert panels.

Abbott shares fell as much as 99 cents to $44.24 a share just after the panel's decision before regaining some ground to 83 cents, or down 1.8 percent, at $44.40.

Some industry analysts have forecast annual sales for Xinlay could reach $2 billion if the drug wins approval.

Xinlay is an oral, once-a-day drug that targets a protein called endothelin receptor A, which is believed to help cancer cells spread. The drug's generic name is atrasentan.

Two studies of Xinlay failed to show the drug slowed progression of advanced prostate cancer. Abbott, however, said pooling data from the trials demonstrated Xinlay delayed the disease's spread and reduced pain from the disease's spread to the bone.

September 12, 2005

Routines…..and blue jeans

Things are becoming somewhat routine lately. Not a lot of news personally or cancer related to report. My next PSA test is a week from Thursday, seems like yesterday that I was just getting this done? I also have a follow up with my general practitioner in two weeks, we are going to persue another referral for a general Oncologist. Based on what we continue to read, we're not confident that they are going to have any new opinions or options, but you never know. The hot flashes continue, every morning at 8 and usually throughout the night. I probably get 4-5 good hours of sleep a night, then I wake up between 3 and 4am. From then until 6am it's tossing and turning between outbreaks of sweat! It's about as enjoyable as it sounds.

Last week we celebrated a 9th birthday. It's amazing how quickly he has grown up! Third grade and nine years old!!! Why is it when we are young, time is at a stand still and as we age it seems to disappear?

We did spend Saturday at the Great Wolf Lodge. For those of you who've not been, it is basically a hotel built around a lodge theme with a water park in the middle. It was great fun, and the kids enjoyed themselves as well!

The golf tournament is progressing. The field is sure to be full and the sponsorships are starting to add up as well. The generosity of strangers is an amazing thing to witness. The tournament is three weeks away and I'm looking forward to us topping our goal!

I started reading Lance Armstrong's second book but have had to stop. The only time I can seem to find to read is right before bed. We've both found that if we read medical/cancer related books, prior to going to bed, it just makes sleeping very difficult.

I'm ready for Fall and a change of seasons and wardrobe, blue jeans,, crisp nights...disk golf in the woods...fireplaces, football...

That's it for now…..

September 07, 2005

Nutrition Update!

I guess I'll get to keep ordering those "skinny, grande, mocha's with no-whip" after all!!!!
Coffee is number one source of antioxidants

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

A survey shows that coffee is the main source of antioxidants for Americans.
Antioxidants can help slow down age-related diseases such as heart problems. They're found in fruits and vegetables and other plant products like tea and coffee. Researchers at the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, now reveal the main source of antioxidants in the American diet - coffee!

They looked first at the antioxidant content of more than 100 different food items and then at the consumption of each by the population. Coffee turns out to be the number one source of antioxidants, being drunk by over half of the population each day. Although dates, in fact, are the food with the highest antioxidant content per serving size.

After coffee, tea, bananas, beans and corn are the main antioxidant sources. Other fruits and vegetables don't figure enough considering they also contain vitamins, minerals and fiber. One or two cups of coffee a day will be enough to give beneficial amounts of antioxidants, say the researchers. The antioxidant content is about the same for regular or decaff coffee. Black tea would be equally beneficial. And dates, cranberries and red grapes are the top antioxidant containing fruits. Include these in your diet where you can.

American Chemical Society meeting 28th August 2005"

September 04, 2005

While thinking of others......

One of my best friends, a brother in every sense of the word, lost his Dad yesterday. Though he had health problems, it's still a difficult thing to lose a parent. For him, just another lousy hand in a year of difficulty. I'm with you brother, I'll say many prayers for you and your family today at Mass. I ask the rest of you to say a prayer for them as well.

Next, I monitor an on-line support group for PC patients. Being that PC strikes older men, most of the participants are older men. Their problems are usually surrounding the terrible post-operative side effects. Issues like incontinence and erectile dysfunction (I never said reading this would be fun). Though I would trade place with most of these gentleman in a split second (short term - Depends and ED issues versus no cure……) On the other hand, being 42 the thought of wearing adult diapers…..frankly I just don't want to go there….. I will add these men, these strangers, to my prayers today as well.

