Mystery Giver on 03 Feb 2014 at 20:07
My son and I met Rodney last year when they were here with the Santa Margarita cross country team Jeff Rubak on 10 Oct 2013 at 07:04
Guest Giver on 27 Sep 2013 at 09:58
From SMCHS Freshmen XC Guest Giver on 25 Sep 2013 at 04:47
we will be constantly praying for you ... ryan ramos - smhs xc team on 22 Sep 2013 at 02:05
Guest Giver on 22 Sep 2013 at 01:40
Pray for your strength and speedy recovery Cross Country Team from Santa Margarita Catholic Highschool, USA Joseph Paik on 21 Sep 2013 at 17:22
Good luck Rodney...we are praying for you and your family. Joan Gonzalez on 21 Sep 2013 at 16:55
FIGHT HARD!!!! Rodney Gordon’s on 21 Sep 2013 at 13:34
Hazel flynn on 21 Sep 2013 at 09:29
Barbara heffernan on 21 Sep 2013 at 07:11
Margaret Senske on 21 Sep 2013 at 05:03
May healing and blssings shower Rdoney Gordon and his family. wanda castillo on 21 Sep 2013 at 04:13
Our best wishes. Christine Park on 21 Sep 2013 at 04:10
SMCHS Boys XC on 20 Sep 2013 at 06:52
Santa Margarita Catholic High School Football Program on 20 Sep 2013 at 06:04
Dear Rodney, I am a colleague of Sean Zeitler's at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. My thoughts and prayers are with you during your battle with prostate cancer. I know this donation is a drop in the bucket, but hopefully every little bit counts in helping to offset your medical costs. Warmly, Maureen McAndrews Maureen and John McAndrews on 20 Sep 2013 at 04:51
Love and prayers from the Bowen Family in California. We hosted the Xcountry BBQ last year! Jody Bowen on 20 Sep 2013 at 04:17
Rebecca Williams on 19 Sep 2013 at 08:54
You are in our prayers, your friends at cross country, Santa Margarita high school, California James Donnelly on 19 Sep 2013 at 07:00
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Over term one I completed phase three of my treatment plan: 16 weeks of chemotherapy. Six three weekly cycles of Taxotere and Carboplatin. Taxotere is commonly used for chemotherapy in men with late stage disease who have tried all other avenues available to them in New Zealand. Carboplatin is a more “experimental” drug in the treatment of prostate cancer. Chemotherapy was by far the toughest of the treatments I have had over the last 18 months.
Dr Richard Lam from Prostate Oncology in Los Angeles has for the last 8 years successfully used chemotherapy at the early stages of disease for patients with aggressive prostate cancer. I have been lucky to have an open-minded oncologist here in New Zealand who was willing to agree with Richard’s treatment and manage my chemotherapy treatment.
Simply put the goal of the chemotherapy for me was a “mop up” and the only truly systemic treatment. Because of me, chemotherapy treatment will be used more frequently in the treatment of prostate cancer at earlier disease stage.
This time last year I was completing 6 weeks of radiation treatment in LA. Because this was only targeting a specific area of my body and I was not working, I found this treatment less demanding.
During chemotherapy I worked at Grammar throughout despite experiencing the many side effects involved with this type of treatment. This was at times difficult but enabled me to continue to lead as normal a life as possible, focusing on what is important to me my family, teaching and ensuring that I remained active and positive throughout.
I am truly grateful to my family, friends and colleagues for their support and tolerance during this time. I wasn’t always the easiest person to be with.
Looking forward I will continue with aggressive hormone treatment for another 6 to 12 months. I will them return to the States to assess where I am at. My goal is to be off drugs completely by this time next year. I continually research ways to minimise the impact of hormone therapy on my body and am planning to reduce my daily steroid dose to minimise the impact of these drugs on my overall good health.
I am two weeks out from the last chemo cycle and feel better each day. I have resumed running and plan to be back to peak fitness for the summer.
I could not have done all of this without all the support.
