13 Is My Lucky Numberstring(21) "13 Is My Lucky Number"

Two years ago last Friday began one of the most depressing weekends of my life. My wife and I attended the Prostate Cancer Research Institute Conference in Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, they are good people trying to do good work. However, having been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer just a few months earlier and sitting through several days of sessions, I walked away incredibly depressed and totally devastated as to my options if they included surgery, radiation, cryotherapy or any other invasive procedure. The possible side effects of these alternatives just left me disheartened and miserable.

Photo courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I had been spending the months up to this conference trying to build my immune system and get my health in a strong place for when it came time for me to choose a more invasive protocol. After that weekend – I was left more confused than ever. I didn’t want to pick any of the choices they were discussing and the conference offered virtually no sessions on nutrition as an alternative approach. Okay, to be completely accurate – they did have “one” session on nutrition (that’s right – only one in a three day conference). Beth and I both attended that session. However, after about 20 minutes, it became painfully obvious that my wife knew more about nutrition and cancer than the medical doctor running the session! She actually answered several questions that people asked when the doctor was stumped a couple times. I remember at one point someone asked if certain types of nuts were ok to eat and the doctor didn’t know. Beth stood up and said that “nuts that were high in Omega 3 oils and low in Omega Six oils like Almonds and Macadamia nuts would actually support an anti-cancer diet. The doctor looked to the audience and said, “Yes, that’s right, I believe she’s absolutely correct.”

I left that conference more confused and more miserable than ever. All the discussions by doctors were about cutting, freezing, or poisoning the problem (and the body). All of which – had really bad potential side effects for a man.

I was numb for a couple weeks after this conference. I went through my days keeping my head down and trying to focus on being healthy and doing my job. Then something interesting happened. On my way into an ultrasound exam I spoke to my medical doctor by phone and he told me that my PSA had actually declined a clinically significant amount (after it had been going up every year for the last 5 years)!  I went into undergo the ultrasound exam a few minutes later. After the ultrasound images were taken, the oncologist shook his head and said, “I don’t quite know how to explain this but, the tumor seems to be fading. I’ve never seen anything like this. What are you doing?” All of a sudden – I felt a lot better. Maybe, just maybe, this nutrition thing alone might work?

Three months later, my Urologist told me about a new exam. The PCA3 (which is much less invasive than a biopsy and much better at gauging Prostate Cancer than a PSA). Based on my biopsy (which was a Gleason 7), he estimated that I would have had a PCA3 result of between 40 – 50 (serious). However, after 9 months of my health protocol, I scored a 26 (which is just over the borderline of what is considered problematic). At the same time, my ultrasounds were becoming clearer and clearer.

About 9 months later, I had another PCA3. Interestingly, the doctor made me come back in again a week later because he felt the results were inconclusive (I think he didn’t believe them). After taking the test again – I scored a 17. Well within the acceptable range.

I tell you all of this because last Friday, exactly two years after the most miserable weekend of my life, I spoke to the Urologist’s office having taken the PCA3 test yet again. This time, my score was my new lucky number – 13, which is considered good.

Hippocrates is considered the father of modern western medicine. He is revered by the medical community. It is his oath they swear to relating to the study of medicine – and it is he who said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Why then, is nutrition so under appreciated in the medical community today? It is a mystery to me. A few months ago I hesitatingly volunteered to speak to the PCRI conference about how diet affected my cancer diagnosis. I didn’t want to relive that weekend but I thought it was important to offer men some hope that involved something other than a scalpel. They politely declined to have me speak.

I have no products to sell, no paid coaching to provide, no money to be made. I donate all my profits from the book I wrote about my journey into health over to Cancer and health research. I am an unlikely proponent of diet and nutrition because I was at one point, the “poster child” for sodas and processed food. But results talk and mine is saying “13.” That has a much better ring to me than “surgery.”

For more information on how I tackled my journey with health, go to www.MisnerPlan.com.

I’d love to hear your comments.

