Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting Closer

I have been traveling on this cancer journey for almost 34 months now. However, my experience with cancer pain only started in the last four months or so. In fact, it started after my HIFU treatment in China and I believe it has to do with the dead tumor tissues inside my right abdominal area and also the healing wounds of the tissues and blood vessels after the HIFU treatment. At the same time, I am also learning about the pain from the bone tumors. Dealing with cancer pain is not just about popping in painkiller tablets. Some cancer patients like me are very sensitive to opioid based painkillers. The side effects is as deadly as the pain itself as I found out. So managing the side effects is the key for a happier life, at least for me.

I defied my doctors again. Instead of taking in 40mg of oxycodone hydrochloride every 12 hours as recommended by my doctors, I am reducing the dosage to 20mg for every 12 hours or 40mg every 24 hours. The Untracet painkiller consists of about 8mg of oxycodone equivalent potency and taking 4 tables a day would mean 32mg of oxycodone. The pain score is 3. Also, in the 20mg oxycodone tablet, it consist of 18mg of  oxycodone only and 2mg of it comprises others such as lactose, hypromellose, titanium oxide, iron oxide, macrogol and sorbic acid. So the 40mg oxycodone tablet is actually only 36mg of oxycodone. That's how I came about the dosage of 20mg per 12 hours or 40mg per 24 hours. I started yesterday night and based on my pain experience today, the pain score based on this new dosage is 2. The pain score if based on the recommended dosage of 40mg per 12 hours is 0.5. So, I think to reduce my pain, I would take 25mg of oxycodone every 12 hours. This should be sufficient. Why all these calculation? This is because of the side effects of the oxycodone drug. The lesser the drug, the lesser the side effects and hence the calculation to determine the optimum dosage. Oh, this also translate to RM800 (US$250) a month on painkillers and laxatives at 40mg every 12 hours.

Now the drug dosage has been computed, what about the actual side effects, namely constipation, nausea and vomiting? I managed to move my bowel yesterday but at a price. I was trying too hard and I got piles! My GP told me to just push it back in and gave me some ointment to apply. Sorry for the graphic description. Yesterday evening, I vomited after my dinner. Again this afternoon, I vomited my breakfast. I skipped lunch and went to bed to rest instead. Taking in water even seems to trigger the feeling of vomiting. So, I sort of fasted. In the evening, I took some light noodle soup and so far so good. I am still taking in 40ml lactulose (twice a day) and plenty of fruits. Hopefully, I would be able to have bowel movement tomorrow without much problems. I may have to take in forlax just in case. And not forgetting the prune juice as well. I just hope to be able to settle on the right dosage of laxatives and move on.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Blues

What a tiring afternoon. I left home at about 1.30pm for University Hospital (UH). The traffic was smooth and I reached the hospital at about 2pm. Finding a parking space at UH is a nightmare but I managed to find a parking lot on the forth floor towards the Eastern end of the hospital. The car park was not equipped with lifts and so you can imaging how difficult it is for me to use the stairs case. Then I have to walk almost half a kilometer back to the main block where the Palliative Care Unit (PCU) is located. Some nurses gave me the wrong direction and by the time I reached PCU, I was almost half dead. After some administrative procedures, I met the doctor, a young but friendly doctor. I updated her on my pain management regime that was prescribed to me by Hospis Malaysia. I also told them I have been off opioid painkillers for about four days now. I am using Ultracet for pain management which gives me no constipation problem. A tablet every six hours and after taking Ultracet, pain score is about 3. For the Hospis pain management regime, my pain score after taking the opioid painkillers is 1. The Hospis pain management regime is more effective than my own. But there is a serious drawback on using opioid painkillers for me. I have constipation problems. There last three days were almost hell for me. My stomach was bloating as if waiting to explode and at the same time, I had bowel movement problems. I was also hungry but could not eat! I took a coffee enema to resolve the problem and thereafter stopped the opioid painkillers for four days, my system cleared up and I was able to have bowel movement. However, the pain scored increased to between 3 and 4, disrupting my sleep and general well being because Ultracet is not effective for moderate to severe pain. I have been on a fruits diet and most days, skipping lunch to give my stomach a rest and to recover. I also discovered I have edema on both my legs.

Anyway, the doctor at UH was later joined by another more senior doctor who told me that only opioid based painkillers are effective for cancer pain. So the main concern now is to managed my constipation. The senior doctor recommended that I continue with the Hospis pain management regime but gave me stronger doses of laxatives such as Lactulose, Forlac and Senna. So my choices are now either to take non opioid based painkillers which will not have constipation problems but suffer more pain OR take opioid based painkillers which will have constipation problems but suffer no pain. The obvious choice is the latter and manage the constipation problem with laxatives. Both the doctors were very friendly and frank. I really enjoyed talking to them for about 45 minutes. I took the opportunity to talk a little about alternative medication and also introduce my blog to them. UH is no longer cheap. Except for the consulting fee, all expensive medications are no longer supplied free by the Government and cancer medications are expensive. A weird thing I observed is that I have to buy my medications from three pharmacies namely the UH pharmacy, the privatised UH pharmacy and an external pharmacy.

