By JAYA NARAIN
This amazing story gives hope for those waiting for development of new drugs for cancer treatment. I can't imagine how Mr. Brooks felt when he realized he had gone from having weeks to live, to not seeing cancer cells, or tumors and told he was in remission.
Thank you for sharing this uplifting report.
What worries me is how many American high school graduates will go on to college and be working in vital medical research in ALL fields 10 -15 years in the future?
In1984 my mother was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer; it was ALL OVER her body, and had grown a golf ball-sized tumor that had destroyed 3/4 of the bone in her left femur. After surgery, 45 radiation treatments, and 2 series of Procarbazine (at home...it was ghastly), she was cancer-free by the end of that year.
They did a bone graft in her leg, put her on an experimental version of what is now called a TENS Unit to help the graft grow (got the use of her leg back), and a six-year course of another experimental treatment that caused her immune system to jerk itself back up to normal every 6 weeks. The idea was to kill off any incipient cancer cells that might have been trying to latch onto her again. I guess it worked.
She was 79 when this all started,and stayed cancer-free till she died at 87...of total systemic failure.
Personally, I don't want to live that long, with or without medical help, but my genes say I have no choice. My dad lived to be 82, with Type 2 diabetes that he neglected most of the time (and had bouts of alcoholism that lasted for years). He didn't see a doctor till his feet started turning blue. Had vein grafts that saved his feet, but 3 years of surgery were too much for his system, and he had a devastating stroke that left him paralyzed and unable to speak. He died of pneumonia 6 weeks later. THAT is my idea of hell.
Mother's last surviving sibling (my favorite aunt in all the world) died suddenly in November at age 92.
I will be 75 this year, and I say enuf is enuf.
I understand your family story and sympathise with your personal sentiments---but my view of my remaining life is quite different. I have unfulfilled aspirations to realise.
I am still researching (in Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology and tornado-meteorology) and have made discoveries that are yet to be written and published. So I continue writing papers, preparing lectures, and getting around the world to conferences. But I have known since 2008 that I have prostate cancer (and that I must have had it for three years before then). Medical science has held it at the locally advanced level, and my current prognosis is 5 to 8 more years till death if by cancer.
I continue hoping for more advances to keep me going longer, so that I die instead of something else. My immediate ancestors were long-lived (mother died at 98 following a fall). I shall be 79 in May. I feel young and people say I look young. My A/N photograph was taken 12 months ago. My one huge sadness is that testosterone---normally man's best friend---has been known to be since 2008 my worst enemy.
Your A/N photos over the years revealed your robust health, then a decline and now you look robust again. May your life be long, that you fulfill your many goals, and you remain robust until the end. You leave a remarkable legacy to your family and to society with you fine work.
I have an e-friend who was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000. I don't know exactly what was done, or what meds he's on now (because I feel it's rude to ask), but he is getting excellent care at the VA in Washington DC. He's also enjoying his life tremendously, is an avid theatre-goer and cook.
As for me...I realized my only real dream right out of high school; it was a short career (3 years and a few odd months), but a merry one. The only thing that has kept me trudging on this long has been people I feel responsible for, and my cats. I have no passionate interest or goals anymore. I'm a very shallow person...just trying to exist on Social InSecurity.
Among those who get prostate cancer (or any other cancer for that matter) the luckier ones are those for whom it was detected right at the very beginning.
Most such men get efficiently treated these days.
My misfortune is that I had had it for three years when diagnosed. By then it was locally advanced (PSA number 34 (instead of a normal 3 or 4) which rose to 42 in the four months that the doctors studied it). No operations possible for men in their 70s.
So I am on drugs----good drugs, with bearable side effects. Calculations showed that without any of the present modern treatments my PSA number would now be about 2500 with death by bone cancer or some other organic failure imminent. Bravo for medical research.
Sk8eycat, tell us more about yourself. ............. (From Terry, another cat lover)
Very good advice! Get regular checks for cancer. Early detections offer great hope for complete remission.
Terry, thanks for your honest statement of your experiences and how you have been able to continue your work and life. That takes courage for men to discuss such matters.
Sk8eycat, yes, tell your story. We all benefit.
Felaine, "shallow" is not the word I use to describe what I know of you. I would say insightful, funny, honest, generous, worthy of trust, big hearted. I could go on, but I think you get a different picture of yourself as seen through my eyes.
So you get some kind of anti-testosterone treatment? Does it have an effect on how you feel and act? Do you feel "feminized"?
Testosterone is big in the black market ;)
The drugs serve as an androgen blockade.
The chemicals seek any testosterone that they find while flowing in the blood stream. Until the treatment started the cancer-bearing testosterone cells were on the move and landing anywhere by chance---on lymph, inside bones, on abdominal organs ........ This is the metastatic situation. Every such rogue cell is a potential tumour of the future. The drugs keep the testosterone level very low for a few years, destroying what they find.
Eventually, immunity to the drug builds up and a stronger drug is introduced. That too has a fairly short life. Testosterone is the enemy within. Impotence results. Every man with prostate cancer that is being treated has been made impotent. It is perhaps why a few men do not accept treatment.
The anti-androgen drugs don't have an emotional/behavioral effect though? If it's too personal a question feel free to ignore it :)
I knew someone whose father had prostate cancer. He got the anti-androgen treatment and this guy said his father joked about being "feminized". I don't know if he meant some kind of emotional/psychological effect or that was a roundabout way of saying he was impotent.
This guy (not his father) had low testosterone and used testosterone patches. He said the testosterone made him feel more self-confident, but maybe that was something he'd psyched himself into.
Those sex hormones are powerful ...
Ah yes, one can say 'feminized'.
My brain is unaffected of course (still 100% masculine) but there are slight body changes. I have acquired A-cup breasts (which are sensitive) and facial hair is slower growing. I accept this willingly enough being a positive thinker. I also get hot flushes every day.