Posted by: cg00n | May 1, 2012

Cold Finger

Well, here I am again on the 4th anniversary of my first major surgery.  Considering the dire prognosis at the start of this whole saga I am doing astoundingly well.

A week ago I had my annual general checkup.  Other than my little melanoma problem I seem to be in very good health.   It was a rare treat to visit my GP without having to get a bunch of stitches removed, although I’m not sure I’ll ever look forward to the prostate exam.

When I saw Dr. D a while back she was about to send off some sample tumour tissue for testing to see if I have the B-RAF genetic mutation. As you will doubtless recall , Vemurafenib (formerly PLX-4032) only works for people with this mutation so I am trying hard to feel lucky.  It was almost two years ago that we first talked about doing this but for various reasons it was not practical to follow up until now.  Vemurafenib is still available in Canada only for clinical trials so I am now enrolled in one.  The lab called to say that I should have the results of the test Real Soon Now.  Even if I am eligible to proceed it is unlikely that I will start a course of the drug at present.  However it would be good to know that there was a BFG that could be used if and when I need some serious ammunition against the cancer.

No news on the Interleukin-2 injections yet.  I dropped an email on Dr. G asking for an update because I have one lump that could use some attention.  Since Dr. Ohashi (first mentioned in a posting  a few weeks back) is interested in acquiring some “fresh” tumour tissue I could get Dr. M to dispatch the lump to her when I see him next week.  One way or another I’d like to get the thing dealt with, although it doesn’t bother me as much as it used to and there is only the one.

Speaking of not being bothered so much, my state of mind has improved greatly since the last posting.  Partly, I think, this is because we have a plausible plan that avoids the death of a thousand cuts on my leg.  The fact that spring is busting out all over is also very helpful.  However, I also think that Dr. C‘s notice positive things regime is helping a lot.  I have been recording good stuff  faithfully on a daily basis for about a month now and life does seem pretty good.  OK, OK:  I know many of you will be like “That’s what I said two years ago”, but at least I seem to be getting there.  Patience please, my friends.

Another factor in my improved state of mind is related to a book I’ve been reading: Anticancer.  The author, Dr. David Servan-Schreiber, managed to survive 18 years with a brain tumour.  His medical treatments were entirely conventional but he credits much of his longevity to a good diet (mainly low sugar and lots of anti-inflammatory foods), regular exercise and a calm state of mind.  The book contains many references to published academic works and studies that support his thesis.  It turns out that (mostly thanks to P) I have been maintaining a regime not far removed from the one recommended.  We have spent the last couple of weeks fine tuning the diet, for example allowing the green tea to brew for 10 minutes and then drinking it within an hour.  There is no guarantee that any of this will help me, of course, but it is empowering and comforting to feel that there is something I can try.  Even if the melanoma eventually kills me this will probably improve my general health.  It’s worth a try.

Supporting all this is my general immersion in Buddhist dharma and related inspirational writings.  I often find the daily musings at Tiny Buddha strike a chord in me.  Take a look:  there’s a lot of uplifting stuff there.

News Roundup

On the melanoma beat:

In other news:

Hang in there.  I am.


  1. Great news! The Queen sends you her regards (we R in the UK right now).

    • Enjoy your stay! Best to be out of the way before the Olympics start, I suspect.

      Cheers, Bob.

  2. I raise a glass of dandelion tea to “long fulfilling lives” and cross my fingers in hope that your DNA foresaw the necessity of having B-RAF genetic mutation! Here is a piece on the tea. “He had seen many doctors and taken many chemical medicines. Then she made him this bitter tea, “atomic neo-tea,” she called it, and he drank it warm. His true medicine had planted itself in his front yard and he began to heal. His truest medicine had resisted all efforts at eradication, in fact he had grown it himself.” In all truth most of what I know about melanoma I learned from you, which inspired additional research. The most promising treatment of the under-researched was the dandelion root.

  3. I just found your blog yesterday. And running through your News Roundup, found A Yervoy Story. That’s about my brother – thank you for including it in your blog 🙂

    Hang in there!

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