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
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
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.