February 25, 2007

An early full house, spelled doom for me!

The Fat Tuesday poker event turned out to be a lot of fun!

The crowd was estimated to be 75+, with 38 joining in for poker. My night was doomed when on the first hand, I drew a full house after the flop. I never was anything better than a King high or small pair)

In the end we raised a significant amount of money for a really good cause!
Event photos and results are at the FLHW site!

I would like to personally thank everyone that showed up, especially those of you who played and made donations. No date has been set but we are thinking about holding another even sometime in May.

February 21, 2007

Remember that you are dust....

Like most feelings or thoughts I have surrounding cancer, it seems like this all started just yesterday, while at the same time, it feels like it all started a lifetime ago.

I wouldn’t change anything I have been through in the last two years. I have learned so much, grown so much and met so many new wonderful people. I would however trade the whole ordeal for a cure or at least assurance of twenty or thirty more years.
Our secretary at work had a relapse. I've moved her to the top of my prayer list, please try to make room for her on yours. Her story is incredibly sad. She's at home for awhile, when she returns I don't know that I can face her, I would be an emotional wreck.
It's Ash Wednesday and as we enter the Lenten season, I personally find myself more emotional. I find it a contradictory time of the year. Lent means 'spring' and with the coming of Lent the world returns to life and beauty. For example, now that all the snow and ice have melted, my hyacinths have broken ground. At the same time, we look forward to Easter and the celebration of the death of Jesus. He gave his life for us, what a selfless act. It's about life, it's about death.

Imagine this; constantly you run through these thoughts in your mind, you have cancer, you battle with it emotionally, physically day after day. Then at the Ash Wednesday service, as your forehead is marked with ash, these words are spoken to you; "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return".

Kind of makes me want to pray.

A Prayer for Ash Wednesday
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, the all-holy one, who gives us life and all things. As we go about our lives, the press of our duties and activities often leads us to forget your presence and your love. We fall into sin and fail to live out the responsibilities that you have entrusted to those who were baptized into your Son.

In this holy season, help us to turn our minds and hearts back to you. Lead us into sincere repentance and renew our lives with your grace. Help us to remember that we are sinners, but even more, help us to remember your loving mercy.

As we live through this Ash Wednesday, may the crosses of ashes that mark our foreheads be a reminder to us and to those we meet that we belong to your Son. May our worship and prayer and penitence this day be sustained throughout these 40 days of Lent. Bring us refreshed and renewed to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection at Easter.

We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen.

February 18, 2007

It's day 730.....

(this was intended to be posted 2-18 but we had a glitch)

Two years to the day, I was told “You have Prostate Cancer, and it has advanced into your bones and lymph nodes.

Though Dr. D never told us how bad the odds were, I know I have read the statistics on several occasions. It’s something as bad as “less than a 25% chance of surviving for five years”. Pretty glum when it’s put that way?

However, to that statistic I say, on the anniversary of the diagnosis; phooey! I was going to say something a little stronger but I try to keep this rated G as much as possible. I may not live to be one hundred but five years will be here and gone before I know it. I’ve learned a lot since being diagnosed with cancer. Perhaps the most important thing is that there are no certainties. All the doctors can do is try to put you in a category, based on what they have studied and seen before. This is certainly not meant to slam the medical community. I’m just pointing out that every case is different, and because of that, cancer survivors must grab on to two fundamental things, faith and hope.

Two years later and an unbelievable roller coaster ride of emotional highs and lows, here I am. I am stronger both physically and mentally and ready to take on the world. It hasn’t, nor will it be easy. Mary and I try not to look too far ahead, as we never know what’s going to happen next. Despite the anxiety we face each month, as my PSA level is tracked and the determination is made if we are still effectively managing the growth of the cancer, we are encouraged with the research that is being done to find improved treatments to combat this disease. Prayer is our most powerful resource and I thank everyone who continues to support us through prayers for healing.

In reflection, I have made new friends, strengthened other friendships and impacted people I have never even met. It’s been a journey of a lifetime. A journey and a lifetime, that have only just begun.

The weather FINALLY broke here today. The temperature rose over fifty degrees so of course we had to play Disc Golf! It was still a bit chilly at 8:00 AM with four or five inches of snow still on the ground. There were just six of us adventurous enough to play so we paired up and headed out. It was an enjoyable morning. After not playing for almost a month, I was pleased to have shot a score in the 40s, for the first time, 48 to be exact. I so look forward to Spring!

February 11, 2007

A difference, a milestone and a poem

I have shared here before many, many times that we, the men with PC and those that support us, are not doing enough for the cause. What I am suggesting is so little, not a fund raiser, not a tremendous amount of your time, a simple phone call, a quick email is all it takes.

I attended a charity dinner last night for the local children’s hospital here in Kansas City. At the table was a friend I had met 18 months ago, just 6 months after my diagnosis. At our first meeting I apparently put the fear of God in him as it relates to PC. He returned to his office after lunch that day and told everyone in the office my story and the importance of being tested. One younger man in his office, who was just forty years old at the time reluctantly made an appointment with his General Practitioner. Four days ago he had a Radical Prostatectomy and is recovering at home.

