Posts Tagged With: cancer patient

Cancer Update October

Well last week I had yet another CT scan to check on the status of the tumors in both lungs. The scan showed that the No-Cancertumors are stable. My oncologist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America is going to continue my treatment using the oral medication Votrient. He has a couple of other treatment options ready to go in the event the Votrient ceases to be effective. Votrient is a targeted therapy rather than a form of chemotherapy. This means my healthy cells won’t be damaged by the treatment.

I have been learning quite a lot from a 9 part internet documentary series from www.thetruthaboutcancer.com. ICancer does not mean a death sentence any longer.  It can be cured. In the last week I have been making the transition to a more plant based eating plan. I am using my Nutribullet quite a lot these days.

Since I am being treated for stage 4 kidney cancer that has spread to my lungs I also found out that my one remaining kidney has begun to lose quite a bit of its filtering ability. I met with my kidney doctor and he has made some changes to my blood pressure medications. He told me that he is making these changes to “buy me time”.  I am not accepting this statement and I am believing the Lord Jesus to restore my kidney as I make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.

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Categories: Cancer, Health, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

A Second Opinion

A cancer diagnosis no matter what stage is an alarming news to hear.  After hearing the news all kinds of questions begin tophoto2 swirl around in a person’s mind.  What are my options? Where will I get treatment? What is the prognosis?  In my experience dealing with stage 4 kidney cancer that spread to both lungs I had to get these questions answered.  The one big question that I had to get answered was where can I get a second opinion. A friend of mine had told me about a place that sounded great, but also expensive.  That place was Cancer Treatments Centers of America (CTCA).  Let me share with you my top reasons to seek a second opinion at CTCA.

The center will pay for your travel to CTCA for your second opinion.

Once you decide to check out CTCA for a second opinion and call to speak to representative things are set in motion including your travel to CTCA.  The travel department of the center books a flight for you and a caregiver to generally the closest regional medical center. Once you and your caregiver arrive at the airport you will be greeted by a limousine driver who will drive you to the center.  Upon arrival to the center you will be given a quick tour of the center.  Then you will be driven to the hotel that you have been booked into.

The center provides discounted lodging at local area hotels.

Another advantage to seeking out a second opinion at CTCA is that they provide discounted lodging a local area hotels.  The lodging isn’t the Motel 6 no frills style.  They are various Marriott properties, Homewood Suites, and Holiday Inn.  The rates are highly discounted for CTCA patients and caregivers. The average cost for the evaluation week is under $100 for the entire week.  After that, the average rate is around $40 per night.  Each of these hotels also provides free breakfast meals.

The center provides very low cost dining at their cafe.

CTCA has its’ own fully staffed cafe on site.  They use only certified organic products for its menu.  In fact, much of the produce used in the cafe is grown on site at their organic farm called the Hope Springs Farm.  For patients and caregivers this is a large discount on meals.  Two people can eat most meals for under $10.  They have both prepared hot meals as well as a grill for made to order breakfast meals and sandwiches.  There is a full soup and salad bar as wells as a  juice and smoothie bar.

The center provides with you an entire team to look over your options.

Unlike many other hospitals, CTCA provides and entire team of doctors and clinicians to treat cancer.  During the initial week of evaluation patients will meet with a medical oncologist that specializes in a particular type of cancer.  Patients will also be assigned a naturopathic doctor who will assist with possible side effects to treatment with different vitamins and supplements.  Patients also are assigned a nutritionist to help with dietary choices to boost the immune system and help with any negative taste changes due to treatment.  If radiation is needed as part of fighting the cancer a radiation oncologist will be assigned and will work with the primary oncologist.

The center provides and encourages patients to be in community with other patients through the program Cancer Fighters.

CTCA believes in treating the whole person battling cancer.  One of the ways that they help with this is to encourage patients to be in community with each other for support.  The primary avenue for CTCA to accomplish this is through the program called Cancer Fighters.  This group is comprised of many volunteers who themselves are cancer survivors.  This group facilitates weekly meals in the cafe for patients to get to know one another as well as providing various outings to local restaurants and sporting events.   According to their website, Cancer Fighters® was created for and by our patients, their families and friends to support one another to win the fight against cancer. It is a community of inspiration for people who have been touched by cancer.”

