Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I had treatment today, but I'm home now and enjoying an evening with the family. We were very excited to find out that my tumor markers have fallen to 153 now. A normal tumor marker is 30 or less, so we still have a way to go, but the progress so far is remarkable. On January 7, I will be flying back to Denver for a PET scan so we can get a visual of the progress. I will have completed 7 weeks of treatment by then, and the scan will provided the information we need to decide how to continue. I was initially told I should expect to stay here for 8 to 12 weeks. From what I understand, how long I should continue here will depend on how many more bi-weekly IPT treatments I will need. Once I get beyond needing these treatments 2 times a week, I can go home, continue with most of the other treatments in the Denver area with various providers, and fly back here periodically for maintenance treatments over a period of a year or so. ....a year or so... That sounds pretty good. We were thinking a few weeks ago that my life could be over in 6 months. Now we're cautiously looking out over the next year and making treatment plans.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I've needed 2 more Neupagen shots since Monday, but finally today my white blood cell count rose to a healthier level. I also began feeling significantly better today, although I'm still very tired. My wbc's dropped low enough that I needed 3 days of IV antibiotics to prevent the onset of bacterial infections. I sure hope this does not become an ongoing problem and would appreciate your prayers concerning that.

If you want to know more about the kind of chemo treatment I'm receiving, click here. I do have a word of caution before you read this site's explanation. There is a glowing report that a patient can receive this therapy with little or no side effects. You might begin to wonder what went wrong in my case. If someone has never received any chemotherapy before, the lack of side effects from IPT therapy is remarkable. But most of us who are seeking out such non-conventional therapy are doing so because we've already had standard therapies and the cancer has returned. So most of us do have side effects similar to those we had with our standard treatments. They are usually delayed and often less severe, but those effects are still there.

IPT therapy is only one of the many therapies I do on a weekly basis. To answer the questions of several folks, the diet I am doing is very similar to that used in the Gerson therapy. The common thread through almost all alternative cancer treatments is a mostly raw, vegetarian or vegan diet. When my doctor was asked this week by a fellow patient why he uses any type of chemo at all, he explained that most of the patients he deals with (reccurrent stage IV cancer patients) do not have the time left to them to deal with their cancers with diet alone. So he attempts to stop the aggressive cancer growth with IPT, and then rebuild healthy cells with the other therapies, including the raw diet. And I am thankful to the Lord, that so far, this approach is showing success for me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope all of you had a very pleasant Christmas. We sure did. The kids have received many thoughtful gifts from lots of people. This has probably been their "biggest" Christmas ever. Several of them had asked me what we were going to do for Christmas. They understood that this year would be quite different from the norm, and they were worried they would have to forgo presents altogether. But many of you made sure their Christmas was beyond their dreams. They've had so much fun.

The review of my ongoing blood tests a few days ago brought good news. My tumor markers have begun to fall again. As of a week ago, they had fallen to 175. So we're still making progress. My PET scan is scheduled for January 7, and that will give a picture of how much things have changed.

Although the chemo I'm receiving at this treatment center is a world different from standard chemotherapy (it's only about 10% of the standard chemo dose for one thing), it still has side effects that tend to accumulate. I had lots of trouble with red blood cell counts during my first round of cancer and chemo, but this time, it has gone much better. Probably that's because of all the green juice as well as the regular chlorophyll supplements I've been taking. My white blood cells, on the other hand, have been presenting a problem. I've had to have weekly Neupogen shots to boost my white blood cell production. Last week, I began fighting a severe cold which evidently complicated matters even more because I had to have 3 Neupogen shots in 6 days. I hope the need for that diminishes. That's an expensive shot - $400.00. At least I'm not being prescribed Neulasta which is what I was given for white blood cells in 2009. That shot costs $4,000 per dose.

I have also begun losing my hair again. It's not coming out fast and furiously like it did the first time around, but I'm definitely losing much more than is normal. People who choose this treatment option with the first occurrence of cancer do not tend to lose their hair. But since I've already lost mine once, hair loss is much more likely to happen again. At least I've already been there, and I know the positive aspects of being bald.

The Lord has been so dear to me during all this. He has given me a true anticipation for whatever path he chooses to take me down. Trusting him completely is such a burden-reliever. And he doesn't let us down.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

This will be quick, but I wanted to let you all know how it's going.

First of all, the finances have been coming in a week at a time, about when we need them. The youth group at Tri-City Baptist church in Westminster, Colorado (our church) hosted an incredible fund raiser for us that blew everyone away. I didn't get to be there, but these guys evidently did an incredible job pulling together a nice meal and a silent auction. I have heard nothing but enthusiastic reviews of the whole event. Jon and I were so touched by everthing that folks there did. They raised more than $14,000 for my medical expenses. A morning show radio host in Greenville, South Carolina, Russ Cassell, also actively asked for funds for my treatments. His efforts provided about $8,000. There have been numerous gifts that have made this all roll along for us.

The treatments are still going well. My tumor markers fell drastically, then plateaued last week. Treatment was adjusted this week, and then we'll see what happens. I'm feeling great - just as healthy as ever. Our whole family is together here in Phoenix, and I'm so glad we don't have to be separated over Christmas. We're having a good time here. Although spring weather at Christmas just doesn't seem quite right.

Enjoy some of these good old Christmas treats in my honor. (My favorites to be...sausage balls, bacon wrapped asparagus bites, and cheesy shrimp dip.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I'm now about 3 weeks into my treatments here at Oasis of Healing. I had a consultation with Dr. Lodi last week in which he gave me very encouraging news. My tumor markers have begun to fall steadily from their high of about 265. He said my other tests have shown that I am very strong physically and all the results were "perfect". We sure have been encouraged. Part of my treatment here has been a 14 day juice fast, which I am almost done with. I've been drinking 5 to 6 quarts of green juice each day. Even the veteran juicers here have been surprised at how much I've been drinking, but I find its the only way to keep myself from succumbing to the urge to pick in what I cook for the family. All the green juice has had a pretty profound effect on some of the other treatments, and things seem to be going very well.

Many of you have helped us in lots of ways - meals, gift cards, donations to cover the medical expenses, getting us settled here in Phoenix. It is impossible to let you know how deeply thankful we are, and I don't even really know how to begin. Jon and I have been overwhelmed at the down pour of love and caring we have received from hundreds of people, many of whom we don't even know. We have moved beyond the showers of blessings that the song talks about, and are fully into the flood. Thank you, thank you, thank you.