Friday, April 04, 2008

Still ain't there


Well, I went in on Monday again, only to be told my counts were still too low. But it's not like they came up and just weren't high enough; they were actually about the same level as last Wednesday (1050 instead of 1040). Again the docs said there's nothing to really do except wait. Probably due to radiation and chemo combined, my bone marrow is just being sluggish. I've had some friends tell me that over-exercising can actually bring the counts down, so I guess I've been taking it mostly easy this week (though I did go climbing on Tues, and to Tai Chi on Wed). Of course there's other info that says regular moderate exercise brings the counts up. . . And then there's nutritional advice - some people say animal products reduce the ability of your body to produce natural killer (NK) cells, so we should all be more vegetarian. Then there's the mysterious-but-possibly-based-in-truth Chinese medicine advice, which says you should eat certain foods like frog legs (which I did do this week) to boost your immunity.

I think what gets me the most is the uncertainty and, being of a relatively scientific mind, the lack of data on a lot of this stuff. I suppose part of the problem is that the body is so complicated that even if there were tons of data on this and that, there's no guarantee that it would apply to me as an individual. Plus, there's no guarantee that the studies are controlled enough to yield a true result. I guess that's why every week the news tells us something else is either great for us or wrong for us or will turn our skin purple with pink polka dots, and then a year later that thing is in the opposite category. Ugh. It's endlessly frustrating.


AnthonyB said...

It's frustrating how much bad science is out there, especially in the area of medical research where broad conclusions are frequently drawn from scant evidence.

Fortunately, the placebo effect is very powerful, even if you know you're being given a placebo. So, my advice is to take the Ned Flanders approach:

I've done everything the Bible says - even the stuff that contradicts the other stuff!

Ann T said...

Hey. It's Steve, the guy whom you met at Stanford and went through the same treatment you're going through. My fiancee, Ann, and I check out your blog every so often, and we're amazed at how strong a person you are. It's also incredible all the things you fit in when you're not undergoing treatment...bocce ball, rock climbing, hiking, etc. I was lucky if I went for a walk most days, but I don't think I was as motivated as you. Don't worry about getting winded...I almost collapsed running/walking 2 miles at 15 minutes/mile when I first finished treatment. Now, I regularly trail run much longer without a problem. Take care, and you have my e-mail if you ever need anything.

P.S. My treatment ended in November '07, and all my recent scans have come back clear . Keep your head up and never lose hope.