How It's Going 9 Weeks Post-BCG - April 18, 2009

Today (and lately) I feel about as near to normal as I can remember. Keep in mind that I define normal as how I felt just over a year ago before all this cancer business (or, more accurately, my awareness of it) started. Truth be told, I feel better than my old definition of normal in most respects. I have lost over 30 pounds since then, my allergy symptoms have diminished, my complexion has improved, I require less sleep, and I have more energy. I'm told I don't snore (much) any more. Blood chemistry has improved - triglycerides have dropped from 323 to 220. I eat better food, and it tastes better to me. Things I used to eat routinely don't taste as good as they used to. Stranger still, I feel better and may have a better attitude than people in general. It's all quite amazing.

Offset all this goodness with recovery from the BCG. While my reactions to each treatment were not too bad, there were side effects that lingered longer than the last series. Perhaps this was because I did not rest enough, deceived by the mild symptoms at the time. Since the last one, there have been a lot of lesser symptoms... Severe tiredness. Sensitivity and/or general discomfort in the "male area." Occasional cramping in the abdomen. Random sleeplessness. Vague abdominal soreness. Ugly and inexplicable mood swings. Frustration with the entire universe, which had not as late measured up to my standards. Nine weeks and two long weekend vacations (one to Northern California and one to Las Vegas) later and all of these are gone, while all the good stuff listed above continues on. It's very nice to not be totally exhausted at the end of each day. People cautiously ask how I am feeling, confused because I look good. I am confused also. I have to chalk it up to a factor known as common grace, with a full measure of special grace mixed in.

It's also amazing how other people characterize the source of my improvements. Several have pointed out that the exercise must be "working." While I appreciate the kind thoughts, let me debunk that myth. Most of my lifestyle changes were implemented on August 1, 2008, and most of the positive benefits were starting to be realized soon after that - well before the exercise was initiated around November 30. So while the exercise may smooth out the rough edges, it cannot be the primary source of the improvements! Besides, it still sucks. When we were in Vegas for the past several days, I refused to exercise. The casino-hotel charged $20 per person per day to use the exercise facility. Clearly they would much rather have you gambling than exercising. In any case there were far better uses of $20 each vacation day than to invest in hated exercise. Therefore I did not exercise for five days in a row - Friday through Tuesday. Started again on Wednesday, which was tough. Thursday was easy, and Friday was nearly impossible. Even though I do it first thing in the morning and ignore the effects all day, I had forgotten how tired it makes me in the evenings. Or how great it felt not to do it each day. But progress requires sacrifice, and I am up to the task. Up to DOing it, not up to enjoying it. Sigh.

It might be beneficial to characterize the other non-exercise things I have been doing - these are (singly or together) the primary reasons for my well being, and perhaps the exercise adds a little as well. Let's look at a typical day. (Click on ANY photo to enlarge)

Between Midnight and 2AM (when I get up to pee) I take 5-8 grams of PectaSol-C Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) mixed in a shaker cup with 8-10 ounces of non-chlorinated spring water.

About 6AM I get up and drink some organic greens, also mixed in a shaker cup with 8-10 ounces of non-chlorinated spring water, to get a good dose of healthy enzymes. I chase that with some "empty stomach" supplements, namely 500mg each of L-Arginine (a vasodilator that may enhance heart and other muscle health) and L-Carnitine (helps fat metabolization and may promote heart health), and also an immune system booster - currently a mushroom-based formula. I am thinking of switching to a yeast-based beta-glucan immune booster after I run out of the mushroom pills.

After that I exercise, getting my heart into the aerobic zone (for me about 140 plus or minus 5) for 15-20 minutes. This requires a 7-9 minute warmup and is followed by a 5 minute cool down, all on my recumbent bike described in this post. I'm guessing this type of bike is not best for the bladder area, but it is the best for not aggravating my lower back, which has had chronic issues for years.

About 6:40 I spend some time sitting, reading and reflecting on universal truths. This practice also allows more time for my body to cool off before showering and preparing for the workday.

For breakfast most days (and lunch on the others)
I have a nice portion of Flaxseed Oil mixed with Cottage Cheese and fresh ground flaxseeds, sweetened with stevia extract (no longer using organic agave nectar), plus fresh or frozen organic fruit added for variety. This stuff is known as FOCC, described in the previous post.

With my breakfast I take some vitamins and supplements.* A tiny aspirin as suggested in this post, a very comprehensive multivitamin, a calcium supplement (600mg), a Coenzyme Q10 supplement (100 mg), Vitamin E (200IU), and Vitamin C (500 mg).

For lunch I have a healthy, organic combination of fruits and vegetables. If any meat is involved, it's a small amount (2 slices of organic turkey breast).

In the midafternoon (around 3-4PM) I take another dose of both MCP and Greens, on an empty stomach, mixed together in a shaker cup with 8-10 ounces of non-chlorinated spring water.

Throughout the morning and day I drink 2-3 quarts of spring water, green tea, black tea, organic lemonade, or organic limeade (whatever I am in the mood for) all homemade with non-chlorinated water and sweetened with stevia extract.

Dinner is a healthy, often vegetarian affair, with organic produce. An enormous salad, a barely cooked vegetable or two, low starches, and no meats or only small portions. Breads are either multigrain or sprouted multigrain, with occasional sourdough. About 3-5 times a week I have a 6oz glass of red wine, sometimes two on weekends! An occasional white for variety.

Immediately after dinner I complete the vitamin and supplement routine* with another dose of Vitamin E (200IU), Vitamin C (500 mg), and the multivitamin, plus Omega-3 fish oil (3000mg) and a Vitamin B-12 (500 mcg).

Near bedtime for dessert, maybe 3-4 times per week, I have fresh fruit mixed into unsweetened organic yogurt with
stevia extract (no longer using organic agave nectar). Or organic nuts with cheese or fruit on occasion.

Daily I also take a total of 6g of inulin fiber supplement with my meals - usually 2g with FOCC and 4g with dinner. Inulin is a soluble fiber, so it goes through the system like a sponge rather than like steel wool.

* If you would prefer a simple solution to the "with breakfast and dinner" vitamin and supplement scenario, a packet (8 pills) of Daily Advantage from with breakfast and another packet with dinner, plus one CoQ10 and a tiny aspirin per day would be roughly equivalent, even better in some regards.

What does it all mean? Not much if the upcoming cystoscopy reveals new cancer growth - theoretically a 50/50 shot. Maybe something if all clear. But who knows which one, ones, or all in conjunction might be helping? Not me, for sure! But all of the above seem reasonable, are generally affordable, ans surely won't hurt anything. Even the exercise...


Anonymous said...

Hi...First let me thank you sincerely for this wonderful, informative and realistic blog. I am in the second of of a 6-week BCG protocol (just diagnosed two months ago..two surgeries..T1-G2.

I am currently taking Oncovite, Kryolic Garlic powder, Calcium, COQ10.

My question is who put together all these combinations of supplements, types of food, water quantity, etc.
Can you let me know?
Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

Your friend Lee pointed me in your direction. I've also been keeping a blog on my cancer experience (though it didn't start out as a cancer blog...)

Had chemo, radio, surgery etc, and have been on a strict diet with meditation etc for the last 9 months. Not out of the woods yet, but hoping!

Alternative / complementary therapies are always interesting, especially when chemo fails.


Paul Haines