Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Oncologist Wants Me To Start Radiation.

As I mentioned in my last post, my PSA has risen to .28 from .23 six months ago. During my annual physical, I asked my family doctor what would he do and he agreed he probably do the same thing and not undergo radiation. For the record what I decide to do was monitor my PSA and take high doses of ginger & turmeric which from my research are very effective cancer fighting herbs.

So yesterday I got a call from my Oncologist. He reminded me it had been six months since he recommended radiation and he pushed me to make an appointment. I told him my decision and said I would have another PSA test and then decide. I could tell he wasn't too happy about my decision, He warned me that waiting too long could result in the cancer spreading. Six months ago when I had an MRI & a CAT scan of the pelvic area, there was no evidence of any cancer.

I based my decision on several factors.
    1. The side effects of radiation can be worst than the cancer.
    2. Prostate Cancer is a slow progressive disease and at 71 I'll probably die from something else.
    3. There is a lot of conflicting info about the long term survivability of men who have undergone   radiation and men who choose not to have the treatment.
    4. Travelling to radiation five times a week for eight weeks is a pain.

I'll continue to monitor my PSA. Hopefully, the ginger & turmeric will slow down or kill whatever cancer cells are in my system.

Please Note: My decision is mine and mine alone, based on my lifestyle, health and research. I am not a medical doctor or expert. Do your own research, talk to your doctors and love ones and make your own educated decision.

Friday, September 29, 2017

PSA Rising! Time To Worry?!

So if you read my last post you know that after a radical prostatectomy three years ago to remove my prostate and the cancer my PSA started to rise. Six months ago I started taking ginger and turmeric
supplements because they are suppose to be good cancer fighters. But after my last blood test my PSA has risen from .23 to .28.

Seven months ago when I first went over what my Urologist said was the border line .20 he strongly recommended radiation. But after an MRI and a CAT Scan showed no evidence of cancer anywhere in my body including the pelvic area I decided to wait and take the supplement.

Last week I had a very frank talk with my primary and after a lot of probing he admitted that he would do the same thing I'm doing and not rush into radiation. So I reordered my supplements, but this time I spent the extra money to get a strong dose and better quality turmeric & ginger. I'd only been taking about 100mg of ginger, but in doing further research I found out that I should be taking 1000mg based on my body weight. In three months I'll have another blood test. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

PSA On The Rise! What To Do?

First a warning! Everything in my post is my opinion. I'm not a doctor or specialist I'm just a guy who is trying to make the right decision for me. You need to do the same. The purpose in writing this post is just to offer one man's opinion and experience in fighting and winning the war against Prostate Cancer.

It's been six months since my last PSA blood test at that time my PSA had risen from .18 to .23 and my Urologist wanted me to start radiation treatments. The thought of spendin five days a week for 8 weeks being zapped didn't appeal to me especially with Spring & Summer coming and travel plans my wife & I had made. So I opted to wait. I did agree to have and MRI and a CAT Scan of the pelvic region which thankful was negative on both scans.

A lttle history: I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in the fall of 2014 and chose to have my prostate removed. At the time of the operation, a biopsy done on the surround tissue all show no evidence that the cancer had spread beyond the prostate. Great I thought cancer gone! But unfortunately my PSA started to rise a year after the operation.

In doing my research I found there's a lot of debate on when to start treatment after PSA rises above the magic number of .20. Some like my urologist want to start treatment ASAP. Others want to wait and retest for PSA and some advocate wanting to PSA has risen above .40.

There's really no good answer. My PSA is rising supposively because some cancer cells did get into my system, but were/are so small that MRI does pick it up.

My decision to wait and monitor was based on several factors:

1. There is no consenus as to when treatment should begin.
2. The side effects of radiation in my opinion can out weigh any benefits.
3. Members of my family who had under gone radiation seem to go on a downhill spiral, health declining path.
4. The survival rate for men undergoing radiation and those that don't is about the same. Especially for those older men 70+. I'm 71.
5. I wanted to try alternative treatments

So for the last six months I've been taking Tumerica and ginger. A couple of weeks ago I had another PSA test and my PSA had risen to .28. Concerned? absolutely. But the good news is the rate of increase was less than before.