I am going to start this new pain management regime tomorrow and monitor the dosage of the laxatives over the next few days to find the optimum dosage which is suitable for me. My doctor has given me an open appointment but will call me in a week's time to check on my progress.

I would like to thank you all for your support and also those who take time to comment on my blog. I would like to inform you that the pageviews of this blog has now exceeded 200,000 as of yesterday.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Leaving The Pain Behind

For the last few days I have been plagued with constipation, indigestion and vomiting problems. It all started from the change of painkillers by Hospis Malaysia. Please don't be mistaken that I am blaming Hospis for my problems. This problem will happen to whomever is using the painkillers because it is a side effect of the painkiller, not who dispenses the painkillers. In view of the side effects, I was also given additional medication such as metoclopramide, senokot tablets, rantidine tablets and lactulose to manage the constipation, nausea and vomiting problems. I started with the new pain medication last Monday and since then, I have been experiencing vomiting sensation everyday and finally, had vomited on Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, no bowel movement too and by Thursday, I started my coffee enema to help out my constipation problems. My bowel movement did not improveme and this morning, I took another coffee enema to ease my constipation problem again. Since Friday, I have been having vomiting feeling also and finally vomited yesterday evening and also later in the evening. I have also been drinking a lot of water and looks bloated and I can't seem to take even my daily food. Today, I was waiting for the vomiting to take place but did not. I was feeling uncomfortable the whole day. Besides being tired, I also feel a little feverish. I spoke to the nurse at Hospis last Friday and was told to continue my medication and it will take sometime for my body to adjust to the side effects of the painkiller drugs. But as the day progressed when my condition did not improved, I took the liberty to stop taking the painkillers for 12 hours and since this morning, totally no painkillers. Not a single painkiller. Was there pain? There were some around the right abdominal area and when the pain becomes unbearable, I will resort to my old painkillers until I can speak with the doctors again on Monday.

WHO has developed a three step "ladder" for cancer pain relief. According to WHO's website, when pain occurs, there should be prompt oral administration of drugs in the following order: Level 1: nonopioids (aspirin and paracetamol); then Level 2:, as necessary, mild opioids (codeine); then Level 3: strong opioids such as morphine, until the patient is free of pain. To calm fears and anxiety, additional drugs – “adjuvants” – should be used. To maintain freedom from pain, drugs should be given “by the clock”, that is every 3-6 hours, rather than “on demand” This three-step approach of administering the right drug in the right dose at the right time is inexpensive and 80-90% effective.

My own pain management regime can be described as Level 1 in WHO's pain relief ladder while Hospis's pain management regime can be described as Level 2 in WHO's pain relief ladder. The prescription given by my urologist can be described as Level 3 in WHO's pain relief ladder. So, which is the right one to follow? Like I said earlier, different doctors have their own methods of pain management but for me personally, I prefer to follow WHO's guide in pain management. My case can also be described as slightly different from other normal cancer cases. The pain on my right abdominal area is due mainly to the healing reaction from the HIFU treatment. When the doctors in China performed the HIFU procedure, a substantial portion of my kidney tumors were "burned" to death inside the abdominal area. After the procedure, no attempts were made to drain or take out the dead tissues lingering inside the abdominal area. So, the pain on my abdominal may be a result of the dead tumors or it could also mean new tumors growing inside of it (unlikely at the moment). In fact, the doctors in China expect the pain to disappear overtime when the body has sufficiently remove the dead tumor tissues in the abdominal area. Furthermore, I am now undergoing intensive IVC (IV Vitamin C) therapy and this therapy is very effective in detoxifying toxins from the body. What this means is that even if I do not take the painkillers, there are good possibilities the pain will go away by itself when the wounds inside the abdominal area heals and the body drain dead tissues from the body through detoxification.

Anyway, at the moment, these are possible explanations and since I am off the painkillers, I hope to get a better understanding what's going inside my right abdominal area. Currently, there are some swelling around the area, much worst than that before the HIFU treatment. I suspect the swelling could be due to the inflammation of the wounds during healing. When there are inflammation, there will be pain. According to the CT scans, necrotic tissues can be seen in the scan.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turn For The Better

Yesterday, I wanted to post but I had some problems. On Monday afternoon, a doctor from Hospis visited me and put me on a new pain management regime. This doctor's way of going about it is very professional. She asked me how I took my painkillers previously. And looking at the painkillers that I took, she made some calculations to convert the strength of the painkillers into "amount of morphine per mg". She then prescribed the new painkillers which basically consist of oxycodone hydrochloride prolonged release tablets for the based pain management and 10mg oxycodone hydrochloride immediate release capsule for breakthrough pain. I was to take 40mg prolonged release tablets twice a day for base pain management. I think I am not used to taking such high dosage of the painkillers at a time. As a result, I suffered from nausea and vomiting feelings which are the side effects. I was also given metoclophamide tablet to manage any nausea and vomiting that I may experienced. I also felt drowsy and went to bed early and but woke up at around 1am as I wanted to vomit. I then took the metoclophamide tablet and then went back to bed. On Tuesday morning, the vomiting feeling came back and it was bad. I was also feeling very drowsy and after breakfast, I took another metoclophamide tablet and went to bed. The whole of Tuesday I was feeling so uncomfortable. By 5pm, the vomiting finally took place. I felt better after that but no sooner than two hours later, that feeling came back. Sigh. In between, I spoke to the doctor at Hospis and she told me that some patients will have such reactions and advised me to continue to take the anti-vomiting tables.

