Friday, June 26, 2009

Alternative treatments do work!

I met a guy last night who is a three time cancer survivor. In his most recent bout, he was given six months to live from stage IV colon cancer. He told the doctor that he didn't like that news and asked for something else. The doctor joked about juicing but then said it wouldn't work.

He found a doctor that would support him and started to drink fruit and vegetable juices and generally eating better. It has been ten years and he still eats well. The big thing for him was kicking his twelve pack a day soda habit. Processed and bleached foods are equally as bad. He is a Nebraska boy so removing meat was not an option for him, but he did switch to anti-biotic free meats that you can find at Mom's Organic Market. He admitted that he would occasionally enjoy an alcoholic beverage as it was a great way to keep his spirit alive.

The other major factor he contributes towards his survival is his positive outlook. He would kick people out of his house who were there to pity him. The best medicine he says, is laughter.

We also talked about his experiences with so called "border clinics". He said that the particular clinic he tried in Mexico was a sham and he was taken for about twenty thousand dollars. Not to say that all of these clinics are like that, but it is advised to do your homework prior to sending any money. He talked about a good experience with an alternative clinic in Europe. I did not get many details from him on this, but I do plan to get back in touch with him to get a more complete story.

It was nice talking with someone who has survived using the same regimen that I am attempting. It provides validity when there is so much overwhelming information that states otherwise.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scans and follow up are scheduled.

I'll have my next scans on July 7. More barium sulfate, yum! I'll then meet with my doctor on the 9th to discuss the results and find out what further options I have for treatment. That gives me more then two weeks (from last treatment) to allow my body and improved immune system to ward off the cancerous cells.

I've also setup a consult to meet with Dr Kirkwood of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr Kirkwood's work has included the use of Selenium in clinical trials to treat melanoma. I'm interested in getting a second opinion as to my options for treatment. This meeting falls perfectly on Monday July 13, 2009, just days after my follow up with Dr Sharfman. This should give me the ability to make an informed decision rather quickly.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sunblock Does Not Stop Skin Cancer

In this article Dr. Mercola suggests the only way to avoid skin cancer is to gradually introduce your skin to the sun and always avoid getting burned. Please read his comments below, thanks Sarah.

Sunscreen does not protect against melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to researchers. Although the lotions decrease the risk of sunburn, they do not block UVA rays, which cause melanoma.

Researchers found that even sunscreens with the highest protection factor of 35, applied in the correct amounts, were not effective at filtering out the harmful rays. They say that people should limit their sunbathing time and use clothing to block UVA rays when sun is at its strongest.

The Guardian September 28, 2003

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

As I said in July sunblock can actually increase your risk of skin cancer. Although most sunblocking agents seem to prevent burning, they are not very good at blocking the UVA that causes skin cancer. Unfortunately, they are effective at blocking UVB, the wavelengths our bodies need to produce vitamin D.

With the negative spin that sun exposure has gotten from the media, you may be tempted to avoid the sun completely. But remember that we ALL need sunshine to stay healthy. Exposure to the sun provides many benefits such as promoting the formation of vitamin D and fighting depression.

Can sun exposure cause skin cancer? Absolutely.

However, there is strong evidence that suggests sunlight is protective against MS and breast, colon and ovarian cancers.

This does not mean that we should all go out and get as much sun as we want--you must exercise caution. At the beginning of the season, go out gradually and limit your exposure to perhaps as little as 10 minutes a day. Progressively increase your time in the sun so that in a few weeks, you will be able to have normal sun exposure with little risk of skin cancer.

Remember to never get burned, that is the key.

Using sunscreen is not a good way to limit your sun exposure; in fact, sunscreen is one of the LAST things you want to put on your body. Sunscreen is a toxic chemical that can cause problems in your system and increase your risk of disease.

A far more logical solution would be to creatively use your clothing to block the sun’s rays during your build-up time.

Additionally, consuming many whole vegetables will increase antioxidant levels in the body, which will provide protection against any sun-induced radiation damage.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My new diggs ...

Since starting treatment, I have been working from home on my laptop. I love my 13" MacBook! The problem is that every time I get out of my treatment it takes me days and days before I can actually see straight. Especially those little words on the laptop monitor. I'm happy to say that today my partners approved a nice little addition to my office. Apple's 24" LED Cinema Display! Now I can see my work again! I love this thing!! Go Apple! Thanks guys!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm home after another grueling treatment.

I left the hospital at about noon on Monday after receiving not 10, but 11 more IL-2 doses! I'm still not feeling very well and I've been spending most of my time either in my bed or in the bathroom. I weighed 188 when I left the hospital. That's a lot of fluid to get out. (I have not wrists, knuckles or ankles)

My face was pretty much beaten up again this time, peeling nice and nastily. It's hard to keep any real foods down right now, so I suppose its a good thing that I don't have much of an appetite!

They removed my central port. It's gone. I can now take showers again. (No stinky jokes, I've been taking baths) It was a nice feeling to able to wash my hair thoroughly this morning.

I now have another two weeks to recover from this round of treatment. I will then go in for scans to see if this was all worth it. I've not felt any pains in my stomach since the since round, so I'm hoping that we should at least see a shrinkage in tumors. After we get those results it will be determined if further treatment is necessary. If the doctors think that the treatment is working (i.e. tumors gone, shrinkage) then we we will continue the treatment about four weeks later. If the treatment is not working, as in they are growing,, I will then work with the doctors to figure out the next treatment plan.