Now it's time for a decision. Friday I seem doctor who will probably push for radiation treatment. But I'm still not ready? Am I playing with fire?Maybe, but it's my body! Other than the possibility of cancer I'm in great shape. So if I don't have radiation what will I do? Well in doing more research I discovered that I should be taking my Tumeric w/Black Pepper Extract and I should take 1000 mg of ginger. I've ordered the bottles and have been taking them for a few days. I plan to test my PSA in 3 months.

I want to be very clear everything I have written and the decisions I have made are based onmy research, my health and decisions my wife and I have agreed opun after much discussion and prayer. Please, Please, Please do your own research, find a good doctor who is willing to work with you. Monitor you're PSA regularly, have the scans, do whatever is necessary to improve your overall health. If you decide to try herbal treatments make sure you consult with your doctor and that there is no interaction with other meds you are taking. Make sure you are buying the best quality herbs available, organic with all the approval stamps for potency and processed in the USA. Finally have a positive attitude you can beat cancer, but you must be ready and able to fight!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Are You Prepared?!

The point of my last post was to illustrate how quickly a seemingly safe situation can change to a potential dangerous situation and the importantce of being prepared. The last ten days have shown how quickly our lives can change and how defendless we are againist the forces of nature.

Although my immediate family are far away from any danger, like most people who are out of the path of the hurricanes I have family and friends fleeing their homes and wondering if they will have anything left once the storms move through their town.

All this should prompt each of us first to offer a helping hand to the victims of Harvey and Irma, whether it's money, food, clothing, shelter these people and their communities will need an enormous amount to aid. Secondly everyone should assess their own situation.

If you had to vacate your home because of a hurricane, fire or some other danger are you prepared to do so? Do you have an emergency kit? A bugout bag with the essentials already packed inside? Do you have a plan? Where would you go? Is your car in good working order with at least 3/4 of a tank of gas. Are you phsyicallyable to save yourself and family? If not is there someone near by who you can absolutely count on to help you. As far as that goes is there a neighbor or family member who would need your help and are you ready to assist?

There's tons of information on how to prepare an emergency kit. If you're like me safe from this hurricane now is the time to prepare. Don't wait for a disaster to strike! Most hurricanes give us days to prepare, but a fire or some other danger could come out of the blue. Are you ready! If not what are you waiting for!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Lost on a Golf Course: Could You Survive?

Now I know the title "Lost on a Golf Course Could You Survive" sound pretty silly. After all it's a golf course! It has paved trails, plenty of signs, a club house and usually water available along the course. Guys & ladies zipping around in carts, so ruling out dementia how could you get lost on a golf course and how could this turn into a survival situation. Well hear me out.

There's a golf course nearby and at one time 5-7 yrs ago was a very popular course. Rolling hills, long fairways and plenty of ponds. Unfortunately around 2010 it closed down and the property was left to nature. Recently the town gained ownership and plans to turn it into a nature preserve.

One of my hobbies is fishing. I'm no expert, but I do enjoy going out and trying my luck on the local lakes and ponds. Anyway I thought abandon golf course, lots of decent size ponds, there's got to be fish in them. Why not take my fly rod and walk around fishing these ponds?

It was a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky and the temperature in the low 70's. So I decided to travel light. Instead of packing a lot of gear. I only took my fly rod a few flies, a bottle of water, protein bar, lock blade knife and my cell phone.

There was no map of the course, but I figured I'd stick to the paved cart paths and sooner or later I find a pond. Sure enough I found 4 ponds scattered around the course and managed to catch several bass and blue gill. Finally after 3 hours wandering around the course I decided to head back to the car.

Usually I'm pretty observant of my surroundings, aware of landmarks like a tall tree, pile of rocks, etc to guide me back. But I let my guard down! After all it was a golf course! However because it had been shut down for years nature had taken over. Instead of large fairways covered with closely cut grass. Tall grass, bushes, and young trees blocked my sight line. There was no way to view the club house where I parked my car.

To make a long story short. I walked  much farther than I had to mistakenly taking a trail that leadme away from my car. I finally made it back but I was pushing myself, because the perfect sunny day was turned dark with huge thunder heads piling up in the western sky.

Now at 71 yrs old many people would not have been able to walkout and probably would have had to call for help or worse suffer some kind of medical emergency. Fortunatel I'm in very good shape for my age and although tried I still had enough gas in the tank to walk farther if I had to.

