I got an email from www.buy.com this morning. They were selling a TiVo (TiVo R54080 Series2 Digital Video Recorder - Up to 80 Hours Capacity) for $150 with a $150 mail-in rebate.
It was tempting, but I’m still not ready to pony up the $14 or whatever it is each month. Still, it WAS tempting.
Today was about the same as yesterday. I felt a little stronger in the morning, but faded in the afternoon.
Bed is looking very good about now.
The daily news doesn’t frequently have a lot of stuff to smile about. But I smiled about Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to Graceland. I didn’t know he was a die-hard Elvis fan.
World Leaders give each other gifts all the time. But it appeared that this visit to Graceland went over very big with Koizumi.
I just thought it was nice that he had some fun.
Today was about the same as yesterday. I made it into the office, sat and sipped my Wawa coffee. I did some work, but felt pretty tired all day.
Now I’m just looking forward to bed.
My Science News has an article about new drugs for people suffering from diabetes.
Two experimental drugs can lower blood sugar significantly in people with type 2 diabetes, research shows. If approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the drugs could represent a new class of diabetes medication.
Both compounds inhibit an enzyme called dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4), which usually controls the body's production of a hormone, called GLP1. Cells lining the intestines normally release GLP1 in response to ingested sugars, and the hormone then alerts cells in the pancreas to release insulin for sugar regulation (SN: 8/16/03, p. 104: Available to subscribers at http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20030816/bob9.asp).
But GLP1 lasts only minutes in the body because DPP-4 breaks it down. Researchers have hypothesized that suppressing the enzyme would make more GLP1 available to the pancreas cells to stabilize insulin production.
Two groups now report that DPP-4 inhibitors significantly lower blood sugar compared with placebos. The effects showed up when the inhibitors were taken alone or in combination with other diabetes drugs.
One of the new drugs, sitagliptin, is made by Merck Research Laboratories of Rahway, N.J. The other, called vildagliptin, is made by Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis.
Compared with a placebo, neither drug caused more occurrences of a severe drop in blood sugar.
"DPP-4 inhibition is a mechanism by which we can enhance the body's own glucose regulation," says Merck scientist Peter Stein.
The DPP-4 inhibitors show great promise, agrees John B. Buse of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. But even though they appear safe in these studies, the drugs' full impact may not be apparent until they're taken by thousands of people for many years. "There are many [compounds in the body] degraded by DPP-4," he notes, and inhibiting the enzyme could increase those compounds' concentrations, with yet-unknown effects.
I’m feeling pretty tired tonight. I did OK today – better than yesterday, but still not as good as Monday. Perhaps Monday just wore me down a bit. Anyway, I’m off to bed.
Here’s bible quote I thought you would find interesting. I find that having, as much faith as Jesus says to have is difficult to do. We have a pastor that preaches at our church on occasion that in remission from prostate cancer. He has the faith that I wish I had. By the way, his last PSA test came out at one. He told his oncologist that would happen.
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him." And Jesus answered, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me." And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."
I’m feeling tired, but better than yesterday. I’m in the office and getting some work done. I’m just a bit slow.
It’s been a tough day. I stayed in the office until about 4:30. I did get some things done, but I’m really looking forward to bed tonight.
It’s little disappointing as yesterday I did pretty well. Today I seem to have regarded back to about the way I felt on Sunday.
I’m picking up some weight. I weighed in at 155 Lbs this morning. A couple of weeks ago I was down to 149 Lbs.
I decided to forego my nightly walk. I’d just rather rest.
Glenn Reynolds has a podcast with Andy Kessler, the author of "The End of Medicine: How Silicon Valley (and Naked Mice) will Reboot Your Doctor". I found it a fascinating podcast. Click here to go to his site to listen to it. It runs about 40 minutes.
I made it to the office, but it was a struggle. I’m feeling pretty wiped out this morning.
I’m just going to sit here for a while and sip my coffee until I feel like my mind can function.
I almost wish I’d stayed home. If I was home, I would lie down and take a nap and perhaps feel better.
I did pretty well today. I spent the whole day at the client site and got them upgraded to Microsoft Dynamics 9.0. This is the third upgrade to Dynamics 9.0 I’ve done and, although it took a little longer than anticipated, it went pretty smoothly.
There were a few times in the afternoon when I felt like I really needed a nap. But I just toughed it out and finished the job – sort of. There are still a couple of loose ends to clean up, but I can do those from my office.
It was good to see everyone at the client site and let me know I’m still here. I actually prefer being on-site versus working from home or my office. It’s just more interesting to work on-site. I rather like the interaction with the client. Now, after a steady diet, it’s nice to take a break too.
I’m starting to fade and am looking forward to hitting the sack.
Today was better than yesterday. I felt good enough to upgrade a client on their software. This means I MUST be there tomorrow morning bright and early.
It was a gamble, but even though I felt pretty wiped out, I went ahead. My gamble is that I will feel well enough to go on-site and finish the update. Fortunately, it is only a half hour drive from my office. It MAY go into Tuesday, but we’ll see.
Lately my blood pressure has been pretty low. I’ve been averaging about 106/67 or thereabouts. When I stand up, I feel a little light-headed. This morning the Vorlon Wife and I were greeters at church. After standing in the vestibule for about 20 minutes, I told the Vorlon Wife I had to go and sit down. I was feeling somewhat light headed and all I seemed to do was pant.
That rather explains me condition. If I move around much, I have to sit and pant for a while.
I’m feeling pretty tired tonight as I have all day. I’m going to bed early tonight so I’ll be ready tomorrow morning.
I happen to catch on the news this morning a group that has put together a tribute to those that fought in WWII. The name of the group is Dr. Sam and the Managed Care Blues Band. You can listen to it by clicking here.
They became aware at how many WWII vets are dying each day. It’s something like 1200 a day. They wanted to say thank you to them before they were gone.
It’s been a down day. The Neulasta is really whacking me good. I spent today moving as little as possible as I felt exhausted. I still pretty much feel that way.
The Vorlon Wife went to the shore with her younger brother. I would have gone, but when you feel like I do, you just don’t want to move.
There’s not much else to report. I’m going to bed.
I’m feeling tired, but pretty good tonight. As a matter of fact, I felt pretty good almost all day. I was a little slow out of the gate this morning, but after a while felt pretty good. It seems that when I first get up, I feel good. But after an hour or so, I start to fade. I find that if I rest a bit, them I’m sort of ready to go.
I took some ibuprofen today and my right foot got better all day. By now the ibuprofen as completely worn off and my foot is almost completely pain free. I even went out for my 1-mile walk and experienced only an occasional pain spasm. But I didn’t have any difficulty walking. It appears the pain was only do to the chemo and not a stress fracture. I’m pleased about that as a stress fracture can take weeks to heal.
