Posted by: cg00n | February 1, 2013

Crapola Royale

Holy carpe diem!  Is it February already?  Subjective time strikes again.  When I’m feeling lousy the hours just drag by.  By contrast, the last two months have just flown by, so I must be feeling well.  Aren’t you happy for me?  Anyone still out there?  I promise I’ll try to have something more dramatic to write about – sometime.  For now, the IL2 injections continue every few weeks and life goes on around them.  A CT scan done in December showed nothing unusual, which made a great Christmas present.  My psychiatrist thinks I’m doing really well:  I haven’t had an anxiety attack for many months and my clonazepam bottle sometimes remains untouched for more than a week.  When I do pop a half pill it is usually as a sleep aid.

I have been tinkering with my diet a little bit because of some ongoing minor gastric distress.  IBS is another one of those miserable, chronic conditions that can really drag down your state of mind.  When you have a constant gut ache, your diet is significantly restricted, you don’t sleep well, and getting to sleep is a delicate art taking a couple of hours each night, life can look a bit colourless.  Most of the time I can avoid 2 or 3 of those four, but then something shifts a little and I notice that I haven’t been feeling so good for the last couple of weeks.  What to do?  There are so many variables:  diet (or ingredient changes in processed foods), drug changes, stress, exercise (or lack of), aging, posture, the time of year, global warming….  In this most recent round in the ring the major culprits seem to be:

  • prozac irritating my stomach
  • a change in the Koala Crisp (breakfast cereal) recipe

I was taking the prozac just before I went to bed because it makes me a bit sleepy.  Until recently this seems to have been fine but now I’m noticing a tendency to get urpy, so now I take the prozac with dinner which seems to be an improvement.  We’re not sure about the Koala Crisp (which is a Really Good chocolate-covered crispy rice thing) but cutting that out did seem to make a difference.  When we visited Calgary late last year I didn’t eat any for a couple of weeks and my gut was very content, in spite of all the restaurant food.  The trouble started after we got back.  Perhaps I should have the water tested, too.

Speaking of water, Mr. DH of BC very kindly sent me a copy of The Case Against Fluoride which i have been reading with great interest.  When I was a young lad the conventional wisdom was that getting a little extra fluoride in your diet helped promote the growth of stronger tooth enamel.  Fluoridating the water seemed like a good idea, from a public health perspective.  I was fed “F-tabs”, little salty pills, for years and, sure enough, my teeth are made of pretty strong stuff.  I used to strip wire with them (NOTE: don’t try this!  It is a really bad idea.)  However, it is now well-understood in the scientific community that topical application (e.g. using toothpaste) is actually more effective.  There are also a slew of undesirable effects from getting too much fluoride.  So, why are we still putting fluoride in the water supply?  Conspiracy theorists should put on their tin-foil hats before reading this book, which appears to be very well researched by authors with solid credentials.  To be clear, they do not advocate against fluoride per se; they simply argue that fluoridation (i.e. adding fluoride compounds to drinking water) is a bad idea and we should stop doing it.  The prevalence of alternatives makes it unnecessary and undesirable.  IMHO they make a good case.

Not much else to tell you at present.  Cancer continues to rear its ugly head but all the people I know who are living with it seem to be doing well for now.  That’s really all one can ever ask.

News Roundup

As is too often the case these days, the backlog has reached teetering pile status so I’m just going to list most of this stuff without comment.