This morning, I work feeling slightly better. What I can say is that the control of the pain was very good. The pain level now is about 1. I hope by another day or two, I would get used to the dosage. Later this morning, when I felt better, I went for my IV vitamin C therapy. Today, I met another pancreatic cancer patient and he was also one of those people who went to Germany for hyperthermia treatment. His next treatment is scheduled to be in July 2012. His wife told me that he will be going to Germany for at least six hyperthermia sessions. She has only good things to say about hyperthermia and the clinic in Germany. I am glad to report that he is in very good shape now. Prior to this, he went to USA, Singapore and China for treatment and spent over RM1 million (US$313K) but without much success. My doctor also told me last week, three of his breast cancer patients died within days of each other, including the one who was in the palliative care unit. I was told they condition suddenly turn for the worst.

Now that my pain management is under controlled, my weight is still an issue. I have not gain weight and may in fact lost some weight. This is because of my ingestion and loss of appetite. Anyway, I am eating a little much lesser now to allow my stomach to recover. I believe once my indigestion problem has been resolved, I should be able to gain back some weight.

I would like to share a piece of good news. My nephew's wife gave birth to a health baby boy today. A new baby is like an unrepeatable miracle. Congratulations to both of you. Thousands of blesses for the new family. I am really happy for the both of you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Learning To Cope

You would have noticed that of late, I have not been posting regularly. The main reason is that I have been getting lot of pain and hence could not concentrate so much and spent much of my time resting. Actually, I am not as strong as some of you put me to be. I am not accomplished spiritually nor am I a psychoanalyst. I am just an ordinary person learning to deal with my new condition as and when it happens. What I know is all from personal experiences.

At the moment, I am facing two main challenges, namely pain and appetite/indigestion. Since March 2012, I experienced much elevated pain levels at my abdominal area. I also realised that different doctors have different pain management regime. Last Thursday, I visited my urologist and he started me on a completely new pain management regime. I don't quite agree to his regime (after reading documentation from pain management specialists' sites) but decided to give it a try. I regretted my decision because I was suffering from severe pain for the whole of Thursday evening and also on Friday. My urologist put me on an opioid analgesic regimen but I think the problem is that he started me on a low dosage so much so it is not effective. Of course, I can increase the dosage but that would make me nauseated and cloud my mind. In the end, I decided to go back to my old pain management regiment.

Last Friday afternoon, my nurse from Hospis Malaysia visited me for the first time. I gave her an update about my disease and my condition. She wanted to know what was my intention of contacting Hospis. I told her I have two objectives. The first is that I hope to learn more about pain management and hope to find an easier way to get my regular supply of painkillers. Currently, I will have to see my specialist doctor just to get a prescription. It takes a lot of time. The second objective is in the event my condition deteriorates, I would require palliative care from Hospis. We spent sometime talking about my current pain management regime and she suggested that I stopped taking the painkillers that was prescribed by my urologist. She said she will bring her doctor and meet me on Monday and start me on a different pain management regime.

Making Your Own Sodium Ascorbate Solution
I have been thinking about John's suggestion on making my own ascorbate solution but using Sodium ascorbate instead of Calcium ascorbate. As usual, I can't seems to find a supplier to buy Sodium ascorbates crystals locally. Readers from Singapore, if you know of a supplier, please do let me know. Thanks. So after checking online, I managed to find a few suppliers. 1.7kg of Sodium ascorbates sells for US$79 or about US$4.65 per 100gm excluding shipping costs. Shipping is going be expensive but I believe it's still worth the effort.

Since I intent to do IV vitamin C on a long term basis, it make sense to make my own solution. This way, I not only save on costs but I hope other cancer patients who currently cannot get hold of this solution can make their own and also benefit from taking this therapy. My doctor told me that some patients found it expensive and hence could not afford to take this therapy. I understand my doctor gets  his supply from a third party. I will follow the instruction from Preparation of Sodium Ascorbate (non acidic vitamin C) for IV and IM Use by Robert F. Cathcart III, M.D. You can download the guide here. You can also see a video instruction here.

I plan to import 1.7kg for my trial and this will translate into about 34 bags of 50gm 500ml Sodium ascorbate solution. It will last about 17 weeks at 100gms per week.