Tragic, fragile, limited, beautiful, funny, difficult, intense, lovely, limited...

August 26, 2005

Lurking right below the surface…

It's there, always. Not far away, waiting for the opportune moment to pounce right into my conscious thoughts. It's fear.

While I struggle daily, hourly, sometimes minute by excruciating minute to remain positive there are times (more lately) that I just plain get scared. I know it's normal and I should be, but I don't want to be - I want to always be strong, always be positive and in the end, always be here. I'm not giving up. I never, ever will! it's just every now and again BAM!

I started reading Lance Armstrong's second book. I'm only 40 pages in but it's good to know that he understands what his situation, and experiences and his stature mean to the rest of us. He hasn’t run from it, he's run to it, he embraces it and understands it and it appears he will spend a good portion of his energy from this point forward focused on this cause. He sounds like a pretty cool guy, I'd love to leap off the cliffs into his swimming hole. (you have to read the book to get it)

Now there's a conflict ~ I'm scared on one hand, but want to jump 45+ feet into a lake for the thrill of it!

August 19, 2005

50 Thoughts and Questions

1 Why?
2 Why me?
3 Why now?
4 Why this?
5 Why am I so lucky?
6 Why did we find each other?
7 I love her so much.
8 I could never imagine trying to get through this without her.
9 I amazed at the help total strangers offer.
10 Are we going to make a difference?
11 What will our son grow up to be?
12 Is anyone else scared?
13 6:00 is early
14 Why can't I just sleep in
15 Why do I always put so much on my "plate"
16 A Saturday afternoon nap would be nice
17 How long will grandma hang on (she's 99)
18 I wonder how many pounds of berries I've consumed since February
19 I want to feel sand between my toes
20 I want to watch the sunset over the ocean
21 I want to walk in the surf for miles……
22 I haven't been to a concert in almost 20 years
23 Will the Kenny Chesney concert be good?
24 I think I went to about 50 concerts before I was 20 years old
25 The Mississippi River Festival
26 Will the Cardinals win the World Series?
27 Why are professional athlete such idiots?
28 Just over paid little boys
29 I'm looking forward to the NHL season
30 I want to take my son to a Chiefs game, but worry about the behavior of others
31 Are we to protective?
32 I love a good thunderstorm
33 Lightening is so cool
34 It continues to amaze what people will do to help, if you just ask
35 It continues to amaze what people will do to help, if you just let them
36 I miss my mom, I wish I had known her better
37 Is it too early to start planning a trip to Italy for next June-July?
38 I want to stand in Vatican square in silent prayer
39 I'd love to meet the Pope
40 I'd love to meet Lance Armstrong
41 I'd love to meet the President
42 I'd love to meet Michael Milken
43 I never really had "heroes", though there were people I admired.
44 The list of people I admire is much different now
45 I really hope our golf tournament is successful
46 I want to make a difference, regardless
47 Is this Blog a weird way to share this experience?
48 I hope there is not a limit on entries, I plan to be writing this dribble many years from now
49 I wonder how many people have been tested as a result of this?
50 There is nothing….without hope!

August 17, 2005

I feel like a number.....

...and that number would be: .35

Last Thursday (August 11th) I had blood drawn for my 6 week check up. Late yesterday we received the test results and my PSA number is down to .35!! It goes without saying, we are VERY happy things are still trending down.

As for next steps, I'll have another test at the end of September and after that we'll start discussing updated bone/CAT scans and the possibility of seeking an additional second opinion. Our thoughts are to go to Sloan-Kettering in New York or one of a few other hospitals. The issue right now is there are still very few trials or experimental treatments for advanced stage prostate cancer, so we are still in a wait and see mode for the second opinion part.