April 27th 2014
This Friday will be my final session of Chemotherapy. After six cycles I will be very pleased to be finished. That said it has gone remarkably well with less side effects than expected. I am really looking forward to getting back into running and swimming on a regular basis. Both my NZ and US doctors are happy with the way I have handled treatment. I credit my commitment to diet and lifestyle with helping me to get through the treatment so well
The plan moving forward is to remain on a multiple hormone blockade for another 12 to 18 months. Along side this I am having three monthly injections of xgeva which strengthens my bones. A side effect of hormone therapy is the loss of bone density. I have already lost 18% in the 18 months since I commenced treatment. This drug will slow the loss.
My oncologist likens chemotherapy to running a marathon and I have run many of these. The recovery is critical. I am planning a detox after the final session and plan to be back to full fitness in the next two to three months.
In July we will host the Caragher family from Pasadena. The Caraghers were very supportive of me during my long stays in Los Angeles and I spent several weeks staying with them. They have always wanted to visit NZ and we are delighted to have the opportunity to show them some of our country over three weeks in July.
Thank you for your support
As 2013 comes to a close I would like to update those who have supported me with my treatment plan for the coming year. The aggressive treatment plan will continue and thankfully I am now able to have this in New Zealand with the support of my New Zealand oncologist. I am grateful to her for looking outside conventional treatment and administering medications prescribed by my US medical team.
My treatment to date has involved aggressive hormone therapy using two drugs, Lucrin and Zytiga. Zytiga is seen as the new wonder drug for prostate cancer and I have been fortunate to be able to source it from the US as it has only very recently become available for people with my disease stage in NZ. I have had adjuvant radiation therapy to my pelvis and lymph nodes over two 8 week periods in the US during January and April of this year. The hormone therapy suppresses the production of testosterone, which feeds cancer growth. With an aggressive form of cancer like mine, studies have shown that if this treatment alone is used it will be effective only for a limited period of time before the disease progresses. Radiation treatment targets the known sites of the disease meaning that if the cancer does come back it will not go to original sites where it can potentially manifest itself in a more aggressive way. Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment targeted at micro metastatic disease. It is not currently used in NZ for my disease stage. Chemotherpay is most often used as a palliative treatment for men whose cancer has progressed whilst on hormone treatment. The future will almost certainly show a widening of the scope for which chemotherapy is used in the treatment of prostate cancer. In fact, one study has already reported that there is a significant survival benefit for men who embark on this treatment course prior to disease progression. I feel very happy that my elected course of treatment, which has only been possible with the support of my friends and community, has already resulted in NZ radiation oncologists extending their standard treatments. I am certain that my insistence on chemotherapy will also pave the way for more men to receive a treatment that could potentially dramatically alter the course of their disease. I will commence chemotherapy in January looking to have 6 cycles over an 18 week period. I plan to be at school throughout this treatment.
The treatment so far has taken its toll, with my bone density decreasing significantly. My bones have aged 25 years in over a year. They will regain some of this when treatment stops. Radiation treatment also had a dramatic impact on my bone marrow and general health which is now almost fully recovered.
My dedication to my diet, which is largely vegan, and an exercise regime that now includes weight training at least three times a week have ensured that my health has been amazingly good throughout treatment.
It comes as a surprise to not only my friends and family but also to me that life can be surprisingly normal even in these circumstances. Despite the difficulties and shock experienced, Su and I would have to reflect that we have had an amazing year and have benefited hugely from the love and support of our friends, family and community.
Merry Christmas and have a happy New Year!
Rodney, Su and the boys
This is to let you know that tomorrow night TV3 will be airing a programme about Rodney and his treatment. The programme is called 3rd Degree and airs at 8.30pm. You will be able to see how your generosity, through Give A Little, has allowed Rodney to pursue treatment options in the US.
Having been back from Los Angeles for a month now, I have had time to reflect and would like to again thank all those who have supported me.
The experience has been incredible and I see myself as very lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and be treated by some of the most brilliant doctors. This has only been possible because of the overwhelming support I have received. While in Los Angeles I had 15 weeks of treatment, which included 63 sessions of radiation to the pelvic area and the chest. There were limited side effects, except for general tiredness, because of the wonderful care I received from the doctors and support staff at the radiation clinic.
