What Now.

On Friday I visited my oncologist, Dr W.  He was very supportive and pleased to see me back in Australia.  I am having a bone scan and a CT scan next week. Dr W  has commenced the process for me to have a psma scan. I feel positive about this scan as it will detect tiny tumours if any, and I can compare it with the one I had in 2016. If it is clear, great! If not, at least we will know where it is and have some idea of how best to treat it.

Dr W  will see me again at the end of June. Next psa around 20 June. It appears he sees no great urgency at this stage. There are 3 treatment  options, radiation, hormone therapy or chemotherapy.  There have been improvements in hormone therapy and that sounds like a good option to me. Dr W said he can arrange for me to take sufficient medication with me to Canada. Chemo would require me to stay in Australia and to me is not a good option anyway.

Meanwhile I am catching up with friends and family.  I feel well and life is good. I miss S and she misses me. All of this is so new to her and it is hard to take sometimes. We try to stay positive, but of course there are moments when tears flow.

I thank everyone who reads this for their support, spoken or unspoken.

Going Down!

Finally some good news, my psa is going down!! Around a month ago my psa was 107 and doubling in under 5 weeks. By a rough estimate, when S gave me my Zoladex injection on April 21, it would have been around 140. A blood test May 5 gave a psa of 110! A drop of 30 in 2 weeks! So it appears the hormone injection is working despite a testosterone level of zero. I never would have expected to call a psa of 110 good news. Yet it is! I thank Dr JM for his advice, encouraging me to use the Zoladex…..

Meanwhile I am adapting to life down under in sub-tropical New South Wales. Having survived one of the coldest winters in recent history in Canada, I am now feeling the cold in Australia. I believe the hormone treatment affects the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. It is a small price to pay.

S is still in Canada and we are missing each other terribly, although we communicate daily by email, and the occasional phone call. Tomorrow I will see my oncologist and will discuss the next step in the journey. I feel well apart from some occasional arthritic complaints. I really don’t have any evidence or symptoms of cancer apart from that number! What if I have experienced a spontaneous remission? How will I explain that? Black Salve? Curcumin? Faith? or modern medicine?

Unrealistic!! Don’t get your hopes up. What else is there? We stop hoping for a cure or at least a long term slowing of disease progression we are dead already!! And so I fight on, believing that S and I will have a long and happy future!

Cancer is not my enemy – I am cancer’s Enemy!!

Footnote: The ship in the photo is the French barque “Adolphe” that was wrecked entering Newcastle Harbour in 1904. Her bones rest against Stockton breakwater to this day. The photo is part of the Newcastle City Library collection. Other ships had been wrecked in the same place, known as The Oyster Bank.

Flight to Australia

After receiving my latest psa, we made the decision that I should return to Oz as soon as possible. We went to Vancouver Airport to arrange a flight. The young lady at the Delta check in, said she could get me on a flight May 1. There would be a $300.00 penalty payment. We asked if it could be waived. She said she had already waived a good part of it. Then my hero, S, stepped in and said, “this is a medical emergency, my partner has cancer and needs urgent treatment.” The young lady said she would see what she could do. When she came back she said her supervisor had waived the whole fee, and also they would arrange for me to have a window seat (which I wanted) and also a vacant seat beside me on both flights! Wow! What great service Delta. And all on just a few days notice….

On the flight day, I went through US customs at Vancouver airport. There were no problems, it was a very smooth process. I have a 90 day visa for the US. At LAX there would be no Customs to worry about and no bags to transfer, easy!

We took off over the water, and I got some glimpses of Vancouver Island. After that there was lots of cloud until about halfway to LA. We passed over Lake Tahoe and I got some video. I got some great shots. I could see a huge ski resort at Mount Rose just North of Lake Tahoe. The mountains were amazing, then it was miles and miles of farms around Fresno. The sun was out coming up to LA. We swung out over the sea and then circled back over LA before landing. It was a good flight with my empty seat beside me. The guy in the other seat slept all the way.

As I left the plane, I saw a man with a wheelchair, holding a sign with my name on it. So I got a wheelchair ride to the departure lounge. It was not far like last time, but I was grateful not to have to walk. My hip hasn’t been too bad lately but I don’t want to aggravate it. No customs, no baggage to worry about. I had a nice dinner and the 5 hours went quickly thanks to scintillating conversation with my Darling S on Facebook Messenger.

When I boarded the big 777 for the long crossing of the Pacific, I discovered I had 3 seats all to myself and mine was the only bag in my overhead locker. After take off a woman asked if she could sit in my aisle seat. They had put her in the middle with two fatties. She was going to Perth, so of course I was fine with that. The rest of the plane was full. How good was that. The lady who arranged my flight deserves a medal! All credit to S too, she was most persuasive and I am sure she arranged the wheelchair.

