Friday, April 5, 2019

April 5, 2019 - Setback Time

I left you in October of last year.  Much has happened since.  First, Kathe and I moved from the San Diego area to the Hilton Head, South Carolina area.  The move was extremely stressful as we (1) got rid of lots of stuff, (2) packed 400 boxes, (3) finally sold our house in San Diego, (4) sold one of our cars, (5) had Mayflower truck our stuff to South Carolina, (6) carried the dogs on the plane, and (7) unpacked, trying to get rid of stuff in the process.  In the meantime I am still off of Lupron and continuing my diet and supplement regimen. 

It has been somewhat difficult to get an oncologist here since they are in short supply in this part of South Carolina.  Several new friends have said that the locals call this the “Low Country” which is a geographic term, but a better description would be to call it the “Slow Country” because things don’t move at the expected pace.  Such is the case for the staff for one oncologist I tried to connect with.  Out of frustration and also because of good reputation, I finally contacted the Oncology Department of the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, a 2-hour drive away.  The staff there acted much like Scripps in California—professional and to the point.  I was assigned to Dr. Michael Lilly who heads the Prostate Cancer Oncology group.  Dr. Lilly was educated in San Diego and worked at UC Irvine for many years so he understands my accent (kidding).

First South Carolina examination – I went through the usual blood tests and received some not-so-happy results.  My PSA has risen from .08 in December to 0.70 in the last 3 months.  This translates to a doubling time of about 4 months, predicting that 0.70 would go to 1.40 in that time.  My Testosterone level went from 42 ng/dl to 345 ng/dl.  The rest of my tests were pretty much normal.  So much for going without Lupron.  Of course Dr. Lilly would prefer to have more readings (wait for 4 months), but since the cancer was invading my whole body with a PSA of 1.6 in the past, I don’t like to mess around and give it a chance to grow.  Going from 0.08 to 0.70 is an 8.75 times increase and the same with testosterone.  I had hoped that things would move much more slowly with my diet and supplements, but now I will be back on Lupron next week.

Metformin – So I have been taking 500 mg Metformin for the past several months.  I am doing this because I am pre-diabetic in spite of my low sugar diet.  There is something about the diet that impacts my glucose levels.  I am taking it also because of an off-label use to slow cancer growth.  So what has it done?  I don’t know--other than make me lose weight.  I don’t want to lose weight so I eat more.  My glucose levels are lower, but I don’t know if it is having any impact on the cancer.

Otherwise I am not feeling any side effects I would consider to be from the cancer itself.  I do have lots of somewhat normal aches and pains and some residual from the chemo like nasty toenails.  For that I went to a podiatrist for the first time.  My toes are looking much better now.

We’ll see what’s next for the now Ex-Remission Man.