Conventional Medicine

Folks, Patti and I have settled into a care routine that involves working with the holistic doctor and the oncologist. Earlier this week (Tuesday), I had a blood test to determine my cancer markers in advance of a meeting with the oncologist today.

Well, to God be the glory. The cancer appears to be stable. Markers continue to be stable. No movement of them at all. Consequently, the oncologist suggests we keep doing what we are doing (the holistic treatments) because they continue to work. Putting this into God’s hands also is working, I believe.

So, I don’t need to see the oncologist for yet another six weeks. Good news to welcome the arrival of Spring.

To those of you who have been praying for Patti and me, our sincerest thank yous. We welcome and appreciate all your good thoughts and blessings. And, in turn, we return them to you and your loved ones.

To help you start a wonderful Spring weekend, here is a view of celibacy:

What is Celibacy?
Celibacy can be a choice in life, or a condition imposed by circumstances.

While attending a Marriage Weekend, Frank and his wife Nancy listened to the instructor declare: It is essential that husbands and wives know the things that are important to each other.

He then addressed the men. Can you name and describe your wife’s favorite flower?

Frank leaned over, touched Nancy’s arm gently, and whispered, Gold Medal-All-Purpose, isn’t it?

And thus began Frank’s life of celibacy…

When I was a child, my sister and I were raised as Methodists. Part of every service the pastor read the Doxology and the congregation repeated it aloud. Below is the Doxology, as I remember it:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Today, I had a meeting with my oncologist to go over some blood tests I had run on Monday in advance of the meeting today.

As I walked out of his office after the meeting, and after his nurses flushed the port I had installed in my upper right chest in November, all I could hear in my head was the Doxology.

The blood tests showed that my tumors are stable and even shrinking. The one tumor marker C-19 showed that the main tumor of concern had dropped from 212 to 184. I’m not entirely sure how these measurements are determined, but even the oncologist said that he was impressed to see the  numbers shrinking.

The last meeting with him was in early January and we had been meeting with him every two weeks. At the January meeting, he said things were going well and he didn’t need to see me for a month. We were so happy with that good news.

Today, he said we don’t need to confer again for six weeks.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Today, I had my 3-month checkup at MD Anderson.

If you recall from an earlier post, I met with the docs on October 14th and they recommended I begin chemotherapy within a week to 10 days. They wanted to mix a cocktail of gemcitabin and oxalyplatin, two rather common chemo drugs. They mentioned that this would not be a cure, but palliative care designed to give me an extra month or maybe two.

At the time, I had begun holistic therapies that revolved around building up my immune system through nutrients, supplements and various light therapies, including frequency, laser detox and evox light therapies. I’ve been maintaining a rigorous attention to these treatments since then.

My oncologist here in Dallas has been a great partner. He takes the blood tests and the CT scans and has a rather fresh outlook that I heartily endorse. “You look well. You say you are not in any pain. You are showing no symptoms, so let’s put off making you sick with chemo until absolutely necessary.” So, no chemo as of this date.

I checked in with the nurse at MDA and gave her my blood test results and CT scans from my tests on January 3rd.

A few minutes later the doctor came in and asked how the chemo has been going. “I dunno. I haven’t started.”

She just looked at me and her jaw dropped. “Well, I looked at the markers and the scans. It looks like your tumors in the pancreas and liver are stable or shrinking. What are you doing?”

I explained about the holistic treatments and she smiled. “Why are you here? This is great news.”

I mentioned what she already knew: that MDA is a center of excellence and to fight that bastard damien I needed the best team with the best weapons with the best attitudes.

She said she didn’t need to see me unless I had a problem that warranted her attention. “You just keep doing what you’re doing.” With that, Patti and I left MD Anderson.

Do I believe this is all over? No, far from it. This is a momentary skirmish and damien has lost only the first round. Will he win some battles? Perhaps, but with God‘s help, no, he won’t win a one.

So, for a few glorious moments, as other cancer patients briskly walked by to appointments, surrounded by their own worries, thoughts, fears, successes and apprehensions, I did a brief two-step in the lobby of MD Anderson, humming under my breath to George Strait singing “Amarillo by Morning.” I didn’t care who was watching; the music was playing in my head only. I smiled, said a prayer of thanksgiving and walked out for a breath of fresh air in the bright sunshine. It felt just wonderful! God granted me a blessing.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

I say all or a portion of this verse in my daily prayers. For today, I cling tightly and steadfastly to hope and hold great thoughts for the future. Back to the daily fight. Thank you, Lord.

First, I apologize for not keeping posts regular and timely. Patti and I figured that as of the 25th of January and we’ve been at the house in Dallas perhaps five days all month.