8 Things to Know if You OR Someone You Know Has Been Diagnosed with Prostate Cancerstring(83) "8 Things to Know if You OR Someone You Know Has Been Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer"

Editorial Comment:

Every week someone I know asks me about my cancer diagnosis.  Women ask me for help with a man in their life and men ask me because they’ve been diagnosed with it.   Because of this, I’ve written down a lot of what I’ve learned from my experience in this blog post.  It is longer than a blog post should be and I apologize for this.  However, I’d like to put all of this in one place so I can send people to this for help.




Image courtesy of arztsamui / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Since my own prostate cancer diagnosis, I have had the chance to speak to several men just after they have heard the words from their urologist that I heard in March 2012. I hope my experience and the many things I learned along the way can be helpful to you, whether you or someone you love may be starting out on this journey.

 Please understand that I’m writing this from a patient’s perspective. I am not a medical doctor. I am not giving you advice or addressing your particular situation. You MUST consult with your doctor before making any decisions about what is best for you!

Right after I received my diagnosis, I spoke to five men and came away from these conversations knowing five ways I did NOT want to approach my situation. The conversations I had with all of them was invaluable. It also put the fear of God in me because of the serious side effect from not only the various treatments, but also from the diagnostic tests (biopsies) themselves. It gave me the motivation I needed to put into effect the total and complete dietary and lifestyle changes I made.

Not long after my diagnosis was made, I attended the Prostate Cancer Research Institute’s annual conference in LA. I learned so much there from doctors who are at the cutting edge (no pun intended) of the emerging trends in prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment.

 Here are the Top Eight Things I Believe You Should Know:

  1.    Your PSA doubling time is important when assessing the possibility that you may have prostate cancer. Many times the PSA (a blood test which measures Prostate Specific Androgen) can begin to rise one or two points over a period of time due to age or other factors, which is of concern, but even more important is your PSA doubling time. If your PSA has doubled within the span of one year, you have reason for concern about prostate cancer. If it’s just creeping up a little year by year, there may be other reasons for that, such as a prostate infection or an enlarged prostate, called benign protastatic hypoplasia.

I found it helpful to keep a graph chart of my PSA tests, so that I could really keep an eye on the amount of time it was taking for the count to rise. In my case, my PSA had not even doubled in any one year when my doctor said he wanted to take a look at why my number was going up. He went through the order of diagnostic tests outlined in the next point. And when I made the dietary changes after my diagnosis, the slowly rising number stopped and actually began to drop a clinically significant amount.

  1.    There is an order to the types of diagnostic tests you can do from less invasive to more invasive. For example, going from an elevated PSA to a biopsy is probably going a bit too far, too fast, unless your PSA is REALLY high. There are many things which can cause a PSA test to come back elevated: bicycle riding, having used the hot tub prior to having your blood drawn, intimacy prior to the test, or, as already mentioned, a prostate infection. I am surprised that most of the men I have talked to have not been made aware of these factors which could be elevating their PSA results. Remember, this is your experience. You have the right to request the types of diagnostic tests you wish to have performed. If you feel your doctor is rushing from a slightly elevated PSA to a biopsy, get a second opinion!

One of the first things my general practitioner did after my annual PSA came back slightly higher than the prior year’s test was to run the test again. When that one was also elevated, he recommended a course of antibiotics to rule out a prostate infection or prostatitis. When my PSA remained elevated, he then began to move into the cancer-diagnostic procedures. He did a digital exam and then referred me to my urologist, for an ultrasound.

  1.    A high-definition, color Doppler ultrasound is the next diagnostic step to take if the digital exam reveals an abnormality in the prostate gland. The ultrasound my urologist did was not a high-definition, color Doppler ultrasound, which would have revealed the amount blood flow (angiogenesis) in and around the tumor. This ultrasound did, however, reveal the lesion. The high-def, color Doppler ultrasound is especially important when you are doing active surveillance (point six below).

The color Doppler imaging can tell you and your doctor when the tumor is preparing to grow. Angiogenesis, or blood flow, will increase to the lesion as the cells begin to move into a more active phase. The ultrasound performed by the urologist simply revealed the presence of a mass, which could then be measured and the prostate volume could also be determined, but it gave us no information about how active the cancer growth itself was. If I’d had a high-def, color Doppler ultrasound, we would have had more information from the scan.

