This is Rick and you don't know me but I've known of you for a number of years. You see this is mainly from my youngest sister's wedding back in Sept./86 at the St. David's Presbyterian Church in Toney River. You were the soloist at their wedding and a very wonderful and talented singer I might add. I believe that I also saw you singing at other weddings in the Pictou area back in the mid-80's. Anyways, I just felt the need to write you as I realize that you're on a very difficult journey now, with a return of the dreaded disease. I decided basically at the last minute to attend the 4th Annual Reason For Hope that was held at North Nova. I was most certainly happy that I did. I really enjoyed listening to the surprise singer, Lennie Gallant, as he was always one of my favourites. Also, it was the first time that I had seen him singing in person. Your guest speaker, Dr. Rob Rutledge, is someone that I know very well as he was my radiation oncologist while I was in Halifax, as I too am on a journey of my own. I'm now 50 yrs. old myself and I'll tell you more about my journey a little later. Also, to see you there at North Nova, you are truly a very strong and inspiring person. Like I said, I was really glad that I had attended this event as I learned alot. I also had the opportunity to pick up Lennie Gallant's latest CD that he autographed for me. It was great to speak to Dr. Rutledge again at the end of the evening as it was last May since I last saw him. Also, I had the opportunity to pick up his book 'The Healing Circle'. Presently, I am about half way through his book and it's a very inspiring read.
Well, I should tell you some more about me. On Apr. 23rd of this year, I received my diagnosis from my Urologist in Truro. He told me that I had aggressive Stage 4 Prostate Cancer that had metastasized to my lymph nodes and pelvic bone area ( a very painful area). I had many trips to the Truro Hospital within a couple of months prior to my diagnosis for many tests, a body scan and a biopsy of the prostate. Also, months before that I knew something was wrong, I just didn't know what. Finally, mid-Feb. I made an appointment to see my family doctor and like I said, I had many trips to Truro since then. I was in a lot of pain at the time in my right hip, upper leg, lower back and right pelvic bone area. I needed crutches at times to get around and then by mid-March I just basically stayed home as simple things like grocery shopping were difficult to do. I had alot of bloodwork done in Feb. right after my first doctor's appt. and one of the most important blood test, for guys over 40 years is the PSA blood test to check the count. If the count is between 4 and 10, this means that the PSA count is slightly elevated with a low chance of having prostate cancer and it's not common to be over 10. A high count of 40 means that there is definitely cancer and also that the cancer has metastasized. I knew that I was having prostate problems as I had many of the symptoms. I hoped that it was just an enlarged prostate and that all I may need is some sort of medication to correct this. But, this was not to be, it was much worse. My PSA was 716. I thought that there was a huge mistake such as a decimal point missing. But, this was the number, so needless to say my body was a mess inside. Right after I received my cancer diagnosis, which was on a Friday, the next few days were gloomy for me. However, several years before this I had learned the importance of positive thinking and I realized back then that this type of thinking really did help me...no more stinking thinking. So, realizing this on that weekend after my diagnosis, I wasn't down very long as I knew that a positive attitude will go a long ways in my healing. Meanwhile, my Urologist explained to me that they needed to be aggressive with my treatments and to get me to Halifax as soon as they could get me in for radiation treatment. He told me that the radiation will take my pain away. Well, with this news I could hardly wait to get started. He also started me right away with hormone therapy, which includes a pill a day and an injection every 4 months. He said that I'll be on this for the rest of my life as I will not be totally cured and that they will only be able to manage my cancer. He also said that I'll need chemo in the near future as that I'll need all three types of treatments to fight this aggressive cancer. Well, with all this news it was overwhelming. So anyways, by May 17th, I was in Halifax for my first radiation treatment as they got me in much sooner than I thought that they could. Like I said earlier in this letter, Dr. Rutledge was my oncologist and it sure helped to have a doctor of his caring ability, as he truly cares about each of his patients. Usually, having 35 treatments over 7 weeks is the norm, but he figured that I could handle 2 weeks of heavy radiation instead. I got along fairly well with the radiation, just that the side affects bothered me for a couple of weeks after my 2-week treatment. I now realize that May 17th was a very difficult day for you also; I'd say much more difficult for you.