What started as a lunch, turned into detection, turned into an operation, that may save this man's life.

Make a call to a relative or an old friend; tell a stranger my story or your own or that of a relative with PC. Tell them the importance of getting tested. You never know how it might impact their life or yours.

Today is the first of two upcoming anniversaries Id rather just forget.

2-11-05, the day I received the results of my biopsy and the phone call confirming that I officially had Prostate Cancer. My how many things have changed in the past two years. I have made so many new friends, I hope I have affected a few lives in a positive way, and through the generosity of the supporters of FLHW we are making a difference.

The road ahead holds many things,
Most of them are yet foreseen,
But strength I gather from my God,
Allows me to continue my plod.

So many things to be thankful for,
Friends and family new and old.
I count the blessings in my life,
Most of all my son and my wife.

The road ahead holds many things,
Hope and promise are around the bend,
Stronger today than yesterday,
In mind and body to you Lord I pray.

February 10, 2007

Texas Hold 'em - Part II

The Faith, Love, Hope, Win Foundation is having their second Texas Hold 'em Poker Tournament.
The event will be February 20th.
Click here for details

The goal is to attract 100 players in order to raise awareness and funds for Advanced Prostate Cancer research.

February 06, 2007

it is what it is

Anyone else watch American Idol? Well we watched it last Spring for the first time, but only the finals. Now I know why, the audition process, which is in some instances quite painful to watch, attracts a broad spectrum of people..some with great potential, others with no talent what so ever! I'll leave it at that!

Anyway, back to my point. Olivia Newton John was on Idol the other night as a guest judge. ONJ was wearing a shirt that had 'It is what it is' imprinted on the front, I want one....well the men's version anyway! That's my new mantra, 'It is what it is'.

I got my results from my blood test taken Monday: PSA level was '20.9'.
That is up slightly from last month when the number was '18.9', but not enough to worry the doctor (or me!). I always liked the phrase, 'statistically insignificant'! I'm not sure why? Today it has meaning to me.

The Doc isn't sweating it, neither am I, after all, 'It is what it is'!!!

February 02, 2007

Short term, long term......and an anniversary...

Two years ago today (2/2/05) this blog was born. Two years, 200+ entries, Happy B-day blog!!! I hope it has provided insight, inspiration, laughter and occasionally convinced someone to act (get tested, change their diet, start to exercise, etc.). I try not to harp on the latter two, change is tough. All I'll say is this, and I realize it's easy to just say this; "don't wait until you are forced to change, choose to change".

I've also changed the template - it's a work in progress.

Two years ago tomorrow I had my biopsy, enough said.
Where does the time go?
Monday will mark another month gone by and that means it's time for a doctor visit!
PSA test, two minutes with Dr. H and thirty minutes in the chemo room. Certainly not "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", more like "The Bleed, the Blah and the Bleak".

I haven't talked much about the 'Infusion Room', as it's better described as the 'chemo room'. Most times all 15+ chairs are full, the occupants being mostly older patients, men and women, going through chemo. There are a few familiar faces, at least traces of familiarity. I think I remember a face from previous months? The treatments have changed their skin color, or their eyes are sunken, it's not pretty, obviously.

With that in mind, I look ahead. I pray that my current treatment regimen can hold this beast at bay for months, years? Perhaps research similar to this article below is right around the corner.
B.C. prostate cancer experiment promising

VANCOUVER - The growth of an incurable type of prostate cancer has been halted by using 'decoys' in a groundbreaking experiment at the B.C. Cancer Agency.

Senior agency scientist Dr. Marianne Sadar and her team have engineered a decoy molecule that not only blocked the 'unknown agent' that had caused the tumour's growth, but actually shrunk the tumour.

As well, decoy molecules not 'hitting the target' apparently caused no adverse effects in the body of the animals tested.

"It's incredibly promising," said Sadar Wednesday of the discovery after eight years of work. "We might even be able to (with more work) completely eliminate the tumour."

The results were published in the U.S. journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and followed Sadar's work on the role of androgen receptors and their vital role in the disease progression.

Funds for the work came from two highly disparate sources: The U.S Department of Defence and the Country Meadows Senior Men's Golf Charity of Richmond, B.C.

Prostate cancer normally progresses when male testosterone - androgen - binds then activates certain receptors.

However, Sadar discovered those receptors can also be activated without testosterone, such as when the so-called 'unknown agent' binds to a specific region of the androgen receptor.

"With the understanding of how androgen receptors are activated at this stage of the disease, we have identified a new (potential) drug target," she said.

Sadar said work has already begun on potential anti-tumour drugs. She said her team's next step is to "work backward" to discover why the process works.

If these further experiments are as successful, it could be "five to 10 years" until tumour-eliminating drugs are ready for human use, Sadar said

Vancouver Province

© CanWest News Service 2007