The effects of radiation treatment still linger, if I push myself too hard the tiredness comes on rapidly. Blood tests still show that my white blood cell count and platelets count are low; this is to be expected with the amount of radiation I have experienced. At present I am still on hormone treatment and will look to start chemotherapy later this year.
Thank you to everybody! Your support has allowed me to receive this fantastic treatment.
The Auckland Grammar School Distance Squad started their 1,000 Miler charity relay today in aid of The Rodney Gordon Trust. This group of Auckland Grammar students will attempt to run 1,000 miles (1,600km) in less than 100 hours. It is conducted in three shifts with the junior boys running during the day, followed by the intermediates up until midnight and the seniors completing the 24 hour cycle by running the graveyard shift from midnight to 8am each day. This continues for four and a half days. Feel free to call in if you are passing Auckland Grammar and offer your support. I know the boys would appreciate it. The event began today at 8am and will finish late on Friday evening with a 12 hour pause on Anzac Day from midnight to midday on Thursday 25th. Lets hope it doesn't rain too much this week!
Hi All, Here is the link to the brochure for the Rodney Gordon Quiz and Auction night. If you would like to bid on anything and can't go to the evening just get in touch with me. firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.givealittle.co.nz/objects/1135609_auction_dinner_programme.pdf
Thank you again to everybody for your support.
The Stroke and Stride race series has always been a big part of my training programme, both when I was competing and when coaching the young triathletes from Auckland Grammar School. I would like to thank Craig Brown and his team for efforts made in the last race of the series, it was unbelievable.
The first stage of treatment is half way through and I am feeling well, with minimal side effects. I am looking after myself, keeping fit, being very careful with my diet and getting plenty of sleep, the basics to good health.
Along with radiation, the doctors here are looking at drugs that have been successfully trialed in the US.
Rodney has sent this update from LA.
Monday; met with Dr Chris Rose from Vantage Oncology Radiation and had a CT scan and rehearsal for the upcoming radiation therapy.
Thursday; met with doctors Richard Lam and Jeffrey Turner from Prostate Oncology in Marina Del Rey. In the afternoon I had my first course of radiation therapy across town at Vantage Oncology.
Friday; more radiation therapy at Vantage Oncology.
From now on treatment will be Monday to Friday for the next 7 weeks.
At this stage battling the 110 and 10 Freeways is more tiring than the treatment!
The doctors and nurses are very friendly and attentive, and while it is difficult being away from home they are making me feel as comfortable as possible.
Thank you everyone for your incredible support.
A huge day yesterday with the Herald article and the car wash which raised a fantastic $6,000. The following is a message to the car wash team from Rodney;
To all the guys and girls that helped with the car wash yesterday a huge thank you to you all.
Unbelievable after I either tortured you with economics or ran you ragged early in the morning.
The Auckland Grammar heart and spirit is certainly strong.
I felt a bit guilty not pitching in and helping you out yesterday but it would have been odd fundraising for yourself.
For a lot of you I will not be teaching or coaching you next year as you move onto bigger and better things but I will always remember your generosity and spirit.
Hey it has been a lot of fun!
Message from Rodney
Six months ago I would not have believed that I would be diagnosed with an aggressive disease and that my friends would initiate and organise fundraising for my treatment.
There have been many questions from people since news of my disease went public. I have an aggressive form of prostate cancer that has spread to lymph nodes in my pelvis and chest. The cancer is being controlled successfully at present with hormone therapy.
On the advice of a colleague at Auckland Grammar I consulted with a specialist prostate oncology practise in the Los Angeles. These doctors are enthusiastic, positive and motivated to treat me, for which I am very thankful. With them I have been given the opportunity to treat the cancer aggressively now and potentially achieve long-term control of the disease. Unfortunately this was not an option in New Zealand.
It took me a week before I could gather the emotional courage to read the messages of support on the “Give a Little” site. Having done so I am overwhelmed and so very grateful for the fantastic words of encouragement.
I leave for the United States on January 6th for an initial 8 weeks of radiation treatment and if this is successful will return later in the year. I plan to be back teaching at Grammar between visits.