Regarding your scans and other tests, request copies of everything. Most of your doctors will be glad to make copies of the reports and even the imaging scans*. I started a notebook in which I put my PSA graph chart, all my PSA blood test results, the ultrasound imaging reports and the biopsy results report. Having this notebook gave me valuable information to keep a handle on where I was in the process and it also was extremely helpful to the members of my medical team. Overall, it kept me in the position of captain of the game.

*One note about the imaging scans, the DVD you will get will probably have an embedded program you will need to install on your computer before you can open the images. Most doctors already have this program on their computers, whereas I did not. It took a few tries to view my images before I realized I needed to install the program! Ask the radiologist about this before taking your DVD.

  1. After something shows up on the ultrasound scan, the next step I would recommend is the PCA3 test. This is a test for malignant genetic material from the prostate gland. The doctor will perform a fairly aggressive digital exam called a prostate massage. It is unlike any other massage you will have ever had, I promise, but it is much less invasive and far less painful than a biopsy. Immediately after the massage, a urine sample is collected and the released malignant genetic material is measured. This tells you and the doctor how much cancer is in your prostate and what type of cancerous cells you have. Certain types are fast-growing and aggressive where other types (the type I had) are not. A score of 25 or lower for man my age is considered to be within the normal range. After I was told I was in remission, that verdict was confirmed by a PCA3 score of 26. My next score, about 9 months later, was 17. Very normal.
  2.    After a lesion has been detected on an ultrasound, many urologists will order a biopsy. I would recommend that you request a PCA3 test first. If your score is normal, you probably will be spared this step. There are side effects to even the biopsy that are not really explained well to us. And I’m pretty sure I have seen some of the instruments used for the biopsy I had in a Puerto Rican dungeon I once toured! I did not know then what I know now and was not equipped to ask the questions I would ask now or to make a different decision than I made at the time. I’m not sure I would have ever had a biopsy if the PCA3 test had been available and confirmed a cancer diagnosis.

Since there are bundles of nerve fibers encasing the prostate gland, the biopsy needle can nick them and cause temporary to permanent side effects such as incontinence and impotence. These nerves can regenerate if they are not completely severed, but it is a very delicate procedure. Please be sure you go to someone who has done hundreds and hundreds of these procedures. You don’t want to be part of a learning curve for the new guy!

If your biopsy returns positive for cancer, find out how many core samples were taken and how many of them were positive for cancer. This information will help you determine your risk level. The PCRI has a great website into which you can plug all these factors to learn your “color” on the risk spectrum. It is good information to have.

Another piece of information to come away from your diagnosis with is your Gleason’s Score. This score will be made up of two numbers. Adding the two numbers together gives you your score, but the order the numbers are added gives you information, too. If the lower number is given first, then the higher number (for example, 3+4), your risk is somewhat lower. If the higher number is first, then the lower (5+2), your risk is higher, even though both scores are a 7 on the Gleason Scale. Remember the part where I told you I am not a doctor? I don’t completely understand this scale, but I know what to look for relating to lower risk!

When I am talking about risk, I mean the chance that prostate cancer will be how your life will end. Most men, I learned, begin to develop malignant lesions as they age. It seems to be the nature of the prostate gland. Men in their 50’s have a 50% chance of having prostate cancer, men in  their 60’s – 60%, men in their 70’s – 70% and so on. A man in his 70’s, diagnosed with low to medium risk prostate cancer will probably meet his death from some other corner, not from prostate cancer. Knowing my risk factor helped me decide how I wanted to approach my treatment. My numbers all placed me in the low to medium risk category. Having all the diagnostic information I had helped me determine what I was going to do. It wasn’t a case of the doc diagnosing cancer and scheduling me for surgery a few months later!

As a side note regarding prostate biopsies, I am concerned about the risks of introducing bacteria into the prostate gland through the rectal wall and also the dangers of piercing the capsule of the prostate gland and of the tumor, and thereby possibly releasing malignant cells into the bloodstream. Traveling prostate cancer cells tend to metasticize to hip and pelvic bones. I have read a bit about the dangers of doing so, and feel that I would have like to have had that information before having done my own biopsy so that I could have made a more informed decision.

  1.    Urologists and oncologists used to refer to a time of “watchful waiting” related to prostate cancer. Watchful waiting is now being referred to by many doctors and patients as “active surveillance.” You are active in getting your tests, the PCA3 test, the color Doppler scans, and you are keeping an eye on the situation so you know when it is the right time to intervene medically with either surgery, chemotherapy, focal therapy or radiation. Active surveillance gave me the time and the space to make the kinds of changes I made to see if it would give my body what it needed to repair the damaged cells. I had monthly PSA tests, monthly high-def, color Doppler ultrasounds and saw my urologist every six to nine months to evaluate all my numbers. Even now that I am in remission, I will continue active surveillance with much more time in between the tests. I like the Center for Advanced Medicine’s position that we are watching the hour hand now, not the minute hand!
  2.    Along the way I learned some important facts about the standard prostate cancer treatment protocols. I had thought originally that brachiotherapy, or the implanting of tiny radioactive seeds within the tumor, might be an effective way to go. What I did not know is that once radiation is done, there are no other medical treatments that can be done. Radiation is the last resort. A doctor will not do surgery on a radioactive prostate. It is not safe to do so. I learned that high-frequency ultrasound waves (or HIFU) is working well for some patients, and so is cryotherapy, where tiny beads of ice crystals are implanted into the prostate, freezing the cancer cells. With all these treatments, there is still a fairly high risk to the nerve bundles which can result in serious and lasting side effects.

I learned that a radical prostatectomy was NOT my option if at all possible! The side effects are assured and generally permanent. If I had a fast-growing malignancy, I might have had a different response.

  1. I recommend a couple of books to read if you have received a prostate cancer diagnosis. The first is Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers, written by Dr. Mark Scholz. Dr. Scholz is the founder of the PCRI. He has co-authored this book with one of his patients. I found it extremely informative and comforting. Dr. Scholz is an oncologist, not a urologist, so surgery is not his first reaction to a prostate cancer diagnosis, as it is for most urologists. He is also very well-versed on the many various approaches to healing from prostate cancer.

The second is Love, Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Siegel. This book reveals the incredible power the mind has over the medical conditions of our bodies. Since hearing those words in March 2012 – You have cancer – I have come to understand more deeply just how integrated our mind and bodies are when it comes to healing from conditions like cancer.

Something which was recommended to me after the positive diagnosis was a full-body CT scan to detect whether or not any cancer had developed along any of my bones. At the point I was in the diagnostic process and given my low to medium risk factor, I feel that this may have been completely unnecessary and would have gotten a second opinion before ingesting the radioactive biomarker to see where it might have uptake into my bones! Looking back, it does not seem very wise to have gone that route to me, personally.

Remember that you are the Captain of your experience.   Knowledge gives you the opportunity to make choices.  Get as much information from sources you trust and then do what YOU feel is best for you.  It is your diagnosis.  It needs to be your choices – not someone else’s. 



What’s in It for Us?string(26) "What’s in It for Us?"

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in early 2012, I embarked on a journey to find a holistic way to treat it.  Though it wasn’t at all easy to find natural ways of treating cancer, I was lucky enough to have my wife Beth by my side every step of the way and, as a certified sports nutritionist, she has quite a bit of knowledge in regard to nutrition and holistic health.  With Beth’s help and the help of some very talented doctors, I managed to avoid surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy through a very specific diet plan. For me, the holistic approach worked and I am now in full remission.

My wife and I now share the diet plan which was responsible for my success in overcoming cancer via a website called MisnerPlan.com.  Recently, someone who heard about the site responded with overt suspicion and asked how we are benefiting from sharing this information.  “Yeah, but what’s in it for the Misners?” they asked.   So, what’s in it for us, huh?  Well, this video is our response to that question and in it we openly share exactly how we are benefiting from the Misner Plan and exactly what it’s all about.

After watching the video, please feel free to leave any feedback you have in the comment forum below.  And, if you know someone who might benefit from the information on www.MisnerPlan.com, Beth and I would love for you to share it with them.  Thanks!

The Latest News for Those Curious about My Healthstring(49) "The Latest News for Those Curious about My Health"

When I first announced back in April that I have a new health challenge on the horizon in the form of prostate cancer, many people expressed interest in staying informed about my progress and I promised to post updates here on my blog on a consistent basis.