I went in for my blood test. Monday my white cell count was 30,000. Today it was 3,900. Still healthy, but down substantially from Monday. To my satisfaction they gave me a Neulasta shot. I’m not looking forward to how the Neulasta will whack me, but I’m pleased were taking proactive efforts to PREVENT me from dropping to dangerous levels.
When at the oncology office, my oncologist was hanging around and I quizzed briefly on my foot pain. He didn’t know what to make of it, but said anything is possible.
I’m shortly off to bed.
I see that July gasoline futures closed at $2.1276 today.
I made it into the office and I’m feeling pretty good. I took some ibuprofen and my foot and leg are feeling better. I don’t know if the pain will return or not. Even my brain seems to be working better – and it needs all the help it can get.
I did pretty well today. I got into the office late, but stayed until 4:30.
I’m feeling pretty tired, tonight, however.
My right foot is really hurting me. It hurts when I put my weight on it. The pain is on the outside and the ache comes part way up my leg. It just started this morning and I’m wondering if I picked up a stress fracture.
I could not do my walk as it hurts just to walk across the room.
Tomorrow afternoon I’m going for a blood test to see where my white cell count is.
Meanwhile, the Vorlon Wife is cutting the hedge at this moment.
I FIANALLY made it into the office. We’ll see how today goes. For some reason I’m experiencing some pain on the outside of my right foot. It makes me limp when I walk. Fortunately the pain comes and goes.
Now I’m getting some severe shooting pains in my right toe.
But I’m still here.
I’m doing OK tonight. I took a long nap this afternoon and that helped. I get tired in the afternoon.
There is one GOOD thing about my recent chemo treatment. The Gemzar, although it knocks me down, doesn’t seem to affect my taste buds. That means I’m still eating well.
I’m experiencing something that’s a little strange. I’ve had it for quite a while; it’s just now that I think I can describe it. Every once in a while, I get a feeling as if a very mild electrical current is flowing through my body. The feeling last for about thee or four seconds and then passes. The frequency is a couple of times an hour.
It’s not painful or anything, it’s just there. I suspect it’s the chemo whacking my nervous system.
Well, I’m off to bed. Maybe tomorrow I can make it into the office.
I’m afraid I’m still staying home today. I feel pretty good sitting in one spot. But when I get up to walk across the room I become exhausted and then have to sit down and catch my breath.
The chemo is really attacking my feet and walking is a bit of a hobble with a little discomfort.
I can work pretty well from home and so I will.
I’m feeling a little better tonight. I spent most of the day doing nothing. I took a 2-hour nap in the afternoon and that helped a bit.
The good news is my weight is up to 154 Lbs.
I’m feeling a little tired and am off to bed.
I have just returned from seeing my oncologist. He did his cursory exam and pronounced, “You look good.” But, he ALWAYS says that.
His exam consist of feeling the lymph nodes in my arm pits, thumping on me from the back, listening to deep inhalations from the back, listening to my heart and listening to my gizzard. Then he presses on my gizzard asking, “Does this hurt?” I respond, “No.” I asked him, how do my lymph nodes feel and does my gizzard gurgle sufficient well.
He said they’re not doing Neulasta as my white cell count was on the high side. I told him I had wanted skip Saturday and only do Sunday as a booster shot, but the nurse talked me into doing both days. I told him, that in retrospect, I was right. He acknowledged that my judgment was probably the correct one.
I sort of apologized for being the pain in the neck that I am. He responded with, “You say that, but really you make us think and that’s a good thing.” I think you can see why I like dealing with him.
I said, “You’re going to have to hurry up and cure me as you’re so busy you need the opening for other customers.” “Well,” he responded, “I don’t know if were really THAT busy.” I said, “Oh, so now you’re afraid of losing me as a customer.” He chuckled. That’s a victory, getting you doctor to laugh. My experience is they have no sense of humor.
I then launched into his back pain problem. I related the Vorlon Father’s experience and, although its not 100% cured, he claims an 80% improvement. Asked him if he had a myelogram performed. He said, “No.” I told him the Vorlon Father had one and it proved to be a great diagnostic tool. I also told him how the Vorlon Father had approached the myelogram with trepidation because of his previous experience many years ago. But now they have new chemicals and this time it proved to be a piece of cake.
I suggested he consider getting one so they could pinpoint the problem. He said, “I don’t like the idea of people sticking needles into my back.”
I chuckled inside.
As he left, I gave him my parting words, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.”
He’s just not in enough pain to do what he needs to do.
How many patients give advice to their doctors?
I’m staying home today to recoup.
I was about ready to go into the office when I started to feel really tired. I left a voice mail message on my phone, saying I would be late into the office.
Then I laid down to rest. I read some advice on the net. It said, when the chemo hammers you, you may not be able to sleep, but you can still rest. I thought that sounded like very good advice. That’s what I did, but I still fell asleep.
I woke up, felt a little better and went into the office.
At 1:30, I showed up for my treatment. To my pleasure, the nurse found a vein on the first try. They tested my blood and my white cell count came in at about 30,000.
That’s on the high side. A little higher than I wanted. In retrospect, I was right, but acquiesced to their recommendation. I had wanted to skip Saturday and only get a “booster” Neupogen on Sunday Morning.
The oncology nurse recommended I NOT skip a day, but do both days. The seemed to carry some weight in my mind and I agreed. I now think my original plan would have been better.
With my very high white cell count, they said they didn’t want to give me a Neulasta shot. While I cannot refute that argument, I have scheduled a blood test late this Friday afternoon to see what my white cell count is. I found I as able to talk to the girl doing the scheduling and I got no argument at all. Her only response was, “What day and time do you want?”
I expect my white cell count to drop like it stepped into an elevator shaft, so Friday should be a good day.
I’ve developed a model in my mind for how the white cell count works with a chemo treatment. Here’s my model. When I first get injected with the chemo, the chemicals go after my white cells like a machine gunner shooting clay targets at a gunnery range. At first there are so many targets, the machine gunner just sprays bullets in the general direction and targets explode all over the place.
But after a while, there are fewer and fewer targets to hit. Now the gunner has to aim to hit the targets and the targets explode with fewer frequency. In addition, my liver is trying to detoxify the noxious chemicals in my system. The gunner has to reload for frequently and his machine gun fires more slowly.
So I expect a very quick reduction in white cell count at first and then it tapers off, but a very low level. So I think Friday should be a good day for a test.
I’m meeting with my oncologists for his cursory exam tomorrow morning. I’ll run my model past him. The only problem is, I have so little time with him that I need to prepare well ahead of time. It seems his practice is getting busier and busier.
