Nineteen Months Post Treatment 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 by | No Comments

I had a blood test Monday, January 29th. It has been nineteen months since I completed my Proton external radiation therapy. I received the results on Friday, February 2nd, 2007. My PSA is continuing to go down. It was .54!

I plan to have another PSA on July 1st, 2007 which will be two years from my last Proton radiation treatment.

This is a demonstration of the findings in past research that the median time to reach the nadir PSA after treatment is 27-36 months.

As long as my PSA continues to decline or remain level, my Prostate cancer is under control and not recurring. My desire is that my nadir PSA would at least be below .5 and it would be better if it were below .2. PSA is generally higher after treatment by radiation therapy (because you still have a prostate) than after a radical prostatectomy (where the prostate is removed).

I am attaching a chart of my PSA numbers since treatment.

Fifteen Months Post Treatment 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 by | No Comments

My PSA is .66
It is still going down, not much of a change for six months, from .7 to .66 but still lower!

Nine Months Post Treatment 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006 by | No Comments

I got another PSA on April 3rd.
My PSA was .7!
I am encouraged!

Four Months Post Treatment 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, November 1st, 2005 by | No Comments

November 1, 2005

Today is four months, to the day, since I received my last proton radiation treatment. I was told to wait four months and then get my PSA checked. Hereafter, I am to have my PSA checked every six months. I am to send the information to the LLUMC Proton Therapy Center and it will be included in a continuing study of the effectiveness of proton treatment of prostate cancer.

Why is this post treatment PSA important?

First, a rising PSA after treatment is an indication that the cancer has returned. There are several guidelines but the most used is the ASTRO guideline that states three consecutive increases in PSA over 18 months is an indication of biochemical relapse. Another indicator used is two rises in PSA of >.5ng/mL.

Second, the nadir PSA (the lowest PSA achieved after treatment) is a strong indicator of bNED survival rate. bNED is biochemical indication of treatment failure, otherwise, using a change in PSA to determine if you remain disease free.

The Ten Year Study of proton patients at LLUMC shows that the biochemical disease free ten year survival rate (bNED) with a post proton radiation of <.51 ng/mL is 87%. For a nadir PSA of .51 – 1.0 ng/mL, the survival rate is 69%. For a nadir PSA >1.0 ng/mL, the bNED survival rate drops to 25%!

Obviously I am concerned to see what my nadir PSA is and I definitely want it to be <.5!

I am not too concerned though since I chose to come to Panama City Beach, FL with my oldest son and his family for a week and to watch him participate in the Ironman Triathlon on November 5th. Also, you may remember that the day before my last treatment, Dr. Luu said I had a 100% chance of being cured! And finally, all through this time, Kay and I have sought direction from the Lord and we are confident that He has guided us each step of the way, and whatever the outcome, our trust is in Him!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. Psalm 20:7

With that kind of confidence, I decided to put my PSA test off until November 8. And today? I am enjoying the beautiful white beaches of Panama City Beach with my grandchildren!

See you November 8th!

November 8, 2005

I decided to go back to my family doctor for a physical and blood work including my PSA. I was disappointed to learn that unlike my urologist, where I get the PSA results the next day, it would be Monday November 14 before the results came back.

November 14, 2005

I called the doctor’s office to get the results of my PSA from last week. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that it was 1.56. I don’t know what it could be. Thinking back, the doctor did a DRE prior to the blood work. I know that can elevate the PSA. That was stupid of me! In addition, I fell on the stairs at the condos in Panama City Beach and I still have a lot of pain in my tailbone. I don’t know if that would affect the PSA or not. Maybe the inflammation there is impacting my PSA.

I considered calling Dr. Luu at Loma Linda but decided to wait until I get another PSA.

I then called my urologist to see if I could get a PSA today. That is where I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and all my pretreatment PSAs were done there. I was told that I could go in later in the afternoon.

I went to the urologist and after checking my records, they said they can’t do a PSA without me first seeing the doctor. I haven’t seen him since last April. Since I don’t have an appointment that could take a while!

I decided to call my family doctor and go back there. I got an appointment for Tuesday morning. Unfortunately the earliest I can get the results are Friday since they send the blood work out.

Nothing seems to be working for me right now.

November 15, 2005

Got my blood drawn this morning. Guess there is nothing I can do but wait until Friday for the results.

November 18, 2005

Kay called the doctor’s office for me. My PSA is 1.81!

Now I don’t know what to think. First I was expecting <.5 and it was 1.56. Then I was expecting it to go down and it went up to 1.81! I am really concerned and somewhat confused. Kay is just as concerned or even more so. I can tell she has been crying. What an emotional roller coaster this is!

Lord, what do I do next?