Treatment and services are all done under one roof.

Have you ever been frustrated having to travel from one location to another to see a specialist or to have a scan performed?  This doesn’t happen at CTCA.  All of the doctors, clinicians, surgery, treatment, scans, and lab work is done under one roof. For a patient of CTCA everything is under one roof.  Whether you have an appointment, need a massage, need a hot meal, or even a pedicure, everything is in the same building.

The center provides both psychological and spiritual support to patients.

Battling cancer is more than just a physical battle. It can take a toll on a person’s emotional and spiritual condition as well. Having a positive mental and spiritual outlook goes a long way in fighting this disease.  CTCA has a team of licensed psychiatrists who can help patients with the psychological components of battling cancer.  CTCA also provides a team of trained non denominational  chaplains to help with patients spiritual needs.  They provide weekly worship services, communion, and prayer support.

The center provides the latest technology and treatments to fight cancer.

CTCA uses the latest technology and treatment options available to treat cancer. They do not use a cookie cutter approach to cancer treatment. Each patient is unique and it takes an individualized approach to battle the cancer. They use the latest approved medications and chemotherapies to treat patients. Some examples of these treatments include diagnostic imaging using PET scans, MRI, and CT scans.  They also can perform genomic testing to find what is driving the tumor growth and treat it more specifically.  There are over 50 different methods used in cancer diagnostics at CTCA.

Today treating cancer has improved greatly with new technology and therapies.  It is no longer a death sentence to hear the news of having cancer.  When a new patient walks through the doors of Cancer Treatment Centers of America they won’t even feel that they’re in a hospital.  Patients are treated like family and greeted by staff with hugs and support.  If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, don’t fret.  Rather, make a simple phone call to CTCA for a valuable second opinion and the best care.

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The Journey Takes Me to a New Home

20131223 PHX_BL32479 727-7H4 N707SA Southwest right side take-off lSo my cancer journey continued with my moving in with my dad.  After a week of living with my dad, I began to search online for apartments in the area close to the cancer center.  I knew that I could not afford to find my own place in California due to the high cost of rent.  I checked with a fellow cancer patient who has lived in the Goodyear area all her life on the apartments I was looking at.  She pointed me to the apartment that was in a good area to live.  On my next trip out for treatment, I visited the apartment complex closest to the center and filled out an application.  A one bedroom unit was available and I put down a deposit to hold it for me.   So, finally in late October I moved into my new home in Arizona.  The staff of nurses in the infusion department began to donate stuff that I needed for my new place.  I had moved here with a couple of suitcases of clothes and an air mattress.  Everything else I needed was given to me by my friends and care team from the cancer center.

Over the past several months I have become more familiar with the area and it is beginning to feel more like home. I had to have a new stent placed in my right bronchial tube in December, and it has helped to keep my airways open to breathe more freely. I am a regular fixture at the cancer center each weekday, even when I don’t have appointments.  I have breakfast with the Cancer Fighters group 3 days a week and I have the opportunity to meet new patients and friends. Dr. Quan has had me taking an oral medication called Votrient that I take on a daily basis.  This medication is working at shrinking the tumors in both my lungs.  Most of my hair has turned white, but that’s fine with me if it gets rid of the cancer.  I am hopeful that I will be declared cancer free in the coming months.

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Celebrate Life 2015

logoEach year at each of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America hospitals, they host a Celebrate Life event.  This is an event to celebrate with those patients who have survived their cancer diagnosis for 5 years.  Each year a new tree is planted in the garden to honor these 5 year survivors.  I missed this event last year, and I am looking forward to attending this year’s event that is happening this week. The 5 year survivors also receive a gold leaf with their name on the Tree of Life display in the front lobby of the hospital.  I am due to receive my 5 year leaf in 2019.  I am confident in the Lord healing me of all the cancer in my body so that I can get my 5 year leaf.

