Monday, January 14, 2019

First PSA Since vacation began.

Today I will get my blood drawn for CBC, Testosterone, and PSA! It will be my first since stopping treatment 6 weeks ago. I don’t anticipate any changes but I never really know for certain. I am not nervous. I suppose I am a little curious but that is all. I should have the results by the dinner hour.
  I have been grouchy lately. I have also been short tempered and very impatient. I think part of the reason is that I am in a bit of pain due to a tear in my meniscus. I will have surgery on the 7th to correct it. Here’s to hoping for positive numbers.

My Story in Men’s Health Magazine

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a25305425/prostate-cancer-survival-story/


Please read and share.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Drug withdrawal

   I am a little more than two weeks into this new chapter of my journey with advanced prostate cancer. 16 days ago was the last time I had any Zytiga. I continue to take prednisone daily. It has been a fairly smooth transition. The mild nausea I had grown accustom to is gone. It was never really bad to begin with but it was always there. So far, my adrenal system has not started up yet. I am suppose to begin weening myself off of the Prednisone but when I try I feel extremely fatigued. I will try again in another few weeks. Another positive note is that my mental cognitivity appears to be getting a little better. 
   I had an MRI on my right knee on the 13th. The results came back yesterday and it appears that orthoscopic surgery is in my future. I have what is referred to as a bucket handle meniscus tear. I googled it... I looked at some photos but that is pretty much all I know about it. I know it hurts and surgery will make the pain go away. 
   I have only been under the knife twice in my life. Once for tonsils and another time to remove a bladder stone. I love the euphoric feeling of waking up from anesthesia. Feels like I have slept for a month. 
   It appears old age is taking its toll. Both of my knees are about shot as well as my left shoulder. I have lived long enough to fall apart. It’s kind of wept but that makes me happy.

Monday, December 10, 2018

A new chapter

   I have expressed in the past how difficult it has been to keep my blog fresh when quite frankly, I have had absolutely nothing to write about.. For the last five years, nothing has changed. 
   Finally, I have something to write about. Last Monday at my oncology appointment, my oncologist and I agreed that if my PSA test came back as undetectable again then I would be taken off of treatment. Five hours later, the results were in and once again my PSA was less than 0.01! Tuesday morning was the first day in 63 months that didn’t start with 4  Zytiga pills. I did not receive a Lupron shot at my oncology appointment. Hopefully I will not be receiving one for a long time.
    My last treatment holiday began in January 2010 and lasted for a little over a year. During that time, my testosterone never really came back all that much but my PSA begin to double every six weeks. I went back on androgen deprivation therapy in the early spring of 2011 and have been on it ever since. Currently I have no detectable testosterone in my system. I have not known what it’s like to have a libido in 12 1/2 years. I don’t know what to expect from this treatment holiday so I will be keeping my expectations relatively low. I have hopes! I will just have to see if any of them come to fruition.
   Going on holiday is not without risk. That is the reason my physicians have been reluctant to allow this in the past. You may ask, what has changed? The answer is nothing. Nothing has changed. There are still risks. It is possible that the cancer could mutate and be harder to control in the future. Nobody really knows.
   There are also benefits to a treatment holiday. It is fairly well documented that androgen deprivation is hard on a mans cardiovascular system. Men’s body’s are designed to run on Testosterone. Without it, nothing works as it is suppose to.  An ADT holiday, if it lasts for a while, could help me shed pounds, build muscle, and increase depressed mental cognitivity. 
   So far blnothing feels different. I would appreciate any prayers or positive thoughts Y’all want to send my way. Todd

Friday, September 21, 2018

Bisphosphonates

   If you have bone metastasis or have been on Androgen Deprivation Therapy for any length of time, your Physician may prescribe Bisphosphonates to strengthen your bones and delay onset of osteoporosis.

Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs that prevent the loss of bone density and are used to treat osteoporosis and similar diseases. They are the most commonly prescribed drugs used to treat osteoporosis. Evidence shows that they reduce the risk of fracture.

Bone tissue undergoes constant rebuilding and is kept balanced by (osteoblast creating bone) and (osteoclasts Destroying bone). Bisphosphonates keep bone matter from being absorbed by encouraging osteoclasts to undergo cell death,  slowing bone loss.

