Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Glimmer Of Hope

Yesterday as the day progressed, I was not feeling too well. My energy levels was rather low and my restless legs seems to be plaguing me all day and I had to constantly massage it. My chest felt quite congested and was starting to get nauseated. My stomach felt full, yet hungry at the same time. It was a lousy feeling.

After dinner last night, I decided to up the stakes a bit. I know there have been some blockages in the veins (near the Popliteal fossa area) just behind the knee joints. I thought why not do something to improve the blood flow? Its very painful to massage the veins and the strength of my own thumb alone was not sufficient. So I use the handle of a steel spoon to massage the veins. At certain spots, there are bubble like formations inside the veins that are creating the blockage. It was very painful to massage the little bubbles away but it did help to improve the blood flow. It will take many more massages to remove the little bubbles completely from both legs. After the massage, I went to bed at around 10.30pm and felt some improvements to my restless legs problem. For the first time in two months over, I managed to sleep by 11pm.

Rhus Verniciflua Stokes (aRVS) Update
I contacted Mr. Lee Sook Yung of Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea by email on Monday and got a prompt respond from him the next day. He said that the aRVS extract is not a commercial drug yet, it is prescribed only in the clinic of his hospital. He has requested me for more detail information about my cancer and history.

I have since replied him by attaching my radiologist report and blood test for his appraisal.

A little more information about this alternative treatment when compared to conventional treatment. Traditional Korean Cancer Treatment perceives cancer as a whole body environmental disease; treats the physical, emotional, and spiritual environment of a patient, which was considered as causes of cancer to the patient. The treatment includes Traditional Korean herbs and acupuncture, control the balance between Qi-Blood and organs.

Rhus Verniciflua Stokes (picture), namely lacquer tree, grows wild in East Asia including China, Japan, and Korea. Its wood and sap have been used in various purposes. As a oriental medicinal herb, its character is reported to be warm, its taste is hot, and it contains toxin. It has effects of breaking blood clots and expelling stasis; resolving accumulation; killing worms, so it has been used in resolving the mass made from static blood, aggregation-accumulation, and rocky mass/cancer. However its medical use has been limited, because of its resinous phenolic compound, urushiol, which can cause severe allergic dermatitis in some individuals.

Rhus Verniciflua Stokes shows anti-cancer effect in Lewis lung carcinoma cell, osteosarcoma, breast cancer cell, ovarian cancer cell, lymphoma, and hepatic cell. Anti-cancer and anti-oxidant effects are reported due to its flavonids, such as butein, fisetin, fustin, and sulfuretin from Rhus Verniciflua, Rhus Verniciflua inhibits migration activity in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC), which is stimulated by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF).

The majority (75-85%) of Renal Cell Carcinoma(RCC) exhibits clear cell histology and often presents with metastatic diseases (picture shows a right radical nephrectomy of 12cm kidney tumor mass). The most common sites of metastatic disease are the lungs (20-30%), and unresectable lung metastatic disease is associated with a poor outcome. Five-year survival rate of RCC with metastatic disease is reported to be 0-5%, and its response rate to chemotherapy is only 4-6%. Metastatic RCC is sensitive to immunotherapy, but its response rate is only 10-20%. Substantial toxicity of immunotherapy occurs with high-dose Interleukin-2 (IL-2), lfa-interferon (α-IFN), or combination of low dose IL-2 plus α-IFN, and impact of immunotherapy is limited in increasing survival period. Recently signal ransduction inhibitors are introduced and especially tyrosin kinase inhibitors such as sunitinib(Sutent®) and sorafenib(Nexavar®) are used for the treatment of RCC. Objective response rate of sunitinib in two phase II trials are 25.5 % (95% CI, 17.5-34.9) and 36.5% (95% CI, 24.7-49.6) retrospectively, which is higher than those of cytokines. However, its times of progression is limited to 11 months and its impact on overall survival has not reported yet.

A patient with RCC with multiple lung metastases showed nearly complete response after treated with Traditional Korean Cancer Treatment including Rhus Verniciflua Stokes Extracts. This result indicates that Traditional Korean Cancer Treatment could maintain the quality of life who has cancer without significant adverse reaction. This case presents that Traditional Korean Cancer Treatment may be a promising alternative for the management of unresectable RCC with multiple lung metastases.

