A Sense Of Calm... Finally
I'd like to share, from my perspective, a little about the last few weeks. We haven't posted much because of the significant shift in returning from Europe and transitioning into the next phase of my treatment.
As has been shared previously, my treatment in Europe was tough, maybe the toughest 6 week stretch of my life. It wasn't just what I did in the clinics, but the intense travel, daily taxi rides in a foreign country, going back and forth between 2 countries, the endless Covid tests to satisfy the ever changing regulations, etc. Arriving in Europe, I was already tired and it just kept getting worse. By the end, I was like a rag doll. We are glad that we made the trip and are hopeful that the treatments I received, which take time to work, will be beneficial. It will be hard to ever truly know.
Upon arriving in San Francisco on Saturday, 24th of July, we had the good fortune of staying at a friend's house who was out of town. You can imagine after such a difficult 6 weeks, then a very long travel day that started at 3:30 AM in Vienna and then 20+ hours later landing in SF, we needed time to recover. Our kids were with cousins in Sacramento & CO, so Alicia and I just spent a week in Los Altos, trying to recover. For the most part we did.
After a week in Los Altos, we then flew to CO to be with our kids, as well as my parents and my sister and her family. We've been here now 10 or so days, staying at my parent's home until the end of this week when we move into a home not far from them. It's been tremendous to just stay still, knowing we're going to live here for the foreseeable future and of course to begin the next phase of my treatment. I am sleeping better (we seem to have found the right titration of THC and CBD), I feel better, have more energy, and am enjoying a sense of calm. Clearly I still have cancer and that's a big deal. But the change of pace has been very welcome.
Phase 1 of my treatment involved the intense stuff in Europe. That was immunotherapy, hyperthermia, and other supplements and pharmaceuticals that aren't available in the US.
Phase 2, which I'm in now, is a little more routine and will last longer. I'm taking a drug that targets cancer cells with a genetic mutation that 60% of all melanoma patients have called B-RAF. It has limited efficacy (seems to be effective for maybe a year) but good news? It has lower toxicity and works rather quickly. I've only been taking this so-called "targeted therapy" for ten days and I've noticed a difference. Alicia will be quick to remind me that I started another treatment (an off label drug with very low toxicity) fifteen days ago that she feels has also been extremely helpful; she'll tell you more about at some point.
In addition, I'm continuing to take a wide variety of supplements. There is tremendous research on so many of these complementary treatments, and it's disappointing that oncologists in the US know very little about these other options. Also, insurance doesn't cover these kinds of treatment and the cost adds up quickly. Because of this, it discourages many people from even trying, especially when their oncologist has little to say on the matter and sometimes warns them away from it.
As one example, I'm doing high dose Vitamin C infusions 2x per week. Cancer cells feed off of sugar. The molecular structure of Vitamin C looks very similar to that of glucose. It tricks cancer cells and they eat it up. Once inside the cancer cells, the Vitamin C turns into hydrogen peroxide and literally causes the cancer cell to explode and die. Of course we are fighting the cancer with many weapons, but why don't all cancer patients receive the recommendation for high dose Vitamin C? No side effects, relatively cheap (compared to immunotherapy and chemo) and could only help while the other treatments are going on.
I'm very grateful that I've been feeling better. I still take it day to day, like I tried to do with the tough days in Europe. I'm also fully aware that I still have Stage 4 Melanoma, tumors in my brain, etc. This is a marathon, with ups and downs. We are hopeful and generally doing well. The kids are starting at a classical education charter school in a few weeks, the church we attend has a great youth program, family is nearby, etc. Alicia and the baby seem to be doing well, though they both are growing.
Thank you for the faith and prayers. Please keep them coming. We pray for you guys as well and express gratitude daily to God for all of the wonderful people in our lives. We hope that blessings are flowing your way as well. We also look forward to the day we can reciprocate and help others as we've been so well cared for.