November 20, 2005

Today Pastor Jerry preached on thanksgiving. The real issue is not so much being thankful for what we have, but realizing that we are totally dependent on the Lord for everything! I realized that all these months I have been saying that I am fully dependent on and trusting the Lord, and whatever the outcome, that would be OK because I believe I have sought His direction and have been obedient. But, when it came down to the events of the last two weeks, I realized my trust has been more in the proton therapy than on the Lord.

Lord, I was wrong, I repent, thank You for forgiving me!

November 21, 2005

Kay sent a fax to Dr. Luu at LLUMC today with questions about my PSA. If I don’t get a response soon I will call him.

I also sent an email to Proton Bob at the Brotherhood of the Balloon to see what they might know about my high PSA.

November 22, 2005

I did a lot of research on the internet last night about nadir PSA. I discovered that with a radical prostatectomy, you reach the nadir right away because the prostate and the cancer cells have been removed.

But with radiation, the prostate and cancer cells are not removed, they have been radiated but they are not all dead. And because the rate at which they die varies, it could take months or even years to reach your nadir PSA.

One study of radiation treated patients had a median time to nadir of 27 months. Another had a median time of 36 months. Another study said that it could take from 3 months to 102 months to reach the nadir PSA.

One website gave this explanation:

Because radiation’s effect is gradual; it generally takes two or even three years for PSA to hit rock bottom. Some men reach this nadir quickly, as soon as three months. Rarely, it can take much longer—as long as 10 years. Ideally, once PSA has reached its lowest level, it should stay there.

Some doctors consider a man cured if he has a PSA between 1.0 and 1.5; others even assume that a man has been cured if his PSA after radiation is in the “normal” range— lower than 4.0. But a PSA of 1.0 to 1.5 means that 10 to 15 grams or more of viable prostate tissue could still be there in the body (because the PSA level in the blood is about 10 percent of the weight of the prostate). Theoretically, even if there is no cancer in this tissue, it could still become cancerous in the future. Thus, after any form of radiation, the PSA level should eventually fall to less than 0.5, and ideally, to less than 0.2.

I began to think about the studies on radiation and how it affects the cells. We were told that the radiation actually breaks the DNA chain. If only one side is broken, it can repair itself. If two sides of the DNA chain are broken, the cell cannot reproduce itself.

Finally things began to make sense. Radiation breaks the DNA chain in the cancer cell, it doesn’t kill the cell. When the cell tries to reproduce, if both sides of the chain are broken, the cell dies. Not all cells have the same life span. Those that try to reproduce quickly, die quickly. Those that don’t try to reproduce until later don’t die until later.

That means that when you receive radiation treatment, even if the treatment is 100 % effective, you could still have live cancer cells in your prostate. That means that you could still have an elevated PSA. It also means that you won’t reach your nadir PSA until all the cancer cells have tried to reproduce and die. That could take months or years.

This is also consistent to what the doctors and scientists said about the side effects of radiation therapy. I was told that I may not experience all the side effects until months or even years later. Why? Because the good cells are still there and working, but, when they go to reproduce themselves, they will die if the radiation has broken the DNA chain. Then the side effects will begin to show up.

Why didn’t the doctors tell me this? Why did we have to go through days and weeks of worry when a simple explanation would alleviate all concerns?

I am even more determined now to get a web site up that gives this kind of information to men who want to know what is happening and how it is happening.

Are we united? 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, October 20th, 2005 by | No Comments

Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. But some of them said, By Beelzebub, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons. Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them:

Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will not stand. Luke 11:14-17 NIV

Does this principle apply to an organization, and if so, how?

An organization needs people that have the same vision, passion, and objectives. All need to have the same goals and direction. When some do not, especially at the management level, there will be trouble. It is a “house divided” and barring intervention, will be “ruined.” This also applies to the Board of Directors of the organization. If the Board is not united in purpose, it is a “house divided” and success will be more difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.

As a participant, at any level, how do I know if I am united in purpose with the organization?

  1. I am passionate about the goals of the organization.
  2. I am excited about my work, I get up in the morning eager to get started.
  3. I consistently support the direction of the organization.
  4. I look forward to the outcomes of the efforts of the organization.
  5. I am not trying to serve two masters; my heart is with the organization.
  6. I am supportive of the leadership of the organization.

What do I do if I am not united in purpose?

  1. Are my motives self-serving?
  2. Is there a moral or legal reason that I cannot be supportive?
  3. Do I have a different passion that I need to pursue?
  4. Am I trying to change the direction of the God ordained leadership?
  5. Do I lack gratefulness?
  6. Can I commit to personal change and become a part of the team?
  7. Do I need to move on?