Intravenous Dosage Guidelines
One gram per kilogram of body weight is a general guideline, which would be about 20 to 25 grams for a 50-pound child and 100 grams for a 220 pound-adult. However, according to vitamin C experts, just giving most adults 50 grams at a time for most conditions works out well.

Rate of infusion can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending upon comfort of the IV, the amount being administered, and the condition being treated (toxins, more rapid, infections, cancer, etc., less rapid). The more rapid infusions will often be associated with hypoglycemia, which can usually be easily addressed with a little fruit juice or even a candy bar. But it is best if the added glucose/sugar can be avoided.

Dosage is always empirical, as in give more if the clinical response, especially in infections or poisonings, is not adequate. Note: Ascorbic acid should never be used intravenously and can damage veins. The sodium content of sodium ascorbate (113 mg per gram of C) may be of concern to those with hypertension or water retention problems. Interestingly, sodium ascorbate is used in intravenous drips where dozens of grams/day of sodium injected directly into the blood stream doesn't seem to be a problem. Recent research indicates that only highly refined sodium chloride (table salt) may be the real problem for heart patients. Sodium ascorbate is also routinely used as a sugar-free, additive-free, substitute for toothpaste (brush and swallow).


Friday, June 15, 2012

Cancer Saviour - Vitamin C

Yesterday, I visited my urologist with a view of treating my abdominal pain. I  took along my previous CT scans which I took while in China. He could not recognised me and after I reminded him that I visited him in 2009, he took a look at the past records. He then calculated that I last met him 30 months ago and said my immune system was strong to keep me alive for so long. Anyway, after seeing the CT scans, he then said two things to me. The first was about my disease, there is no change in my prognosis. There is no cure and recommended that I consider taking the targeted drug therapy Sunitinib which will cost RM18K (US$5.6K) per month. I can ask for financial assistance and the drug company will check my financial background to determine availability. In any case, my urologist reminded me that this therapy does not cure, only to prevent the growth of the disease. The other thing my urologist said to me is my pain. After I told him my current painkillers that I am taking, he recommended a different regime. He put me on Morphine Sulfate as the baseline painkiller, taking two 10mg tablets a day, one in the morning and one in the evening. I can increase the dosage to 30mg each time when required. If breakthrough pain comes, I am to take painkillers like Ultracet or other codeine based painkillers on need basis. I started taking the 10mg Morphine Sulfate yesterday but it was not sufficient to manage the pain from my abdominal area. I will have to increase the dosage to 20mg and see. The pain on my abdominal area can be painful at times.

I also discussed with my urologist about internal bleeding. I told him that I am taking the drug cyclophosphamide (CTX) and he said that this drug causes bleeding in the bladder. He also reminded me that kidney cancer is immune to chemotherapy and CTX would not help. I told my doctor that I am aware of this and that in trials involving CTX, the patients showed a better response with this drug even when chemotherapy failed to treat. As for me, I found out that my nerve pain and also my pain on my pelvic area improved when I started taking CTX. However, in view of the bleeding that can be caused by CTX, I think I will stopped taking it for a moment and monitor the blood in urine failing which I will have to do a cystoscopy on the bladder. My doctor in New York commented that only mega doses of CTX causes bleeding in the bladder. He suggested I do a urine analysis to determine the amount of blood present in the urine because the blood loss according to my blood test results are quite substantial. I am mildly anemic now.

Vitamin C
I received a comment from John and he suggested using calcium ascorbate for IV vitamin C therapy which is rather cheap at A$10 per 100gm. I spoke to my doctor and he told me that I am taking sodium ascorbates (with potassium added).

Mineral salts of ascorbic acid (mineral ascorbates) are buffered and therefore less acidic. The most two common types of mineral ascorbates are sodium ascorbates and calcium ascorbates. Sodium ascorbate: 1,000 mg of sodium ascorbate contains 889 mg of ascorbic acid and 111 mg of sodium. Individuals following low-sodium diets (e.g., for high blood pressure) are generally advised to keep their total dietary sodium intake to less than 2,500 mg/day. Megadoses of sodium ascorbate could significantly increase sodium intake. Calcium ascorbate: 1,000 mg of calcium ascorbate generally provides 890-910 mg of ascorbic acid and 90-110 mg of calcium. Calcium in this form appears to be reasonably well absorbed. The recommended dietary calcium intake for adults is 1,000 to 1,200 mg/day. Total calcium intake should not exceed the tolerable upper intake level of 2,500 mg/day.

So the problem with taking mega doses of sodium or calcium ascorbates say at 150gms per session (300gms per week) would mean the body would be getting excessive sodium or calcium in the blood levels. The clinicians at the Emerson Health and Wellness Centre suggest when vitamin C is used, it does not contain calcium ascorbate. They believe that within a few years there will be a backlash against regular high dose calcium supplementation because it appears to be going everywhere (especially arterial walls) except bones. Most of the scientific literature supports the belief that most of the older population is massively overdosed on calcium and suffering from calcium toxicity (that’s why all the new scans for heart disease involve determining how much calcium has been deposited in arterial walls). Excess calcium in arterial walls is directly correlated to increased risk of heart disease, chronic degenerative disease and all-cause mortality.