A couple of lessons learned:

1. Never take any outing for granted. My mistake was assuming because it was a golf course I didn't pay attention to my surroundings.
2. Take a map with you. Don't rely on your smart phone's GPS app.
3. Take at least some survival gear. I had a bottle of water and a protein bar. This was adequate for a short walk/hike, but if I had to stay out longer I would of been in trouble.
4. If you are older never walk/hike alone. If I had a medical emergency what was a minor delay and a long walk than I expected could of been a serious survival situation.
5. Stay in shape! Because I am in good shape being lost and having to walk longer in the sun was an adventure, but for someone else it could of ended badly.

The Boy Scouts Motto is be prepared! I wasn't, but I was lucky, next time I'm not prepared I may not be so lucky!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My Second Trip to the Acupuncturists

Last week was my second appointment with my Acupuncturists. Now that I knew what to expect, I was able to relax and enjoy the experience. My fears of the needles being painful and uncomfortable were baseless fears, at least for me. On some parts of my body like the tops of my feet and my butt a couple of the needles gave me a slight pinch. I would say on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being a big OW! the pinch rated a 1 or 2 and quickly went away once the needle was in place.

So now I'm relaxed and in a pleasant state of mind. The first after affects of the first session had lasted a bout a week and even now two weeks later my legs/back felt better. The Acupuncturist inserted about the same number of needles in the same areas of my body. Plus she inserted a few around the scar in the small of my back where I had my back operation. Now here comes the good part.

After inserting the needles she heats them up using a bundle of a Chinese herb called Mugwort. It is shaped and twisted into a cigar like cylinder, lite with a lighter which produces a cigar like ember on the end of the herb. Then the lit end is quickly touched to the top of the needles. I know it sounds like an ancient torture, but there is no pain only a nice warm glow that spreads around the treated area.

It's now been one week since my session and I do feel better, despite spending two days installing shelves in a pantry, washing a applying sealant to our deck and hanging a door. This second treatment should last longer than the first. I have another appointment in three weeks.

Again this is my own personal experience, your's maybe completely different. However if you are tired of drugs that only mask the pain or surgeries that have failed to relieve your pain, acupuncture maybe perfect for you.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Be Prepared: Sh-t Can & Does Happen!

I while ago I wrote several posts about how vital it was to be physically fit enough so you could save yourself and others. The importance of this was driven home to me yesterday!

It was a beautiful day temp in the high 70's - low 80's. Not a cloud in the sky & calm. The lake was smooth as glass as my buddy & I launched our boat. The boat is a small 12 ft long aluminum boat with a small electric motor. Nothing fancy about 30 yrs old but it floats and gets us where we want to go. There are two pedestal mounted seat fore and aft. My friend was sitting in the aft seat operating the motor. I was in the bow.

We had just stopped about 10' from shore. I was facing forward getting ready to cast when I heard a yell and felt the boat shake. Turning around I saw my buddy, all 255 pounds of him, laying on his back in the bottom of the boat. Of course my first reaction was asking if he was okay. He said he was and that the screws holding the seat to the steel pedestal had popped out and he fell backwards.

I asked if he could get up and he said no. He was wedged between a tackle box and a cooler. His legs were on either side of the pedestal. Now as I mentioned my buddy is a big guy: 254 lbs and six foot. He's also not in the best of shape, a poor swimmer and 68 yrs old. Yeah I know he does read my blog posts or listen to his wife/doctor telling him to lose weight and get in shape.

I made my way to him and was able to get my arms under his and helped him get up. He was unharmed a little shaken, but we continued fishing. If he had fallen out of the boat the outcome could of been different. I can swim well enough to save myself & possibly to help him. The boat is equipped with life jackets and floating seat cushions so the chances of drowning were slim, plus we're only in about 6 feet of water.

The lessons learned was we need to check, repair and reinforce our seats. We had gone over the boat prior to putting it in the water, but failed to check the bolts that held the seat to the pedestal. Secondly, I was glad that I was able to help him. If he was alone we're not sure if he could of gotten up without capsizing the boat. He would probably have to wait for a boat to come by and help him.

Thirdly, you never know when an accident might occur. It was a perfect day, we're both experience boaters, the water was calm, but still the unexpected can happen. The one ting we can all do is to prepare ourselves. Being fit and strong enough to save yourself & family/friend is a critical fator in determining whether a minor accident turns into a serious life threaten emergency.