Sunday, January 27, 2008

Feeling Rich and Old?

If you happen to be feeling wealthy and old I have something for you to try. The company, Geron Corp., that developed the Telomerase inhibitor GRN163L, (the trial I'm going on), licensed its small molecule Telomerase Activators for non-therapeutic products in the fields of dietary food supplements, nutraceuticals and topically applied cosmetics and cosmeceuticals to Telomerase Activation Sciences, Inc. (TA Sciences). For a measly $2500 you can go to NYC, see a doctor and get a pretty sophisticated lab work up to see if you would like to go on the $22,500/year TA-65 Patton Protocol. That doesn't include the other doctors visits or lab work... "Now aging humans can re-set their cellular clock by activating telomerase, the enzyme responsible for long, healthy telomeres and youthful functioning cells. We are pleased to introduce TA-65, an exclusive telomerase activator that demonstrates measurable and positive anti-aging benefits."

So do I want to age gracefully or get rid of this myeloma? Maybe I can do both? What a quandary. Maybe I'll just buy a new boat for our empty boat lift at camp. Hmm, such wrenching issues.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

On Vacation

I haven't actually traveled anywhere, but my mind has certainly taken a hike on another trail. Classes started 2 weeks ago along with a pile of other obligations, some exciting, some trying, some mundane. I made a conscious choice to "avoid" myeloma in part because I know once the GRN163L trial starts there will be a potential Roswell Park overload brewing. The clinical trial finally got posted on ID: NCT00594126 The second arm has not "officially" started yet.

In the mean time, Happy Birthday Lu! She is now officially 2 years older than me. Hee Hee Hee. The not so little chillens threw Lu an amazing fondue feast that lasted 3 1/2 hours. I loved the active interactive communal atmosphere. The traditional Swiss "cheesy" part was only served with the pre-dinner bread and veggies. We then moved on to meat and pastas fondued in boiling broths and ended with decadent dark raspberry chocolate dipped fruit. My mouth drools just thinking about it. Another Happy Birthday to my dear friend Barb who will always be younger than me. Humm. I learned at her party from the Oud (lute) player that the word "lute" comes from Arabic العود (al-ʿūd), meaning a thin piece of wood. Before my charming wife took my name she could have been called, Lu Oud, or as we would have called her in grade school, Lulu Lute. She was a very thin little piece of Wood back then.

I started a health and longevity Tai Chi practice which I am finding both subtly difficult and rewardingly therapeutic. A wonderfully relaxing gentle form of exercise. Then there is the Healing Rhythms biofeedback "training for a happy mind and a healthy body." I highly recommend it, especially if you already own the Wild Divine (which I did). Lu borrowed a violin for me from school. I've been fiddling around with that. Boy I suck big time, but I am surely growing lots of new neurons these days.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Are You Listening to Music?

My wife just reminded me what my therapist keeps asking me. "Are you listening to music?" I forgot to include it in the LPC123 pre-clinical trial. She sent me a snip it referring to a Cleveland Clinic back pain study. That got wondering about quantitative immune response studies of which I found way to many to reference. In short, music (that you pick is slightly better) can produce significant changes in all kinds of quantifiable immune responses: POMS-scale, CD4+:CD8+ ratio, cortisol, and cortisol:DHEA ratio. "The intervention of music demonstrates communication between the mind and body." [ref] Gee go figure.

I used to play the viola 30 years ago. I bet I could generate some significant immune suppression if I play at the Gilda's wellness group talent show at the end of the month. Then again maybe it would be so hilarious that natural killer cell activity would increase. [ref] There is a great review article on "The Impact of Humor on Patients With Cancer"

Go listen to some music and have a good laugh!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Doc Update

I actually recorded a 30 minute discussion with a dear friend who also happens to be my oncologist Tuesday. That statement alone is very special to me. Of course what we talked about was rather important as well. Despite the expanding hole in my head there is no meaningfully significant indicators of progression. So a bone marrow MRI as well as numerous pre-GRN163L clinical trial pokes, prods and pictures are coming soon. I had an email discussion yesterday about a primary myeloma indicator (myeloma cell protein expression) and how tons of factors which are mostly unknown can effect it. In short it is tough seeing a 1.5 inch hole on an x-ray, balancing that with no other indicators of progression and then going back to living a great life. Heck I played tennis this morning and actually think my day was productive. I just finished a phone interview about Gilda's Club. That got to my bone marrow.

On the purely dry and informative side. I'll be in the second cohort of patients in the clinical trial which starts February 11th. There have already been several significant responders on the GRN163L Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia trial. One individual actually over responded causing tumor lysis (with no lasting complications). Being in the second cohort means I'll be getting a slightly higher dose than the first pioneers. The trial requires a lot of follow up blood work which translates to "waiting around" and several bone marrow taps. They don't seem to bother me so I'm certainly lucky there.

Between now and then I'll be on the LPC123 pre-clinical trial. It involves plenty of Qigong, curcumin, laughing, playing, birthday partying, and a bit of teaching. It is going to be a great semester. Unlike any other I've taught. I'm a different person.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Glorious Mundane

For the most part my life is made up of the rather normal mundane aspects of being. Eating, sleeping, cleaning, etc. Truly exceptional experiences are pretty rare, hence the adjective exceptional. When some part of my normality is taken away I find myself readjusting, remaking normal, with a renewed appreciation for what was unnoticed, taken for granted. A side effect of Velcade slowly crept into my sleep over the last month. Restless leg syndrome or in my case more technically termed "Nocturnal Leg Cramps" focused in the calves but present in the thighs and feet to varying degrees. After a few sleepless weeks with countless attempts at relief ranging from prescriptions, supplements, massage, spas and heat packs to exercise to just plan old staying up all night and sleeping during the day I have been sleeping again. Fourteen hours last night - ye ha. Qigong and a walking meditation seem to have helped the most, but like any good scientist I can't say that with much certainty. I haven't taken Velcade in almost a month and maybe time is all I needed. Well whatever the cause the glorious mundane activity of a warm spa followed by a peaceful sleep is absolutely angelic.

May the angels guide, protect and shower you with love tonight. Sweet dreams.