Traveling to look after ailing parents can take time, travel and is disruptive to a routine, whatever routine a person has.

But there is good news to share. As I mentioned in an earlier post, in early January I had a blood test and CT scan. When I met with the oncologist, he mentioned that the blood test showed that some of the cancer markers reflected a stagnation in the growth of some tumor cells. Of course, there was a cell or two that showed some small growth, but in his opinion, it was not alarming nor indicative of a decision to move forward with chemotherapy.

My treatments from October through today have consisted largely of homeopathic treatments. I have a personalized treatment plan that focuses on the nutrient/supplement needs of my body. I am also having frequency treatments and laser detoxification treatments. I’m sure it sounds like voodoo or mumbo jumbo.

And, I am taking one particular supplement that is concentrated broccoli, garlic, cauliflower and other vegetables. One pill amounts to eating 5 pounds of broccoli a day. I take 24 over the course of the day.

And, something appears to be working. Last Friday, I had an evaluation with my homeopathic doctor and the markers she uses to discuss my progress, too, show a decline in the growth of the tumors.

So whether, you consider conventional medicine or holistic medicine to be your rote, I believe the best way to proceed is to have these two vastly different and, at times, conflicting methodologies working together. But these two together fall under God’s plan and his promise to help us prosper and to have a future.

While, this is not a Michael Douglas declaration, “My tumor is gone!”, it is sign of movement in the right direction.

I thank you all for your prayers. Seems like they are working.

Yesterday, I had a CT scan and a blood test to determine my cancer markers. Today, Patti and I met with the oncologist and got the results. Seems the liver is functioning at 100%, perfect. Also, there is a marker c19, which is a pancreas marker to determine whether the tumors are growing or not.

As the doc told us, most of his pancreatic patients have c19 markers that measure “in the thousands,” and mine are at 212, even though normal is roughly 50. He mentioned that the 212 number is something to watch and be vigilant about, but it is not an immediate cause for concern.

The best news I had all day was when the doc said, “I’ll see you in a month. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’. It’s working.”

As my Canadian friend, canoe-boy John, says, “It was probably the maple cookies and the maple leaf PJs.”

Thank you, Lord, for your generous touch.

Bill sends this along.  If there is anything I have learned about cancer, it is a sugar-hungry disease. If you stop the sugar intake, it helps to starve the cancer cells. Thanks, Bill. Others, if this can help you or a loved one, please share.

Compound That Blocks Sugar Pathway Slows Cancer Cell Growth

ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2010) — Scientists at Johns Hopkins have identified a compound that could be used to starve cancers of their sugar-based building blocks. The compound, called a glutaminase inhibitor, has been tested on laboratory-cultured, sugar-hungry brain cancer cells and, the scientists say, may have the potential to be used for many types of primary brain tumors.

The Johns Hopkins scientists, are inventors on patent applications related to the discovery, caution that glutaminase inhibitors have not been tested in animals or humans, but their findings may spark new interest in the glutaminase pathway as a target for new therapies.

Glutaminase is an enzyme that controls how glucose-based nutrients are converted into the carbon skeleton of a cell. Additional enzymes that help construct the so-called “bricks” of the carbon skeleton are controlled by a gene called IDH1. In some brain cancer cells, IDH1 is mutated and the resulting enzyme grinds up the bricks into nutrients that feed cancer cells.

“Cancer cells with mutated IDH1 become addicted to the glutaminase pathway, and this pathway may represent an Achilles’ heel of cancer cells,” says Chi Dang, M.D., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins Family Professor in Oncology Research and Vice Dean for Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “To combat cancer, we might block the flow of materials that help create the bricks, starting with glutaminase.”

To establish proof of the principle, the Johns Hopkins scientists and a team of chemists and geneticists at Princeton University used a glutaminase-blocking agent on cells engineered to have IDH1 mutations. The compound, called BPTES, reduced growth of the cancer cells by 30 percent. Their findings were published online November 2 in Cancer Research.

“The glutaminase inhibitor we tested does not completely stop cancer cell growth, but slows it down,” says Gregory Riggins, M.D., Ph.D., the Irving J. Sherman, M.D. Professor of Neurosurgery Research and Ludwig Collaborative Laboratory Director at Johns Hopkins.

Riggins identified BPTES’ anticancer potential after screening many compounds for their glutaminase-blocking activity. BPTES was developed at Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute as a potential treatment for neurological disorders and injuries that damage brain cells.

Although BPTES itself may not be useful as a therapy because of solubility problems, says Riggins, scientists at Johns Hopkins’ Brain Science Institute are creating new versions of it that may overcome the problem.