Our coverage tonight starts with melanoma-specific news:

  1. Research Breakthrough Could Halt Melanoma Metastasis, Study Suggests – see also item 4
  2. New Screening Approach Identified Potential Drug Combinations for Difficult-To-Treat Forms of Melanoma
  3. Better Approach to Treating Deadly Melanoma Identified – improving MEK inhibitor drugs
  4. Serendipity Points to New Potential Target and Therapy for Melanoma – melanoma lacks a growth control chemical
  5. How Deadly Skin Cancer Spreads Into Other Parts of the Body – a lot to do with angiogenesis
  6. Drug-Resistant Melanoma Tumors Shrink When Therapy Is Interrupted – drug holidays may be a good idea
  7. ‘Drug holidays’ beat cancer drug resistance in mice – as I was saying…
  8. Concerns Raised Over the Effectiveness of a Costly and Invasive Procedure for Melanoma – sentinel lymph node biopsy
  9. Melanoma-diagnosis smartphone apps ‘have potential to harm’ – too many false negatives
  10. New Mutations Discovered Driving Malignant Melanoma – may cause overproduction of telomerase
  11. Gene Mutation Immortalizes Malignant Melanoma – maybe related to previous item
  12. Children and Melanoma – too few children available for clinical drug trials
  13. Silibinin, Found in Milk Thistle, Protects Against UV-Induced Skin Cancer

Moving to general cancer issues:

  1. Children ‘need more teaching on cancer causes’
  2. Cancer cells executed by magnet – … and metal nanoparticles
  3. Pioneering cancer treatment’s struggle for survival – immunotherapy research hit by wobbly economy
  4. New Technique Could Make Cell-Based Immune Therapies for Cancer Safer and More Effective – T-cells that look for two antigens
  5. Trojan-horse therapy ‘completely eliminates’ cancer in mice – white blood cells deliver virus payload to tumours
  6. 3 articles about the same research involving growing targeted T-cells in the lab:
  7. Positive spin and bias in breast cancer trials uncovered – more on suppression of drug trial results
  8. Cancer Networks: A general theoretical and computational framework for understanding cancer; I think this is the same stuff reported in Physics not biology may be key to beating cancer

And, in other news:

  1. How happiness changes with age
  2. Meditation for pain relief gains respect from doctors
  3. Cannabis can make patients ‘less bothered by pain’
  4. Potential of Psilocybin to Alleviate Psychological and Spiritual Distress in Cancer Patients Is Revealed
  5. Overcoming Anxiety: Moving from Fear to Presence
  6. New drug lifts hard-to-treat depression in hours
  7. Gut instincts: The secrets of your second brain – your gut thinks it is quite complicated
  8. Wilko Johnson: ‘Terminal cancer has made me feel alive’ – former Dr. Feelgood guitarist

By the time you’ve read and digested all that I may have another posting ready.  I’ll try.  Good health, all of you!


Responses

  1. I’m perfectly happy if you just eschew the drama and live a peaceful life. Have a fun year.

  2. Really curious if injecting IL-2 is standard protocol in Canada. I have tumors popping up in my right leg and the current suggestion is ILI. No doctor has mentioned directly injecting tumors with IL-2. I’m currently seeking treatment in Chicago.

    • I don’t know about “standard protocol”, but according to my Dr. G a number of places across the country are trying it on more-or-less an ad-hoc basis. He is, I think, collaborating with others on some kind of lightweight trial, pooling results and exchanging information. My understanding is that IL-2 is an approved systemic treatment for advanced melanoma, so using it in this rather novel way for the same condition is not regarded as breaking the rules.

      There is a brief mention of this technique in http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer-melanoma/detailedguide/melanoma-skin-cancer-treating-by-stage where it says:

      “… options include injections of … interleukin-2 directly into the melanoma.”

      My best advice to you would be to ask about IL-2 or some other such treatment. There are a number of trials of vaccines and drugs which are intended to be delivered this way.

      Good luck! I really hope things work out for you.

      • Thank you for your quick response. Definitely will discuss this option at my next appt. with oncologist. I truly get hope from reading your blog and I appreciate your honesty with your feelings. I was diagnosed in 2009 and truly am grateful to still be here. The battles have been worth seeing my son go to Prom, graduate High School, and now witness his success in college. I wish you many years of NED and a cure for this ghastly beast!

  3. I’m very glad to hear your life is boring. Interestingly, your first link led me to this: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130207172102.htm. Perhaps we should lay off the fertilizer?


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