I found out over the weekend that he suffers from lower back pain. It’s a very short slightly built man. I suspect he may have injured his back perhaps attempting to move a patient that was in a bed. I plan on relating to him the Vorlon Father’s experience with a similar situation. The Vorlon Father has already emailed his doctor’s name and address. I’ll forward that on to my oncologist.
I had mentioned it to him very briefly Sunday morning, but he objected to the temporary nature of the solution. Tomorrow morning I will offer his some advice, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.”
After my treatment, the Vorlon Wife had not returned. I headed out the door and started my walk home. Part way home, I tried the Vorlon Wife’s cell phone. To my surprise, she had it on and actually answered. I told her I was walking home and where I was. She sounded surprised to hear I as walking home. It’s probable only a 1 ½ mile to 2 mile walk from the oncologist office to my home. I was huffing and puffing all the way, but I didn’t feel I couldn’t make it. She showed up about ten minutes after my call and I rode the last ½-mile home.
I felt pretty good the rest of the day and later went out for my 1-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife. Now I’m feeling rather tired and am getting ready for bed.
Popular Mechanics has done an analysis of all the alternate fuels for cars. They give the pluses and minuses of each. Here’s the link.
If alternate fuels interest you, I suggest reading the article. They’ve done an excellent job of evaluating the alternatives.
I’m feeling better tonight than I was this morning. I was really hurting this morning. The Vorlon Wife went to church without me. I stayed home, took some ibuprofen and slept for about an hour. Later in the afternoon, I started to feel better.
I came across some good advice. It said, “When you’re feeling really badly, you may not be able to sleep, but you can still rest.” I took that advice this morning and wound up sleeping anyway.
I did my 1-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife and did pretty well. I’m still doing pretty well, but its time for bed. I get chemoed tomorrow afternoon.
I’m feeling really beat today. There’s a lot I would like to do, but I just don’t know if I can. Maybe I’ll feel better later.
It’s proved to be a tough day. I did OK until about lunch. They I just seemed to do downhill. About 3:00, I just felt really wiped and I sort of hurt all over.
I took some ibuprofen and laid down for a nap. Upon waking, I felt immensely better. Although I’m feeling tired tonight, I still feel better than earlier. I know I requested the Neupogen this weekend, but it not without some physical cost.
I’m off to bed.
I’m up and going this morning. So far, I feel quite good. It could be the extra sleep. I’m guzzling down my Boost Plus and then off to get my Neupogen shot.
I did pretty well today, until I got home this evening. Then I stared to fade pretty quickly. With some effort, I made it out the door with the Vorlon Wife for my 1-mile walk. I panted the whole way, but made it.
Then I just rested while the Vorlon Wife cut the grass. I really hate that. Even though I’m not the most enthusiastic grass cutter, it really bugs me to sit on the sofa while she does the work.
Have I told you how grateful I am for her? As part of my prayers, I give thanks to God every day that he has given her to me.
While I’m at it, I am grateful for the Vorlon Parents. They send an email, I think every day and sometimes more that once a day. Those messages always encourage me and I don’t say thank you enough. I thank God for giving me the parents He did. We’ve had our differences as parents and children do, but those differences are just so inconsequential.
One more thank you to all those that pray for me and enter encouraging comments. There are times, when I’m feeling pretty strong. During those times, I can easily unsheathe my sword and charge the dragon.
Then there are the times when I’m just wiped. That’s when I’m on my knees, panting heavily and leaning on my sword with the point in the dirt. In those times, the encouragement I receive gets me off my knees into a standing position. I wipe my sword clean, and then I grab it with both hands, lift it and walk towards the dragon. It’s not a charge, but the dragon knows I haven’t surrendered and he knows I’m coming after him. He knows I’m weak, but he can’t be sure that this time I won’t dispatch him.
For the moment, I’m retiring from the battle. I’m pretty tired and am looking forward to bed.
A reader emails this link about Vitamin D.
Much of vitamin D's potential is still just that: potential. But at this moment, to some scientists the potential looks huge. "Even if two-thirds of these things don't pan out, it's still a blockbuster," says Dr. Robert Heaney, a professor of medicine at Creighton University in Omaha, who specializes in osteoporosis.
As excitement about vitamin D grows, so does the concern that many people may not be getting enough. In March, an article in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings called vitamin D deficiency "a largely unrecognized epidemic in many populations worldwide."
Heaney and many other researchers believe the Food and Drug Administration should consider radically increasing the suggested daily dietary intake of the vitamin, which is currently set at 200 international units (IU) for anyone younger than 51, 400 IU for people 51 to 70, and 600 IU for those 71 and older.
They cite studies such as one published earlier this year that found that cancer deaths were especially common in men with low levels of vitamin D, and a series of studies showing that high levels of vitamin D improved strength and prevented falls in elderly people.
"The daily allowances for vitamin D are outdated," says Anthony Norman, a professor of biochemistry at UC Riverside. "I would recommend 1,000 IU per day for all ages, with a maximum of 2,000 IU. I'm considering taking 2,000 IU myself." And, he adds, current evidence suggests that even 10,000 IU — overkill by anyone's standards — would probably be safe.
I recommend you read the whole article.
I won my little dust up with my treatment. I will be getting Neupogen shots BOTH Saturday and Sunday.
When I first went in, they were ready to do a blood test to see what my white cell count was. My response was, “It’s a waste of time. I’ll go along with your, but I can tell you right now it’ll show a count between 8,000 and 10,000.”
The nurse gave me a studied look.
I said, “This is the guinea pig talking here. We can do the blood test, but I don’t see the value in it.”
Then another nurse came out and said, “I understand you want to skip the blood test and get a Neupogen shot today and Sunday.” “Yes,” I responded.
I explained to her that I don’t really care what the white cell count is now, I only care Monday just before my treatment. She said she didn’t want to over stimulate my white cells. I agreed and told her that I though over 30,000 was too high.
She said that she recommended NOT skipping Saturday, but doing both days. I said, “I defer to your recommendation.” She also told me, the results would be my responsibility. I told her that I accept full responsibility.
I asked her if my treatment would be postponed if my white cell count was extremely high. She said, “No.”
I had really looked forward to skipping Saturday as the Neupogen does not me down a bit.
Right now I’m feeling tired, but not too bad. I just can’t do much physical exertion.
I did pretty well today. After I get my Neupogen shot, I pick up a Wawa coffee and then sit in my office and sip it. After a while, I started to feel a little better and stayed until about 4:30 pm. As I came home, I was started to fade quite a bit.
I had some supper and then forced myself off the sofa and did my 1-mile walk. It was a slow walk. I had felt better last night.
So far, I have not had a response from my fax. I was disappointed. I may resend it again tomorrow. The will want to do a white cell count. I frankly don’t care what my white cell count is on Friday. I’m sure it will be fine. I only care what it will be on Monday.
