Thursday, August 31, 2017

Packwood Lake

   I have been on vacation again. I had signal but lacked motivation. Vacation equates relaxation. Relax we did. Once again writing was not on the list of priorities. Sometimes it is difficult to find balance. Now that I am back and August is drawing to a close, maybe writing will be more consistent. Time will tell!
   We still have one more weekend left of guaranteed camping and boating. Labor Day Weekend is the unofficial end of summer. Temps are suppose to be in the mid-upper 90's. I wish the heat would go away. My webbed feet are cracking. We didn't have a place to camp over Labor Day until last weekend. There was a cancellation at Riffe Lake just a few minutes before we checked at the registration office. It was an ADA campsite! I told them I do not possess a placard  or ADA designation. They said they didn't care as they know I qualify. I kind of feel weird about it. "Hey, who has the disability in the campsite?" "The guy out there on the lake waterskiing!!"

   Most of you know that Mandy and I live in the Pacific Northwest and spend a great deal of our time in the wilderness enjoying all that our region has to offer. During the summer months most of our time is spent boating and skiing on the many lakes and rivers but occasionally we need a break. Last Thursday that is exactly what we did. 
   65 miles due east of interstate five lies the town of Packwood Washington. Five miles south of town is the trailhead to Packwood Lake. Packwood lake is in the heart of the Goat Rocks Wilderness area and only 7 miles west of the Pacific Crest Trail.
   Several thousand years ago the lake was formed when volcanic activity caused a mountain to slide into a valley damming the creek at the bottom. Mother Nature has done a phenomenal job. It is truly a beautiful place.

The Lake trail is a 9-1/2 mile out and back (4.7 miles each way) beginning at 2800 ft. and has a 600ft elevation rise throughout the first couple miles of the trail. It is rated easy to moderate and is a wonderful day hike. Camping is allowed along the lake shore for those who wish and the lake serves as a terrific stopping off place for those who will continue on to lost lakes or the P.C.T.

We had a really good day. The air was fresh and cool. I sure couldn't complain about the company. You may ask, "what does this have to do with Prostate Cancer?" 
Nothing!!! It has to do with living. Cancer sucks! It may shorten my life. It won't steal my joy. I cannot preach this enough.... "Don't stop living just because you think you might die. Live your life! Find the beautiful places and hang out there. Love with your whole heart. Be an amazing friend. Cancer is a gift. The guy who dies in a car wreck or drops dead from a heart attack never knows what hit him. He never gets the chance to do things differently if needed. The movie "The Bucket List" is a perfect example of what I am trying to say. 

 Somewhere some lucky guy is having a heart attack

It wasn't true in the movie. It is not true for you and I. Maybe there are guys out there who never did anything they regret or wish they could do over. I am not talking to you perfect people. Y'all are too cool for school. For the rest of us though, treasure the gift!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The wheels turn slow

   Two weeks ago I saw my Oncologist. At the appointment we discussed genetic testing and a referral was made to the Genetisist at Providence Cancer Center. I am still waiting to be contacted. Sometimes "the waiting is the hardest part" You gotta love Tom Petty! He is the coolest man in Rock and Roll.
   You may ask why Genetic testing? What does it matter? 
  Genetic testing is the future of cancer care. Testing the DNA of tumor cells can determine which therapies are likely to work for a given patient and will ultimately lead to targeted therapies tailored to the individual mechanism of cellular proliferation of cancer cells.
   The idea of being genetically tested came from a visit with Dr. Vogelzang late last year. During the visit he stated that I should be tested for the BRCA mutation. He is of the opinion that the aggressive nature of the cancer and the widespread lymph metastasis could stem from being BRCA positive.
   The idea of genetic testing has really taken off in recent years. The Genome project in breast cancer has yielded many advances in how breast cancer is treated. There is currently a Genome project underway for prostate cancer. I can only speculate that the same thing is happening throughout the broader cancer spectrum. 
As research continues to advance, I look forward to the day when patients will no longer be forced to endure side effects of treatments that will not work. Standard diagnosis will include gene mapping as well as imaging. Each patient will receive a detailed treatment plan tailored to the specific genetic make up of the cancer. Spock said it best.... "Facinating" 
   Once I see the geneticist, I will post more information. Right now I have nothing but speculation to share. 
    Thank You for reading

P.S. For more information regarding the prostate cancer research (Genome) project, here is their Facebook page