Friday, August 31, 2007

Chemo Cycle 7 - Round 2

It's been a few days since I last wrote. I wanted to see how I felt after my chemo treatment that was administered on Wednesday afternoon. It's too early to tell. I've had a pretty wicked headache both Wednesday and Thursday nights, but used my drugs to sleep it off. There is a bit of tightness in my jaw, but not nearly as bad as other treatment side effects, at least so far. The bottom line is that it may be too early to tell how my body will react to this round. Going forward, I get a week off of chemo and then begin Cycle 8. It will consist of two infusions and are targeted for September 12th and 19th. My doctor suggested that we move the scans from mid-September to late-September to coincide with the end of the chemo. I agreed.

Depending on what the scans show, new recommendations and treatment plans will be discussed and a new path will begin. If the scans show I'm clean, that path could include an oral chemo medicine(s) or nothing at all except future monitoring scans. If I'm not clean, that opens up a completely new can of worms and too many options to go into here.

Leroy Sievers had a cancer joke on his NPR blog a few days ago. It’s not really that funny, but it resonated with me. So, here goes…

When a cancer patient dies, why do they nail the coffin shut? [Pause, drum roll]

So the doctors can't do just one more round of chemo.

ha ha

Switching subjects, I was contacted earlier this week by an individual who was diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 1999. I won't go into his history in detail, but he was treated primarily at John Hopkins with 3 relatively minor surgeries (I say relatively minor when compared to what I have been through). He refused chemo and radiation treatments at John Hopkins because after research he was convinced that they were more harmful than helpful. He went to a clinic in Mexico, not too far south of San Diego and had oxygen therapy to build up his immune system and Insulin Potentation Therapy (IPT) to attack the cancer cells. This therapy consists of small doses of FDA approved chemo drugs (maybe 1/10th the normal dose) delivered daily (or every two days) over a few week period. The chemo is mixed with glucose. Cancer cells love glucose. This chemo treatment created minimal, if any negative side effects in this individual, and targeted the cancer cells using the glucose. As a point of interest here, when they do my PET scans, they use glucose combined with radioactive molecules to highlight cancer cell hot spots in my body. Cancer cells have 10+ times the receptors for glucose than a normal cell. The cancer cells take in the glucose and that’s why the radiation becomes concentrated within the tumors and lights up on the PET scan. He has been to this clinic in Mexico three times over the past 8 years and is currently cancer free (or at least no evidence of cancer - NED). That’s a pretty good track record in my book. This procedure is used by some doctors in the US and has been presented to NIH and the major cancer hospitals in the U.S. going back almost 20 years. It was first used to treat cancer in the 1930s. It is difficult for me to get an accurate read on what NIH and the major hospitals felt about this procedure. But, from what I've read, these institutions seemed to say it showed positive results, but needed more study. If my scans in September come back with evidence of disease, this will be an alternative I will fully explore.

That's it for now. Take care everyone.

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