Preparations for the golf tournament are coming along great, my focus has been on business sponsors. To date we have one check in hand and about five to six other verbal commitments. With seven weeks left we have a lot of work left ahead of us but we are confident we'll make it. "Money is research, research is the cure!!"
(For more information there is a link on the upper left of the page)

Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers, I couldn't do it without you!

August 11, 2005

Sometimes hindsight is 20-20

Many of you have asked how I've managed to lose so much weight. I usually answer this question by describing the dietary changes we have undergone. The next question is tpically why we chose a low fat diet versus other methods (low carb etc.)? Early on in this "journey" we researched many articles, books etc. that linked Prostate Cancer to diet. Some of the arguments were stronger or perhaps more reliable than others, nonetheless, we came away convinced that we had to change our diet. Dr. Davis confirmed the theory that a low fat diet would be benfitial. One irrefutable statistic that stood out was the rate of prostate cancer in Asia is a mere fraction of the rate in the U.S. So what accounts for the difference? Some believe that it is the typical American high fat, red meat diet. It is these facts that convinced us to stop eating red meat and switch to a low/no fat diet. Along with red meat this pretty much eliminated dairy, bad news for us as cheese lovers!!! Boring? Yes at times, but the flavor of food has changed dramatically as well as the amount or portion size it takes to be satisfied.

My sermon has ended, but please read the article below! After reading the article, it makes me think perhaps the choice we made may not have been all that bad…...

Study: Diet May Inhibit Prostate Cancer
By LAURAN NEERGAARDThe Associated Press
Thursday, August 11, 2005; 2:57 AM
WASHINGTON -- A radical ultra low-fat diet and other lifestyle changes may help keep early-stage prostate cancer from worsening, says the first attempt to test the theory.

It's a small study that tracked men whose tumors weren't aggressive. Still, the research, published in the September issue of The Journal of Urology, promises to increase interest in whether diet might really help battle cancer.
The study was led by heart-health guru Dr. Dean Ornish, and used his famously strict regimen, where people become vegetarians, limit dietary fat to 10 percent of total calories, exercise regularly and learn stress-management techniques such as yoga.

Ornish's studies show that regimen can help heart disease, but why try it on prostate cancer? There is some evidence that diets high in fat increase the risk of prostate cancer, and that certain foods _ such as broccoli, or the nutrient lycopene from cooked tomato products _ are protective.

So Ornish and fellow researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, recruited 93 men who had decided against treatment for early-stage prostate cancer, a route known as "watchful waiting."

Half were randomly assigned to the Ornish diet and lifestyle regimen; the others weren't asked to vary their usual routines. The researchers sent participants' blood samples to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to measure PSA, or prostate specific antigen, a marker used to track prostate cancer growth.
After one year, PSA levels had decreased 4 percent in the diet group _ unusual for untreated patients _ while PSA levels rose by 6 percent in the control group. That difference wasn't big but it's statistically significant, and the researchers plan to continue tracking the men to see if it really signals better health.
Also, six of the non-dieters had undergone cancer treatment in that year after all, because their disease was progressing. None of the dieters were treated.
Other cellular tests suggested the diet wasn't just affecting PSA production, Ornish said.

"It's hard to get too excited about these results because you took a population of men who, frankly, are likely to do well no matter what," cautioned Dr. Durado Brooks of the American Cancer Society. But, "this definitely should open the door to more research."

"This report undoubtedly will excite the aficionados and devotees of lifestyle changes for cancer but it should also give pause to the skeptics," wrote Dr. Paul Lange of the University of Washington in an accompanying editorial.
Indeed, it comes just months after another study suggested low-fat diets might help women avoid a recurrence of breast cancer.

Ornish stressed that his study, partly government-funded, doesn't mean men should opt for diet over conventional therapy. But these men weren't getting conventional treatment anyway, allowing a clearer test of dietary effects, he explained. The diet may help men undergoing therapy, too, he added. "I always find it amusing" that people call the diet hard, Ornish said. "Compared to having your prostate removed? ... The only side effects are you feel better and it helps prevent heart disease."

More than 230,000 U.S. men are expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, and 29,500 will die, the cancer society estimates.

