Need to contact me? Use the photo-link near the bottom of this column.
More April showers of good news with ALL CLEAR cysto results for Roy B. from Alabama on April 25 and then ALL CLEAR for David F. in England on April 26, closely following my ALL CLEAR Judgement Day cysto last week. Thanks to everyone for prayers and good thoughts - much appreciated!
Still enjoying my working retirement. Business is going well, and I traveled to China in March for expansion. If you are thinking you can retire soon, or in just a few years, I'd encourage you not to wait and go for it. Whether you can afford it or not. Life is short.
My parents were from a generation that feared seat belts. In May of 2013 they were both ejected from their vehicle (my father would have said "thrown clear") and did not survive. People, if you are traveling over 35mph, WEAR YOUR SEAT BELTS!
BLADDER CANCER ROLL CALL
Recent results: David F. in England ALL CLEAR on April 26. - 11 yrs Roy B. in Alabama ALL CLEAR on April 25. - 5+ yrs ME! - Steve K. in (various locations) ALL CLEAR on Apr 17. - 9 yrs Doug B. in Tennessee ALL CLEAR on April 7. - 3 yrs Sebastián in Argentina ALL CLEAR on March 10. - 5 yrs Julie M. in Illinois ALL CLEAR (despite tiny red spot) on February 28. - 6 yrs Ben F. In Louisiana ALL CLEAR on Feb 22. - 6 yrs HK in Toronto ALL CLEAR on January 17. - 6.5 yrs
2016 John B. in Minnesota ALL CLEAR on Oct 16, 2016. - 4.25 years Scott in South Carolina ALL CLEAR on Oct 21. - 2 years Steve S. in Tennessee ALL CLEAR on Oct 4. - 5 years No recent updates: Brian S. in Atlanta ALL CLEAR January 2015. - 3 yrs+ Ed B. in Washington ALL CLEAR January 2015. - 6 yrs
Need to contact me? Use the photo-link near the bottom of this column.
Short Summary of My Situation
On March 31, 2008 I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. As a non-smoker, at my age, with no family history of cancer on either side, I was quite surprised. The cancer was T1-G3 and Non-Invasive. It's not immediately life threatening, but my bladder is still at risk. I have been CANCER FREE via surgery for 8 years now, an important number having exceeded two years. In addition I have completed 6 weekly treatments of initial BCG immunotherapy and seven 3-week maintenance rounds with moderately unpleasant side-effects. I have implemented radical dietary changes (no pork, shellfish, sugar or artificial sweeteners, processed flours, or chlorinated water), take several vitamins and supplements including the Budwig Flax Oil Cottage Cheese (FOCC) mix, resumed PectaSol-C MCP,and added regular exercise.
In May of 2017 the doctor will again visually inspect for new cancer growth via cystoscope, with 3 maintenance BCG treatments to follow. While the probability of recurrence is still high, the risk of disease progression is dramatically decreased now. The downside picture is not nearly as dire - making it past 2 years means that recommendation for radical surgery is not automatic, but any new cancer leads to another TURBT surgery to remove and analyze what's there. If it isn't too bad, we continue with BCG maintenance. If the pathology is severe the doctors MAY insist upon radical cystectomy - removing the bladder, prostate and several nearby lymph nodes. Then the surgeon can build me an orthotopic ileal neobladder to preserve most normal functions. Other options are available, and trade-offs can be made between lifestyle and risk.
I passionately desire to avoid all of the downside scenarios, so I am pursuing an analytical approach to Complementary Therapies - those that can be done IN ADDITION TO what the doctors are doing. There are over 200 "unproven" approaches out there, and some work sometimes. I am doing an objective, systems-based analysis of which ones work under which conditions, looking for common, science-based threads. My current set of 10 things I am doing is described in detail in this post. It's very difficult to pick through all the emotional and political BS to find the kernels of truth, if any...
All diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment recommendations have been validated with second opinions from a urologist in Indiana and Dr. Lamm in Arizona.
I am a great fan of life and doing something useful with the limited time we have on this earth. I enjoy my church, my home life, my retirement, and owning my own consumer products business.
My hobbies include sport-touring on my Honda ST1300 motorcycle, and consuming fine food and wine (both at home and dining out).
On March 31, 2008, I received the very unwelcome news, "You've got bladder cancer!"
I was born in 1959, and I am a white, male, American. I married at age 24, and in October of 2008 we celebrated our 25th anniversary. We have no children, and that's OK with us. I had a vasectomy in 1999, so no changing minds on that decision - and the docs dismissed that early as any type of contributor to the situation.
I am six feet, zero inches, and was 255 pounds when all this started, but weight decreasing now thanks to surgeries and this wake-up call. I am NOT saying cancer comes from being overweight, but weight exacerbates all other problems. (Down to 240 pounds as of 9/1/08, down to 230 pounds as of 12/31/08, down to 220 as of 5/15/09, but back up to 230 and holding since...)
My blood pressure (checked and tracked weekly) runs a hair high - 130/90. Been steady at that level for many years. Been higher lately - stress will do that.
I don't smoke, and never have smoked anything, including marijuana. The docs had some problem believing me, as smoking is a strong indicator for bladder cancer. I tried asking if I should take it up now to break even, and they finally let it go. I find the whole idea of smoking distasteful, having suffered in a home where both parents favored unfiltered Pall Malls. The docs claim that secondhand smoke at home from birth through my high school years would not be a factor.
They also suggest that exposure to radiation and chemicals can cause this. I worked in a chem lab at college and there was stuff around; but my exposure was not that much and I never rubbed my groin on any of it!
I do enjoy an occasional alcoholic drink - usually a couple of glasses of wine with dinner or maybe a beer or two with pizza or during a televised sporting event. My use is less than daily and almost never more than two in any day.
I was diagnosed with gout in 2004. Gout is a crystallization of uric acid in the joints - primarily in the left big toe. These crystals cause irritation and inflammation - then BIG TIME PAIN. Gout supposedly comes from eating rich foods and poor circulation. I may also have a recessive gene for gluten sensitivity which may have contributed; but I have not as yet investigated this. I controlled the gout successfully for a while by super-hydrating (one gallon plus of fluids per day) but 4 international trips proved that I could not maintain or control this outside of home and an air-conditioned office. So in 2006 I began taking 75mg of allopurinol daily. This is also NOT a factor for bladder cancer.