Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Say whaaat? Another strange change in my life

Good news, bad news

Recalling visit to the Oncologist, he worried about my horribly elevated (horribly for me) cholesterol numbers, particularly the LDL number (bad cholesterol), and referred me back to my Primary (heretofore known as PCP for Primary Care Provider) for cholesterol lowering advice or medication.
And side effects...well that was the bad news.
Good news is that my PCP is a "fix it first with diet" guy. Awesome! Incidentally he was more worried about my triglycerides than anything else and proposed my HDL/total ratio as the crucial number to watch. Okay, I'm all for that.

Now the kicker, PCP says that my options are:
1- Low carb diet
2- Medication (statins) with possible liver side effects

Since my liver is essential to processing both the estrogen blocker (Faslodex, fulvestrant) and my no-chemo chemo superhero-pill (Afinitor, everolimus), I picked choice numero uno. Anything but more poisons running around in my poor abused body. But wait...

Eat fat????

PCP promptly pulls out a neato colorful flyer with a new and strange food pyramid and the title Ketogenic Diet. KETO??? fad-diet keto? meeeeee? traditional nutrition and fully schooled Exercise Physiologist me-on-keto????
The wacked out keto pyramid
this is going to take some getting used to

Shock, sheer shock, overwhelming disbelief. First, a MEDICAL DOCTOR who actually prescribes lifestyle modification in lieu of medication. As if that is not shocking enough, take everything I have learned about good nutrition, proper healthy dietary habits and toss it out the window from a skyscraper. Aside: well, not everything, as I read more and more, this thing is actually starting to make some sort of perverted physiological "sense." Ay ay ay. 

Of course immediately I hit the books, journal articles, medical websites, studies, more books, more studies, more web searches...I'm exhausted, my brain hurts and need a PowerBar, but NO!!! too many carbs on PowerBars???
Wow, just wow... my life upside down again, as is my standard nutritional pyramid.
Sigh. Double sigh.

Poor piggies

Well, I abide by the motto "insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." I have faithfully watched my nutritional intake all my life off and on, and religiously since my cancer diagnosis. I read all the recommendations for good nutrition and healthy helpful diet modifications to stay healthy and keep up immunity during cancer treatment, particularly during hormone based therapies.
Turns out, in my recent binge research of all this mind boggling information, there is some evidence that low-carb diets particularly coupled with high fat intake (shudder at the thought) have been shown to LOWER cholesterol, blood-pressure and body fat. Heeeeeyyyy!!! there's a side effect I can live with! My estrogen blocker has caused me to struggle to maintain weight and I have lowered my caloric intake to levels that would make a mouse skinny in a struggle to keep my weight down.

I read more and more and find that this thing might, just might! work to lower my cholesterol without any horrible side effects. More importantly, no additional medications will pass through my lips if this works. Seems any short or long term damage evidence from the ketogenic diet is largely just not there. Seems the ketogenic lifestyle works to also have healing effects on metabolic diseases, thyroid problems and a host of other maladies. Also seems there is scant and nascent research that ketosis actually may help with cancer management since cancer cells cannot utilize ketones to grow the way they do carbs.

Lacking a compelling reason "not to" I'm skeptically diving head first into ketosis. And as everything else I do, I'm taking a scientific approach to this new "thing" and already have the apps, the testing kits, the bloodwork and the information I need to really really go ketogenic right.

Well, it is the year of the pig after all...gimme that bacon!!! Stay tuned.
Watch yourself, I'm coming after you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

All is well...almost all!

Let's recap, shall we?

Been a while but all is well, which I guess is why I don't post all that often anymore.
Let's see, I left you when I went hiking and took my very first pill of the new superhero Afinitor (everolimus). No horrible side effects other than some recurrent mouth sores and some gory looking rash-like "things" appearing and disappearing mostly on my hands and arms. No pain, no itch, energy up. Tumor markers are okay, one is down quite a bit, the other went up a little but still down from beginning of the year.
Here is my "cancer feat of the month," an indoor 90 minute triathlon of sorts, happy to be exercising almost like I used to:

I am still getting a monthly double shot of estrogen blocking stuff to starve the cancer cells of their favorite food. And speaking of favorite food...
Chorizo omelette, I will be having
none of those for a while

If it's not one thing...

It's another! My cholesterol shot through the roof. What a blow to my healthy lifestyle, really bummed out about this.
My blood work otherwise was awesomely normal, including the pesky white blood cells and neutrophils. Normal! Almost, but wow! it has been over a year that my immunity took the first blow and never recovered.
So when I started taking this new magic pill I read the 4,238 side effects and one of them was high cholesterol and high blood sugar. I watch what I eat like a hawk and keep a daily diary (well, on an iphone app) of everything that crosses my lips into the gullet. I carefully studied cancer-friendly foods and things to avoid. My blood sugar was unchanged and nobody was checking my cholesterol so I didn't worry. Then I got an email from the lab (Quest Diagnostics) that said patients can now self-refer to some tests. On a whim I decided to get poked and extra time early this month and check my cholesterol. Crap, sky high, through the roof, another test where I just want to go back and say: "are you sure this is me?"

Back to my primary

So today I saw my Oncologist and he said he would prefer if I treated it and referred me back to my Primary for cholesterol medication. So this is turning out to be one of those medical appointment weeks, Oncologist today after a lab visit last week, shot in the butt tomorrow and a sneak appointment with my primary on Thursday. Probably will end up on some sort of cholesterol meds...probably with some side effects of its own. I sure hope some of the side effects are weight loss and an increased likelihood of winning the lottery, wouldn't that be nice!

I leave you with another hike in which I encountered a fresh cougar track, yikes!
sunny snow day at the mountain

cut my hike short after spotting these in the fresh snow

So what's up with the rattlesnake?

Monday November 27 2017 Rattlesnake story There I was...surrounded by ferocious diamondback rattlesnakes hissing and rattling and slith...