I watched 3 movies en route. Lion was good, but not exactly bedtime stuff. At the end they showed the real people and you saw his adopting parents meeting his mother. Bit of a tear jerker that one. That started me missing S again, so I had a bit of a teary moment!

After a while I watched Manchester by the Sea. I didn’t really like it. It was about dysfunctional people and I kept waiting for the good bit, but I must have missed it!

Later I watched The Meddler. Susan Sarandon. I loved it. Had me laughing out loud at times. A great movie, I can recommend it.

Later in the flight we had some turbulence and I opened my blind and had a look. There was the Southern Cross, just above the wing. I looked down and there were all the lights of Fiji. What a beautiful sight. You could see the different islands like jewels of light in the black.

The sun rose an hour before Sydney. There was very thick cloud. It was a bit better when we arrived, we did a big circle over Sydney before landing and I was able to shoot some good video despite the partial overcast. The captain gave a really good talk about Sydney as we circled. It was a good flight. The hardest thing was trying to get comfortable. My new neck pillow was a big help. When I left the plane there was no wheelchair for me. Apparently the guy was late getting there I learned later. There was a huge crowd of passengers all trying to figure out the passport check machines. I was getting pretty tired by this so went straight to Customs. I had declared that I had “restricted drugs or medications”. I expected to be searched, but the Officer just took one look at me and said “medications?”. I said yes, he said go to aisle 6. I could see people lined up in rows to go through the x ray machines, then I discovered aisle 6 went straight to the exit. My cousin was waiting to take me to her place, where I had breakfast and crashed for the day. I had been awake for 60 hours!

Bursitis

Today I am feeling so much better. I had a bout of Bursitis in my hip yesterday and could hardly walk. Naturally my mind tells me it is a tumour growing and causing pain. Today the pain is gone. It was not the cancer. The somewhat revealing photo shows the tumour that was treated last year. I still feel pain in that area, mainly at night when the Tigers come with their voices soft as thunder….

S and I had a good day today, we had lunch out and did some shopping. I received a lovely thank you card from the place where I volunteer, along with a pewter pin commemorating Canada’s 150 Anniversary.

Only a short time left for me in Canada. S will join me in a few weeks. I have arranged to see my Oncologist in Newcastle NSW so things are on track. We are sad at being parted for a short time. However we are looking forward to some adventures in Australia together. We both feel positive that this is the right way to go. Thanks to everyone for your support. God bless us all!

Travelling

Things change quickly. My mind is in turmoil, yet I feel at peace. A good friend convinced me to act sooner rather than later. Today I visited Vancouver Airport and told the Delta people about my problem. The young lady booked me on a flight leaving on Monday May 1 and arriving in Sydney Wednesday May 3. She persuaded her boss to waive the $300+ re booking fee and even arranged for me to have a window seat and hopefully a vacant seat beside me. Stefanie (S) hopes to join me in a few weeks. One of my cousins has offered to pick me up from Sydney Airport and give me a bed for the night. After that I will stay with my sister for a while. I am looking forward to seeing my family and friends. The universe is on my side. I feel so blessed!!

Unwelcome News

This morning I received the long awaited phone call. “Your psa is 107”. I had so much hoped for a much lower number than last time (48.6), or at least a levelling off. I was even prepared for at worst a doubling (97.2) but 107 came as quite a shock. S and I were getting ready to go out to lunch with some friends. We had a great lunch, fresh Halibut at a great venue, right near Vancouver airport. Of course we could not say too much as we are still trying to come to terms with what this number actually means……

So, what does it mean? At first sight it would appear to indicate that the cancer cells are multiplying at an increasing rate. A closer look at the graph shows that there was a decrease following radiotherapy and then a sudden rise coinciding with taking black salve internally in October 2016. I am now taking a powder form of black salve in capsules. To be more correct it is a mixture of bloodroot powder, chaparral powder, graviola powder and burdock root powder. None of which would cause me any harm, but should disrupt cancer cells.

Prostate cancer is supposed to be slow growing, so maybe it is reasonable to assume it will be slow to die as well. (It works for me!). I can theorise about it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day only definitive tests by my oncologist will reveal the true story. I plan therefore to return to Australia where I can have testing and receive treatment.

Tonight, S will give me a Zoladex injection and I will have another psa test in 3 weeks to see if it is making a difference. My sincere thanks go to Dr JM for his advice. (I am so grateful that you cared enough to give your opinion.)

Maybe some reader is wondering about how I am feeling. I feel disappointed. I feel frustrated that I will have to leave my beloved S, even if it only for a short time. I hope she will join me in Australia at a later date. I feel there are so many things that I have not done and may not be able to do, yet at the same time I am grateful for the things I have done, the people I have met and the opportunity to spend real quality time with the woman I love. I feel hopeful that my treatment will be successful and that we will return soon to Canada in time to enjoy the beautiful weather that is just now coming with Spring.  I thank all of my readers for your prayers, your good wishes and your support. God bless all of you. Les.

