September PCa Update

It has been almost 4 months now since my diagnosis 6/5/09. Two months ago I decided my treatment plan would be headed up by big lifestyle and diet changes, bolstered by hormone therapy and finalized with a round of proton beam therapy at Loma Linda which may be followed with more hormone therapy depending on PSA results. The diet and lifestyle changes are permanent.

So, I have lost about 30 pounds by simply walking a lot, riding my bike often and not eating anything with more than 3 grams of fat per 100 calories. No red meat and very little poultry. Lots of fruit and vegetables and some seafood.

For the past two months I have been on Trelstar, a hormone to block testosterone. PSA has fallen to 1.5 as of 9/29/09. My consultation at Loma Linda is scheduled for 10/6/09-10/7/09 and I hope to return mid-October through mid-December for the series of proton beam treatments.

I don’t play games like golf and tennis and as a California native have very little interest in the traditional attractions folks from out of state enjoy. Therefore, while I am in Southern California I will be working on a petition drive to put an initiative on the 2010 ballot to end cannabis prohibition and save California. http://CaliforniaCannabisInitiative.org. This useful diversion will keep me busy and therefore is a big part of my treatment plan.

So that’s my PCa update for now, I feel good and am very optimistic about my plans. I am fortunate indeed!

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To live well

To live well, to laugh often, to love much, to gain the respect of intelligent people, to win the love of little children. To fill one’s niche and accomplish one’s task, to leave the world better than one finds it whether by an improved flower, a perfect poem or another life ennobled. to never lack appreciation of earth’s beauty or fail to express it, to always look for the best in others, to give the best one has. To make one’s life an inspiration and one’s memory a
benediction. This is success.”
–Bessie Stanley 1904

My first day circulating the CCI petition

It is about 7 miles from my house to Old Sacramento via the American River bike trail. I take this ride often but this time I brought a kit consisting of a little 8.5 x 11 sign frame with the California Cannabis Initiative logo in it, some California Cannabis Initiative petitions, a clipboard and some pens with me. I stopped at Staples and made 20 copies of the 4 on 1 page “Call to Arms” mini flier from the downloads page on CaliforniaCannabisInitiative.org. The clerk suggested green paper and using their paper cutter I quickly made 80 little handouts for about a buck. By the end of the day I was calling these little green slips of paper a prize because people seemed to like that.

I arrived in Old Sacramento around noon on Sunday, 9/13/2009. There weren’t a lot of people there but it was not empty so I set up my little sign on a table in a public space near the boardwalk where lots of people would pass by and started asking for signatures. Since I was using a public space there were no contracts to sign or permissions to get. I soon figured out the most effective line is simply “Legalize Marijuana” or “Petition to Legalize Marijuana”. I think with a big sign that says “Legalize and Tax Marijuana for Adults” I won’t even have to say much, people will line up to sign this petition, and often thank me for being there with it!

Over the course of about 4 hours I collected 20 signatures from Sacramento county residents and because Old Sacramento is a huge draw for tourists I got 18 from Alameda, Los Angeles, Merced, Orange, Placer, San Joaquin, Santa Cruz, Solano, Tulare, and Yolo counties. The most gratifying was a clean cut young couple with baby in a sling on dad’s chest that told me he was a police officer and all his co-workers would sign too.

Overall the response was excellent and I am pleased with my first day out. I came up 12 short of the goal, but hey, it was my first day. Based on today’s results I believe there will be some days with a hundred or more signatures. Yes, there were a handful who said no, and a lot of people didn’t respond at all, but I didn’t try to change anyones mind and was prepared to answer the questions some had. It was easy and fun, I look forward to doing this on a regular basis over the next 145 days, my personal goal is 1,000 signatures.

PCa Update

8/12/09 Bostwick Lab report – second opinion on biopsy. A) Right: Adenocarcinoma (Gleason Score 3+3 =6) involving less than 5% of the specimen. B) Left: Adenocarcinoma (Gleason Score 3 + 4 = 7) Involving 50% of the specimen. Gleason pattern 4 comprises 10% of the cancer. Perineural Invasion.

8/12/09 I had the dreaded colonoscopy and elected to skip the sedation. What a great decision that was! Honestly, I have had much worse experiences in a dentists chair! It was also really interesting and informative to watch the high resolution color video monitor of my innerds. I got the all clear call a couple days later and the most painful part of this medical procedure is the bill. Ouch – at least it satisfies my high deductible for the year, and I don’t have to do it again for ten years.