I’m not sure what my response will be if the refuse my request. I don’t know if I’ll ask them, tongue in cheek, if there is a money-back guarantee. Of if, I should have a more forceful response and say, “If my white cell count is too low, it’s on your head.” I think the later is a bit strong, even if that’s how I feel.
I wouldn’t be surprised if my request rubbed them the wrong way. They may be thinking to themselves, “Who does he think he is dictating treatment. He’s not a medical person.” But I could be reading more into it than there is. When there is no data, all one can conclude is that there is not data.
My morning temperature was 99.5 degrees this morning. In my last go-round with a low white cell count, I had over a week of over 99 degree morning temperatures. I have begun to wonder if it was from the Neupogen, but the nurse didn’t think so. I have just reviewed the effects page, and a temperature is a possibility.
I’m tired now. I’m heading to bed.
My Science News has a study that found those gel hand cleaners are ineffective. Plain soap and water are best.
Alcohol-based gels may not effectively eliminate from people's hands a type of virus that causes millions of cases of diarrhea worldwide each year, say researchers.
Such hand sanitizers are rising in popularity because of their convenience, says Christine Moe of Emory University in Atlanta. Unlike washing with soap and water, using these gels doesn't require rinsing or drying one's hands.
Because the gels have been shown to kill a wide variety of bacteria and viruses, Moe adds, they're becoming a common fixture in places where frequent hand washing is necessary. Until now, however, researchers hadn't tested the effectiveness of such sanitizers against noroviruses, a family of viruses that causes gastrointestinal infections and has become notorious for spreading among passengers on cruise ships.
Moe and her colleagues recruited five volunteers to come into the lab. The scientists spread a known amount of Norwalk virus, a common type of norovirus, on the volunteers' fingers. To each of three fingers, the researchers then applied one of three cleansing agents—antibacterial soap rinsed with water, plain water, or a popular alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Each volunteer's fourth finger remained unwashed for comparison.
To the researchers' surprise, plain water was most effective, removing 96 percent of Norwalk virus. Antibacterial soap was close behind, reducing viral counts by 88 percent. The alcohol-based hand gels reduced the virus by only about half.
Alcohol-based hand gels "are better than nothing, but in areas where soap and water are available, people should use those first," Moe says.
One of the Vorlon nieces is married to a USAF airman. He recently left to go to South Korea for a year. I just came across this from StrategyPage and wondered if he is undergoing additional training as it implies.
The U.S. Air Force has rediscovered ground combat. While the 24,000 air force security personnel were always ready to roll with their infantry weapons and tactics, the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has made it essential for a lot more air force people to learn how to fight on the ground. To deal with that, the air force has established an 18 day long Ground Combat Skills course (GCS). The air force has several locations set up to give the course, and most airmen headed for Iraq, Afghanistan or South Korea go through it. The training includes handling weapons, as well as a large variety of ground vehicles (including forklifts), in a combat situation. The last two days of the course are spent in the field, running through realistic situations, often using live ammunition. The most intense combat exercises use simunitions. These are low velocity, non metal bullets fired by (modified) standard weapons. The simunitions will sting (and leave a paint spot on your uniform) if they hit, and this adds another layer of realism to the exercise. Nearly all the instructors have already served in a combat zone, and the training is constantly updated with new information from the combat zone. The last 48 hours involves sleep deprivation, night operations, convoys and the kind of stress to be found in ground combat.
I had previously posted this photo here. But this photo spoke to me. It said, “Make me more than I am. I can be more than just a simple photo. I can be a piece of art.”
So I played with some of the artist stuff in Photoshop Elements and this is the result.
I think I can hear it speaking to me again. “That’s not what I meant! You better take some classes or something and learn how to use the software better.”
Forget what the photo says, what do YOU think?
Better or worse?
I’m feeling pretty well this morning. This is spite of not sleeping particularly well. I woke up about 12:00 and had a hard time getting back to sleep until maybe 3:00 AM. I record when I finally re-entered sleep land. This morning I sent the following fax to my oncologist.
I am currently undergoing a daily injection of Neupogen. That is due to stop on Friday. My next treatment is next Monday.
I would like to have a “booster” Neupogen shot Sunday morning to insure that when I come in for treatment on Monday, I will have a healthy white cell count.
Looking back, I now know that my white cell count had dropped to a dangerous level about four or five days after my initial treatment. I have two reasons for this conclusion.
First, I have picked up a mild subcutaneous infection on my left arm near the IV site. It turned red and was sore to touch.
Secondly, I have picked up a mild, what I would call a rash, inside my mouth. It’s not itchy or sore or anything. It just that the skin lost its normal smoothness and became rough. And no, I have not been kissing any strange women.
Now, with the Neupogen having it’s effect, both symptoms are abating. I know that the chemo whacks my white cell count like Paul Bunyan going through a stand of trees.
With all that in mind, rather than take the chance of 72 hours over the weekend for my white cell count to degrade back to a dangerous level, I’d like the Sunday morning booster shot.
It’ll make this customer feel much more secure. As it is, sleep is a little tough with all the chemicals I’m being subjected to.
It was a rather tough day today until about 3:00. Then it was like a curtain lifted. I not only felt physically better but it was like a fog had been lifted from my mind. Then tonight, after supper I started to fade. I wanted to go for my 1-mile walk, but felt unable to make the first move.
That’s when you have to reach down. I knew the longer I sat there the harder it would be to get going. I rose from the sofa, went upstairs and I changed my shoes and socks and went out the door. As always, a body at rest tends to remain at rest. A body in motion tends to remain in motion. After 100 yards on my walk, I felt much better and finished my walk quite strongly.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to announce any great accomplishment, just highlight my personal challenges. I also offer the advice to push, even when your body says no.
The good news is my weight is back up to 151 Lbs. I’m doing my best to eat everything in sight. My taste buds continue to recover, so it’s easier to chow down. I just get filled up rather quickly.
I think I’m about ready for bed.
The Vorlon Wife’s lilies continue to bloom. Reader may recall I am very fond of bright yellow flowers. We have some very nice bright yellow lilies that I will likely beat you over the head with. Here are some.
I’m feeling well this morning. I slept well last night and I’m hungry this mooring.
I did pretty well today until about 4:00 pm. Then I started to fade and came home. My anger from yesterday has abated. Now I’m just tired. Since I didn’t sleep well last night, I’ll probably zonk out pretty quickly tonight.
I have more to say, but I’m just too tired to remember what it was.
The Vorlon Wife and I had the pie we made last night to the Vorlon Mother’s specifications. I think I can say it was good – my taste buds are still recovering. The Vorlon Wife, however, assures me that it is delicious.
This is a close-up of the photo I posted yesterday. I’m a little disappointed the photos are more in focus. I think that part of my problem is my camera’s ISO is limited. This was shot at a ISO of 200. Perhaps noise is entering into the photo.