The uses of bisphosphonates include the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis , bone metastasis , and other conditions that cause bone fragility.

Bisphosphonates, when administered intravenously for the treatment of cancer, have been associated with osteonecrosis ( Bone Death ) of  the jaw with most cases occurring following high-dose intravenous administration used for some cancer patients. Some 60% of cases are preceded by a dental surgical procedure (that involves the bone), and it has been suggested that bisphosphonate treatment should be postponed until after any dental work to eliminate potential sites of infection. A number of cases of severe bone, joint, or musculoskeletal pain have also been reported. Common Bisphosphonate names are Pamidronate, Neridronate  Olpadronate  Fosamax Boniva Actonel and Zometa. There are others. 

    How doctors prescribe Bisphosphonates has evolved over time. Standard practice several years ago called for monthly ongoing infusions. It was then discovered that patients received the same benefit if they only received an infusion every 4 months. Recently studied have shown patients should receive Bisphosphonates no more than two years. Longer use can lead to bone softening and fracture risks. It appears that after 2 years the drug has the potential to do more harm than good.

   If  your doctor feels you may need Bisphosphonates, it is important to have a complete Dental Examination to determine if you are in need of any dental work requiring bone involvement. Examples include, extractions, implants, and gum tissue grafts. If you require dental work it is important to have it all work completed prior to starting treatment. Bisphosphonates have a half life of 10 years or so and you cannot have any dental work involving bone until the medication is no longer in your bones.

   Bisphosphonates are a very effective treatment and are well tolerated by most patients. They are effective against osteoporosis and treating bone metastasis by slowing the growth of tumors on the bone.

Appointment anxiety

   I have been dealing with this disease for over 12 years now. 12 Years, 2 months, and 7 days to be exact. I wish I could tell you that appointment anxiety gets better but for me it has pretty much stayed the same. The only difference now is that instead of monthly anxiety I only have to go through it 3 times a year. It is always the same. A week before my appointment I begin to feel phantom symptoms. The day of my appointment I am stressed out. After the appointment I am glued to my phone until my PSA comes back. Once I get the test results I pour a glass of Willamette Vinyard’s Pinot Noir and celebrate the results. It use to be much worse but there are things I have learned to minimize the stress of oncology visits.




   
   The first thing that changed appointment anxiety was making peace with the disease and my own mortality. The process began when our band played at a benefit for a 4 year old little girl who was battling a rare cancer and was losing the fight. Afterward I could not look at my situation the same. She was only 4 Years old. She had never known what it was like to be a little girl. Her entire life was cancer, doctors, chemo, sickness, and hospitals. We all leave this world. My life, despite the challenges and pitfalls, has been amazing. There are many things that I still want to see and do but I have not wasted a day since my diagnosis so when it is my time I hope not to have regrets.
   Another thing that helps anxiety is the realization that PSA is just a number. I have been blessed with non existent PSA for 5 years now but even if it rises it simply means that things will once again be changing. My original PSA was over 3200. I have a long way to go before I see those numbers again. 
   I prepare for my oncology appointment by writing down any questions or concerns that I might have and take those to my appointment. I don’t leave until I feel my doctor has answered them all to my satisfaction. 
  
  

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Your Never Too Old


  This year was the summer of the wakeboard. I have been an avid water sports enthusiast my entire life. Somehow being active on the water just puts everything into perspective. Last year we upgraded our boat and the new one has a tower and came with a wakeboard. I tried wakebarding in my early 20’s but never really did it enough to be considered a wakeboarder. I would rather slalom ski anyway. 
   This year I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I am really glad I did. What a blast!
   At first I wasn’t too good. I kept trying to ride the board like a ski! It usually ended rather ugly.


   This one hurt pretty bad. Eventually I started to get the hang of it and by last weekend I had learned to fly. 
   I will be 55 in December. I have been fighting Stage 4 Prostate Cancer for over 12 years now. I continue to do well in the fight. We only get one life that we know of. Despite Cancer I will continue to live life to the fullest as long as God allows me to.