The Mathias Rath's and Linus Pauling's research on the usage and correct dosages of Vitamin C which broke so much new ground - this research consequently gave birth to the well-known Orthomolecular Medicine movement, whose approach was to use natural nutritive methods at correct dosages discovered through intensive research in order to alleviate and cure disease. They both went on to discover the usefulness of high dose Vitamin C (as Ascorbate) and high dose Lysine - a simple amino acid protein pre-cursor -- as a very simple cure and preventative for heart disease, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure etc. It was found that Vitamin C simply acted to remove the actual arterial plaque blockages while the Lysine removed the Lipoprotein(a) or Lp(a) from the blood in order to stop the plaque reforming again. In talking about arteriosclerosis, Pauling always liked to refer to this problem simply as "arterial scurvy" in order to drive his point home about the importance of correct dosages of Vitamin C in the human diet.

And, when natural epigallocatechins (green tea tannins) were added to the vitamin C and Lysine protocol, this treatment would stop cancer tumor growth, prevent angiogenesis, and also help to prevent metastasis. Few people know about the Pauling-Rath research because the drug industry has done its utmost to suppress or spoil this vital research information for years.

Previously, a report in the March 2006 edition of the Canadian Medical Journal reported on 3 terminal cancer cases with unexpected positive outcomes after the administration of high dose intravenous vitamin C. Patient 1 was a 51 year old woman who had metastatic kidney cancer and was treated with 65 grams of intravenous vitamin C twice a week for 10 months. Patient 2 was a 49 year old man with advanced bladder cancer who received 30 grams of intravenous vitamin C twice a week for 3 months then 30 grams monthly for 4 years. Patient 3 had B cell lymphoma and underwent radiation but declined chemotherapy. Instead she had 15 grams of intravenous vitamin C twice a week for 2 months then weekly for 7 months and then every second month for a year. All took additional nutritional supplements. Several years later, all remained in remission.

Is Vitamin C Harmful to Cancer Patients?
In a recent presentation at the American Cancer Society meeting, Dr. David Golde of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center speculated that supplemental vitamin C may be harmful to cancer patients. Dr. Golde had previously shown how vitamin C gets into and accumulates in cancer cells. Golde and others are concerned that the extra vitamin C in cancer cells may enhance their growth or protect them from the cell-killing free radicals produced by radiation and some chemotherapeutic drugs.

While different cancer cells may respond differently to vitamin C, it is important to view these concerns in the context of the experimental cell culture, small animal, and human clinical studies. In some cell culture and small animal studies, vitamin C has enhanced cancer cell growth. Dr. Chan Park has found that the growth of leukemic cells from some leukemia patients put into culture was enhanced by vitamin C. The growth of cells taken from other leukemia patients was either inhibited or unaffected by vitamin C. It is unknown whether similar effects would have been observed in the same patients taking supplemental vitamin C. Dr. Joel Schwartz of the National Institutes of Health has published studies in which supplemental vitamin C enhanced the growth of tumors induced in hamsters by a chemical carcinogen. Interestingly, the growth of tumors was significantly inhibited by supplemental vitamin E and by a mixture of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C.

Studies published by Linus Pauling Institute (LPI) scientists since the 1970s have demonstrated that supplemental vitamin C delayed the onset of tumors in mice that developed spontaneous mammary tumors, in mice exposed to ultraviolet radiation, and in guinea pigs implanted with liver cancer cells. In these experiments, vitamin C did not appreciably affect the growth rate of tumors once they formed. Other studies published by Dr. Constance Tsao and her colleagues at LPI showed that supplemental vitamin C (sometimes combined with oxidation products of vitamin C) inhibited the growth of human colon, lung, and mammary tumors implanted into mice. LPI investigations also demonstrated that vitamin C and its derivatives have anticancer effects against a number of cancer cell lines in culture.

What about clinical studies on vitamin C in cancer patients? Dr. Pauling and his medical collaborator, Dr. Ewan Cameron, former Chief of Surgery at Vale of Leven Hospital in Scotland, published numerous papers on the response of cancer patients given large doses of supplemental vitamin C as an adjunct to the appropriate conventional treatment for cancer. In their book Cancer and Vitamin C, they concluded that supplemental vitamin C is of benefit to most cancer patients. The benefit ranged from an increased sense of well-being to a prolongation of survival time in terminal patients to rare complete regressions. However, two clinical studies carried out by Drs. Edward Creagan and Charles Moertel of the Mayo Clinic and published in 1979 and 1985 showed no benefit from supplemental vitamin C on survival time. As Drs. Cameron and Pauling pointed out, however, the patients in the first Mayo Clinic study had undergone extensive chemotherapy that damaged their immune systems prior to the use of vitamin C. In the second study supplemental vitamin C was abruptly stopped after only about two months. There was also evidence that some of the patients in the placebo group were taking extra vitamin C, thus muddying the differences between groups.

