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Bob New Heart

Bob New Heart
Life is Good

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015

Catching Up

I have been remiss posting on this blog lately. I am catching up the last few months.

New year and new tests at UCSF.  January 7th I was at UCSF-Mt Zion campus to meet with the radiation doc, Dr. Alexander Gottschalk and my Oncologist, Dr. Matthew Cooperberg. I was there for my 90-day checkup following my Cyber Knife radiation treatments last June. My PSA went from 11.1 pre-radiation to 5.2 after the treatment and then again to 4.1 just a few weeks ago. I am set to do another PSA in late Feb and a follow-up with Gottschalk in March.

All this said the prostate cancer seems to be treated and the issue resolved. When I was with Dr. Gottschalk, he said the numbers fall slowly and it could be another six months or more to hit zero. Actually t never goes to zero but it gets close. The cancer is not all gone until the numbers are at 0.1.

This has been a piece of cake for me and I am grateful there were no real symptoms pre or post radiation…just some fatigue and a few small plumping issues.

The next day Jan 8th I had my end of the year tests done on my new heart. I was back in familiar territory, UCSF Parnassus campus. Here is where I had my heart transplant and where I have fond memories of staff, docs and nurses. I remember as if it was yesterday the false alarm and late the next morning, the second trip back to San Francisco and the surgery. I awoke December 18th, 2009 with a new heart. A miracle.

Since then I have been celebrating with my care workers and friends with a dinner party on the 18th. I celebrated 5 years last December 18th. The party gets bigger each year. This year 16 for a sit down dinner. A lot of work but everyone helps and contributes; deserts, wines, salads, Yams. All I do is get two Hams.

I have been enjoying getting to know the donor family. Actually just one of the donor’s sisters. The rest of the family has been less communicative but I have had some contact with the second sister. The donor’s mother recently passed away without the knowledge that I had been in contact with two of her daughters. 

Sometime soon I want to travel to Santa Barbara to meet the sister and her finance. In fact I am Face Book friends with them both and have been so for some time. It is great to keep up that way.

I am feeling great as I start the New Year. Need to lose about 10 pounds or more and my back is still killing me from my fall in June of 2013. I am on my third Back Doc. This month I meet a new Physical Therapist and will do another test on my back and with the new Back Doc will devise a program that I hope leads me back to the tennis court and on the golf course.

All in all I start my 6th year of transplant in good shape.  I am grateful for my great Docs at UCSF and here in Sacramento at Sutter.

Below is Dr Gottschalk, the prostate cancer doc at Mt Zion- UCSF  along with  my ex-wife nancy Reid. Next are the pills that I still take to  fight  rejection of the heart and any infection that tries to sneak into bobnewheart and last is the  surgeon, Dr  Charles Hoopes, who was the wonder  Doc at  UC Med Center. He is no longer at UCSF- 

Life is Good!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Two Weeks Since Last CyberKnife Shot

July 24, 2014

Two weeks ago today, I had my last cyberknife radiation treatment for my prostate cancer. Piece of cake, walk in the park, easy pease. The easy part was the 4 sessions of about an hour. Most of the time was spent adjusting the over 50 plus different angels for the cyberknife to take aim and shoot the radiation.

The more difficult part of the treatment was the side effects. Fatigue got worse after each of the 4 treatments. That is gone now. The other side effects were plumbing in nature. Urination issues of confusion, on again and off again and over and over.

I must say those have gotten better and I was told my Dr. Gottschalk right after the last treatment July 10th and Dr. Cooperberg; back when we were in the talking stages…it gets better slowly but surely. After a couple of months in most cases all the side effects except one are gone. Sex is the most problematic. Different in each case.

I am happy to have it over and now all I have to do is wait 90 days and see what the PSA says. Dr. Gottschalk says there ought to be a big drop in the PSA number and then is falls slowly to zero.

If not then there are other forms of treatment. I am confident this episode in my life if over. God Bless all my doctors at UCSF and Sutter Medical Group. Thank God for Medicare.

Life is Good

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Back In The Pool

4 days after my last cyber knife radiation treatment at UCSF, I was back in the pool this morning with my 6am mid-to old age group. Swam my usual 30 laps. The other guys are swimming Individual medleys and are lapping me. I know when we are finished, I do 30 laps and they do 120. What can I say I am 70?

It is a challenge to see how soon I can get back to my usual routine of swimming and the Gym class every other day. I am fortunate that the fatigue after each radiation treatment and after the final one last Thursday July 10th is short lived and I bounce back.

The other side effects of the radiation are slowly fading. These are plumbing issues. Seems to be common with all forms of radiation.

Speaking of my back, after one year since the accident, it is still killing me. We are going to try a shot in the ligament between the # 3 and #4 lumbar discs No steroids for me. I take too many already for the anti rejection regimen. It is more like a novacane.

I am on my way to good health. My goal is to go thru a month with no doctor’s appointments or tests.

I have my end of the year heart testing and clinic in December some time.
Rock and Roll fellow blog readers. Great day for a walk or bike.

Life is Good

Friday, July 11, 2014

Final Cyber Knife Treatment

I finished my 4-cyberknife radiation treatments for my prostate cancer at UCSF. Wonderful staff all around: Dr. Alexander Gottschalk, the cyber knife doctor, nurse Ludene Wong and cyber knife techs Michael. And Tim. I felt completely relaxed during my treatments. Friday was my last visit with the Cyber Knife. Even had a cd on the speakers this time. Classical and loud.

We took a few pics since it was my last Cyber knife. The picture with the four of us Nancy Reid, Me, Dr. Gottschalk and his nurse Ludene Wong was taken at the bell. It is tradition at the cancer center at the UCSF Mt Zion campus to ring the old SF cable car bell as a sign you are done. Nice tradition.

Docs said see him in three months and have a PSA for that visit. I then have two more trips to go; one with Gottschalk in three months and one with Dr. Cooperberg in December. Not to mention my end of the year transplant tests in December as well.

I asked Dr. Gottschalk a few questions.

1. How can we tell if cancer is killed and he said the PSA's will tell. The first PSA should dhow a big jump and thereafter slow but sure decline

2. How long will I have the plumbing side effects and he said about a month is the norm.

Happy to be back and finished with the radiation. I urge all who are considering options for treating prostate cancer to use the cyber knife at UCSF. I had my heart transplant there and now my cancer treatment. I am a UCSF Booster all the way.

Thanks you my friends for the nice emails and calls. Life is Good.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

My Cyber Knife Treatments are Set

Got a call this morning from UCSF Mt Zion Campus from Dr. Alexander Gottschalk’s office telling me they are ready to schedule. Would I like to start this Friday? I said no how about starting Monday. So we scheduled the next two Mondays and Thursdays . 4 treatments and that is it.

Monday June 30th, Thursday July 3rd, Monday July 7th and Thursday July 10th-All mid-afternoon. I have decided to go back and forth either by car with a driver or on the train with a companion.

It came upon me very fast. I am happy it will be over in two weeks and only two per week. I am however nervous and anxious. I am told the anxiety level falls dramatically after the first bout with the monster CyberKnife.

I am anxious to get back to heart transplant issues not cancer issues.
I will report the side effects.

Life is Good!

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