I’ve picked up a little trick. I shoot more of my flower photos at full telephoto. I found that if I use the normal wide angle I get things in the background that I don’t want. If, however, I use the full telephoto and move back so the flower is still the same size, I get less of the background that I don’t want.
I’m up, ambulatory and feeling pretty good this morning. I had a hard time getting to sleep last night. My frustration with not being treated because of my low white cell count still had me wound up.
I feel my medical team let me down. I consider it their job to know enough to prevent that from happening. I do not suffer failure lightly and I consider having a low white cell count as failure.
Last night I came up with a model for my situation. I am fighting a war on cancer. I am like the president of the US and fighting the war in Iraq. My oncologist and his two partners are my generals in the war. They set the strategy. Would that I could get all three in a room at once to discuss strategy. His staff are the ground troops that implement that strategy.
Although my general sets strategy, like the president I have to evaluate their recommendations continuously. Do they know what they are talking about? Do I have confidence in them?
To do my evaluations I have to ask hard questions. Currently when I ask the ground troops, I get what I consider inadequate answers. I am not a medical person just as Bush is not a military person or trained in the military. Yeah he was a jet jockey for a time, but he has no strategic or tactical military training.
I have no medical training. I am however, good at project management. I know that in any project you always expect things to go wrong and you need a plan in place to prevent the project from going to h*** in a hand basket. I don’t see my medical team with a fall back position. I don’t see proactive efforts to avoid the treatment from falling behind.
I plan to bring some of that proactively to my war. I know they are going to fight me on this, but I plan to be relentless. I consider that they recommend and implement, but I make the final decision on whether or not we use that strategy.
I guess I’m still wound up.
I felt pretty good a couple of hours ago. I went for a 1-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife and felt good. Now I fading very fast and I’m off to bed.
I used the Vorlon Mother’s recipe to make an apple pie tonight. I like my pie cool so I’ll taste it at breakfast tomorrow morning. I found the process interesting enough to write a blog entry about it.
I used a store-bought crust for the pie. In her recipe, she said to use ½ cup of brown sugar, a quarter cup of white sugar and a tablespoon of flower. I will admit to being a bit anal retentive about instructions. I sifted all the dry ingredients into a bowl. To my amazement, the brown sugar was still soft. It had to be in storage for months, if not years. Her recipe then said she sprinkles on some nutmeg and cinnamon. I wondered how much is a sprinkle? Is it a quarter teaspoon or an eight? I “sprinkled” nutmeg and cinnamon into my other dry ingredients. I shifted it into the bowl. Then I put all the dry ingredients into a plastic bag and thoroughly shook the bag until it seemed thoroughly mixed.
As I was doing this, a thought occurred to me. If I were going to make apple pies in the future, I would mix enough ingredients to make 20 pies, mix it thoroughly and then just take out what I needed as I did a pie.
She also said to crumble two tablespoons of butter into the pie. Crumble butter? How do you crumble butter? I cut to tablespoons from a stick from the frig and then cut little pieces from it with a paring knife into the pie.
The pie has been cooked and is cooling. I’ll give you a review tomorrow.
I just got back from the oncologist’s office – no treatment today. My white cell count is too low – it is 1,200. Last week it was 20,400. I will tell you, I was a VERY unhappy camper. I don’t think I rose to my usual graceful self. Now I will get a Neupogen shot every morning of this week. I suspect it may degrade me but, we’ll see. My concern is my last Neupogen shot is Friday and then I wait until Monday for my treatment. What happens over the two-day weekend? Will I be back too low again next Monday?
The nurses keep telling me they can’t give me a Neulasta shot while I’m getting chemo. I remain unconvinced. I told them that if I’m in a leaky boat, I don’t wait until I get back to shore, before I start bailing.
I’m still fuming a bit. Actually, I’m fuming a lot. I feel like my medical team is letting me down. I consider it their job to make sure things go right. I don’t suffer failure lightly.
We have two large flowerboxes we bought many years ago. They fit perfectly on our side porch. They are plastic, but were the color of terra cotta. We painted them to match the color of the house and they go well on the side porch. For the last few years, we’ve grown yellow begonias in them. But last year, the begonias did not do well. I think it’s become too shady for them. This year we bought fuschia's and planted them. The Fuschia’s were pretty good-sized plants, so we have nice flowers already. This is a shot one of the plants.
I’m ambulatory this morning and not feeling too badly. I’m scheduled for chemo at 1:15 this afternoon. Last Monday I got 145 mg of Taxotere and 1550 mg of Gemzar. Today I expect to get only the 1550 mg of Gemzar. The only problem with the Gemzar is that it is quite painful as it drips into my vein. I’m going to have a bit of a fight with the nurse about the drip rate to minimize the pain. Last time she said she had to get it within the 30-minute time frame. I am unconvinced and will argue for an extension.
I think I feel well enough to go into the office this morning. I’m also hungry.
I did pretty well today. Although I went food shopping with the Vorlon Wife and it was not a pleasant experience. For a while, I thought I was going to wind up waiting for her in the car. But the spell passed and I was able to complete the mission. I just felt so exhausted I just wanted to sit down on the floor for a few minutes. Instead, I just leaned on the cart and shuffle along as best I could.
Yesterday and today, I felt a little flush in the face. I’m not sure what that's from. I wonder if it’s from my hot pepper capsule, I take each morning. It seems funny I would get the effect now as I’ve been taking it for a few weeks.
I managed to get out of the house and take some photos of the Vorlon Wife’s flowers. I will be posting them in the coming days.
My taste buds are making a slow recovery. I decided I needed to eat some yogurt to improve my digestive flow. It wasn’t terrible tasty, but I got it down. Sometimes you just have to shovel it down.
Now I’m just off to bed.
I think I’m feeling stronger today. I’m really hungry. I’ve gained a pound since yesterday. The dead skin seems to have completely molted and my scalp is now smooth. It’ll be a couple of hours before I know if I’m REALLY stronger. In the last couple of days, I’ve gotten up, felt pretty good and then went back to bed after a few hours.
But, I’m further from my treatment so I think this should be the real thing. At my request, the Vorlon Mother sent me her recipe for apple pie. Of all the pies I’ve eaten, her apple pie ranks at the very top. I very rarely have apple pie, as it is such a disappointment by comparison.
I’ve off to get some breakfast. Did I say I’m really hungry?
I guess I am LITTLE better than yesterday. My blood pressure on Thursday was 99/63, Friday 106/66 and this morning 106/67. That’s a bit on the low side and I wonder if it has anything to do with my exhaustion.
Tonight, I’m feeling a little better. My taste buds are making a slow recovery. I have a half a jar of Mott’s Apple Sauce in the frig that I’m waiting on my taste buds for. I taste it daily and, although I COULD eat it now, I’m waiting for a more thorough taste bud recovery so I can really enjoy it.
I can drink my Peach Snapple again – although it’s not as tasty as it was before my chemo treatment, but I can get it down.
I’ve dropped a couple of Lbs and tipped the scale at 149 this morning. That’s the lowest I’ve been in some time. With my taste buds making a slow recovery, I’m going to see if I can pack on some weight.
I’ve picked us a few pains in the last couple of days. I have a little back pain in my left side and I get some discomfort in my left chest area in certain positions.
I went out of a 1-mile walk with the Vorlon Wife tonight. It was a very slow walk, but I did better that I thought I would. She got her exercise today as she also cut the grass.
I’ve lost a layer of skin off my head. I noticed the last couple of days that my scalp was started to flake up a bit. This morning in the tub, I used the Vorlon Wife’s skin scrubber on my head. It brought off a lot of dead skin. I think it’s still recovery from the radiation treatment. I had thought that I had that behind me. Perhaps not.
I’m off to bed.
Today was a tuff day. I felt pretty wiped out all day. I moved about as little as possible and took a couple of naps. I’m feeling pretty tired tonight and am headed off to bed.
OK, I’ve decided to stay home again today. It just takes too much effort to walk across the room. I really need a nap right now.
I’m feeling quite a bit better this morning than I did last night. I slept pretty well last night. I haven’t decided whether to go into the office today. I’m going to hold off for an hour or so to see if I degrade and hold up.
Another photo of one of the Vorlon Wife’s Lilies. I think I rather like this one too. I could have cropped it a little tighter, but I rather like the dark foliage in the background. The lily plant is close to finishing up. I think it’s about out of buds and those that are in flower are about ready to wilt.
It’s been a down day today and I’m feeling tired tonight. This is in spite of a two hour nap this morning. If I don’t move, I feel pretty good. But any movement rather wipes me out.
The chemo has really hammered my feet. They’re pretty numb and tingly and walking isn’t fun.
My taste buds are making a very slow recovery. I was able to eat soup for lunch instead of that Boost. Tonight I had some boiled potatoes, asparagus, beef and gravy. I had some ice cream for desert. It didn’t go down too badly. Surprisingly sweet things don’t necessarily do well for me. I can’t drink my Snapple Tea at the moment.
I just remembered that Monday is another treatment. It’s sort of a half treatment. Last Monday I got Taxotere and Gemzar. This time it will only be Gemzar. I may also get a Neulasta shot. I it will depend on my white cell count. I wonder if an extra high white cell count can help battle cancer.
I’m off to bed.
I’ve changed my mind. I’m staying home today. I want to be able to lie down, when I feel like it. An I feel like about now.
Another photo of the Vorlon Wife’s tiger lilies. I took this after a rainstorm. I think the water makes the flowers look fresher. I think I rather like this one. I’m not sure what I would do to improve it. Sometimes I get a little frustrated in that the original photo just doesn’t have much I can improve one. This was one of those cases.
Last night I slept a little better that previously. I’m up and ambulatory this morning. I’m not particularly energetic, but I plan to go into the office and see how long before I fade away. But I may do well.
The chemo has numbed up my feet pretty well so I tend to hobble a bit when I walk. So far, I don’t have that deep physical fatigue.
My test will be to see if my taste buds have started to recover yet. I get hungry, but find it hard to get things down. It may be another day of Boost Plus. I can get it down, but it’s so unsatisfying to drink. It’s not real food.
I did pretty well today, but faded in the afternoon. Tonight I’m feeling rather tired. My biggest complaint is eating. I'm living on Boost Plus at the moment. It doesn’t go down too badly and I can just dump it down and be done with it. Even water is distasteful. But, I just grit my teeth and guzzle it down. If I get a repeat of my last treatment, my taste buds will make a very slow recovery. In my previous treatments, I was in pretty good shape after just two days. But, in the last treatment, it took many days for their recovery and I don’t think I ever got complete recovery. It’s a little frustrating.
The chemo is really hammering my feet and I hobble when I walk.
I’m off to bed.
Surprisingly I’m feeling pretty well this morning – in spite of a slightly reduced sleeping pattern. When I go to bed, I’m out like a light. Then I get up about 3:300 am to drain the plumbing. After that, it’s rather a toss and turn the rest of the night. I think the chemo messes me up a bit.
Aside from the numbness in my feet and fingertips, I’m feeling almost normal. I’m a bit surprised, but wonder if it has something to do with my high white cell count on Monday. I wonder if anyone has done any studies to boost people’s white cell count to see how it affects cancer. After reading about how the mouse immunity total shut down any cancer activity in its body, I wonder if a high white cell population might degrade cancer activity.
Also, the no Neulasta is a big help. That really knocks me on my butt. But, given the alternative, it’s worth it.
I try to separate the feelings from the chemo from the feelings I had before I discovered my medical challenge. Those symptoms continue to abate. I can now sleep on my left side with the same ease as sleeping on my right side. Deep inhalations do not give me the slight sharp pain in my left chest that they used to.
I’m going into the office today and I’ll see how I make out. If I fade too badly, I’ll come home and rest.
But right now, I’m doing very well.
I’ll take it!
I should have quite a few lily photos over the next few weeks. The Vorlon Wife has a bunch of them. Here is a group of tiger lilies. On looks like it may have gotten a little sunburn. But I thought they still made a nice photo.
I’m feeling pretty sleepy tonight. I don’t have any pain or am I physically tired. I’m just feeling like I want to go to bed. I’m living off Boost Plus as it’s about the only thing I can guarantee I can get down. I can still drink my Snapple, but it’s not very tasty.
The chemo is starting to get my feet.
I’m off to bed.
Yesterday after they put the IV in my arm, they were drawing blood and it was not flowing well. As she pulled the plunger on her hypodermic, bubbles showed in the line. I said, “You’re getting cavitation.”
She said, “What’s cavitation?” I said, “Cavitation is when the pressure in the line drops below the vapor pressure of the fluid and causes bubbles to occur. It is something that designers of submarine propellers work very hard to avoid.”
I’m not sure she fully understood my explanation.
But it's always good to keep them guessing.
I guess I’m OK this morning. I’m at the office and not particularly energetic and not particularly exhausted. I’m just here.
So far I’m able to drink my Snapple Ice Tea so that’s a help as I feel thirsty.
I’m having a little difficulty with my home computer so I may be a bit slow in responding to emails.
I’m still feeling good. The chemo usually takes about 48 hours before I start to feel the effects. At least I won’t have to endure the Neulasta effects and for that, I’m thankful.
