Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another Day, Another Blood Test

After an anxiety filled few days, the appointment with my oncologist Dr. James Mason finally arrived. It seems my cancer marker test, called a CA 19-9,was a very excellent 9, with normal being 0-37, and had actually dropped a bit from last time. This is very good. There is no abnormal lymphatic presentation upon palpation, and everything seems to be working pretty well. My blood pressure has dropped to nearly perfect (123/78), probably due to the weight I have lost (5 lbs since my last check with this doctor, down about 25-30lbs from pre-illness) I highly recommend the low sugar/low animal protein diet. The doctor assured me that the issues I have experienced with lack of taste and dry mouth are likely chemo related, not that common but certainly not unheard of 2 months after cessation of chemo. He also assured me that these symptoms will pass in a few months, but how he can be sure I do not know; I just hope he is right. There is another CT scan in my future, but because of my reluctance to expose myself to more radiation he has agreed to put it off for now. (note: the abdominal CT, the kind I get, is the one with the highest dosage of radiation) If my blood marker had shown any unusual rise, or if lymph nodes were swollen, I certainly would have the scan, but I don’t see any reason to irradiate myself unnecessarily.

Anyway, I saw my surgeon,the inimitable Sunil Bhoyrul last Thursday. He was gracious but overworked as usual. While at his office I had my weight and bodyfat taken, and I must mention that my bodyfat was an astounding 8.6%! I don't know if I have ever been that low! I am a lean machine these days, and it feels good, especially now that I have purchased some pants that fit properly. (an expense I did not expect!) I attribute this primarily to the dietary changes. Amy is trying to fatten me up, but apparently to no avail.
I officiated a lovely wedding at the beautiful old La Valencia hotel in La Jolla last Sunday. While I was there I had a conversation with a professor from the Netherlands who had recently relocated here to work on cancer treatments for Pfizer. He said it is the surgeons that do the most to cure cancer. I believe I agree with him.
I am trying to get some exercise every day, to get my stamina and strength back. Some days I feel pretty good, others not so much. The twinges and spasms I feel around the incision are normal, I am told. So basically, I am hopeful that if I keep up my regimen, I may be able to hold this illness at bay. One is not considered “cured” until you are 5 years cancer free. That seems like a long time. I still have some digestive issues, but compared to most people that have had a Whipple procedure, I am doing utterly fantastic, or so I am told.
Well, that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.
Wishing you peace and health,
Swami bruce

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