8/28/09 LabCorp PSA Test: 8.2 ng/mL (from 9.7 on 5/6)

9/2/09 Dr. C says PSA should have dropped more but we will wait another month and see. Meanwhile I had another 3.75mg Trelstar shot and next time it is to be a 3 month shot. I had some hot flashes during the month prior and this shot made my rump a little sore. I feel a bit odd, but nothing serious enough to stop my regular activities.

9/4/09 Loma Linda called and I am scheduled for my consultation on Tuesday, 10/6 and 10/7 to measure me up for my custom pod. They will then have me back a week to ten days later to begin the eight week series of treatments. So, mid October through mid December I will be in SoCal.

California Cannabis Law Reform in 2010

Due to heightened public awareness about legalizing marijuana, Californians are fortunate to have at least four cannabis law reform measures to consider. This abundance has created some confusion and advocates may be unsure what to support.

Taking the measures in order of introduction, Tom Ammiano’s AB 390 was introduced to the state legislature in mid 2009 and failed to gain enough support to get very far. Some advocates expressed concern over the length of the bill (59 pages) and took issue with many of its provisions. Opponents only read the headlines and rejected the entire idea with no further discussion.

Next, on July 15, 2009 a four page proposed ballot initiative entitled The Tax, Regulate and Control Cannabis Act was filed by California Cannabis Initiative (CCI), an all-volunteer effort.

About two weeks later an eleven page proposed ballot initiative, with a very similar title but vastly different language, was filed by Taxcannabis 2010, an effort funded by dispensary owners.

Around this same time a fourth initiative was filed by a Long Beach group that no one seems to have taken much interest in. This measure seems to simply instruct the legislature to take charge of the issue and enact legal reform reflecting majority opinion, an idea many consider highly unlikely.

Emerging from all this activity as the most visionary is the all-volunteer effort by California Cannabis Initiative. For adults 21 and up this Act would repeal cannabis prohibition retroactively, thus releasing thousands of cannabis prisoners and putting an end to the black market for cannabis. The savings for law enforcement are estimated to be at least $981 Million per year.

The Ammiano bill has (predictably) stalled in the legislature amidst opposition from well-funded opponents and little support from cannabis law reformers.

The CCI proposal would tax cannabis $50 per ounce which the state Board of Equalization estimates will add $1.4 Billion to the California Budget. These funds must be used for vital social programs cut by recent budget shortfalls. Adults 21 and up would have no restrictions on private use and commercial activities would be legal and regulated like any other business.

The Oaksterdam initiative, funded by cannabis vendors, would let cities decide if cannabis could be produced or sold, generate very little income for the state budget, restrict citizens to one once of cannabis, only allow a five foot space to grow in, leave cannabis prisoners locked up and create new cannabis crimes while retaining many already on the books.

The time is ripe for cannabis law reform and it falls to this generation to improve the future for cannabis consumers while funding vital social programs and freeing up law enforcement resources to focus on real criminals and crime. CCI is seeking volunteers to continue the work so much time and effort has already been invested in. Right now there is a critical and urgent need for pro-bono help from election law experts to help insure legal compliance. Volunteer online at CaliforniaCannabisInitiative.org

Proton Beam Therapy

I posted my story to an online listserv and have had several responses with glowing support of Proton Beam Therapy.
Proton therapy has been practiced at Loma Linda University Medical Center in Loma Linda, CA for 17 years. Additional proton centers have been established at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Midwest Proton Radiotherapy Institute in Indiana, MD Anderson in Texas and University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville. Proton therapy is also practiced in Europe and Asia. And at least 16 new hospital-based proton treatment centers are in the design, construction or planning stage around the world. http://www.protonbob.com
So I sent an inquiry to the Loma Linda folks since that is the closest to me.

I also sent an inquiry to Oakland based CET http://www.cetmc.com because they offer a unique method that removes the radiation from my body after each treatment and Oakland is a 2 hour train ride away.

Posted in PCa

July RT Consultation

Had appointment with RT Oncologist Dr. Leibenhaut on July 1 who did the most thorough exam to date, including a DRE. He assigned a CS of T2B and told me his recommendation would be surgery because my staging indicates I would have a 25% chance of not needing radiation therapy, which also means I have a 75% chance of ALSO needing RT anyway. He said the risks were about equivalent for side effects but that RT would likely lead to a new cancer 15-20 years later. He was also confident of success, and willing, to treat me with a triplex of Hormone, EBRT and Seed Implants. He told me of a clinical trial I barely qualified for that would involve a control group that does just the seeds.

Posted in PCa