Friday, March 13, 2009


Dr. Klener worked his magic last week over at Homolka and arranged a PET/CT scan (the fancy nuclear one) for me this past Tuesday. Here are some of the highlights:

All tumors are showing “significant regression”: having shrunk to just over half their former sizes when compared to the last PET/CT in October;

while exhibiting “only minimal glucose consumption” = very little metabolic activity “that would testify to the presence of a viable neoplasm”; but

the pulmonary fibrosis (from the radiation) is worse (and will get worse, before and if it ever gets better) - seen above in the left lung (on right) as that nasty looking star wars starburst pattern of laser blast;

my gall bladder is still ceramic (from the chemotherapy);

and my waistband is, yet again, too tight.

I’m quite pleased with the results, as people generally don’t (actually pretty much never) get better from what I have. I’m not out of the woods yet, but think I found a path. I’m shooting for the ‘all clear’ on my next PET/CT in June, at which point, I will very grudgingly go down as a (very rare) positive statistic promoting the conventional therapies (chemo and radiation) that are the direct cause of all my current health problems. Fingers crossed ;-)

I saw my oncologist yesterday who was thrilled to the point of speechlessness and I’ll try to see my Chinese doctor next week so he can take some of the credit as well. I’ve spent over a year researching and using various therapies and supplements to beat this thing and will expose, expand and expound on each in future posts. I didn’t have the luxury or liberty of any ‘controls’ in this experiment: as time was considered short, I tried a lot of things concurrently, some intensively and others only sporadically.

But I’ll leave you with this ‘very distracting’ picture I took on Wednesday and got yelled at for at GlenGarry Glen Ross. Certain actors, apparently, can be thrown off their game by a little autofocus lamp:

Monday, March 2, 2009

back at it

What an exhausting trip. New York seems like a year ago, but here goes:

A life-long dream of mine had been to see the Harlem Globetrotters® do that thing they do live. Bombarded and teased with advertising throughout my childhood for upcoming performances just a few towns away, I’d always felt a little cheated, left out and behind for missing out.

I don’t feel that way anymore. Thanks to the Garden of Dreams™ people at MSG® (OK, Christine, really), that dream came true much to my personal disillusionment. Not that there was anything wrong with the Trotters, just the ‘garden’ itself was a little fallow:

Remembering with relish the spread for the rodeo, I had starved myself all day in anticipation. This was on pay for tray at the event:

‘Unless them onions is frizzled with gold bullion, or that pork pulled out of the automaker bailout, I ain’t shellin’ out 91 clams for a sammich,’ I chided myself. There was, however, free beer (a lot), of which we indulged (a lot), before somehow waking up in a Dominican restaurant on the Lower East Side covered in salsa.

The rest of my time in NY was parties, packing and saying goodbyes and then off to Berlin, where I had a day of running errands and deutsche domesticity with Travis (doing dishes):

With Travis off to London and me chomping a bit at the bit to return, I took the train back to Prague the following morning and Jiffy picked me up at the station with a couple of beers:

In my absence, my apartment had been redecorated in the minimalist off-white motif of a 19th century hospital ward - not much different from where I’d been a year ago, so I felt right at home at home, as it were. I also lost CNN and the crappy German teleshopping/soft porn channels in favor of the Czech flavors, while the Vietnamese store below my house is, not-so-sadly, not with us anymore. And my cat is having a second childhood – not that any of these things are correlated, necessarily.

Maintaining the momentum from my trip for a few nights, I hit the town and finally hit the wall the first weekend with a flu that left me delirious with fever and otherwise incapacitated until the following Thursday when I went out to Motol for blood tests at 7AM.

I decided to wait around for my oncologist (instead of for the scheduled Monday appointment), so I’d be able to go skiing in the Italian Alps the following (this) week - four months of traveling not having been enough. She gave me the twice over, couldn’t feel any tumors in the nodes, arranged for a CT on March 23rd and a brain MRI on April 20th and told me to call later for the blood results.

When I called later, she told me that my creatinine (a waste product of the muscles) was three times the norm (245μmol/l) and I needed to come back the following morning for more tests and a sonogram, as this represented severe kidney failure. I did some research and it didn’t look good, so I cancelled my trip to Italy, drank lots of water and went to see Monogram with Josh at U Vodarny where I had a lot of beer to kick my kidneys into gear.

I went in at 7 for the tests and then came back at 11:30 for the results and the sonogram. The tests were fine and the sonogram cancelled. I’d managed to lower my creatinine to 63μmol/l – the low end of normal – even without dialysis! She also pointed out that my ‘melanoma marker’, the S-100β protein, which I had no idea they’d been testing for had dropped to .071μg/l from .232μg/l last March - now in the ‘normal’ range! Apparently, anything below .1μg/1 is good. Very good news if you can read between the Greek.

John and Amanda threw me a welcome back party of sorts somehow on Saturday night downstairs at Erra. Nicola, as usual, was in charge of the camera:

We then went over to the latest incarnation of ‘The Zone’ across from my old apartment, now called ‘Bendy’s' of all things:

Which was fun. I'm going to try to see my neurosurgeon tomorrow morning to arrange yet another exam, so I'm off. Sorry this post has been so long in coming (and in length), but it’s been a long few months. Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments on the last post and a special shout out to all those who hosted me on my American tour. I had a great time, but I’m glad to be back, for now at least ;-)