Monday, March 29, 2010

Hey' Mike ,got back from BNC 2weeks ago. I saw you have a distiller hooked up. Any help I am tired of 2 gallon showers with a bucket. What size distiller would you install if you could.

I have an 8 gallon distiller with a 40 gallon reserve. The distiller will produce about 1 gallon every 3 hours. I find that a) my distiller is working all the time b) still have to be extremely conservative. With the help of some friends, I am considering a rain water harvesting system for the shower. More on that soon.

Want to ask me something?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

LDH up again ... Have a question?

My lab results came back with high LDH levels again. Just slightly above the normal range, it is nothing to stress over. I don't have the actual lab results in my hand to compare to earlier numbers. At this point, we'll just wait and see. To be honest, I am perfectly happy with a slightly high LDH so long as it is slow moving.

In other news ... In an attempt to provide better insight into my therapy, I wanted to provide some question and answer functionality. In this first attempt, we'll try FormSpring. Asking a question is easy. I've provided a form on the right just below my quick references. If you have a question, send it my way and I'll do my best to respond. I currently have it setup to blast responses to my Twitter account as well as this blog, so please forgive any unwanted spam this might cause. I will adjust settings accordingly moving forward.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stable disease? You be the judge. #melanoma

It is time once again for more blood work and lab testing. In preparation for this morning's fast, I filled up on apples and bananas leading up to bed last night. When you eat nothing but fruits and vegetables all day, you can get really frigg'n hungry.

I pretty much weigh myself every morning, afternoon, evening and again before bedtime. Not that I think I'm losing any weight, but with all that I eat it is quite interesting how stable my weight actually is. So it was of no surprise to me when the nurse said to me, "You're exactly the same weight as last time!"

After checking my vitals, the nurse was again quite pleased to announce that my blood pressure and resting heart rate were both just fine. She told me that I was doing great and that the doctor would be right in. My nurse, (I have no idea what her name is) is no stranger to cancer as she too is a survivor.

After chatting with Dr Lee a few moments, it was clear that he was happy with my recent blood work especially after the updated labs that showed normal LDH ranges. He checked my heart and lungs. He then spent a good amount of time tapping on his laptop. I presume he was either playing solitaire, updating his FaceBook status or he was updating my file.

In the weeks that have passed since the ultrasound, I had a few related thoughts brewing in my mind. I wanted to get his opinion before sharing them. Although he is not a specialist, he did agree with me on principle.

In May of 2009 my condition worsened as melanoma decided to show up again, this time on my liver and spleen. After a couple months and a few rounds of IL2, a couple CT scans and finally a finding of disease progression, it was made very clear to me that my options we're extremely limited. I quickly found out that my treatment options were actually quite vast. The problem was that nobody was offering a cure. After some careful consideration, I decided to follow the Gerson Therapy. What Dr Gerson was offering was something different. There was no magic pill, elixir or special formula. It was just a demanding, enlightening and against-the-grain shift in lifestyle. Most important to me, was that it wasn't toxic and didn't offer nasty side effects.

It has been 6 months since I started on this therapy and closer to 7 months since my last CT scan. Admittedly, there is no good comparison when comparing a CT and an ultrasound. Slight changes in either direction are meaningless because of fundamental differences in the technology being used. What does hold merit, in my book, is that there was no *remarkable* change within my target lesions. That is, they primarily use the largest few masses to determine disease status. Seeing as the largest mass was nearly the same as was measured in my previous scan, it could lead you into thinking that the disease is stable.

I'd like to hear your thoughts about it.

I know that this is a simple layman's perspective and could be completely wrong, but mentally it helps. I know that if nothing more, my therapy is offering me more time at home with my health and with my family. It makes me happy to say that I feel good and truly believe that I'll be hanging around for a while.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ultrasound results are in.

I just got the results from the ultrasound. Not unexpectedly, the little fuckers on my liver and spleen are still there. Even though it was expected, it still hurts to hear. You can bet that he gave me the whole spiel on palliative care options and hospice, though I'm not quite ready to throw in the towel.

I do plan to get the images, but as was mentioned before there is no baseline for comparison. Lesions appearing smaller or larger can be misleading when compared to previous CT scans. All I can do is compare how I feel, and I can only say that I do feel better than I did 6 months ago when I started my treatment.

A few blog posts back a comment was made bringing to my attention to the fact that I also missing a critical component of the therapy. Recent online discussions within the Gerson Therapy user group at the same time highlighted the fact that the effectiveness of the therapy is much increased with the consumption of real organic veal liver juice. I then learned that it was stopped being offered at the Mexican clinic nearly 20 year ago now because of the possibility of a bacteria infection from the cattle. I have started on some local research to see if I can get my hands on it as it could only help me out.

It is also worth a mention that the experimental drug code named Plx4032 is making another appearance in the news, this time as a narrative published in the New York Times. It is a remarkable story showing how many that suffer from melanoma are seeing some really positive benefits from this so called "targeted therapy". It is a chemo agent that targets a so-called B-RAF mutation which is present in nearly 50% of melanoma patients. The problem with this drug and other targeted therapy of times past is that they stop working. As you will find out in this story, cancer doesn't fight fair. It can mutate and find other pathways to proliferate, often times at a more aggressive pace.

This story is a bit dated as it doesn't mention other fighters like Clint Slatton, who had remarkable results and tumor regression, the drug suddenly stopped working after only six and one half months. Also not reported is that this drug has been shown to break the blood brain barrier making Andy Caress a pioneer. Not only seeing much of his tumor mass simply dissolving, multiple tumors in his brain are also shrinking while receiving this new drug.

There is now a phase III clinical study in progress that will compare its effectiveness against the chemotherapy alternative dacarbazine. This trial is scheduled to compare the results across a field of 680 stage III and stage IV melanoma patients. It is estimated to end in June of 2013.

Soo ... what does one do? I will simply continue down my path and hope that Dr Gerson either cures me or provides me with enough time to make a better informed decision.