August 07, 2005

Like little pizzas......

One of the things I have gained from this experience is a taste for fresh vegetables, tomatoes in particular. I always loved tomato sauce, salsa etc. but I would not touch a fresh tomato with a ten foot pole!! Now, I can't get enough!!! To top it off they are apparently extremely beneficial for better prostate health.

So last night we added a little twist to a recipe we have grown quite found of. I have listed it below. Enjoy!

Originally, we made this recipe with red onions. It was fantastic. Last night we cut thick tomato slices as well as sliced eggplant and yellow squash with the same breading and WOW!! I had to stop after a dozen tomato slices, not to mention the eggplant and yellow squash - try it, you won't believe it!!! We served the veggies with grilled chicken breasts and french baguette bread. It was a delicious, healthy meal.

Crispy Onion Rings
(You can substitute about any fresh vegetable - with thick tomatoes slices IT WAS AWESOME, LIKE LITTLE PIZZAS!!!)

2 Onions, peeled
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup non-fat egg substitute
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1 T Oregano
1 T Dried Basil
1 1/2 t granulated garlic
1 1/2 t granulated onion
1/2 t sea salt

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet once with cooking spray. Set aside.
2) Slice onions widthwise, break apart into individual rings.
3) Line up three mixing bowls. Into the first, put the flour. Into the second, put the egg substitute. Into the third, mix together the bread crumbs, herbs, spices and salt.
4) Dip each ring into the flour, then into the egg and finally into the brad crumbs. Place each onto the baking sheet.
5) When you have assembled all the onion rings on the sheet, bake in the preheated oven until the rings are crispy and light brown (about 20 minute, time will vary).

- Pre-baked rings can be frozen and used as needed.

Yield: 4 servings
Per serving: 196 Calories, 0.4g Fat, 0.1 Saturated Fat, 0 Cholesterol, 8.4 Protein, 39 Carbohydrates, 2.5 Fiber, 509mg Sodium.

(From: "A Taste For Living", Beth Ginsberg, Michael Milken - the cookbook can be purchased through the prostate cancer foundation website. We have made several wonderful meals from this cookbook.)

Compliments to the Chef!

August 02, 2005


"August 2nd"
Today marks the six month anniversary of my blog, tomorrow the six month anniversary of my biopsy. I have told some of you that I can’t go back and re-read the early writings, it's to hard and somewhat uncomfortable to cry at work. I just reviewed the first one, 2-2-05. It was written the day before my biopsy and my intuition at the time was right on, things were much worse. It's a dichotomy however, since that time many good things have happened and continue to happen. I, we, are trying to make the most of each day, the help, thoughts and prayers of others goes a long way to make that easier. A few thoughts on this milestone:
> 1 hole in one
> 1 job lost, 1 job found
> 58 posts in the blog
> 50 lbs lost, never to be found
> 130 smoothies
> 180 days is longer than you can imagine
> 1,000 bracelets is awesome
> 14 years ago, seems like yesterday, seems like forever

"August 3rd"
Tomorrow marks our fourteenth wedding anniversary. Like usual, I am ill prepared! Lunchtime today will mean dealing with my favorite species, the Retail Worker! No offense to anyone, I've been there, in fact that is where we met! I stalked her for several months before moving in for the kill, she never saw it coming!

In all seriousness, as I have mentioned before, she is why I am everything I am today! A toast, a bobble, a gift of any kind all pale in comparison to her love, kindness, her beauty. I love her beyond words!

August 01, 2005

Run Through the Rain

The following was sent by a dear friend of mine. I'm not sure of the source or validity, and honestly, who cares - it's pretty cool!!
A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world.

Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day. The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in "Mom, let's run through the rain," she said.

"What?" Mom asked.

"Let's run through the rain!" She repeated.

"No,honey. We'll wait until it slows down a bit," Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated: "Mom, let's run through the rain,"

"We'll get soaked if we do," Mom said.

"No, we won't, Mom. That's not what you said this morning," the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom's arm.

"This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?"

"Don't you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, 'If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!"

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn't hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes.

Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child's life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured, so that it will bloom into faith.

"Honey, you are absolutely right. Let's run through the rain. If GOD let's us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing," Mom said. Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked.

But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars. And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories. So, don't forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I hope you take the time to run through the rain.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Send this to the people you'll never forget. It's a short message to let them know that you'll never forget them.

If you don't send it to anyone, it means you're in a hurry.

Take the time to live!!!

Keep in touch with your friends, you never know when you'll need each other -- and don't forget to run in the rain!

July 31, 2005

1st Annual Golf Tournament!

The plans are coming together, we have a date, a course and are expecting a big crowd!

All the details are available at:

We hope you can make it!
Not a lot is new. We went to St. Louis last weekend. It was great to visit but we picked the hottest weekend of the year. We saw the Cardinals lose to the Cubs in 100 degree heat on Saturday but had a great time. Sunday we went to the Kirkwood pool/water park, the water slides made me feel like a kid again!!!

The second FLHW board meeting was held on the 28th. We dedicated most of the time discussing the golf tournament. We are confident we'll have enough players (120-130) but will have to work hard to get sponsors lined up in time. The goal for the first year is quite lofty at $10k and considering we just got started, we will have to work hard to meet it! The link is above, let me know if you have any questions.

July 21, 2005

I will.....

With just a few days and stages remaining, experts are saying that barring an accident, Lance Armstrong will win his seventh consecutive Tour de France. The guy is simply amazing in the cycling world and what he means to those of us living with cancer.

This train of though is relevant because lately I've been thinking about how I will feel, what life will be like etc in three, or five or ten years from now? For someone like Lance, he's been cancer free for years, it's with him but behind him ~ he's been cured. The majority of cancer survivors must go through stages similar to him; diagnosis, treatment, remission, cured. For me, the stages are: Diagnosis, treatment, treatment, treatment, …..?

Post treatment I would imagine most survivors biggest worry is "did the treatments get it all?". Their stress is waking everyday and wondering and waiting until the day they are tested and the results show no traces of the cancer. My stress is waking everyday wondering at what point my medication will stop working?
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………

(Mark you calendars for October 3rd - 1:00pm The first annual FLWH Golf Tournament: details upcoming!!!)

July 15, 2005

She is....

She is:
There when I need her,
even before I ask.

Constantly watching over,
beside me,
around me,
behind me,
within me.

My foundation,
My guidepost,
My northern star.

Without her I would still,
be sailing this world,
without a rutter,
without a purpose,
without Faith, Love or Hope.

July 13, 2005

Of Funerals and fears

I almost stayed in bed this morning. I haven't struggled with the snooze button like that in weeks. However, as I made my way to the kitchen for ice water, and trudged to the basement to tape my right hand (calluses) it was apparent where this brief injection of apathy had come from, the funeral.

Technically it was a wake, but nonetheless this one grazed a little to close to home. We didn't know her well, in fact I believe I only met her twice? She went to our church, her husband is a fellow Knight of Columbus. Upon entering the church I picked up the prayer card….she was 1 year and 3 days older than me……she battled cancer several times over the past several years, Sunday she returned to the Lord. 43, teenage daughters, damn life is cruel. One of these days His plan will be revealed to us all, I for one can’t wait to see why it is that the good one's are taken so early?

During the Rosary I kept saying to myself "it's not going to be like this for me or for Mary". I know that to be true, I believe that to be true, it's those thoughts that get me through the day, it's those thoughts that won this mornings battle with the snooze button.

When we got into the car afterwards, the first thing I said to her was "THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TO US!"
I pray that I'm right, it has to be……

Sleep lately has been restless, hot flashes again keep waking me at times. I usually fall right back to sleep but it can make for a long might. When we're little we go to bed reciting "Now I lay me down to sleep……". Lately I find myself dozing off to "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee..….."

July 07, 2005

Don't even think about it!!!!!

I almost published this without commenting, but it was too tempting.

