Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April Update

I went to see the cancer doc today. The cancer has been slowly creeping upward over the past few months, since December, but he says I am doing real good, and am in good shape for a cancer patient. He loves that I am still swimming 3 times a week at a good distance and pace. 
Although I am doing fairly well, the doctor wants me to continue on maintenance dosing of chemo (what I refer to as the "lukewarm" approach to fighting cancer, neither hot, nor cold, nor much of anything else). I was disappointed to not check out of (and leave) the Hotel California on this visit, and I think that I kind of irritated and annoyed my good friend the cancer doc with constant questions and referrals to data and logic, and general lack of understanding to this approach of fighting cancer. In light of the many I know who are in much more dire circumstances of cancer than I, I have much for which to be thankful and should be ashamed for my lack of gratitude.
I appreciate all of you for your friendship, support and prayers.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Update (or downdate)

I went to see the cancer doctor today. For the past two months, there has been a decline in the cancer-indicating M-spike, from 1.1 in early October to 0.7 earlier this month. This is the lowest it has been in six years. The decrease coincides with the time that I have been adding (somewhat on my own) low doses of a previously prescribed steroid to the incredibly expensive cancer drug. The doc attributes the decreases to the incredibly expensive cancer drug that is not hard on my body, but my review of the data favors (from a strictly human perspective) the inexpensive steroid that is very hard on my body. Anyway, we know who is ultimately behind any decrease and give thanks to Him.

As always, your friendship, prayers, encouragement and support are much appreciated.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Update October 2016

I went to see the cancer doc this week, and things are just about the same. The cancer has increased very slightly over the past 3 months (from 1.0 to 1.1). The blood is also healthier, which means the bone marrow is getting replenished and making good blood again. The doc is very happy with the low amount of increase in the cancer, the improvement in the blood, and my overall level of fitness. I can out-swim at least half of the old ladies in the pool in the mornings, but I do still get tired more quickly than normal.

The doc is not prescribing any change to the chemo treatment. I will have another blood test in early November, and see the doc again in December.

The prayers and encouragement are much appreciated.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Doc Who Tells It Like It Is

I saw the cancer doctor this past week, and discussed results of the blood sample taken the week before. The cancer indicator is down quite a bit from last month, but up slightly from 2 months ago. For the past 4 months, the readings are 0.7, 0.8, 1.3 and 1.0.  What this means is that last month was an anomalous data reading, either due to a goofed-up test in the cancer lab (my hypothesis), or because I was sick at the time the sample was taken (Carol's theory). Throwing out the bad data point, we are seeing a slow and steady increase of 0.1 per month. I will get another blood reading in early September, but it will be two months before I see the cancer doc again, because even cancer docs need a vacation now and then.

The doctor is pleased with the slow rate at which the cancer is progressing and also with overall improvements in the quality of blood the marrow is making. He said that after another couple of months of this lower chemo, I might get to take a break from it. 


I asked him why it is taking so long for my leg muscles to heal and for me to start walking better again, and he said, "Because you're old." But, I countered that I could walk great in the pool, just not so good on dry land. He said, "Not only are you old; you're also fat." (Maybe not his EXACT words, but I think that was the logical progression of what he meant.) 


Thanks for the prayers, support and encouragement.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Stay the Course

Carol and I just got back from seeing the cancer doc.  The cancer indicator increased by 60% (from 0.8 to 1.3) over the past month. Initially, this concerned us greatly, but the doc is not worried about it. He does not consider it to be a trend until he sees it for two or more months in a row, and he is a very good cancer doc. So for now, we will stay the course at the "maintenance" level of 10 mg of wonderdrug per day, as opposed to 25 mg of wonderdrug plus steroids, which is the treatment level. On another note, the doc is very encouraged and enthusiastic by increases in the overall quality of the blood. As always, your prayers, encouragement expressions of friendship and concern are much appreciated.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Where It's At (or, more properly, At Where It Is)

After lots of tests, I saw the cancer doc this past week and had some more tests run, and just heard back from him on Friday. To place into perspective, the cancer was at its highest (and hardest) point ever in late January, five months ago. The cancer has now been reduced to about 1/6 of that level (from 4.5 to 0.8 on my cancer's scale), but the medicine we have been using is no longer be effective at reducing it. The cancer has leveled off, is no longer decreasing, and actually showed a slight increase this past time. The cancer doc has therefore decided to stop current treatment, and place me on lower dose on the medication (40% of current dose, and dropping the accompanying steroid treatment), with the goal being to limit future growth rather than attempting to drive the cancer down any lower. Next time it reaches an "unacceptable" level, we'll have to try some other medication, but at least now there are some other medicines out there. This is a marathon, not a sprint, full of strategic moves and counter-moves, and we knew from the outset it would hopefully be a long haul. Thanks, as always, for your prayers and encouragement.  

Michael Katz