Sunday, March 13, 2005

My Stepfather's Prostate Cancer / Pneumonia Problem - HELP!!!

I sent this e-mail to my friend at UCSF, but if anyone reading this is a prostate cancer specialist please reply ASAP! Thanks, Zennie

Hi AJ,

Thanks for the call. Let me see if I can explain what has happened and give you a full picture.

Chester Yerger Jr. was found to have prostate cancer in 2003. It actually happened in that a blod clot formed in his left leg. He was given a kind of hormonal therapy and released, but with subsequent treatments, or so I am told.

After a few months, the entire problem resurfaced in October -- the blod clot in his leg, but this time two blod clots in his lungs. He was sent to Piedmont hospital in Atlanta, remained for about two weeks, then sent home. On Thanksgiving he was active and walking, though weak. He used a walker to get around.

On Christmas, he was still weak, and didn't use the walker as much; he was content to sit and watch TV -- a lot of football (GO BEARS!)

Anyway, when I returned in early February, he was still sitting in his chair, but would go to sleep more. His breathing was weird. On February 4th, Mom took him to the hospital where it was found that he had an irregular heartbeat. He was treated for what turned out to be 10 days and released.

Someone talked Mom into having him in a hospise program called Odessey. When I came to Atlanta - Fayetteville, GA this time, he was in a special bed set up next to his bed. He was with an oxygen tube. Then, at about 8 PM the night I arrived, he started wheesing and coffing -- as the night wore on, it sounded like he was drowning.

We called the hospise nurse.

She said that "You're watching a person who's dying." (No kidding) She said this four times. "There's nothing you can do."

I disagreed with her and called 911.

They took him to the closest hospital: Fayette-Piedmont Hospital in Fayetteville, GA (Fayette County). Here, they said he had pneumonia.

What they did when we first got him here (and placed him in ICU) was to pump the fluid out of his lungs that built up. Then, doctor Larry Vauhn put him on Calodex for the cancer.

What upset me at first was that the Dr. ordered the nurses to take him off the narcotics he had in his system and as they did he shook in pain, with no one other than me and Mom to see him in the room. So, I went to ask what's going on.

The nurses said that the physician was evaluating him without the narcs. I said "Isn't someone supposed to be there to monitor him?" They said "Good point."

So, I personally got the doctor off the phone and had him come in.

I also asked for a second cancer opinion. They called in a Doctor Johnathan Bender, MD. He said that there was little that could be done, and that I should look up "Hormone-Resistant Prostate Cancer" So I did -- in fact I collected about 200 pages of information.

I called Dr Bender -- who was more concerned that I called his cell phone than what I had to say -- Saturday morning. It was because I found information online about how his condition could be treated, where Bender TOLD ME it was not treatable.




What caught my eye was Dr, Leibowitz finding that:
"He presented in February 1995 with a PSA of about 2400. He had obvious metastases to bone and lung. He was treated with 13 months of triple hormone blockade, then about 18 months of Proscar maintenance therapy. His PSA was unmeasurable when we stopped triple blockade, and slowly rose on Proscar alone to 23.51. He was treated with "The Magnificent Seven" protocol (triple hormone blockade, Aredia, T/E/D), and his PSA became unmeasurable again. At present, his only medicines are once a month Aredia and daily Proscar maintenance therapy. He is OFF triple blockade; and has been off Taxotere since 12/4/97. His PSA is still unmeasurable, and his testosterone level is returning to normal."

Zometa, I learned, is was approved by the FDA as a subsititute for Aredia.

When I presented this information to Bender, he claimed that Petit, the first cancer doctor, said this was done. They've not seen his medical records, so Bender's only going on what Petit told him.

Finally on Saturday, they got a room ready for him -- Room 337. By Friday and through Saturday, there was improvement by my observation: 1) his arm movements were less frantic 2) he would occasionally eat and talk two sentences each day, not just moaning, 3) there was no wheesing and the drowning sound was gone.

The one problem was constant pain, which caused him to moan and moan. We figured maybe there was not enough pain remedy, so they did give him some.and that seemed to work.

So, we left Saturday night with better feeling.

Today, he was -- it seemed better -- he ate for my Mom. I walked in and he raised his hand. But for some reason at about 1 PM he seemed to wheese again and he would wail his arms which he does when he's in pain...and moan.

Then at 3 PM the moaning continued and he at times looked like he was in a catatonic state, then would come out of it. It turned out that they gave him a new pain patch called Duragesic and placed it on his left upper pec area. There seems to be a coorelation between that and his current state.

I just talked to my Mom; they took the patch off him. He's still in his semi catatonic state.

As I write this, they have him on antibotics rocephin and zithromax for his pneumonia; the Calodex was stopped when Dr. Vauhn discovered that my StepDad's prostate cancer was hormone-resistant. He learned this from Dr. Bender, but no alternative was applied.

Thanks again, so very much!