I like the Chiefs a lot, but don't any of you ever assume that many years from now that this would be a good idea. The answer now is NO and the answer then will be NO!!! (Note to Gary G. and Mike R. ~ I always knew that there was something wrong with you Steelers fans!)

"Body of Steelers Fan Viewed in Recliner"
Wed Jul 6, 1:44 PM ET

James Henry Smith was a zealous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in life, and even death could not keep him from his favorite spot: in a recliner, in front of a TV showing his beloved team in action.

Smith, 55, of Pittsburgh, died of prostate cancer Thursday. Because his death wasn't unexpected, his family was able to plan for an unusual viewing Tuesday night.
The Samuel E. Coston Funeral Home erected a small stage in a viewing room, and arranged furniture on it much as it was in Smith's home on game day Sundays.

Smith's body was on the recliner, his feet crossed and a remote in his hand. He wore black and gold silk pajamas, slippers and a robe. A pack of cigarettes and a beer were at his side, while a high-definition TV played a continuous loop of Steelers highlights.

'I couldn't stop crying after looking at the Steeler blanket in his lap,' said his sister, MaryAnn Nails, 58. 'He loved football and nobody did (anything) until the game went off. It was just like he was at home.'

Longtime friend Mary Jones called the viewing 'a celebration.' 'I saw it and I couldn't even cry,' she said. 'People will see him the way he was.'

Smith's burial plans were more traditional he'll be laid to rest in a casket."

July 06, 2005

Soy and Aspirin and thoughts of….

I've slacked off here over the past week, 4th of July, a little golf (both kinds),
an extra day off and now a lot to do here at work!

The FLHW board met, more on that in my next entry.

Just today I ran across two headlines:
Aspirin-cancer study shows benefit for men, not women

Study: Soy protein-rich diets may lower prostate cancer risk

Where were these studies when I needed them?
If you're making smoothies, add a scoop of Iso-Soy (available at Whole Foods etc.), it does nothing to change the taste, I've been using it for almost two months. It's somewhat expensive (about 80 cents a scoop, $20 a can). Also, go get yourself a jumbo jar of aspirin from Costco or Sam's Club (we use Ecotrin 325 mg) and do I like I do, take one every day! They are also supposed to reduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer!

It's now been nearly five months. So much has changed, so little has changed. On one hand, I am such a different person, on the other hand I am the same. "Who" I am will never change, "what" I am is in a constant state of flux. What I mean by this is my beliefs, values etc. are constant. However having cancer has changed so much. I'm more cognizant of nutrition, exercise, prevention, friendship, faith, family and how precious life is and what a wonderful gift it is. I still go through the motions like the rest of you. Those moments when you say "I can't believe summer is half over?!" But I am trying to slow down more and more and take moments in. Now that I write it down, it sounds like a cliché - I'm trying though.

There are still moments I struggle to imagine this going on and on for years, I want it out of my body, now. I tell myself that when I exercise each morning, "one more sit-up, one more curl and maybe it will be gone?" At times I struggle with not wallowing in the "why me, why now?". At mass on Saturday, I heard my name for the 21st week in row, and thought "when I'm still included in intentions 5, 6 or 8 years from now, what will people think?".

So, if you asked me today, "How are you doing?" I'd have to say "I've had better days!"… tomorrow!

June 30, 2005

The settlement.....

As I mentioned previously, Mary and I had a little wager on the PSA test results (I won, my guess was within 0.05!!!). The payoff? She let me purchase a little red sports car I've had my eye on!

No it's not the Mustang, it's a 2005 Saab 9.3. I just picked it up at lunch so I can't provide much feedback at this point. With the GM "Employee pricing for Everyone" deal it was too good of a deal to pass up. (Sorry bro, no Chrysler product this time). Sorry for the boasting, but as you know I haven’t had much of an opportunity to do so in the past 4 months.

Tonight the FLHW board meets for the first time. I am unbelievably grateful to Rich, Mark, Steve and Chris for agreeing to help Mary and I with this effort. I'll provide details in future blog entries.

Have a happy 4th and Happy birthday to my brother Dan and Buck (our very large black lab!!).