When Cancer and Vitamin C was first published in 1979, Drs. Cameron and Pauling noted that little information was available on the interaction between vitamin C and chemotherapeutic drugs. They cautioned that patients undergoing aggressive chemotherapy expected to be curative should refrain from taking large doses of vitamin C at the same time in case the vitamin interfered with the drug action.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Pauling published two papers with Dr. Abram Hoffer, who developed a regimen for use in cancer patients that includes B vitamins, vitamin E, large doses of vitamin C, beta-carotene, selenium, zinc, and other substances. The statistical analysis of their data revealed that about 40% of the cancer patients survived five years or more after the initiation of the regimen. (A new book by Dr. Hoffer, Vitamin C & Cancer, features major contributions by Linus Pauling and further discussion of these results.) Only about 10% of the patients treated by Dr. Cameron in Scotland with vitamin C alone survived as long, although all of the Scottish study patients had terminal cancer. These studies, as well as Dr. Cameron's studies in Scotland, were not designed as placebo- controlled, randomized, double-blind trials because of ethical concerns and practical problems concerning appropriate placebos.

A Finnish non-randomized clinical study published in Anticancer Research in 1992 by Dr. Jaakkola and colleagues showed that the provision of B vitamins, large doses of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, fatty acids, and minerals in combination with chemotherapy and radiation to patients with small-cell lung cancer resulted in significantly prolonged survival, especially when started early. These patients were compared to patients in other studies who were treated only with chemotherapy and radiation. Another clinical study by Dr. Emmanuel Cheraskin published in 1968 showed that the response to radiation among women with cervical carcinoma was enhanced by daily supplements of 750 mg of vitamin C given during radiation.

Source: Linus Pauling Institute

How To Make Your Own Vitamin C
YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN VITAMIN C POWDER!!!! Do this at home and you will know you are taking a high quality supplement straight from the source. Organic citrus fruits have all the good stuff in their pulp and peel.

Cut the peels into thin strips and lay them out on cheesecloth, or use a dehydrator to dry out the peels. After a few days, or when fully dry, put the dried peels into a coffee grinder to make into a powder. One spoonfull is said to be all you need for a whole day. Add the powder to your food or drinks, store in an airtight container.

Most citrus fruits such as lemons have five very potent/powerful/extremely dangerous pesticides sprayed on them when shipped. You can use organic grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons or limes.

Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic Acid should be converted to its Ascorbate form because this form is more alkaline, more absorbable and uses up less bicarbonates from your body's digestive system. This means crunching up your Ascorbic acid tablets then adding water and finally adding the baking soda(sodium bicarbonate) -- let it finish fizzing -- then drinking it down. For every 2,000mg of ascorbic acid, add just added 1/4 to 1/2 teasoon of baking soda to it. Please make sure the baking soda is aluminum free.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mind Is The Chief

I have just received a reply from my doctor in New York that I can continue to take the cyclophosphamide (CTX) drug. I feel that there have been improvements, especially the nerve pain that I experienced on my legs and also when I cough is no longer there. I can also walk much better and with less pain now. However, he reminded me that CTX drug should not be the mono-therapy. For the last five months since I have decided to search for additional therapies to complement Gerson Therapy, I am at a loss as to which therapy I should take. When you are lost, where do you begin? I have been thinking over these many moons ago but I still don't have the answer. Along the way, I started taking CTX and was thinking of going to Germany to do the hyperthermia therapy (HT) as well in early May 2012. The HT in Germany is actually very good according to feedback from two patients that I met personally. However, HT is not a single session therapy meaning a patient has to undergo HT many times to get the benefits. Costs becomes an issue here because it's not cheap per session especially for my case. So I have decided not to take up HT and after many nights of thinking and further reading, I have decided to take up IV vitamin C (IVVC) therapy. Have what I done to date sufficient? I wanted to do the Interleukin-2 therapy but it is not available locally.

And know what, I have never felt better since taking the IVVC therapy and my doctor suggested that I increase the frequency to three times a week or 135g of vitamin C a week. I will think about it because this therapy is also not that cheap. Today, my doctor told me two contrasting stories. The first was a breast cancer patient who is now warded in palliative care. What this means is that the patient is just waiting for the time. So the patient's husband pleaded to the hospital doctors to allow the patient to take IVVC treatment as a last resort and it was granted. The patient was given 90g of IVVC daily and after two weeks, her lungs began to clear and she was also to move and wanted to walk. Her doctors were puzzled as to her improvement and do no know what write on the patient's report. Luckily the doctors have agreed to allow the patient to continue. In another story, this cancer patient suffered a form of skin cancer and one of her hand was severely swollen with pus and  deformed by the tumors. She came to do IVVC and ask my doctor whether the therapy would help her hand return to normal. My doctor said unlikely and you can see the dejection on the patient's face. The IVVC therapy was to help to strengthen the patient so that she can travel to Germany for HT. And she further said when she cannot do chemo, she will die. Since her body is very weak, no chemo was given by her conventional doctor. Last week she died. Be careful of what you wish for.