The Vorlon Wife and I went out for out 1-mile walk. It proved to be a long 1-mile walk. Just as we came out of the house, we encountered out next-door neighbor watering his lawn. We spent the next 15 minutes or so discussing lawn care and flower cultivation. He’s a little frustrated in that he has some bare spots in his lawn that weren’t there last year.
We finally bid our adieus and started on our walk. About the three quarter mile point, we encountered another individual relaxing at his picnic table. We exchanged hand waves. We’ve seen him before. He looked lonely, so went over to introduce ourselves and chat with him.
It proved to be an extended conversation. We found out a lot more about him than we really desired. We found out the house had been built by his grandparents and had been in his family every since. We found out he was married at 20, had two girls by age 22 and that he was divorced a few years later.
He’s just a lonely guy. I felt sorry for him, but we eventually disengaged out selves and eventually made it home.
The injection point on my arm is still very sensitive. I usually wear my watch on that spot and I won’t for a while.
I’m off to bed.
Gasoline futures for delivery in July closed higher today. Here's the link. I guess the price of gasoline will likely take a rise. Meanwhile the market looks like staying in cash would be a good strategy.
I just returned from my chemo treatment. It went pretty well. They gave me 2mg of Kytril and then 10 mg of Decadron. They were the premeds before the main course. The Kytril is to reduce any nausea and the Decadron is to reduce any swelling the might result from the chemo.
Then they dipped 145 mg of Taxotere for an hour. Last, they dripped 1550 mg of Gemzar over half an hour. The Gemzar proved to be pretty painful. I complained a bit and she slowed the drip rate, but told me they need to get it in the half hour. The injection point was just above my left wrist and the pain went down into the palm of my hand. I was holding a small note pad in my hand and the ache in my hand made it difficult to hold on the note pad. Eventually it as over.
My hand not longer hurts, but then inject point still does. I think I’ll call the company that makes Gemzar to be sure, what they telling me is accurate.
While I was sitting there, they put the box of an Aranesp shot they were going to give me after my treatment. My hemoglobin was a bit on the low side. Out of curiosity, I started reading the box and noticed this printed on the box: “For intravenous or Subcutaneous Us Only.”
I had in previous treatments asked why they couldn’t just inject it directly into the port they had already inserted into my arm. They told me it had to be injected into the muscle. Not knowing any better I accepted they response.
But, now I had information directly from the Amgen that said it could be injected into the intravenous port in my arm. I brought this to the nurse’s attention. Her response was, “Hmmm. I never saw this before. The doctor wants us to inject it.”
I lost this battle, but I saved the box. I’ll take it with me the next time I see my oncologist and see what he says. The Aranesp injection do burn a bit, but they don’t last long. Still, if they can just punch into my IV, why not?
I am not scheduled for a Neulasta shot as my white cell count is over 20,000. One can have too many white cells too. Since in my previous treatment I went from 3,600 to 1,000 and this time I’m starting at 20,300, I should be in good shape.
My platelet count is 226, up from 95 so I ‘m in good shape there. I’m feeling pretty good; the only thing I expect to the chemo will attack my feet and fingertips. Then, in a couple of days, I’ll start to feel tired again.
This is the Vorlon Wife’s Gerbera Daisy. They grow about 8 to 10 inches high and are very colorful. As you can see, I played with this photo a bit. I blurred the boring stuff and kept the main element in focus.
I have several readers that like to use my photos as their desktop wallpaper and I thought this would make better wallpaper. Plus I wanted to mask out the rather ugly dying daffodil foliage on the right.
What do you think, do you think I made it better or would you have rather the photo was just cropper or left alone?
I’m feeling quite well this morning. My morning temperature was the lowest it’s been in many weeks. I was 97.4 degrees, which is my normal morning temperature. For the last two weeks, it’s been in the high 98’s to the low to mid 99’s. Throughout my radiation therapy, it was in the 98’s. To see something in the 97’s encourages me. I’ve got all the data recorded, I need to enter it into an Excel spreadsheet and then post it, and so you’ll see what I’m talking about.
My only frustration is my inability to gain weight. I was back down to 152 Lbs this morning. That, in of itself, is not bad, but I will loose two to four more pounds in the next few days from the chemo. I like to go into these with some spare weight to give up.
I’m schedule at the oncologist office for my testament at 1:00 pm this afternoon.
Right now I’m hungry!
I’m feeling well tonight. Just in time to get whacked tomorrow afternoon. Although I was rather tired at lunchtime, I made it to the tanning solon for a 7-minute bake.
When we got home, I had lunch and then rolled out the extension cord and cut the hedge. Please note I did NOT cut the cord, as some people are prone to do.
As first, since we got some rain yesterday, I thought I would need my dust mask, but then the pollen started to get to me. I like to cut the hedge right after it rains, as it washes all the pollen off then hedge leaves and pollen is not a problem. But I quickly opted for my dust mask and finished the hedge.
By the way, I ran out of WD-40 and had to use some 3-in1 oil to lubricate my clipper blade. It worked OK, but WD-40 is better. That goes on my shopping list.
I had to take a 20-second rest about every five minutes. But I got it done and the Vorlon Wife is not the one that did it.
Then, since I had the extension cord already rolled out and I was already wearing my earplugs and dust mask, I used the blower to blow off both driveways. It looked a lot better, when I got done. Then, while I still had, a head of steam up, I went around and shot some more flower photos. I’ll be posting them on my blog over the next few days.
When it comes to physical activity, Isaac Newton is worth keeping in mind. He said,
“A body in motion tends to remain in motion and a body at rest tends to remain at rest.”
At least it was something like that. But I find it seems to apply well to human activity. The only problem is getting from the “at rest” state to the “in motion” state.
The Vorlon Wife planted the Gaura and Phlox we bought yesterday. It was rainy yesterday and she was prevented from planting them. She has two more flats of impatiens to plant. But I will tell you, she is a planting machine when it comes to planting flats. She has it down to an assembly line and she will go through a flat of flowers in no time.
I spoke to the Vorlon Parents this evening and they seem to be enjoying the Season 1 “Deadliest Catch” DVD’s that I sent to the Vorlon Father for his recent birthday.
I’m not feeling all that tired, but if I don’t get to bed soon, I’ll pay for it tomorrow. We’ll talk later.
A few years ago, the Vorlon Wife planted some Portulacas in front of the house. Last year we had a volunteer Portulaca That we let grow. This year we suddenly have dozens of volunteer Portulacas. In the photo, you’re looking at two or three dozen very tiny Portulacas. The Vorlon wife is going to let them grow for another week or so and then transplant them in spare areas.
We’re just kind of incredulous that we have some many Portulaca seedlings.
Take a look at this link and you'll see what I mean. Does this guy think he'll come away without any injuries?
UPDATE: A reader suggest this guy is a potential condidate for a Darwin Award.
