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.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

FIRST TRIP TO THE ACUPUNCTURIST

Well it's been three days since my first acupuncture session. I wanted to wait a few days just to give the treatment time to take effect. But I'm getting ahead of myself, so let's start at the beginning.
My Acupuncturist is a medical doctor in her sixties. She decided to become an Acupuncturist because she was searching for an alternatives to drugs and surgeries and all the side effects.

She first had me fill out a medical report, much like at a regular doctor's office. Then she did something that a regular doctor wouldn't do, she asked me a series of questions about my likes and dislikes. Favorite color, did I like spicy or sweets and other such questions. I'm not sure the reasoning behind these questions. I have to ask her the next time.

As we went over my medical history and current complaints: sore back, restless legs, chronic leg pain & fatigue we decided to concentrate on the restless legs and fatigue for the first session.

Then I went into a room with a table, like a massage therapist would use. I laid face down, she lifted my shirt and began inserting the needles. I really didn't feel any pain in fact when she told me she had inserted fifteen needles, I was surprised because I had only felt 3/4 and only a very small pin prick. Once in I didn't feel them at all. Next she heated up a mugwort a traditional Chinese herb. It resembled a cigar. The she place the lit end to the needles. I felt a warm feeling radiate thru my back, very pleasant. Then she left me for ten minutes. When she came back in she removed the needles. Again there was no pain and very little sensation of removing the needles.

Next I turned over and she inserted needles in my legs, ankle and feet. I felt the needles go into my feet but again only slightly and once in no feeling of the needles. Finally she insert a number into my head. She didn't heat up the needles, but she did leave them in for another ten minutes.

All in all It was a pleasant, calming experience, no pain or discomfort. My body felt relaxed. She told me not to expect too much in the first session, but I could tell that the needles were doing their job. Also my Acupuncturist told me that usually the first session's treatment wears off in a week or so depending on how active I am. Of course the next day I went fishing in a boat all day and between casting and hauling the boat in and out of the lake it was hard to really tell how effective the treatment was.

However after three days I still feel better less pain and less fatigue. My next treatment is in two weeks and I can't wait. Here's a few things I would recommend to anyone planning to try acupuncture.

1. Find an experience Acupuncturists. Acupuncture is as much an art as a medical procedure. The more experienced the Acupuncturist the more knowledge and practiced they will be in their "art".

2. Be opened to the experience. It's okay to have some anxiety over the idea of needles being inserted into your body, but for 1,000's of years acupuncture has successfully treated all kinds of aliments. So be open to the concept that acupuncture maybe the solution you have been looking for.

3. Be honest and frank with your acupuncturist. Don't hold back important medical information. She can't treat you if you keep don't fully disclose all your aliments.

4. If you do experience pain let the acupuncturist know. Unless you are hyper sensitive to pain you should barely feel anything.

5. Plan on spend 1 1/2 hours the first time. You'll have to fill out forms, medical history and be interviewed so give yourself plenty of time. The last thing you want is to feel rushed and stressed.

6. Give the treatment time to work. How fast you'll notice relief depends widely from patient to patient. Some may notice immediate relief and some may take longer. For me I did notice some relief and the next day felt even better.

Acupuncture can be just the treatment you need to cure your pain and want ails you. Give it a try. I did and I'm glad I did!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Acupuncture and Back Pain

Can acupuncture cure back pain? Can acupuncture cure restless legs? How about fatigue and stress? Is acupuncture the cure all I've been searching for? I hope to answer these questions for myself and others as I go undercover to investigate and expose acupuncture. (Only kidding about the undercover stuff.)

First of all a little background. I'm pushing 71 years young, and for most of my adult life, I've strived to stay in shape, eat right, exercise, etc. In 2009 I injured my back requiring surgery and rehab. I have suffered from restless legs for years and take Requip at night, so I can sleep. Finally, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. I had a radical prostatectomy, no radiation and so far has been cancer free.

Since having my prostate removed, I've been suffering from fatigue. I haven't been diagnosed with chronic fatigue, but everything I read about it suggests that what I have. Now I have tried all the conventional ways of dealing with fatigue, restless legs, and constant pain, especially in my right leg.
Back in March, I started receiving massages about twice a month and although feeling great afterward haven't  had any long term relief. So my wife suggested acupuncture. I recently made an appointment and will report on my experience in the hopes it may help others considering trying acupuncture treatments.