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Missive or Dismissive

For the last few months, I have been receiving unsolicited emails from Tommy Chug; he being the other half of the 70's era comedy duo, "Cheech and Chong," with whom I spent countless hours in college laughing at their recorded routines, but beyond that I don't remember much. There were a few follow-up movies, which I never saw, and more recently, I have found somewhat belatedly a early 2000s cop show starring Cheech Marin alongside Don Johnson: "Nash Bridges." Nothing at all from Tommy Chong unt

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I'll Think About That Tomorrow

What I'm thinking about - and being thankful for, today, is the disappearance of all the side effects I've been experiencing during the last four weeks or so since I began my pill regimen for my papillary thyroid cancer treatment. Too many to list but upwards of a dozen side effects which encompass all activities from those of daily living to others pertaining to just plain living. Let me reprint the warning that came with the pills: "People using this medication may have serious side effects. H

"And Awaaay We Go!"

As Jackie Gleason would say as he segued from his monologue into the sketch comedy that followed on his Saturday night entertainment hour on CBS. So too does my entertainment - or lack thereof, continue. Six weeks or so after my treatment for thyroid cancer (three pills a day) began, per doctor's orders, we have put a halt to the proceedings. Due to increasing values in my bi-weekly lab work (monitored exactly for this purpose), specifically my kidney and liver functions, I am standing down and

An Update About Some Down Time

Not that I want to give you a blow-by-blow concerning my treatment switch over to thyroid cancer from lung cancer but the last two columns were written four weeks ago in the same week in expectation of a weekend away, so these observations will be new-ish in that they will be hot off the press, so to speak. Away with the kind of friends who are empathetic, sympathetic, and who never make me feel pathetic in any of my struggles. In short, the best kind of friends. This is important because when o

Immunotherapy Drug Boosts Survival for Lung Cancer Patients

https://consumer.healthday.com/cancer-information-5/lung-cancer-news-100/immunotherapy-drug-boosts-survival-for-lung-cancer-patients-761655.html   THURSDAY, Oct. 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- A newly approved drug for the leading form of the number one cancer killer, lung cancer, does improve patient survival, a new study confirms. The immunotherapy drug Tecentriq (atezolizumab) was approved earlier this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat patients with newly diag

And So It Continues

Two-plus weeks into my thyroid cancer treatment, all is as I anticipated. I'm still not in a comfort zone, routine-wise, nor side effect-wise, I am feeling some predicted discomfort. I won't self-indulge and list the difficulties that I'm having. I will say that even though I'm extremely thankful not to have experienced any of the more severe side effects (blood clots, arrhythmia), I have felt something. The 'something' I've felt has been made more complicated due to the synthroid pill I take da

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Covid and me

This is story I did with LUNGevity - I was very honored to be given the opportunity to share my how Covid has changed my life, especially as a Lung Cancer patient.  I'm sure most of you can relate.    COVID and Me By Lisa Haines When I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2015, I was extremely sick and my prognosis was pretty grim. I decided then, with the time I had left, I was going to live each and every day to the fullest. I wanted to do all the things that my husband an

Canceritis

There are two generic types of cancer: the cancer that you have, and the cancer that has you. And the yin and yang is what defines 'canceritis.' The internal struggle between being defined by your disease versus living a life in spite of your disease. The former is easy; you're a victim of an insidious, in some cases, incurable disease that causes myriad problems, shall we say; physically, emotionally and psychologically. The latter is hard. Sometimes, overcoming the former in order to live the

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And So It Begins

Eleven years, six months and two weeks, approximately, after being diagnosed with "terminal" cancer (stage IV non-small cell lung cancer), I have begun my treatment for stage IV papillary thyroid cancer. I'll be taking three pills a day, all at once, same time every day. The list of possible side effects are as long and scary as it presumably gets (blood clots, arrhythmia, to highlight just a few). I doubt its bluster. Likely somewhere between it depends and probably. Every patient is different

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6 Hacks to Get the MOST Money for Your Fundraiser!

I raised $7,000 in less than 10 days for cancer research and then I rappelled a 36 story high rise building in downtown Denver.  As a cancer patient, a cancer advocate and with a fiery determination to survive, today I want to talk strategies and tactics about how to get the ABSOLUTE most out of your fundraising efforts. But first, lets dig into the details of advocacy, fundraising and most importantly how patient DATA all go hand in hand. Today, I am taking the last targeted ther

Cancer For Dummies: Me

As I was telling my long-time friend, Rita, over the phone on Saturday afternoon, as a cancer patient - and I know this is going to sound ridiculous, short-sighted and stupid - I am not always forthcoming and honest when it comes to sharing new symptoms with my doctors, particularly my oncologist. Aside from the obvious discomfort neglecting a new problem would cause, not telling my doctors everything, all the time, prevents me from learning - for a brief moment anyway, exactly what either of my

Not Exactly the "Canswer" I Was Hoping For

If this past week's test results (EKG, blood pressure and lab work) pass muster, then I will join the ranks, full-time, of the thyroid cancer community. At present, the medical plan is to pivot, completely, from any lung cancer treatment - which for the past 18 months has been immunotherapy bi-weekly, and focus instead, exclusively, on my stage IV, papillary thyroid cancer. If I can go forward, I'll be taking three pills a day, at home. No more visits to the Infusion Center and, of course, no mo

