I guess I was lucky! I did not have to wait for Friday the13th to get the bad news. I already got it on Thursday the 12th.
It also wasn't entirely bad – in fact: the therapy has worked, the muscle invasive cancer has disappeared. So I should be happy because the cancer I got rid of is the type that can unexpectedly lead to quick death. But a new cancer at a different location showed up in the biopsies. It is what is called “superficial bladder cancer” and will, untreated, turn into a more deadly variety.
So, no clean bill of health, no time to recover physically or financially.
Dr, Chamie, the urologist in charge, was rather cheerful because, in his eyes we had won, defeated the muscle-invasive cancer and now all we needed to do was to get rid of this pesky superficial intruder. He suggested a course with BCG, the tuberculosis vaccine, that works by putting your immune system in high gear, hoping that it will kill any cancer cells that are left after surgery. Statistically it decreases the chances of a recurrence by 60%, and it is commonly done. I don't think Dr. Chamie knew that I had two treatments with BCG already. The first treatment did not work well enough, the cancer returned, and the second time the side effects were so grave that it was clear that we should not repeat this.
In 2008 I wrote about medical mushrooms and bladder cancer.:
I found three studies with control groups comparing the Zhuling mushroom in it’s effectiveness for a bladder-cancer prophylaxis with BCG, Mitomycin C and others. The Zhuling mushroom was infinitesimally more effective than even BCG, which itself has the best results among all the other maintenance-therapies. One of the studies says: “The effect of Zhuling was similar to that intravesical BCG. Zhuling was cheaper and convenient in usage, and no side effects.”
These studies were conducted at the “General Hospital of Jian Unit of People's Liberation Army” in China between 1991 and 1999. The largest group studied, consisted of 313 people, which isn’t a huge group, but to be considered.
When I read about this mushroom that was equally potent as BCG, but without side-effects, again, I expected to find dozens of studies trying to find the principle behind this achievement, but there were none!!!
Since 2008 a few more studies on bladder cancer and medical mushrooms exist, which seem to support the anecdotal evidence. For example: In Vitro, in Hong Kong:
My own anecdotal evidence for the healing power of mushrooms stems from the time when the BCG treatment had left my bladder in a pitiful state. It was permanently inflamed, and I had to pee every 30 minutes with a painful chronic urethritis. It lasted over a year. I hardly ever got decent sleep and I was pretty hopeless. Then after drinking reishi tea (reishi-extract), within weeks my bladder normalized. That may just be coincidence and I treat it as such, but I'm looking at all the other coincidences and I'm sure there is something there.
I used to buy zhuling in bulk -- It is affordable this way. I would simmer zhuling tea in an old Chinese ceramic teapot. Now I have run out of zhuling. It seems difficult to get it currently now I take reishi extract.
More interesting, and lately all over the media – the cannabis products! I have been smoking cannabis since I was 18. Then, people did not worry about the masses of tobacco that went into a hashish-joint – they were worried about the few black clumps of resin. Ha Ha!
When in 2003 I was first diagnosed with squamous head and neck cancer I stopped smoking anything. Nevertheless, when several months into chemo and radiation, one day I came home from a treatment and was in such pain and lethargy that I decided to make an exception, smoke some grass with my vaporizer, go to bed, and watch TV. I did. 5 minutes later I had the urge to get up, and next, I sat at the computer, typing away. The cannabis, almost like a pain-seeking missile, had not only deleted the pain I was aware of – it also got rid of pains that I was so used to I wouldn't notice them anymore. Now I noticed them, because they were gone. I never made a big thing of it because who would believe a lifelong marihuana- and hashish-smoker...
It is just utterly amazing how well it worked, since I had only bad experiences smoking cannabis to deal with acute pain. I would inhale a joint and the toothache would not disappear, but rather get more intensive -- now in screaming psychedelic colors!
But with chronic pain – unbelievable!
On the other hand, cannabis and cancer are lately much studied and reported, but there still is no large double blind study on humans even though we find many studies in vitro, with the standard oncomouse, rats, etc... And hours of testimonials. Sometimes I wonder if there is a magic number that determines how many people have to tell you they got healed before a placebo effect sets in.
As I understand: According to Rick Simpson, the inventor and spokesperson for “Phoenix tears”,
one needs 60 grams of oil and nine weeks to take it. But many years of cancer made me lose my job and bankrupted me. Social Security barely pays for my rent and I'm living by the mercy of others.
So, there is a problem!
But Christmas is coming and people are busy with their own lives, and not much can be done before the new year. So I will spend the holidays with my computer, looking for a cure for my cancer.
Right now: I'm alive, everything else pales, when your life is on line.
...and, naturally, I will keep painting and animating and writing until they “Peel My Cold Dead Fingers From Around My Mouse...”