Friday, February 19, 2010

Quick update on LDH ...

I had my LDH levels retested and am happy to report that the total and the isoenzyme breakouts all reported back normal levels. I guess my snow shoveling theory was accurate.

My meeting with the new MD was pleasant. He understands that I have organically arrived at where I am along the treatment path and is willing to monitor me. We discussed and he has since ordered a sonogram of my abdomen and pelvis so that we can get an update on tumor burden. The images won't be quite as clear as a CT but then again this is a safe method that doesn't emit radiation. The trade off is simply worth it.

The next update should include some interesting imagery of hopefully, a cancer free liver. Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

LDH is high. Sadly, I am still sober.

I just completed another round of blood work and this time the results are little more in the gray area. My lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels are just outside the normal range on the high side. At first glance, I'm not too concerned about it simply because blood markers can vary from the time to time. In order to find a problem you need take a step back and look to identify a pattern. It is the pattern in my case which is causing me some concern. I have a report from August of 2009 where my levels were at the low side of the spectrum. As I look at each of the results ever since, this number has been on a steady increase. This is indeed a pattern that we don't want to see. Let's have a quick look to see what this is telling us.

LDH is an enzyme found in several body tissue cells, including the heart, liver, kidneys, skeletal muscles, brain, red blood cells and lungs. When a disease or injury affects the body tissue, LDH is released into the blood stream. This test is used to screen for the degree of metastases to other organs at melanoma stage IV. A high LDH score means that melanoma cancer cells have spread to the liver, but because several organs produce LDH the results can be deceiving. In my case, I had a fairly heavy tumor load even when my LDH was still at a very low point. The fact that it has since been steadily on the increase should still raise some concern.

I am being referred to another local MD to see if we can get further clarification. There are additional blood tests that can detect isoenzymes that would indicate the source of the increased LDH. My Gerson doctor thinks that since my other blood levels, particularly my liver enzymes are still in normal range, increased LDH could indicate that my tumor burden is breaking up. I'm not really sure what to think at this point.

Until I recognized the pattern, I was working under the knowledge that lactate acid is formed and levels are increased when muscles are at work. The build up of this chemical is what causes soreness and muscle pain. Did anybody see that it snowed recently? Though I wouldn't say that I over exerted myself, certainly clearing the driveway a few times was no simple task. Though it doesn't account for the increase over the past several months, it may have been a contributing factor which put me over the top.

I just did another Google search to verify and since nobody has yet to find the miracle pill or claim to cure melanoma, my plan remains unchanged. I will go meet with this new doctor and hopefully get further blood work to help isolate the source. Though I'm sure he is a good doctor, he is a general practitioner so I'm not expecting to be too heavily enlightened about my situation after leaving his office.