Improved Therapeutic Efficacy of Topotecan Against A549 Lung Cancer Cells with Folate-targeted Topotecan Liposomes

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32851958/ 8/20/2020, Online ahead of print. Abstract Background: Among all cancers, lung cancer has high mortality among patients in most of countries in the world. Targeting delivery of anticancer drugs can significantly reduce the side effects and dramatically improve the treating effect. Folate, which is one suitable ligand, can be modified to the surface of tumor-selective drug delivery systems. Because it can selectively bind to the folate rece

"Extensive Metastatic Disease"

Well, I certainly don't like the sound of that, and I especially didn't like reading it in the "impressions" part of the radiologist's report I received Friday summarizing the previous Wednesday's PET scan. Though hardly a surprise given a thoracic surgeon's description of my original PET scan 11 and 1/2 years ago: "You lit that thing up like a Christmas tree." Still, I would have rather read something a bit less ominous. But I don't suppose being diagnosed with two types of cancer (non-small ce

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Safeguarding My Future

Whether or not I'm certain about my attitude toward being a dual cancer threat (non-small cell lung and papillary thyroid, cancer), only my subconscious knows for sure. This was recently made clear to when I provided my supermarket shopping preferences to my wife, Dina, who for reasons she takes very seriously (my health) won't let me go into stores to buy anything. Ergo, my list. And I may add, there is much adieu about those preferences. It's like a negotiation. Though not exactly partisan, th

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Lung Cancer Treatment Continues to Improve

https://www.oncnursingnews.com/web-exclusives/lung-cancer-treatment-continues-to-improve CAROLINE SEYMOUR Sunday, July 26, 2020   Histological subtyping of lung cancer is still clinically important, said Ignacio I. Wistuba, MD. However, additional parameters such as driver alterations, alternative methods for molecular testing, and immunotherapy-related biomarkers have strengthened the diagnostic and treatment paradigms in lung cancer. The diagnostic algorithm for lung can

Wait. What?

"Thyroid cancer." Again? I thought the point of last week's surgical biopsy was to genetically-sequence a lung cancer tumor. Now you tell me the radiologist/pathologist found more thyroid cancer. As it already has happened, my oncologist - in coordination with my endocrinologist, said that my most recent CT scan showed "excellent results" (from my previous thyroid cancer treatment - which ended with radioiodine therapy), and furthermore noted that the thyroid cancer was confined to my neck. Yet

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Growing Pains

After more than six months away from the infusion center, due to the treatment for my papillary thyroid cancer stage II, I make my return on Wednesday, July 22. My non-small cell lung cancer stage IV, for which I have been treated since early March 2009, once again becomes front and center after having been back-burnered since early January while we addressed my thyroid cancer. Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the risk of miscellaneous drug/treatment interactions, both cancers coul

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University of Dundee Researchers destroy ‘undruggable’ cancer-causing K-Ras protein

By EH News Bureau On Jul 17, 2020 https://www.expresshealthcare.in/news/university-of-dundee-researchers-destroy-undruggable-cancer-causing-k-ras-protein/423434/ Researchers at Scotland-based University of Dundee have demonstrated a new method of destroying an ‘undruggable’ protein known to play a role in cancer, raising the possibility of a new therapeutic approach to the disease. Mutations of the K-Ras protein have long been known to cause many cancers, including lung, colorecta

It's a Twofer

And not just Tuesday, either. All week in fact, I'll be waiting to hear the music. One day, I'll hear from my oncologist and on another day, I'll hear from my endocrinologist. What I'll hear first is the status of my underlying non-small cell lung cancer, stage IV (diagnosed Feb. 2009) and later in the week, I'll get results concerning my most recent party crasher: papillary thyroid cancer, stage II, diagnosed Jan. 2020. This will be the first time I will have been waiting for results simultaneo

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Draft USPSTF guidance lowers recommended age to start lung cancer screening

https://www.healio.com/news/hematology-oncology/20200707/draft-uspstf-guidance-lowers-recommended-age-to-start-lung-cancer-screening July 07, 2020 Individuals with a smoking history should begin annual screening for lung cancer at age 50 years instead of age 55 years, according to a draft recommendation issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendation, an update of USPSTF guidance on lung cancer screening issued 7 years ago, also reduces smoking pack-year elig

Questions and "Canswers"

"Very interesting," to quote Artie Johnson from "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," that "crazy-kooky" comedy show from the 70s. What's interesting is what my oncologist will say concerning the July 6th CT scan of my upper torso (lungs), the first such scan I will have had in almost six months. That interval being twice the usual and customary three month schedule I've been on for years. The reason for this abnormally long interval? As you regular readers know, I was being treated for my second can

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Mourning, Afternoon, and Evening

We had to euthanize Biscuit, our oldest cat on Saturday, June 20th. He would have been 14 on September 20th. Biscuit is survived by his half-brother, Andrew and his two half sisters, Sloane and Twinkle. Biscuit's litter mate and brother, "Chino" preceded him in death in November, 2019, after succumbing to diabetes. Biscuit had likewise been diagnosed with diabetes around the same time as "Chino." However, as occasionally happens, according to Biscuit's veterinarian, some cats "spontaneously" ove

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