In my last update, I mentioned that my cancer is localized and has not spread.  That is still true as of today.

Over the last several months, I have been on a holistic health protocol involving a very specialized diet, eliminating toxins and avoiding foods which stress or depress my immune system.

As a result, I have lost almost 30 pounds (above is a photo of me prior to changing my diet ; below is a photo of me now)!  I want people to know that it is a healthy weight loss, monitored by my medical doctors, to help build my immune system and it is not because of any invasive protocol or directly related to the disease.

This month, I had another PSA test done which shows no change since the first of this year.  This is good news!  As long as the PSA remains stable or decreases, I will continue the current treatments and assess my condition while considering other options until I am advised by my doctors to take additional actions.

I want to sincerely thank everyone who is keeping me in their thoughts and prayers–your kindness is beyond appreciated by me.  Thank you.

The Facts about My New Health Challenge–EGBOK!string(52) "The Facts about My New Health Challenge–EGBOK!"

I announced on my social media pages last Thursday that I have a new challenge on the horizon–early stage prostate cancer.  The good news is, I am fully confident that everything is going to be okay (EGBOK!) because my primary doctor made the diagnosis last week very early on in the beginning stages of the cancer, which appears to be a slow-growing type that is immensely treatable.  What’s even better news is that this type of cancer has an 85-90% cure rate and my doctor has predicted full recovery for me just as many of his other male patients with this same diagnosis have achieved after undergoing treatment.

In addition to the traditional medical approach, I am also being treated by a team of doctors at the Center for Advanced Medicine in San Diego County.  The treatment includes a specialized regimen of nutritional support, including supplements and other alternative modalities.  One of the doctors treating me is Dr. Mark LaBeau, a BNI member–talk about your network being there to help when you really need it!

I am so thankful that this was found early and I can definitely now speak from experience about how important it really is to get the routine medical exams done which are recommended by  health practitioners for your age bracket and gender.  I have learned that often prostate cancer has no symptoms at all and IF symptoms do appear, it is usually when the cancer has become very advanced and difficult to treat–my doctor was only able to catch this so early because I made sure to go in some months back for the routine recommended procedure to check for things like prostate cancer in men around the age of 50.  The results of that procedure revealed an abnormality which required a subsequent biopsy procedure to be done and last week, I found out the results of the biopsy uncovered the presence of prostate cancer.  I am very, very lucky that this was caught in the beginning stages when the cancer is so treatable and I most certainly realize now, more than ever, the real importance of routine medical checkups, exams, and procedures.

I am sharing the facts about my diagnosis here today because I want to be completely transparent about what is going on and to assure everyone that I wholeheartedly believe “this too shall pass” and that I will be completely vital and healthy again post treatment.  As I’ve spent much of my life building relationships based on trust and teaching others how to generate positive word-of-mouth, I want to be sure I am maintaining the trust I’ve built with all those in my network by communicating honestly and directly and that I’m walking the walk to keep the word-of-mouth surrounding this focused on accurate information with no room or need for the invention of rumors.  In the weeks ahead, I promise to keep everyone informed of my progress and the state of my prognosis as it unfolds. I will be posting the most current, accurate, up-to-date information via the BNI Social media pages (www.facebook.com/BNIOfficialPage ; www.twitter.com/#!/bni_official_pg), my social media pages (www.facebook.com/IvanMisner.BNIFounder ; www.twitter.com/ivanmisner), and here on my blog.

I’ve received so many wonderful messages of encouragement from people since I announced my diagnosis on social media last week and I am very appreciative for all the kind words.  As I’ve said before, my wife Beth (pictured with me above) and I are beyond grateful to have the support of such an amazing network around the world–we really appreciate the love and thank everyone for their prayers.  Beth and I are confident that we’ll be able to look back on this as a challenging time from which much good came and the top-notch team of medical doctors we are currently consulting with has given us quite good reason to feel strong, positive, calm, and in great spirits!

Thank you so much to all those who have voiced concern and sent me kind words of encouragement (if anybody reading this would like to offer an encouraging story or comment, I’d love to hear it and you can post it in the comment section below)–I truly know EGBOK and I will certainly keep everyone updated as to how my treatment progresses. Thanks again everyone for all the support!