I hope to be back on my feet in a day or two, thanks so much for all your support!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Updates via Amy

Mike has been doing really well - so far he has had 7 doses out of 9 possible doses. He elected to skip the 6am dose this morning, allowing him some time to recover in hopes that the side effects from the next doses won't be quite as bad. About 2 hours after each dose he is getting the rigors again - the nurses are doing a good job of trying to ward off the rigors before they start or get too bad. Warm blankets and morphine at the 2 hour mark seem to be doing the trick. Other than that he just feels very warn down and nausea - the il-2 has begun attacking his skin cells which leads to very dry and itchy skin. It seems to me that he's doing better keeping food down this time - his favorites seems to be mac & cheese, fried rice, cheerios and saltine crackers. Keep your fingers crossed, so far his blood pressure and heart rate have been fantastic - we are hoping that he doesn't get hooked to the heart monitor this time.

Thanks to everyone that has been helping to take shifts at the hospital - having friends/family with him means a lot to him and me. We are very grateful and lucky to know such wonderful people.

By the way, I am blogging for him, not because he's too sick, but another side effect is swelling and sore hands. So physically he's just not up to typing right now.

On a positive note, I have discovered that a cheese and lettuce sandwich from Subway is pretty darn good.......I can't eat one more slice of pizza from the cafeteria!! :)

That's all for now. Amy :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Insurance company wellness nurses are kept quiet.

I received a follow up phone call from Joan, my wellness nurse provided by my insurance company. This is a seemingly great program provided by the insurance company which allows me to have any medical inquiries answered versus calling a doctor's office nurse which would cost even more money. She had recently received information about my IL-2 treatment and wanted to see if I had any questions or requests of her.

We went back through my history and we chatted about how I am feeling much better now being two weeks out of treatment. At the end of our phone call she asked if I had any other questions for her. I decided to inquire about alternative treatments. Seeing as she speaks with numerous patients with melanoma and other forms of cancer, my question asked what types of information can be shared as far as recommending a change in diet or other lifestyle changes. I also asked, "Can you tell me that my chances of survival will benefit from making such changes?"

She stopped. "Well, we don't have any information as far as the insurance company is concerned." but she continued, "I will tell you that on a personal note, I've had two family members who made dramatic changes in their diet including juicing and are living today due to it." She also offered that she has heard of a number of patients who have also made these changes including the use of organics for their food and even body hygiene products."

I thanked her for the information and mentioned that seeing as I am making all of those same change in my life in order to fight my cancer, that single response alone is the most helpful information that she has given me to date. It is quite a shame that the phone call was almost over and it took my asking her specific questions before she were allowed to share any of that information with me.

With morning comes nausea ...

I now know what it is like to be pregnant. Well as far as having morning sickness. I am now two doses in to the process and yes I can begin to feel some of the side effects already. Nothing too bad, but I had to get the nurse to bring me some ginger ale and some dry cereal. I've got my bucket near, but not feeling like it is needed right now.

The team of doctors came in this morning to check up on me. This time they filled the entire room. This is a learning hospital so they were coming to see a real melanoma patient. I felt old in that group, which is kinda scary.

I am really glad that I got back into this wing. The nurses are great and all the techs are very friendly. I have Nurse Kavi back and she has a nurse in training with her as well, Amber.

I believe Amy will be coming here and hanging out with me today. My parents are on the hook for tonight. I really do enjoy and appreciate when my visitors take a little time just for me. It helps me mentally fight this thing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

And it starts again ...

I got my call today at about 5:30 PM. If you can get here by 6:30 she said, we can get you started and ready for the 10 PM dose. Amy and I headed towards the hospital. We arrived by 7 PM which turns out was enough time for them to get me prepared.

I am in the same wing as last time.

Weinberg Building Room 5d-03

And yes, I can still see Popeyes from the window. :)

So now I wait for the medicine to begin. My first dose should be here any minute now. They say that the body remembers the IL-2 and I will start getting the side effects sooner. I'll let you guys know how I am feeling in the morning.


Proof that the "Cancer Industry" exists!

By now you have heard someone say that there is way too much money in the "Cancer Industry" for a cure to be found. Treating cancer is far more profitable than curing cancer. Here is the bill that my insurance company just received for my 5 day treatment.

$37,000 for the drugs alone! Wow! This is big business. This place is soo busy that I am sitting at home on a waiting list for a bed to come available. There are at least 3 wings of this hospital dedicated to IL-2 and other types of cancer treatments. Money is just pouring into that place!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Getting bumped ...

The fun does not start today. The process does not really lend itself to pre planning as we were told to wait by the phone to hear if a bed opens up. I finally got my phone call at about 3 p.m. today. I was told that no beds were available and that I would have to wait and see if something opens up tomorrow. I now go back into "waiting by the phone" mode in the hopes that I get in. I will let you guys know when I know more.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Interleukin-2 Redux: The Schedule

Well it is official, I'm back on the books to receive more of the industry's "good stuff" on June 9. The nurses all warned last time the side effects come a lot quicker on repeat treatments. Most people get far fewer than they did the first time around.

I got 13 out of 14 on the first trip! Anybody care to make a guess or a wager on my ability to meet or beat that? ;-) I'm guessing I'll probably get about 10.

If you are interested in visiting or helping out, please call Amy @ 240-446-8752. She'd be glad to field your requests and let you know what you can do to help. :) Please don't get upset if I start turning down visitors. That medicine really does put one in a fowl mood.

I will keep everyone up to date and will let you know how we are doing.

Thanks again for your support!


We walked and walked and walked ...

Here is your Team sMelanoma for 2009. Well most of us.

Team Captain: Amy Brockey along with the survivors from our team Mike Brockey and Linda Milsovic.


That's right, we had a costume change! Thanks to Amy and Scott King and Jody, Okey and Trey DeRaimo for the t-shirts and hats.

Remembering and honoring our friends and family who have fought the battle.

Here is a link to more photos from the event.

If you have more photos either email them to me and I'll post them here, or write a comment with a url to where you are hosting them so that all can see!