Judgment Day #11 on 9/11 - September 11, 2012

Probably most of you are remembering today (9/11) for another significant reason.  For me, it seemed an appropriate date to schedule my last cystoscopy for 2012.  I had a week's vacation and a weekend home to relax and prepare physically and mentally.  The 9AM appointment came all too soon.  The doctor was cheerful and chipper, came in and talked about adopting a new son from China last winter. He had originally planned to do it this month, but when they call, you have to go.  The boy has brought the family great joy, despite some medical issues.  So his vacation this year is quite ambitious - a hike over the Andes mountains in Peru to arrive in Machu Picchu.  He and his wife plan to spend several days and nights above 12,000 feet elevation, HIKING as high as 16,000 feet.  I cannot even imagine it.  

The procedure went quickly and the wonderful ALL CLEAR was welcome.  The doctor confirmed that we would do 3 BCG treatments in October, and then no scope (or PSA test) until September 2013!  This clear report now marks 52 months cancer-free, nearly 4.5 years.  Keep in mind that terms like "remission" don't apply to bladder cancer for at least 10 years, so not quite halfway there yet!

This makes for a happy day, and we will start making big plans for vacation, visiting friends, travel, and whatnot right away!  No more stunned period, waiting for the good news to sink in.  As soon as I feel better, perhaps I will try a happy dance.

Some details of the procedure follow, so those with weak constitutions may want to stop reading here...

There was some discomfort with the procedure this time, despite being able to use the very nice Storz video scope setup for the 3rd time in a row.  The doc started quickly, but I was ready - fully relaxed from deep breathing and hypnosis techniques.  No Xylocaine prep, and little if any lube used this time.  Frankly the whole ordeal (maybe 30 seconds) hurt like hell.  Even pointing my toes up and down alternately and focusing attention on the screen did not help.  I was able to stay relaxed and breathe through it.  Unsurprisingly my first urination at home (not counting voiding the saline solution at the office) showed a slight trace of blood (microhematuria), although the urine was nicely alkaline in pH.  It had been alkaline all of yesterday, so I think the stress was effectively managed.  For future scopes I plan to ask for the Xylocaine prep - even though it is messy, it helps a lot.  Not necessary for BCGs though!

Postmortem:  VERY severe symptoms (both razor blades and fire) began about 3 hours after the scope and remained with full pain levels unabated for 48 hours.  Began to ease a bit after that.

Final Postmortem:  Now pretty much back to normal FOUR full 24-hour days after the scope.  (still minor discomforts on Friday evening, at 3.5 days)

Motocyclene Therapy - September 10, 2012

I hang out with some interesting people on the internet and in real life.  One truly unique set is a group of motorcycle riders who like to ride long distances in the countryside, usually at very quick speeds.  In the universe of motorcycle riders, this sub-group is known as "Sport - Touring."  Few, if any, ride the infamous Harley-Davidsons, as that particular tool and technology is quite poorly suited to the mission. Most ride Honda, BMW, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki motorcycles of various vintages and styles, matching personal preferences with budget, image, and other factors.  My group mostly started with Honda ST1100 bikes, and many have moved on to the newer technology of the Honda ST1300.  Others have migrated to other brands - some have had many choices, and others are still loyal to their first mount.  When people ask me what kind of bike I have, the answer "Honda ST1300" is generally uninformative, so then I tell them it's a cross between a Gold Wing (road sofa) and a crotch-rocket (bullet bike).  That description, plus a picture carried in my wallet, tends to convey the idea.

Several years ago one particular biker got carried away with typing an email update and misspelled the word "motorcycling" as "motorcyclene."  One cannot even blame the spell-checker for that mistake!  Even so, the word had traction, and has become a common term to describe the endorphin effect that occurs when riding for a while.  Others call it "clearing the cobwebs out of the brain" or other metaphors, but the term Motorcyclene Therapy is one that both resonates and works for me.