Here are the Gaura’s we bought yesterday. We need to plant them. They like well-drained soil and don’t do well in rich heavy soils. They like full sun and can tolerate dry conditions. They’re perennials, but they flower from spring to fall. The seem perfect for the south side of the house. They should be really happy with out sandy soils. My only concern is that they may get a bit leggy and need some kind of support. We’ll see.
The Vorlon Wife and I are watching a program on the History Channel that talks about George Washington when he was only 23 years old and was given a commission of Major. Washington went on a mission that covered 500 miles each way. During the mission, he kept a journal of what happened. When he returned, he published his journal writings in a books.
It occurred to me that Washington was a blogger. The only difference was that he wrote his thoughts on paper instead of the internet. But, it was basically the same activity as bloggers today.
I felt pretty good today. It’s just that the tiredness never seems to take much of a break.
The Vorlon Wife and I went out for dinner tonight. I’d say the food was OK. Some things taste OK to me, some taste quite good, and some I have to just get it down. There doesn’t seem to be much way to predict what will be tasty and what won’t.
I find that sweet things are not particularly tasty. However, I find that Snapple Ice Tea goes down very well. At the restaurant, I had their salad bar. The macaroni salad and the potato salad were quite good. The Cole slaw was just OK. It was a rather sweet Cole slaw and I found that objectionable. Normally I would have enjoyed the sweetness. Go figure.
I’m off to bed.
My niece and her husband have moved back with my sister. He is in the Air Force and will very shortly, if not already, ship out to South Korea for a year. My sister took a few photos and sent them to do me.
For cuteness factor, the Vorlon Grand Niece, my niece’s daughter, wins hands down. Here she is playing in the water sprinkler.
As for me, I'm doing OK today. The Vorlon Wife and I just returned from the nursery with two more flats of Impatiens, two pots of Phlox, and two pots of Gaura. I’ll have more later.
Today was a pretty good day. I felt quite alert throughout most of the day with only the occasional feeling that needed to take a nap.
I’m finding taking photos a little more challenging because of the numbness in my fingertips. I can’t feel the buttons on the camera quite as well. I just need to concentrate on the mechanics a little better.
I’m off to bed, but am looking forward to a good weekend. I think I’ll be able to cut the hedge tomorrow – unless it rains.
I did pretty well today and I’m still feeling pretty well tonight. I do have good and not-so-good moments throughout the day. I just wish I were stronger going into my next poisoning.
I’m off to bed.
My Science News highlighted a study showing alcohol consumption stimulated tumor growth.
At least in mice, downing the human equivalent of two to four alcoholic drinks per day dramatically spurs the growth of an existing cancer.
Epidemiologic studies have shown that people who regularly drink alcohol face an increased risk of certain cancers, notably breast malignancies. Last year, researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson showed that alcohol spurred the development of new blood vessels to feed bone cancer cells implanted in chick embryos.
The same team, led by Wei Tan, has now stimulated cancer growth by giving alcohol to animals. The researchers implanted melanoma tumors in 6-week-old mice and then administered 1 percent alcohol as drinking water to some of the rodents. The animals drank as much as they wanted for 8 hours a day. Their resulting doses of alcohol remained well below those administered in other rodent-cancer studies, says Tan.
At the end of a month, tumors in animals drinking the spiked water were twice as large as those in mice getting plain drinking water, Tan reported. Microscopic investigation showed that the tumors in alcohol-drinking animals had also experienced far greater blood vessel growth, or angiogenesis, than did tumors in alcohol-free mice. Moreover, receptors for a protein that promotes angiogenesis were 40 percent more numerous in tumors from the alcohol-drinking rodents.
Tan's colleague Jian-Wei Gu says, "We're not against drinking." However, he says, for people with genetic signs of vulnerability to any kind of cancer, "our message is simple: 'No drinking.'"
My Science News had this interesting article.
Immune-cell transplants from an extraordinary strain of mice that resists cancer can pass this trait to mice that aren't as lucky, according to a new study.
Seven years ago, Zheng Cui and Mark Willingham of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., and their colleagues discovered a peculiar male mouse. The researchers, who were studying tumor growth, had injected this mouse and others with lethal doses of cancer cells. While the other rodents developed fast-growing tumors, the mouse, known as number 6, remained healthy. "We thought we'd made a mistake," says Willingham.
The mouse continued to thrive even after the scientists repeatedly injected it with a wide range of cancer-cell types in increasing amounts. Eventually, the researchers came to a surprising conclusion: The rodent was eradicating cancer cells from its body.
In breeding tests, the trait turned up in about 40 percent of the unusual mouse's offspring.
Cui, Willingham, and their colleagues suspected that the rodents' immune systems were fighting off disease. But they didn't know how the animals accomplished this feat or whether the cancer resistance could be transferred to normal mice.
Since then, the scientists have examined the immune cells that swarm to cancer cells injected into the cancer-resistant animals. The majority of these responding cells are neutrophils, macrophages, and natural killer cells—the white blood cells that form the core of what's called the innate immune system. Unlike the adaptive immune system, the innate immune system recognizes invaders on first exposure.
The researchers discovered that selectively killing off one or two of the responding cell types didn't affect how well a cancer-resistant mouse fended off the disease. However, removing all three cell populations rendered the rodents as defenseless as normal mice.
When Cui and Willingham's team collected white blood cells from cancer-resistant animals and transplanted them into normal mice, the recipients became cancer resistant within several days.
The effect even worked retroactively. When the researchers injected the cancer-resistant animals' cells into normal mice that had skin tumors, the tumors vanished within weeks. The scientists noted that with one dose of cancer-resistant white blood cells, normal animals acquired cancer immunity that typically lasted for the rest of their lives.
Cui notes that the findings, reported in the May 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could eventually lead to drugs, cell transplants, or other therapies for cancer patients. He and his colleagues are now investigating which gene or genes are responsible for the cancer-resistant trait.
Howard Young of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Md., calls the report "a very intriguing paper, which raises more questions than it answers." He notes that an understanding of the mechanism by which the mice reject tumors might provide insight into the scattered medical reports of people spontaneously recovering from cancer. However, he adds, "although success in mice is encouraging, translation into diseases in people is a long way down the road."
Agreeing that looking for clinical applications is "superpremature," immunologist Nora Disis of the University of Washington in Seattle says that the unusual rodents might serve as a tool for studying how the innate immune system affects cancer. "Most of the tumor-immunity world focuses on [the adaptive immune system], but there's a burgeoning interest in the innate immune system's role," she adds.
The Vorlon Wife has a lot of Lilies and they’re starting to bloom. I took some photos, but I’m not entirely pleased with the results, but thought I would post them anyway as they’re still quite pretty. I hope to get some better shots and then post them.