Categories: Cancer, Health, Personal | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Cancer Returns

March-is-Kidney-Cancer-MonthOver the next few months I felt much better.  The pain and the scars from the surgery were in the process of healing.  I was still out of work due to the prior wrist injury.  My wife found a full time job, and I make Mr. Domestic.  I prepared the meals for my family, did the laundry, and went grocery shopping.  All seemed right in my world for the time being.  Then in November of 2013, things took a different turn.  I began coughing more often during this time.  This cough, however, was different.  These latest coughing episodes would produce blood in the sputum.  At first, I was a little worried.  I made an appointment with my doctor and after seeing him, he said that it might be bronchitis.  Then a few days later I had a coughing fit that produced even more blood in the sputum.  Then I decided to go to the emergency room for a second opinion.  The doctor in the ER had me do an MRI.  She told me after seeing the images that she suspected the kidney cancer was back and had spread to both lungs.  My regular doctor got these results and apologized for missing this possibility.  At this point I was very worried and what this would mean for me and my family.

The last week of December of 2013, the staff at the hospital decided to confirm the diagnosis by performing a biopsy on one of the nodules in my right lung.  The biopsy confirmed that I had stage 4 kidney cancer that had metastasized to my lungs.  At the beginning of 2014 I was now covered by my wife’s insurance plan and we began to seek treatment for the cancer at another facility.  The oncologist there looked over my scans and confirmed the diagnosis.  He ordered additional scans and tests to make sure the cancer hadn’t spread to any other organs or in the bones.  These scans showed that the cancer was confined to the lungs.  The plan was for me to receive a treatment using an immunotherapy drug called Interleukin 2 at U.C.S.F. as an inpatient. This is the only known drug to cure kidney cancer.  It sounded like a good plan, however, U.C.S.F. was not taking new patients for this treatment.  So, the oncologist offered another option which was to take an oral medication called Votrient.  Now, my wife and I had a decision to make.

Categories: Cancer, Health, Personal | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

I’ve Been Diagnosed With Cancer

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Where shall I begin my story of this journey with cancer? I suppose I shall start at the beginning.  It was a cool November evening at our apartment in Santa Clara, California in 2012.  We had some friends over for our regular home fellowship group.  After an hour of our meeting together I had to use the restroom.  I became very alarmed when all that came out was blood in my visit to the restroom.  I quietly told my wife, Tanisha, about it and we continued our meeting.  After our guests left and we went to bed I could not get comfortable.  I had sharp stabbing pains in the right flank of my back.  After a couple of hours of trying to endure the pain, I decided to get myself to the emergency room of a local hospital.

My wife and I waited for about 30 minutes to be seen by a doctor.  He asked the routine questions.  He decided that he wanted an MRI done to determine if I had kidney stones. After waiting almost 2 hours for the results, another doctor came in and told me that I have renal cell carcinoma and walked out.  I looked at my wife and said, “Carcinoma!  That’s cancer isn’t it?”  We were then told that I would be receiving a call from the urology department about setting up a surgery.  So we left the emergency room with no real answers as to what was going on.  I guess that is all one can expect from a Santa Clara Valley Medical.

A few weeks later I was able to meet with the urologist and he explained that I had a large malignant tumor on my right kidney and would need to have a radical nephrectomy to take care of it.  Finally, in early February of 2013 I had the procedure to remove the tumor and the right kidney.  I was also recovering from a surgery to my right wrist 3 weeks prior to the surgery to remove my right kidney.  I had injured my wrist at work and was out on workers’ compensation. I was in the hospital for 5 days for recovery.  I spent the about a week after coming home from the hospital recovering from the pain in my abdominal area where the procedure was done.  The next time I saw the urologist he explained that I would be reexamined for cancer in a year by the oncology department.  I thought that my days of having cancer were over.  I was wrong.

… to be continued

Categories: Cancer, Personal | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

In Search of a Scooter

There is a need for most folks for reliable transportation these days.  The same is true for myself.  Since I have limited yamaha-zuma-50fx-7_600x0wresources, I have been looking into purchasing a Yamaha Zuma Scooter.  I have owned a scooter previously and it was very reliable and inexpensive to maintain.  The weather here in the Phoenix area is pleasant for 8 months, and downright hot for 4 months.  But, it doesn’t rain much or get very cold.  So it’s the perfect weather year round to get around on a scooter.

To that end, I have just stared a fundraising account to raise the funds to purchase this scooter.   You will find my more complete story behind this on the funding site.

Please follow the link at: http://www.gofundme.com/nae1bo

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