At this juncture, I like to digress a little bit. I have three little stories to tell. I was told by a Christian patient that he was cured of his cancer when he prayed to Jesus Christ. Then my contractor, after finding out I had cancer, told me that his father and his uncle was cured of cancer after they prayed to this deity at a certain temple (a Taoist practice). Finally I read in a medical journal that a doctor told the cancer patient that the drug he was taking was the most powerful cancer drug when actually it was just a placebo. The patient also did not die. I leave you to interpret these three little stories. For me, the state of the mind is very important.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

More Than Believing

I thought I do a follow-up discussion after reading the comments of Kok Piew and Gary, both friends of mine who wrote on my last post "I Wish I Knew".

I will start off the discussion with a generalisation, "Every cancer patient will only take the treatment (whether conventional or alternative) that he or she believes will cure or improve his or her condition". And if you look at the statistics, most cancer patients died than getting cured. Hence, I think the "believing" alone in a treatment will work by the patient is not good enough. It's also necessary not only know how the treatment works but what type of cancers the treatment works on. This I believe, you can then chose a more effective treatment and better your chances of survival. It's also a known fact that a majority (95%) of cancer patients will select conventional treatment. Those who selected alternative treatment are normally made up of two groups of people. The first group are those who are trying alternative after conventional treatment has failed. The second minority group are those that believes alternative treatment offers better chances of cure and hence did not do conventional treatment.

When I first started alternative treatment, I have the purist view that alternative treatment is to the exclusion of any conventional medications. I was naive then. My first 18 months on Gerson Therapy (GT) was relatively pain free and I did not even have to take a single painkiller during that time. However, when my cancer spread to the bones, I experienced a different level of pain. I soon found that I can only depend on conventional pain medication to help control the pain. Managing the pain is not just simply popping in painkillers. I also found out about breakthrough pain, that even after taking painkillers round the clock, additional random pain can still strike. I suffered such pain attack just two days ago and I only managed to get relief when I increase the intake of opioid painkillers.  As I began to read about more books, like The Gorter Model, Beyond The Magic Bullet - The Anti-cancer Cocktail and German Cancer Breakthrough and also learn firsthand about cancer treatments in Germany from patients, I realised that alternative cancer treatment is not just about using natural treatment methods to the exclusion of conventional medication. These cancer clinics in Germany uses a combination of conventional and alternative methods of treatment to give the patients the best of both worlds. This is about surviving cancer and they have one of the highest success rate of cancer healing in the world.

After two years on GT, I realised that I was not getting anywhere close to a cure and I began to accept ideas that a hybrid approach that are being used by so many successful German clinics could offer another path of cure. And the opportunity came when a reader from Hongkong introduced her doctor from New York to look into my case. And I was introduced to some conventional medication that I did not even know existed. Although they belong to conventional medication, they are also not used in mainstream cancer treatment. And after researching the conventional medication recommended, I was inclined to believe that these medication have potential and indeed offer a hope to me. A late cancer friend of mine has been feeding me with some alternative cancer therapies that she was taking. I checked out all the therapies that she mentioned (and wrote about them in my blog too) and in fact, I took up two of her recommendations. The first was the HIFU treatment and the other was the IV Vitamin C therapy which now I am taking.

In my last post, I painted the view of finding myself in an unfamiliar territory. Never have I thought when I first started alternative treatment, my journey would lead me to what I am doing now. I am totally unfamiliar with the conventional medication that I am taking and also combining them with alternative treatment. How to manage the side effects and healing reactions? I have no idea if such combination will work. But rather than to leave it to faith, I decided to put my believe in the therapies. So far, how many people have taken such an approach? I am sure that there will be some people out there who will not agree to this approach.  I am taking a different view, much like some of the doctors in the German clinics. I do not know what I am doing is right or wrong, worth it or not. But I can tell you, with hindsight, everybody is an expert critic. Some people think that they can understand the mechanics behind the decision making of a cancer patient on treatments. I think that is a fallacy.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I Wish I Knew

My current journey can be characterized by much more pain. I have been upping my intake of painkillers at more regular intervals of 6 hours or less. My doctor has given me a batch of 30mg dihydrocodeine tartrate and I am now taking that in place of oxycodeine hcl. The majority of the pain emanates from my right abdominal area. At time, I could feel needles punching on my abdominal walls! As I take more painkiller, the less active I have become because I tend to spend more time sleeping. The painkillers makes me drowsy and I can really sleep even with such hot weather without air-conditioning. I also feel tired. And by 10.30pm, I am also beginning to feel sleepy and would normally retire to bed.

I just got results of my blood test and the overall results has deteriorated. I have expected some deterioration because of the cyclophosphamide drug that I am taking for over a month now. I will be writing to my doctor in New York for some advice to see if I should continue or take a break from taking cyclophosphamide. I suppose my IV vitamin c + B12 therapy which I just started taking about two weeks ago should help me recover. I just need to have faith in what I have chosen to do.