“We can envision a day when patients who have IDH1 mutations are given a glutaminase inhibitor in addition to therapies that target other genomic aspects specific to their cancer,” says Dang.

The mutation in IDH1, which stands for isocitrate dehydrogenase 1, was first spotted in 2008 in results from a genomewide scan of brain cancers led by Johns Hopkins scientists. It is now linked to more than 70 percent of three common types of gliomas: low-grade astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and secondary glioblastomas. Researchers also have found mutations in acute myelogenous leukemias.

The mutation occurs within a single spot along a string of thousands of genetic coding letters. Among previous findings led by Johns Hopkins, patients with IDH1 mutations appear to survive at least twice as long as those without them. The researchers estimate that some 6,000 adults and children with brain cancer per year in the United States could have IDH1 mutations.

Dang and Riggins plan to test glutaminase inhibitors in cell cultures of other cancers and eventually combine the inhibitors with other gene “targeted” therapies in animal and human tests.

Both investigators also are co-inventors on a patent application on using glutaminase inhibitors for cancers with IDH1 mutations. Dang and researcher Joshua D. Rabinowitz from Princeton University are consultants for Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc. The terms of these arrangements are being managed by Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict of interest policies.

Funding for the research was provided by the Ludwig Center at Johns Hopkins, an AACR Stand Up to Cancer grant, Bayer Schering grants, the Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute, the Irving Sherman Neurosurgery Professorship, and the Johns Hopkins Family Professorship in Oncology Research.

Other scientists involved in the research include Meghan J. Seltzer, Avadhut D. Joshi, Ping Gao, Ajit G. Thomas, Dana V. Ferraris, Takashi Tsukamoto, Camilo J. Rojas, and Barbara S. Slusher at Johns Hopkins; and Bryson D. Bennett and Joshua D. Rabinowitz from Princeton University.

Editor’s Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Journal Reference:

1.       M. J. Seltzer, B. D. Bennett, A. D. Joshi, P. Gao, A. G. Thomas, D. V. Ferraris, T. Tsukamoto, C. J. Rojas, B. S. Slusher, J. D. Rabinowitz, C. V. Dang, G. J. Riggins. Inhibition of Glutaminase Preferentially Slows Growth of Glioma Cells with Mutant IDH1Cancer Research, 2010; 70 (22): 8981 DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1666

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Pam sent along this referral to a good book on how to fight cancer from a different perspective. If you know someone who is fighting this evil disease, you may want to recommend it:

There is a book that I have used in modifying my diet and environment that has been very helpful. You may already have come across it — Anti Cancer. I’ve included the link below in case you would like to investigate it.

By the way, don’t click on the book for a view inside. I broke the link when I copied it from Amazon. If you want to see inside the book, go to the link and click on the image at

Thank you, Pam, for this good reference

Rebecca told me she was fishing around the Internet the other day looking for a wikipedia site that would focus just on cancer and all things related to cancer. She is very resourceful.

If you know of anyone that may need this type of information, please share it with them. Thanks, Rebecca.

Jim sends along this link that explains that cell growth leading to a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is not something that shows up over night. As this article shows, it takes decades in the making.

Perhaps this is the result of my bad behavior: when I was working in Cleveland and Texas, instead of eating three squares a day, I would skip lunch and in the afternoon, I would raid fellow workers’ candy jars. Years of doing this.

This article explains why I should not have been doing that.

Thanks a bunch for the insightful article, Jim.

When I was a wee lad growing up in eastern New Mexico, if my mom had to repair a pair of jeans or a shirt because I had torn it playing outside, there was a standard ritual.

I would bring the damaged goods to her. She would get out her pin cushion in case a hem needed to be repaired, or a stitch made here or there on the garment. She had the same pin cushion as long as I can remember. It looked like a tomato, much like the picture here with this article. Funny thing, tho, I never remember my mom replacing that pin cushion. To this day, wandering through her house and looking at her sewing stuff, there would be the very same pin cushion.

Well, tomorrow, starts a different version of the pin cushion. Patti and I meet with two docs tomorrow. One is the oncologist who will oversee the chemo I will start next week. The other doctor is the ‘port’ doctor. He’s the guy who puts the port on my chest that makes it easier to administer the chemo without any negative effects to my skin tissue.

The other day when I met with the port doctor, he described the procedure and it reminded me of the ritual I used to take with my mom and a torn piece of clothing. Only this time, the port or pin cushion will be neatly placed on the right side of my chest and docs and nurses will use this port to more easily administer the chemo. Pin cushion or port, they both are a resting place for needles designed to repair or make something better.

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