A leader needs to know the condition of the flock. The leader needs to know the heart of each participant. If the leader senses that someone is not in unity with the goals and purpose of the organization, the leader needs to take action.

  1. Are the organizational goals appropriate?
  2. Is there something I am doing as the leader that is causing disunity?
  3. As the leader, have I done all I can do to bring this individual on board?
  4. Does pruning need to occur?

A primary responsibility of a leader is to maintain clear vision, goals, and direction for the organization. When there is disunity, it invariably revolves around individuals who are not supportive. You must recognize those individuals, do your best to bring them on board, and if that fails, prune them from the organization.

Independence Day 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Monday, July 4th, 2005 by | No Comments

Today is the 4th of July. Many Americans, although they welcome the holiday, do not understand the significance of this day!

In a letter dated July 3, 1776, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was participating in the Second Continental Congress, John Adams, the future second President of the United States, wrote to his wife Abigail Smith Adams at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts:

Yesterday the greatest Question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater perhaps, never was or will be decided among Men. A Resolution was passed without one dissenting Colony ‘that these united Colonies, are, and of right ought to be free and independent States, and as such, they have, and of Right ought to have full Power to make War, conclude Peace, establish Commerce, and to do all the other Acts and Things, which other States may rightfully do.’ You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the Causes which have impell’d Us to this mighty Revolution, and the Reasons which will justify it in the Sight of God and Man. A Plan of Confederation will be taken up in a few days.

In another letter dated July 3, 1776 to Abigail, John wrote:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.- I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by Solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfire and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

The 4th of July is the day we celebrate the Festival of which John Adams spoke in 1776.

We have certainly mastered the parades, games, and fireworks, but I wonder if we haven’t lost sight of the real meaning of what we celebrate today.

Let me give you just one example of what I fear has taken place time and again across this great country.

We attended a parade in downtown Breckenridge, CO today. It was two hours long. It included fire trucks, belly dancers (yes belly dancers!), sports cars, business entries, horses, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, bicyclists, clowns, antique cars, the Green Party, protestors, and family reunions. But with only token references to the Red, White, and Blue and only one or two references to our country and what the 4th stands for.

This was in sharp contrast to the 4th of July parades that we had in OKC in the 70’s when my father-in-law, Garman Kimmell, was the Chairman of the Parade Committee. Those parades were full of the true meaning of the 4th of July. I grieve to think of the change that is taking place in our society.

You can help restore the appropriate significance to the 4th of July.

  1. Tell your children that this nation was founded by Christians and it’s basis is the Holy Bible.
  2. Tell them about the three great documents upon which our nation was founded, the Magna Carta, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States.
  3. Tell them that this is not a country started by revolutionaries, but that England declared war on the thirteen colonies about a year before the Declaration of Independence.
  4. Tell them that they can and should be proud of our founding fathers.
  5. Tell them that we must be continually vigilant if we are to remain free.
  6. Tell them that this is a Republic, not a Democracy, and tell them the difference.
  7. And tell them they can be proud of the hundreds of thousands of men and women that have fought and died and those that continue to fight and die today for the freedom they enjoy.
  8. Tell them it is a gift from God, but it is our responsibility to retain the gift.

God Bless America!

Chipmunk Hill 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Sunday, July 3rd, 2005 by | No Comments

Kay and I left California at 9:00 AM Friday. We drove 513 miles to Fairfield, UT where we spent the night. Saturday we drove 400 miles through majestic mountains, cliffs, and valleys. It was just one breathtaking sight after another. Certainly God is visible to anyone that chooses to see him!

We arrived in Breckenridge, CO about 3:15 PM Saturday. Troop and Karen and the children arrived about 4:30 PM. It was fun to see them and receive hugs from them all!

We woke up this morning to temperatures in the 50s, the sound of a mountain stream rushing down the mountainside outside our window, and the sound of 12 little feet running up and down the stairs! Could there be anything sweeter?

I fixed whole wheat butermilk pancakes with blueberries for all. Well, not all, we have two in the bunch that don’t like blueberries! Can you imagine? Well I know that Austin can!

After a hike up the mountain, the kids wanted to know if it was time for lunch. It was 9:30! :-)

When we arrived yesterday, the lady in the office told us about a place close by that the locals have renamed Chipmunk Hill. There are hundreds of chipmunks and they will actually come up and eat sunflower seeds out of your hand. It was fun to see them take a sunflower seed, remove the hull, and stuff the kernel in their cheeks. They would do this over and over again until their little cheeks were buldging and then off they would scamper to store the kernels in their burrows. The kids (and the parents) loved it! The only way we could get the children to leave happy was to promise a return visit! We will do that.

