Friday, August 4, 2017

The Result

My new PSA score came in this morning. The experiment was not a success. A month ago, my PSA was 1.41, which was up from .98 two weeks prior, and .35 a month before that. After one month of being off Xtandi, my PSA is 3.72. My cancer continues to grow. It doesn't look like there's anything that can stop it now.

For the uninitiated, the "experiment" I speak of was trying 1,000 milligrams per day of an ultra-pure version of cannabis oil as my only treatment, other than the Lupron that's still in my system from my last shot three months ago. My oncologist agreed to this experiment, ordering a baseline PSA test to begin. But the experiment was flawed due to the fact that I couldn't get the oil in a timely enough manner to actually dose at the level I needed to every day. I missed about a week of doses during the last month.

But honestly, I didn't really expect this treatment alone to keep my cancer under control, much less kill it. I just wanted to try and see if it made a difference. It appears that the only difference it makes is help with pain and sleep, at least for me. As far as I'm concerned, that's reason enough to do it right there. So I'll keep taking it, and keep getting tested. Maybe, over time, it will show some measurable benefit.

Cannabis oil helps many people, and has cured many of cancer and other diseases. But my cancer seems to shrug it off like it has everything else we've thrown at it. I have no reason to believe that any future treatment will fare any better against it.

We'll see if there are any worthy contenders to go up against this juggernaut when I have a consultation about potential clinical trials at the local university hospital on Monday. As I've said in past posts, I'll be very judicious about choosing any trial I might be a candidate for. I don't want to do anything with adverse side effects, or where I have a 50/50 chance of being in the "old treatment" group or the placebo group. There may not be a trial that I'm a candidate for anyway. There wasn't last time my oncologist checked, which he does regularly.

It may seem to you like I have a cavalier attitude about this. You may be thinking that I should be willing to take more risks given my situation. I'm sure that's what many of you would do. But because I still feel good, I'm reluctant to do any treatment that will make me feel bad. I want to keep doing the things that give me joy for as long as I can.

Here's the bottom line. I am incurable. My disease is terminal and very aggressive. At some point, I will lose my quality of life, either from treatment or cancer. As long as I have no symptoms, why would I want to make myself feel terrible and put myself on the sidelines sooner than I have to? It would be one thing if there was a good possibility of a cure, or even significant extension of life. But there isn't. A few additional months is all any treatment out there can promise me. That I know of, anyway.

If there's a clinical trial that has minimal side effects and still allows me to do the things that are important to me, I'll probably do it. But I have little or no confidence that this dragon can be slain by any device of modern medicine, or that it can even be kept at bay for long.

Cancer is a terrible thing, and the particular flavor I got seems nastier than most. But at the same time, I'll admit I'm a little in awe of this organism in my body that seems invulnerable and unstoppable. It's like the tide. You can't hold it back. All you can do is try to get to high ground. That's what I seem to be running out of. High ground.

I'm glad I got the news this morning, before I began rehearsing with the kids I've been coaching for our summer show on Sunday. Doing what I love. If I hadn't, I'd have been checking my email all day to see my result. The kids might have noticed a change in my mood when I saw it. This way, I had a chance to digest it before rehearsal started.

I'm doing OK. Thanks for asking. I expected this result. God is still good, and I am still his servant. On Monday, I'll find out if there are better options for me than what my oncologist offers. If not, it will make this an easy decision. #waroncancer #bearingwitness


  1. Mark, Your spirit and attitude is fantastic. I completely agree that life is to be lived and you are doing it with dignity. You are in my thoughts and prayers daily. Lee

  2. Your blog is a pleasure to read. Its realistic and matter of fact.

  3. Nicely stated, Mark. At least you seem to keep your spirit up and maintain a glimmer of hope.
    According to my own readings, cannabis oil doesn't actually "cure" anything, but seems to be a great help against symptoms, particularly pain.
    Good luck on Monday in your discussions with the oncologist.

  4. We continue to pray for you and know there are many tough decisions when it comes to this terrible disease! Thank you for sharing.

  5. I admire how you are handling all of this. I think I would do exactly what you are doing. Live life to the fullest! Sandy