Thursday, April 10, 2014



   Months went by since my last blog.
   February I started the BCG therapy, six installations in six weeks, only one third of the usual dose.
   I found the term “one third” a little suspect – doesn't “Western Medicine” use grams, milligrams, etc? But indeed, I found studies that claimed that one third of the usual dose was just as effective as the full dose. Now I wonder, why is everybody still overdosed with BCG, a vaccine with countless brutal side effects?
   The answer is most likely that the unpleasant side-effects of BCG are not side effects, but are the desired effects! Very much like chemo, BCG attacks the bladder, and we have to stop in time, when the damage still is reversible. Then we hope the bladder will be rebuilt – according to the original design, without cancer.
   I had two BCG treatments in the years before, after surgery. The first treatment (six installations) was tolerable, but also did not terminate the cancer. After another surgery, six more weeks of BCG was the standard treatment.
   This time the BCG got rid of the cancer, but also left me a “bladder-cripple” – as my second opinion MD called it – unkind, but correct! It took almost a year until urination frequency and pain was relatively normal.
   Having to pee urgently every 20 minutes is not a death sentence, it's so trivial it hardly compares with a bad headache – but after a year of non stop pain and peeing you will have turned into an hermit – at least until your bladder heals.
   So I wasn't too excited about the procedure. Nevertheless, the first two installations were tolerable. Starting Thursday mornings – I would be back on baseline by Monday.
   Then my luck changed – I did not recover from third installation within a week, and could not even hold my urine long enough for the 40 minute drive to the clinic. So we postponed treatment for a week. Installation number four repeated the pattern – another postponement.
   After the fifth installation I did not recover at all – at least so far! Since about a month ago, I spent my time on a pilgrimage between bed and bath. Every five minutes. The pain, along with the painkillers, the interrupted sleep patterns, put you into an unpleasant somnambulistic state.
   Somewhere far away a plane disappeared without a trace, and I'm not sure if the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” were among the victims...
   I was mostly alone in the house and last weekend started to keep records of my urination frequency. This does make a lot of sense, because it is a relatively objective measurement of the damage to your bladder.
   Since last Sunday I'm getting better, the breaks are longer, the pain – still have to take those painkillers, and relaxants, etc....
   This weekend in hindsight I see myself as a strange Kafkaesque creature, between bed, bath, and beyond, whose entire purpose in life is to record every time it has to urinate.
   I'm a lot better now!
   I still can't go shopping, but I'm up at the computer desk – at least some of the time.
   My urologist at UCLA, Dr. Chamie agreed that we fulfilled the purpose of the therapy, and I do not need to endure another installation.
   What am I doing now? A pound of Zhu Ling mycelia, a medicinal mushroom supposedly as effective in preventing cancer as BCG, is waiting to be turned into a tea. And cannabis oil is, and will be, very appreciated.
   In six weeks we will have a cystoscopy and find out if any of this worked.
   Until then I have to recover as fast as I can, because I don't want to die of boredom!

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