Guest Blog – Randy Kam – Athlinks Member Inspiring Story
San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll, May 31st, 2015
Here comes the sun I sang to no one in particular as it was peeking through the San Diego haze of the 2015 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on May 31st. My lungs were on overdrive, my legs ached and then I saw this woman walking, just before mile 18. She had “cancer sucks” written on her deltoid and since I felt like crap anyway, I slowed to chat her up. Misery loves company as the saying goes…
October of 2014
My journey began the day after the Long Beach marathon in October 2014 with a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) result of 550 (under 4 is normal). I waited 10 days to recheck, postulating that my compression shorts contributed to it. The next one was 633! I freaked out and found a urologist immediately. She put me on antibiotics for infection and meds to increase the urine – My follow up PSA was 840 and the reality of the disease struck me: Stage IV cancer with metastases to the lymph nodes. Stents were placed under general anesthesia to keep my ureters from collapsing and causing failure from back pressure. I started hormone therapy of Casodex and Lupron to reduce testosterone which stimulates prostate cancer.
I finished the Surf City marathon on Super Bowl Sunday 2 weeks later, though I bled out a bit from my ureter stents. I wore a sign on my back exhorting men to get tested and received a bunch of “God Bless you”, high-fives, thumbs up, etc. Taxotere chemotherapy infusion began the Thursday after and I was scheduled to have six sessions every 3 weeks.
Back to the this year’s San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon…
The young lady had an uncle just diagnosed with terminal cancer and had other afflicted family members. She had resigned herself to getting cancer. I pointed out my shirt that read on the font: In the fight to win, and on the back: Support prostate cancer awareness. We bonded instantly. She had only trained to 16 miles and we still had that long 2 mile slog up the 163 freeway. We talked and walked as the sun broke through, all the way to the finish. We completed The Rock n Roll San Diego marathon (my 126th marathon & 18th in a row as a Legacy) upright and with triumphant smiles on…
PSA Numbers Dropping!
My PSA numbers plummeted after the first hormone therapy to 433, and down to 97.6 after the first chemo. I had the LA marathon in March and again wore the “get tested” sign once again and received similar responses. I did the same for The Sunset Strip ½ Marathon in April. I knew that The OC marathon in May would be three days after chemo (as was the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego) and decided to email the OC register about my cancer and my plans to complete the race. The OC Register decided to do an article and it was published the Friday before.
Finishing was arduous with chemo induced dyspnea and bone pain from hormone therapy. I walked the last 8 miles. It was lonely out there; the race crew were taking down the scaffolds as I crossed the finish line “dead” last. The race director greeted and congratulated me on finishing the run despite my ailment. On the bright side, it was really easy to find my car!
As an adjunct to my therapies, I started intermittent fasting from 9 pm to 1 pm the each day. I believe this may have assisted the descent of my PSA and spared me from side-effects (I’m sprouting hair even after 9 chemos). Furthermore, research has shown that normal cells hibernate while cancer will continue to consume chemo. Additionally, I have begun fasting 2 days before chemo and then eating dinner the following evening. Treatment has been going exceptionally well and my oncology team is surprised with my results. I told my on oncologist that if anyone has to be cursed with cancer, who better than someone as robust and proactive as I am.
Today and My Future
My most recent PSA from August 24th of this year was a glorious 2.9 with chemo #10 of 12 is on August 27th. A CT scan showed a marked decrease in my lymph nodes and prostate size. My Medical oncologist and I discussed options and we decided that since I was tolerating treatment so well, I would continue chemo until the numbers plateaued. He surmised that I staved off peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) by being a runner. I endure irritability, insomnia, hot flashes, and chemo brain fog. This is a small price to pay hopefully for remission.
I work three days a week in a dental office 7 miles from my home in Orange County. I also work Tuesday through Thursday, 140 miles away, in my private office.
The Chicago Marathon is up next in October and my projected final chemo is scheduled the Thursday after. I also plan to visit my daughter and bring her much needed winter apparel. The Honolulu Marathon will be in December. I’ll go home to see my family and hopefully sporting a crop of fresh new hair. My journey continues…
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