September 29, 2008

Why I do this or IINAM, chapter?

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

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

Sunny day, keeping the clouds away....

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

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

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

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

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

This morning I find myself feeling really blessed!

September 23, 2008

Meet my friend Dex

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 18, 2008


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

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

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

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

…oh well, life goes on…..

September 17, 2008

'Faith', a different kind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 09, 2008

DOB: 9-9-96

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

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

Twelve years is not nearly enough.

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

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

September 03, 2008

Some good, some not so good

What a whirlwind day yesterday was.

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

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

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

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

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

PSA - 41.36
INR - 1.6

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

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

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

And so the saga continues…..

September 01, 2008

#5, 9-2-08

Tomorrow is chemo treatment number five.

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

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

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

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

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

Peace be with everyone.