Apprehension

Apprehension is what I feel whenever I am heading into the unknown, especially if danger is involved, such as heading out to sea under sail. I know my ship is strong, I built her myself from steel. I know I am strong, I feel well with no symptoms of cancer. I have every reason to feel good, and yet this psa number overshadows my thoughts like a storm cloud.

My last psa test was on Saturday. 5 weeks ago it was almost 50. If it is still doubling it will be almost 100. Now that is a scary thought, but it is only a thought and it’s just a number. However, I still believe that the black salve is working and disrupting the cancer which makes this a false reading. My hope is that the number will level off or even fall as time goes by.

Nonetheless I am happy and blessed in my life. I am grateful for all that I have. God works in wondrous ways so I trust in Him. I will have a result before the weekend.

Facing Fears

You will probably think that this post is about death, dying or cancer treatment. It’s not. Today I faced a room full of Grade 10 High School students. “Big deal”, I hear you say! Well for  me it was a big deal. I am 70 and I have never done anything quite like this in my life. There were at least 36 kids in the room. I had to present information about volunteering for around an hour……..

Then I had to do it twice more! Part of me wanted to back out, but a bigger part of me wanted to bite the bullet, get in there and nail it. After all I had volunteered for this assignment.

Maybe I didn’t exactly nail it the way I hoped, but I did get the messages across. The kids were well behaved and respectful. I stuffed up some minor points, but they didn’t know that. They didn’t know that I had no experience. You know what? I actually enjoyed myself.

I am an Australian living in Canada. I started by writing “G’day mate, howyagoing?” on the board. I heard a few “g’day mate”s in the background. I turned to the class and said “g’day class”. Silence. With a little prompting they responded. I taught them a typical Aussie greeting and they enjoyed it. I then asked for a volunteer to clean the board.

It was a good intro. The kids were interested and paid attention. The hour went by in a blur and the kids clapped appreciatively at the end.

My lesson? Challenge yourself, prepare your strategy, face your fears head on and do your best. You will be glad you did. After all, isn’t that how we tackle our journeys through life?

Would I do it again? You know, I just might!

Never Give Up

Here I go again with the black salve, this time in capsules form. I thought it would be black but it’s not, as you can see. I have read so many testimonials about black salve and other natural therapies, it is hard to accept that they are all fake. So, undaunted, I  will  continue  in my quest for a cure, or at least a slowing down of the process.

First, to those who think I  am wasting my time and money. These capsules do not cost anywhere near as much as the drugs from pharmaceutical companies. Also they do not do as much damage as chemotherapy, hormone therapy, surgery or radiation, all of which have failed in some cases despite the cost. In fact, people often end up worse off.

My new regime starts today. I take circumin with black pepper twice per day and blood root capsules 3 times per day with food, as per the manufacturers directions. I will continue to monitor my psa on a regular basis. My last psa in March was nearly 50 indicating a doubling time of 5 weeks. Now that is scary!

Any reasonable person would conclude that my experiment with black salve didn’t work, in fact it may have made things worse! Unreasonably, I prefer to believe that it has stirred up the cancer cells, causing them to excrete psa in their agony of dying. I visualise those little buggers writhing in pain, doubled over as psa oozes out of their contorted bodies! The dead bodies mopped up by my strengthened immune system and leaving my body through the usual channels.

Well that is what I  choose to believe. My next psa test is later next week. Until then I hold on to my faith. Cancer does not have me. My spirit is well!

Thank you to all who consciously or unconsciously are praying for me, and a big thanks to my partner S who is my faith when mine is weak.

I Suck at Girls, a book review

S and I enjoyed this book very much. We read parts of it to each other. The author is one of the world’s  great procrastinators and the basic plot is a review of his life as he decides if he should propose marriage after 4 years in a relationship.

The author, Justin Halpern, describes various stages in his development into adulthood. Along the way he receives advice from his big brother, his friends and especially his father, who is an extremely well educated man, a doctor of medicine and a university professor.

The book is written in a present tense style and it is easy to believe that you are there with him. The images he creates in the mind are vivid and realistic..

The language…..it is hard to believe that Justin’s father would speak the  way he does. He is as subtle as a bulldozer, sarcastic and foul mouthed. He is a kind man and means well. Poor Justin spends his life trying to come to terms with his sexuality without much success until finally he meets Amanda, the love of his life.

Justin worries about everything, he is uptight, naive and innocent about the ways of the world and how he fits in. There are many humorous moments and few flat spots. There are heart-rending moments where I wanted to  reach in and give him some advice myself.

While the book is written about the son, we found ourselves becoming just as intrigued by the father. Perhaps this is because we are also parents and grandparents. There is a lot written between the lines in this little book. We both had great fun reading it and laughed out loud many times. It achieves it’s goal, to entertain the reader.

We can’t wait to read his other book,  Sh’t My Father Says.