I have been using third person as I describe the ordeal, but I think it will be easier to describe what I am going through in first person from now on.
In the last post I had received my second opinion at UCSD that was essentially the same as the doctors at Scripps. Both prescribed the same treatment: Lupron hormone blocker (also termed "Androgen Deprivation Therapy") combined with Dosetaxel chemo for 6 treatments over 18 months. Neither organizations offer the addition of natural remedies to augment the administering of the drugs.
I have made the choice to continue treatment with Scripps instead of switching to UCSD, largely for the reasons I gave in the last blog: (1) I find Dr. Bhangoo, the Scripps oncologist, to be incredibly responsive to ex-appointment questions and concerns, and willing to make himself available to me, (2) Dr. Bhangoo has demonstrated a willingness to do some research into less traditional treatments to augment the standard treatment he and Dr. Testy have prescribed, (3) the Scripps location for infusion of the chemo is much, much more convenient.
I did receive some good news from Dr. Bhangoo. He had read about a new test by Quest that attempts to detect and measure metastasized cells in the blood. Outside the normal diagnostics, he ordered this test for me. The test showed no metastasized cells in my blood. This would lead one to believe that this enhances the chances for a successful outcome.
As I have read more and more about the Lupron/Dosetaxel regimen, I am struck by how Draconian it is. It is a total shotgun approach; one size fits all. Starve the feed mechanism (testosterone) and kill all the fast-dividing cells in the body with the hope that we get the cancer cells. In the meantime the patient has all kinds of nasty side effects and in some ways is left with no immune system to continue to fight the cancer if it hasn't been eliminated. The only good news is that in spite of this, patient outcomes have been found to be better than treatment with hormone blockers like Lupron and no chemo.
Incidentally, scratch that idea in my last post that this chemo is different from others. It is, but Dosetaxel is the same stuff that is used to treat breast cancer, so from that I know that it does cause nausea, lack of appetite, and mood changes, to mention a few. It is less intrusive than what they use for leukemia, but nevertheless still nasty.
It is important to note that hormone blocking is almost always the prescribed starting point for this disease. Most all other treatments (like immunotherapy or radioactive drugs) are only applied if the cancer fails to be stopped by eliminating testosterone. For this reason there are few if any studies that skip the Lupron step.
I am planning to continue taking Modified Citrus Pectin during chemo. As I described on 12/3 I am getting very positive results from my Saw Palmetto/Stinging Nettle Root/Modified Citrus Pectin/Low Sugar Diet regimen. MCP in particular seems to cause the body to intensify its attack in the process of causing cancer cells to commit suicide. It has also been found to counteract some cancer’s natural resistance to chemo, so the $120/month for MCP may just be worth it. It just may increase the odds of getting all of the cancer. The only concern is the possibility that MCP might lessen the impact of Dosetaxel. I have been searching for papers on this.
I don’t think I will continue on the Saw Palmetto and Stinging Nettle Root since they generally have the same effect as Lupron and I don’t want to mess around while going through the chemo treatments.
It has been 3+ days since the Lupron shot. I feel no side effects yet. I start the Dosetaxel in two days and have to take a steroid first to counteract some of the Dosetaxel side effects.
I will continue to keep you posted.