Although they have reported two successful RCC treatment cases, this is still far better than no successes from my 7 specialist doctors from 6 different hospitals in two countries. There are no guarantees, only a glimmer of hope.


  1. A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.

    Bruce Lee

  2. Your friend Liz shares from the heart with much joy...

    CT, you prefer facts, technicalities,short temper, is happy!

    When you blog, you become vulnerable...if you dislike being vulnerable...don't blog!

    This may be harsh as many is about to pound on me but do give it a thought. When anger begins to rise in us...stop and think...what's wrong with me really? Don't hide behind cancer.

    Once you have confronted this, I am sure your life will be as joyful as your friend, Liz.

  3. Dear Anonymous,

    A man sees what he is willing to see. He confronts what he wants to confront. If he doesn't want to, he hides behind self justifications and blame. In the end, it is his life to do and self destruct as he pleases. We can only watch the self destruction unfold before our eyes.

  4. I wrote this blog to journalise my cancer journey and from the very start I have chose to concentrate on the physical aspects and also some emotional aspects of taking this therapy only. In my journey, I detail my frustrations, my anger and also my joy that I discovered along the journey.

    If I get angry, I would try and express myself rather than keep in my heart or suppressing toxic emotions as I do in the past. People chose to live differently when they have cancer and I have the pleasure of meeting many of them but never did I said once their choice was wrong, perhaps the only exception is in the selection of diet. May I suggest that you watch the 1998 movie Pleasantville.

    For three consecutive days, you have tried to get me to engage and I believe you will continue to try for the next coming days to "provoke", maybe too strong a word, make me "conform" to what you recommend. I think the problem is not me but you yourself. A finger that points out, four other fingers are pointing within. Many of my Christian friends like my brother, sister, Liz and many others have accepted my choice of religion but somehow you feel I have to live like somebody else to be joyful. This is not my problem but yours.

    I am very sure many people will find this blog technical, boring and overtime many will leave. The fact that I do not censure any comments of readers tells you that I am prepared to accept any criticism to my disadvantage. I do acknowledge if I do react strongly to some comments, it just mean I do have some problems within me (not the person who commented). I am just being casual in my journals but it would be a mistake to think that my cancer life is less joyful. Otherwise, I would not be able to sustain for so long, feel very depressed most of the time and possibly would have committed suicide or died earlier from my cancer.

    What you have read is just of glimpse of my life that I blog. I have decided not to incorporate Buddhist teachings in my blog from the start. Like what Liz finds in Christianity, I find so much joy in reading the Buddhist scriptures, prayers, chanting, discussion with my friends, going for pilgrimage, visiting Buddhist sites and meeting my teachers from all over the world.

  5. Then please incorporate the spiritual side in your sharing. You will find more healing there if you let it spill out and become a dimension in your blog. It is who you are and you must always remember that!

    It will surely make your blog and you more wholesome. Through this, others may come to appreciate the beauty of the teachings in your life.

    Take care.

  6. @ Chang,

    I would like to apologise on behalf of Jesus' followers. Note that not all of us who claim to follow Jesus, acts or pushes our beliefs this way. If I did in any way, know that my intention is good-- and that I also make myself vulnerable for attack-- to be fair to you.

    I also would like to encourage you to talk about your spiritual side-- the Buddhist teachings that you learnt from your parents your friends, or from just being you-- and hope that we can have a healthy interaction through your blog or email... just dont close your doors/windows for any possibility.


  7. Dear Lanie,

    There is not need to apologise. He/She is not the first person that I encountered and many have tried to use John 3:16 to intimidate me.

    I once watch a video clip about a meeting between HE The 14th Dalai Lama and another Christian Minister. The Dalai Lama was asked by the Christian Minister why the Buddhist still hold on to certain believes (which is deemed not true according to Christians). The Dalai Lama replied to the Christian Minister, if you can proof to us any part of our believes are not true, then we will change. I also hold to the same.

  8. @ chang,

    TGIF! its a busy Friday. and I would like to continue this conversation with you some other day. My belief is that there are truths (absolute truths) that have already been revealed to us-- e.g. (that man can be cruel, that man commits sin and this sin somehow has to be repaid)... and there are truths (absolute truths) that are yet to be revealed to us (no one knows these truths yet).

    but I will return to this conversation during the weekends. and I would like to know your thoughts and learn more as well.