The wonderful support that I received from my family and friends were and continue to be overwhelming to me. Some neighbouring friends organized a benefit on my behalf at the Pictou Legion early last June. Again this was extremely mind-numbing as a huge turnout showed up on a not so nice evening weather-wise. I have a cousin in Ontario that thinks along the same way as I do, meaning that she too believes in treatments using natural supplements, oils, powders,etc.. I do alot of researching myself on the internet and I thought that I was basically alone with this thinking, but it turned out that there are many people that believe in natural remedies. So, with this most wonderful and appreciative financial assistance that I received from the benefit, I'm easily able to take this route to help improve my health. Anyways, with my cousin, she has a neighbouring friend who is into holistic remedies and she's currently studying to be a herbalist. I'll mention a quick story regarding my cousin's friend. About 5 years ago, her husband was diagnosed with aggressive Stage 4 bone cancer and non-Hodgekin Lymphoma. This is what really sparked his wife to educate herself on the natural remedies. Fast forward to now, he is 100% cured and cancer-free. The doctors also told him that he would not be totally cured, just manageable. So, I feel very fortunate and thrilled to have my cousin and her friend helping me out big time and they have me on at least 16 to 20 different things. My cousin's friend told me to get the thought of 'not being totally cured' out of my head and she said that with some hard work for the next year that 'I will be totally cured'...needless to say I like her words better. Also, my diet is completely changed to the better. I started taking these natural remedies on June 1st, right after I arrived home fron Halifax, and as of now, I'm very happy to say that with my latest blood test on Dec. 15th, my PSA is now down to 9.66(in the slightly elevated range). Sept. 1st was my previous PSA test result and it was down to 17 then. I was of course thrilled with that number as it was at the crazy over 700 number last Feb..So, with this nice drop again, there is no mention of having to take chemo now. I'm still on the hormone therapy (like I mentioned earlier), the radiation continued to work on my body throughout the summer and into the fall. I strongly believe that the natural remedies are doing wonders for me. Some of the great remedies that I'm taking are wheatgrass juice (which I make myself and much cheaper this way), a smoothy a day loaded with quality ingredients, liquid Vitamin D-3 drops, probiotic, spirulina, flax oil, 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide ( I find this very powerful as all this is is that an extra oxygen atom is added to one's bloodstream and cancer cells cannot thrive from the oxygen), herbal tea formula and many others. I also have my own quality juicer that juices my wheatgrass ( I grow this myself) for me and I also make my own almond milk. There is alot of work to taking and remembering to take all this stuff, but I feel that this is making a huge difference with me, as the results are showing that.
Like I said earlier, I just felt the need to write to you, to just share some of the things that I'm doing to fight this and also how the results are showing this. I really enjoy reading the posts on your blog and I'm so happy that you're taking your journey with a very positive attitude and hard work also. Also, I'm very happy to hear that you're seeing Dr. Gabrielle Kropp...I heard many amazing things about her. I also realize that because of her great reputation that there can be a long wait to see her. Anyways, I know that you're doing very, very well and I know that you will beat this !!! While reading one of your blogs, this is where I saw your email address as this is the way that I wanted to contact you, to share with you my story. You mentioned in some of your blog posts about tumour markers, I don't completely understand everything about it but you said that it was over 1000 one time and that now it's 187. To me, this looks like you're making tremendous progress with your treatments and this is great to hear!!!
I have learned a great deal so far with all this, such as remedies, healthy eating, exercise, etc. and I have much to learn yet. I had mentioned earlier about being about halfway through Dr. Rutledge's book and he has several body and mind exercises mentioned. I want to learn these exercises, along with meditation, as I'm a big believer in helping the body to heal itself from all or most diseases. I read that you're into yoga, Qi Gong, etc. and this is great!! You are indeed well on your way to helping your body heal itself. That dreaded word 'metastatic' seems very overpowering when one first hears it, but I think with much hard work, it can be controlled.
I also need to say this, I mentioned that I had attended your 4th Annual Reason For Hope, well at the end of the event a few people gathered to talk, to socialize, to buy a CD from Lennie Gallant, or a book or ( I'm not sure if it was a CD or DVD ) from Dr Rutledge...anyways, I was talking to some people that I knew, and then realized that the people at Lennie Gallant's table were starting to gather up their products. While hurrying over to his table to buy a CD, we glanced at each other while walking past and I didn't say anything. I'm a shy type and I'm not as bad as I used to be, but that's no excuse, I just didn't know what to say at that moment. I could've at least said 'Hi' but I didn't and I felt bad for this and so I want to sincerely apologize to you for this. Well, anyways like I said earlier, I really do find you very inspiring and I know that with your strength, you are and will continue to affect a great many people who are going through difficult journeys themselves.
Anyways, this email is turning into a short story. I hope that you don't mind reading this as I wanted to share my story and I really enjoy reading your story. I want to wish you the very best on your journey and I hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas !!!...and that you improve greatly health-wise in 2011!!! You can and will beat this !! God Bless !!