Taking a cocktail of drugs/therapies for my cancer treatment is not easy. This is because everything that I am experiencing are new. Individually each drug/therapies have its own merits and strength. When combined together, theoretically there should be synergy but I can't predict what the fireworks will be. At the same time it's exciting because I have chosen to take a different approach rather than surrendering. Sometimes, I also wonder weather such effort are worth it or not? Am I gambling with my life? What is there to gamble when my condition is already beyond hope, at least from from the conventional point of view. But then, I do not subscribe to "try this or that... what have you got to lose?" strategy. A cancer patient's money and time to live are limited. If I were to try, then at least I would try those that I think would offer me some hope. A lot of damaged are done to a cancer patient's hope when a therapy fails.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Creating Some Value

Today has been a busy day for me. I spent the whole day attending a stock investment technical analysis course on how to use Fibonacci projections and retracement. The class started late and the bulk of the attendees are mature investors in their 40s to 60s. I have been reading up on technical analysis and my brother has also been giving me a crash course on the various technical indicators. Why am I learning stock investment? I have been thinking for a while to utilise some of my time to trade in the local and possibly the regional markets. Not just to keep my mind working but to try and earn some money as well. Not a big timer but a small time trader. I find technical analysis very mind simulating and of course very interesting. During the course, the trainer would utilise actual stock performance to explain the concept and do some back testing to test if the model works. It looks so easy as if the technical indicators can actually help an investor make better decisions and of course make money. While back testing may be a good method to validate the model, I think problem is that in real life, you are looking into the future. You trade based on the model you selected and because real money is involved, fear takes over despite back testing shows that the model is working. After all, past performance is no indication of future success. The execution of the trade becomes difficult and this is faced by most of the new traders like me. I read in many books that new traders pays a lot of 'tuition fees' in learning to trade. To minimise losses, I would start learning by doing paper trading (no money is involved) and see if my stock trading model is working or not. Once the confidence is build up, then I start to invest in real money. This year is an interesting year because it's an election year (in USA, in China, Malaysia and Greece). It's also an Olympic Games and Euro Football championship year. All these events affects the stock market. Dow Jones shed by more than 274 points last Friday and it would be interesting to see how the local stock market opens tomorrow. I will look towards Tokyo for the lead.

I was not very comfortable attending the stock investment course. This is because of the chair. There are not enough cushion and back support. My butt was hurting and I also had some abdominal pain. Luckily the trainers were entertaining and I enjoyed the course and learned from it. Otherwise, I think it's not worth putting up with the pain.

Saturday was a sad day for me. I received news that a lung cancer friend of mine died. She was 59. I thought she would be the one that would most likely be healed because she was undergoing a new Japanese therapy after both the chemotherapy and radiotherapy failed to halt the progress of her lung cancer. The last time I spoke to her about one and half months ago, she told me that she was doing fine. Except that I was sad to learn that she has become bed ridden due to some spinal nerve injury caused by the radiotherapy treatment. So it came as a shock to learned of her death. May she rests in peace.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Charting My Own Destiny

I thought I would give an update on my current status.

The Problem
Primary site:
Right kidney tumor, size of 12.5cm at time of discovery (September 2009). Completed right kidney tumor ablation (HIFU) in December 2011.
Secondary sites:
Over 43 nodes evenly spread all over the left and right lungs at time of discovery. A new node was discovered at the T6 area in July 2010 and also a lymph node, size of a small marble on the left collar bone. A new node size of about 4cm was discovered on the upper right lung in December 2011.
Bone metastases:
Tumors on left knee joint confirmed in January 2012 and the right pelvic bone in April 2012.
Quite extreme pain felt on my right abdominal area, on my left knee joint and right pelvic area. Taking a combination of tramadol hcl/paracetamol and oxycordene hcl painkillers to manage pain.
Very poor. No conventional treatment available. Whatever the conventional doctors recommends are only to prolong life by a few months.

Gerson diet. Currently adding steam fish to my diet for the purpose of increasing my weight. Once my target weight has been achieved, will revert to the Gerson diet.
Conventional treatment:
Taking the drugs ibandronate (one tablet, 150mg per month) and clyclophosphamide (50mg per day). Suspended taking cimetidime for the time being.
Alternative treatment:
Partial Gerson supplements (pancreatin, liver pills, acidoll pepsin, k-salt and niacin), melatonin (5mg) and germanium. Chinese herbs. IV Vitamin C + B12 therapy.

As you can see, I have not moved away from Gerson therapy completely. It's still form the base on my therapy. Along the way, I have tried some other therapies as well. The current conventional treatment that I am now taking is recommended by my doctor from New York and is based on "off label" drugs.

Is The Therapies Working?
Well, I can't give a yes or no answer. According to my doctors, by right, I am supposed to have gone long ago but here I am still alive and kicking. So, I would say the therapies are somewhat working. Somewhat working because I am not cured yet nor am I under remission. I can only say what I have done so far have prolonged my life.

I am creating a new path for myself and hope that it will lead to somewhere.