All is quiet now as the younger children nap and the older children are out with Troop taking another walk. It probaly won’t stay quiet long. We are expecting the rest of the Bullard clan this afternon. About 70 in all. Then the hills will truly be alive with the sound of children’s laughter!

Thank you for your continued prayers as God continues to heal me.

God is good.

Day 44!!!! 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Thursday, June 30th, 2005 by | No Comments

My last treatment is over! It is finished! By the time you read this we will be on the road to Colorado!

Everything went well this morning. They were a little behind in Gantry 3 because of some problem with the X-ray but they fixed that and at 7:05 AM I received my last Proton Radiation Treatment!

We have already received two calls this morning! Thank you Dana Kaye for your call and your prayers every day that we have been here! Thank you Fred for your call and your prayer for us last night after helping us pack and load the car!

Thanks to ALL of you that have been reading this blog for nine weeks now and care about us and pray for us and love us.

We are grateful beyond words for you.

Blessings to each of you! We love you and apreciate you!

Tom and Kay

Day 41 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Tuesday, June 28th, 2005 by | No Comments

Count down! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3 to go!

I have looked forward to this week for several months. Now that it is here, what keeps me going are the prayers of family and friends. It is hard to describe the feeling I have because the treatments do not hurt, but there is a mounting mental adversion to going to the hospital for the treatment. Maybe it is because my body knows that all the things that are happening; the sleepless nights, the urgency, the brown spots on my hips, the occassional pain in the hip joints, the tiredness, the continual wearyness, are all a result of the “painless” treatments! Maybe my body is smarter than I am!!!

Today we went to the Greenes to say “Goodbye.” We will miss being able to see them just about any time we want. We had lunch, a great visit, and dinner. We hated to say “Goodbye.” We will see Fred and Martha this Thursday but today was the last we will see Lindsay and Allison this trip.

During the visit, we showed Janae’s video twice. What a blessing it is! It continues to encourage me! Just thinking about it encourages me! I wish I could stream it on the internet so you could all see it! I think that you would enjoy it almost as much as I do. :-)

Several men finish their treatments this week. We said goodbye to a couple this morning and more finish Friday. Like them, we are also very eager to get on the road for home.

Patience: Accepting a difficult situation without giving God a deadline to remove it.

The LAST weekend and Day 40 

Filed under: Uncategorized on Monday, June 27th, 2005 by | No Comments

This was a weekend to relax. After two treatments Friday, I think I was extra tired and I had much more difficulty sleeping Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. But, that’s OK; the doctor said Thursday that this would rectify itself in three to four weeks after the treatment is complete. So, I will look forward to the end of July and maybe some good rest at night! I can stand on my head if I need to until the end of July!

Saturday was a day to relax and catch up on some emails and computer work.

Sunday we went to Fred’s and Martha’s, attended church with them, and then returned to their home for lunch. They have been so nice to us while we have been here! We would have been lost without them! They have nurtured us, watched out for us, fed us, put up with us, and allowed us to “drop in” over and over and over again! We owe a debt of gratitude and a great big “Thank You” to the Greenes!

Monday morning, when I went in, the X-ray machine in Gantry 3 was down again! I quickly decided that I would wait until it was fixed and then get my treatment. I didn’t want to take a chance on missing another treatment and trying to get another make up treatment before Friday. :-) Kay and I worked on the hardest puzzle I have ever worked for about an hour in the waiting room. Then the X-ray was fixed and I received my treatment! PTL

After my treatment we had breakfast at the apartment and worked while we waited on Peter Hsu, a Character First! trainer from China, to arrive. We had a GREAT visit as he explained how things were going in China and his vision for Character First! in the future. Peter now works with 15 companies in Shanghai, China and #16 will be starting soon! It was exciting to hear first hand reports of how God is working in the lives of so many people there.

Peter Hsu in California with Tom and Kay

While Peter was here we had a visit from both the USPS and UPS! Both were special deliveries and we could hardly wait to have the opportunity to open them.

The first was from Tom and Betty McCormick. It was a photo album of their trip here to visit us. What a nice surprise and what a fun way to remember all the good times and the fun we had together. Thank you Tom and Betty! That was VERY thoughtful of you!

The second express delivery was from Doug Jones. It was a DVD video greeting from many, many folks at Kimray, our grandchildren, and the Character First Training Center! Shad and Janae Glass created it. What a great surprise! Kay and I watched with joy in our hearts and tears in our eyes as we received greeting after greeting from so many wonderful friends. I can’t even imagine all the planning, the time, and the effort that went into the creation of this DVD video greeting. It is a special gift that I will keep as a reminder of the wonderful team I work with and as an example of the support and love they show to me everyday. A very special “Thank You” to Shad and Janae from Kay and Tom.

I am truly a blessed man!

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