To help prepare for Judgment Day and otherwise restore balance to life, last week we rode about 1,500 miles, which is a pretty short trip for us.  They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  If so, several thousand words follow:  (Click on any photo for a larger version)

More on Urine Testing - September 10, 2012

I have been back from my motorcycle vacation for a couple of days.  Great preparation for tomorrow's judgment day - riding with my wife and many great friends through the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Great friends, scenery, food, and drink.  Extremely relaxing.  Began researching the urine tests and what passes for "normal" values for all 10 of the indicators.  If any of you are naturally curious about more than pH and blood, the following table should be quite useful:

More on Urine pH, Acidity, Alkilinity and Bladder Health - September 1, 2012

After publishing my last post, I received several emails from around the world.  Many are eager to begin monitoring their urine, and Sebastian in Argentina has noted microhematuria (microscopic blood in his urine) as well as acidic conditions.  He will be sending me his data to tabulate along with my own.  And Julie T. in Illinois had a story quite similar to John M's.  Her report in her own words follows:

From what I have read, cancer cells are anaerobic. They thrive in situations where there is little oxygen and lots of acid. Highly acidic food and stress are common culprits for causing a body to become acidic. The acidity in your blood has very little wiggle room, but the acidity level in your urine and saliva can vary greatly. I started testing my urine with the test strips and found that I was off the charts acidic (7 is neutral). I was at a 5.5 or below almost always. I used my husband as a control and made him test his urine also. We eat most of the same foods, and he eats a lot more unhealthy "junk food" (crap) than I do. His urine always showed a neutral to mildly alkaline reading (7-7.5) without doing a thing to control it. I started to drink baking soda & water every night before I went to bed (1 teaspoon to about 10 oz of water, equivalent to approx 1 gram per 300ml). I figured it would neutralize my urine and stay in my bladder overnight. I became somewhat obsessed with testing every time I urinated. It was amazing how the acidity level would fluctuate so dramatically during the day! I also started to notice that I could sense a "gritty" feeling in my bladder - the best way to describe it was like sand. If I would test when I had that feeling, I would find that my urine was very acidic. If I then drank the baking soda & water, the feeling would go away within 30 minutes.
I also started paying attention to diet and looked for trigger foods - things that I would eat that would correlate with acidic urine. Wine is something I love dearly, and wine would test acidic for me every time. I started drinking a baking soda chaser after each glass of wine to offset the "gritty" feeling and acidic condition. Foods that are typically acidic seemed to be the triggers, for example: cantaloupe. Sometimes I would need to drink 2 or 3 glasses of baking soda & water per day of to keep the urine pH level up to a 7 or higher. I have now learned to know what my acidic food triggers are, and if I am going to have them, I need to counteract their acidic effect with baking soda & water. I also drink 1 glass of baking soda & water at night, and I have become very attuned to feelings in my body. 

I also read the book Eat Right 4 Your Type - very insightful! I have Type O blood, and the book reports that people with type O blood tend to be more acidic then others. The book also pointed out foods that would react negatively with the antigens in the blood. Another interesting point was that people with O blood tend to not be overly affected by cancer. 

Like John M. I feel my spiritual life has been strengthened more than I ever thought possible. I have become very prayerful every day and can actually feel the love, support, and prayers other send my way. I know that God is watching out for me and giving me the strength I need to live every day. 

I have started seeing both Naturopath and Homeopathic doctors. Both work in tandem with one another. They have prescribed shots of mistletoe twice a week in my stomach, and I think they are working. The shots are the only thing that made my headaches from the BCG go away and eliminate my fever after a month. I have also started brewing and drinking a fermented drink called kombucha. It is supposed to put your body back in balance, and I have to say that I feel FANTASTIC! I have always been active, but never before like I am now. I also gave up coffee a few months ago and don't even miss it - or need it to get out of bed. 

I have three boys ages 14 ,11, & 5 - plus I work full time as a professor, so I need all the extra help and energy I can get! I finally feel like things are starting to get back in balance. Hopefully my November cysto will demonstrate that my bladder agrees!

I hope that you find Julie's story as compelling as I do, and that you will consider measuring and controlling your urine pH along with me.