Walk the Walk

Team Vandervort ZERO Prostate Cancer Walk Blue Sky Ecological Reserve Poway
“Team Vandervort” at Blue Sky Ecological Reserve in Poway for the 2021 ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk

The Prostate Cancer Run/Walk didn’t quite go as planned. Due to COVID, the organizer, ZERO, deemed that it would be too risky for a large group of people, including those undergoing treatment for cancer, to meet. As such the event was made virtual. Instead of a walk around De Anza Cove, ZERO welcomed participants to walk on their own at whatever venue they wanted and to log their mileage online.

Disappointed, but still very much wanting to walk, I emailed all of my friends and family that had signed up and invited them to join Jodie, Ashley, Kaylee and I at Blue Sky Preserve in Poway. In the email I wrote :

I am almost two years into this cancer thing and I’m doing good. Good enough to walk the walk even if there’s no fanfare, music, or finish line. Because all the pomp and circumstance doesn’t really matter. All that does matter is kicking cancer’s ass, preferably in the company of the friends and family who have supported me along the way.  Please let me know if you’d still like to join us.

44 people showed up.

It was awesome.

In all honesty I didn’t walk the entire 5k. I led from the rear with my mom and aunt. We decided to turn back as the others on our team reached the halfway point and met us on their return trip. Although we could have gone the distance it didn’t seem as important as it had been just an hour earlier. The walk was a success. We raised $4134 making us the second biggest fundraiser in San Diego. We were also the second biggest team. Even better, we brought attention to a nasty disease, and honesty, selfishly, gave me the best day I’ve had in a long time.


( Later that night )

“Did you like my rousing speech today?”, I asked Jodie. 

We had just finished dinner and she was washing dishes in the sink. I stood next to her drying them with a dish rag.

“What speech?!?”, she exclaimed, diverting her attention from the soapy water to me.

“The speech!”, I insisted. “…right before we started walking. The motivational one!”

“All you did was blubber and cry behind your sunglasses!”, she laughed, raising an eyebrow.

“Yeah!”, I smiled, “That one.”


Thank you for your support. I hope to see you all next year!
-Scott

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My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 09/10/2021
Prostate Cancer PSA

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis #prostatecancerzero #prostatecancerwalk #prostatecancer #theenedofprostatecancer #teamvandervort

Osteoporosis

oncology hormonetherapy lupron leuprolide drawnandcoded prednisone bonedensityscan

A few months ago my oncologist, Dr. Stewart, scheduled me for a bone density scan to check me for osteoporosis, a potential side effect of hormone therapy. The procedure was non-invasive, painless, and produced so little radiation that the technicians administering the scan were able to sit in the same room with me. It was a novelty for me given the precautions taken for CT and MRI scans and radiation therapy. It took about ten minutes to scan my hips, upper legs, and lower back…

“Can I talk?”, I asked the technician seated across from me.

“Sure, just don’t move too much.”, the technician replied.

“Okay. Sure.”

“Hey … so you’re not just scanning my butt to fax to your co-workers, are you?…”

“…because this thing you have me laying on really doesn’t look much different than a larger version of the copy machine at my office.”, I joked.

“No ( laugh ), of course not!”, the tech replied.

“I’m not sure I believe you…..”, I laughed, trying not to move.

A few days later I got the initial report : I had mild osteoporosis. The results warranted a visit with Dr. Hofflich, an orthopedic doctor, to go over the results in more detail and discuss potential treatments. It was a very educational meeting.

Hormone therapy weakens bones

Leuprolide ( or, “Lupron” ) and other types of hormone therapy can weaken bones over time. In addition some steroids can also weaken bones, particularly Prednisone, a steroid which is prescribed along with Abiraterone Acetate ( also known by the brand name “Zytiga” ). Dr. Hofflich told me that given my test results she would have, in retrospect, started me on a medication to strengthen my bones at the outset of my hormone therapy. However, as my therapy would be paused ( hopefully indefinitely) towards the end of the year, it wouldn’t make sense to do so so late in the game. I got the impression that, for older patients, a preliminary bone density scan would have been standard procedure prior to starting treatment for cancer. However, for a 43 year old in otherwise good shape I don’t think it ever crossed anyone’s minds – including mine.

The good news is that bones can recover

It’s a slow process that can take years, but bones can recover on their own. Dr. Hofflich emphasized doing “impact” exercises. These are exercises that stress the bones and force them to become tougher and stronger. Running, jogging, hiking … even walking helps. Weight training, too.  In general alI exercise is good, however I was a little surprised to hear that Dr. Hofflich wasn’t a big fan of bicycling or swimming…

“Swimming and bicycling are great for building muscle and losing weight, but not so much for building bone.”, she told me. “These exercises don’t stress the bones enough.”

I mentioned to her that I was on a Whole Food Plant Based (WFPB) Diet and she wasn’t perturbed. She told me that as long as I take calcium and magnesium supplements along with my normal diet, I would be getting more than enough calcium. She did, however, emphasize that I shouldn’t take all of the supplements at the same time and that, instead, I should stagger the dosage throughout the day to improve absorption. 

As part of my monthly blood panel, Dr. Hofflich ran some additional tests to see if there are any other explanations for my osteoporosis. The tests all came back negative. In a year she plans on running another bone density scan to reevaluate my bone density. In the meantime it’s more walking, more impact, and …  bubble wrap.

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.
-Scott

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My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 09/10/2021
Prostate Cancer PSA

#osteoporosis #bonedensityscan #prednisone #prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis

Character Sketches

Here are some character sketches for the book that my friend, Kevin, and I have been working on. Some characters turned out to be very different than Kevin had initially written in his earlier drafts. Tholoman, for example, was supposed to be a grizzled old human male. Now he’s a “young” elf. We thought by making him younger we could have fun with the chemistry between him and the young girl protagonists. 

We’ve also been involving our daughters’, too. Kevin runs all his revisions by his daughter, Clara. As for me, when I was sketching the Bokziks, a group of sometimes-half-animal antagonists, I didn’t realize my oldest daughter, Ashley, was peering over my shoulder.

“Dad, you should make her a half-squirrel.”, she said matter-of-factly. “It’d be cool.”

“Yeah?”, I looked up, startled.

So, I erased the crude “were-dog” that I had been working on and in its its place quickly scribbled out a bushy tail, squat hips, and tiny legs and feet.

“Like that?”, I asked, unsure.

“Yeah!”, she smiled back.

So, yeah, collaboration is fun. Sometimes it might even take you somewhere you never expected to be.

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life.

-Scott

Previous : A Map


#Maps #MapLover #Atlas #DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded