One Old Sage

Thoughts, Stories, and Bits of Wisdom

The 7 Things I’ve Personally Learned about Prostate Cancer – Part Two

Here is the link to Part One: http://oneoldsage.com/2013/09/09/the-7-things-ive-personally-learned-about-prostate-cancer-part-one/

  • We all act differently when getting the diagnosis:
    • I found out I had prostate cancer about three weeks before I was scheduled to get the biopsy results. When I got the infection and called my urologist’s office, it was closed for vacation so I went to my Family Physician who was also on vacation. Her practice partner saw me and gave me a prescription. She had just received the results of my biopsy so went over them. Cancer was present in two of the samples.
    • I was nonplussed by the result. Perhaps it was because I was feeling crappy from the infection or I was half expecting the result. I don’t know. I was very calm and collected versus a fellow I know who stormed out of the urologist’s office loudly stating “This is bullshit!” much to the shock of his wife and the urologist thereby leaving his wife to deal with the urologist and to get the questions answered.
    • I told Linda the diagnosis when I got home and we talked about the results. We knew we couldn’t do much until I saw the urologist at the end of the month. However, visions of surgery and all it entails were going through my mind particularly when the FP said it looked like surgery was in my future. Until I finally saw the urologist, it was a very stressful period for me.
    • Since we cancelled our November cruise we did a last minute booking on an Alaska cruise and had a great time. We’d both been on one before (Linda is now at 4 Alaska cruises) but we enjoyed it anyway. It was nice that Linda’s youngest sister was able to join us in her own cabin of course.
  • Treatment options have improved
    • At our appointment with the urologist, he gave Linda and me a very good rundown of where the cancer was and what to expect in the future. He told us that I was a good candidate for “Active Surveillance” which means a PSA test every six months and another biopsy at the one year mark. Oh joy. If there is no change then a PSA test every 6 months after that until there is a change and then another biopsy. If no changes, then nothing needs to be done. He did not recommend surgery. A nice change from even 10-15 years ago because as recently as 10 years ago he admitted it was cure the cancer regardless of the quality of life impact on the patient.
    • He offered to send me to the Cancer Clinic to talk to a Radiation Oncologist about the Brachytherapy in case I decide I don’t want to live with cancer. I have two friends who had the treatment and are now cancer free. I took him up on the offer and following a CT scan and bone scan I’ll see the oncologist on September 17th.
    • Each man needs to do what is right for him. He shouldn’t be swayed by the opinions of others but may want take other people’s opinions into account, especially his partner’s opinion. He needs to ask questions; understand his own anatomy; understand the consequences and potential consequences of each treatment option and how the option he chooses may affect his quality of life. One thing I’ve learned about treatments for prostate cancer is that we get good outcomes, ie: the cancer is “cured”, but there are no easy treatments. Some treatments are just less onerous than others.
  • Knowing is a relief:
    • Now that I know I have prostate cancer, I no longer have the stress of wondering whether or not the next PSA test is going to show something.
    • I no longer dread the thought of a biopsy. I don’t look forward to it either but at least I know what to expect.
    • I know what options are available to me at this point. I was convinced up until I was diagnosed that I wouldn’t hesitate to have the prostate removed and get the cancer “cured”. My thinking has changed. Reality bit me in the butt.
  • Closing Thoughts:
    • I’m NOT happy to have cancer but I have it.
    • I’ve never had a “Why me?” moment. In reality, why not me? I’ve received no special dispensation to be spared injury or illness. I have it and I know my options.
    • The fact that I have prostate cancer is never far from my mind. I don’t dwell on it but I know it’s there. However, since I’ve chosen at this time to live with it rather than undergo an invasive treatment of any kind, that’s what I will do, live with it.
    • Why am I sharing you may ask? My urologist gave me some literature and one of the things it says to do to battle stress is to talk about it, so that’s what I’m doing.
    • I hope anyone who reads this has their partner or themselves, if they are “of a certain age”, think about getting tested for prostate cancer. If you don’t trust the PSA, at least have the Digital Rectal Exam. Yeah, it may be embarrassing assuming the position but it beats the hell out of finding out too late that you have prostate cancer that has metastasized.
    • I have cancer and I know there will be one of three outcomes. First, I will LIVE with it. Second, I MAY die with it. Third, I will NOT die FROM it. That latter isn’t an option when I can have it cured either now or in the future if the prognosis changes.
    • If you are interesting in seeing how others are handling their cancer please look at the following blogs:
      • For a profile on how an urologist faced his own prostate cancer please visit Prostate Diaries at http://ow.ly/oIrCG and see how Dr. John McHugh did it. The pictures of his dogs are pretty good too.
      • For a profile in courage and optimism please visit http://susielindau.com and see how Susie went from cancer diagnosis to reconstruction.
      • For a profile on the importance of family and faith, please visit my friend Karen at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/karenmoreton/journal I’ve known Karen and her husband Perry for over 20 years. As the saying goes, “they’re good people”.

I’ve developed some very good blogging friends since I started my blog. However, the post that has received the most attention was my post on living with a woman who had a double mastectomy. That woman was my mother. http://oneoldsage.com/2013/05/22/mastectomy-one-mans-perspective/

This post brought me in touch with women from around the world. Their strength in the face of cancer is astounding. Their stories brought tears to my eyes. Some of them I still follow and are at the top of my reading list.

Some of these women are suffering from metastasized cancer that is causing excruciating pain, debilitating treatment side effects, enduring other personal crises, and are well aware their prognosis is not good. Yet, they take time to write a blog post, throw in some humor, and make me forget my trivial problems.

I’m not going to mention them at the moment but if you check the comments at the end of the mastectomy post you may figure out who they are and want to follow them too.

So, for those of you that are wondering, I’m doing great! I hope you are too!

In closing, here’s an Irish Toast that I think is appropriate:

There are good ships,
and there are wood ships,
The ships that sail the sea.
But the best ships, are friendships,
And may they always be.

 

27 comments on “The 7 Things I’ve Personally Learned about Prostate Cancer – Part Two

  1. Eli@coachdaddy
    September 27, 2013

    Nelson – thank you first of all for this honest and comprehensive look from the inside. As a man, I can see myself coming into an age at which this will become a part of my health awareness.

    You’re going to kick this thing’s ass. Makes me proud to count you among my blog friends.

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 27, 2013

      Thank you Eli that’s very kind of you. Keep up the good work on your posts. I enjoy reading them.

  2. Rivki Silver
    September 15, 2013

    I’m glad you have the blogging community (as well as real life people) to help you. Your posts on this have been amazing to read, and while I wish you weren’t personally experiencing this, I’m sure that your openness and candor will be helpful to those who may not be able to articulate what they’re going through.

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 16, 2013

      It was quite easy yo write and as you note the blogging community has been a great help. I’m sure that some of the family think I’m guilty of over sharing but I hope some guys take the hint and get checked not matter which test they chose. Thanks for reading them. :)

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross
    September 15, 2013

    Hi Nelson, I am so sorry to hear about this, but you are also courageous and honest in sharing what is happening with your online friends. Thank you. I wish you the very, very best. *Hugs*

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 15, 2013

      Thanks for the hugs. Always appreciate. :) I’ll be glad when I finish at eh cancer clinic on Tuesday and then I can make my decision on living with it for awhile or having it “cured”.

  4. Cindy Patrick
    September 13, 2013

    Grips my heart, Nelson. I admire your bravery and openness – in the battle you are in and sharing the intimacies of it. I have no doubt you will be triumphant. If I can be of service, please tell me. It is a lone fight, but you could build an imaginary backpack and take us all in there with you. You are a special human. I know it and thank you for allowing me to be a friend.

  5. Cancer in My Thirties
    September 12, 2013

    Ugh, I am so sorry to see this news!!!
    I am glad you have weighed your options and are doing what it best for you — I can imagine it must be such a personal decision.
    I am also glad you have shared your story here and that you have provided so much information and been so candid. I’m sure your post will help others who may be putting off their exams (prostate or other) find the courage to get checked.
    Sending you my warmest thoughts…

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 12, 2013

      Thanks. I’m doing great. I had a bone scan on Tuesday and a CT scan today. I will get the results on Tuesday. Take care of yourself.

  6. Diane Henders
    September 11, 2013

    Hi Nelson –

    I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Not “sorry…” in the hushed tones that bespeak tragedy and impending doom, but sorry and angry that you have to go through the mental and physical wringer of that sh*tty disease. You have a healthy attitude and a good support system, and I know you’ll be fine.

    It’s wonderful the advances in treatment that have been made in the twenty or so years since my dad had his surgery. I think the mental/emotional support is as important as the technological advances, and I’m glad you’ve made a treatment decision that feels right to you. You are making a conscious choice to live the best life you can, and that’s something many people never achieve.

    I’m sending good thoughts your way.

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 11, 2013

      Thanks Diane. Good thoughts are always welcome. I am truly not frightened by the cancer. I’m a little pissed off about it but that too shall pass. :)

  7. nurse19466
    September 11, 2013

    Old Sage, that is a beautiful article you wrote. I’m sure it has and will help a lot of people and I have referred a couple guys I know to check out your blog on your website. Good Luck ;-)

  8. summerstommy2
    September 11, 2013

    Excellent blog. I like the honesty with which you discuss your situation.

  9. ramblingsfromamum
    September 10, 2013

    Nelson I hope you don’t mind me re-blogging.

  10. ramblingsfromamum
    September 10, 2013

    Reblogged this on Ramblings From A Mum and commented:
    Nelson is sharing with us, his posts about Prostate Cancer. The first one can be found here –

    http://oneoldsage.com/2013/09/09/the-7-things-ive-personally-learned-about-prostate-cancer-part-one/

    This is Part 2 – for all my gentlemen readers – please read.

  11. randillusion
    September 10, 2013

    Nelson, if you have any questions about what you’re going through…please, ask…my father went through this three years ago–he’s a happy camper now–was a star in a documentary the local clinic was making as he went through it, so he’s a prostate star…:)…but seriously…this is just a glitch…I’ll give you my 72 year old father’s phone number if you wish…he’s a minister…he understands because he’s been through it. This is just a wake up call…you have people to support you through this…and I’m one of them…but there are thousands more.

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 11, 2013

      Thanks Rand I appreciate it. I’m glad your Dad came through with flying colours. I’m sure I will too. Thanks for reading my stuff.

  12. Audrey
    September 10, 2013

    You know, Nelson, when I heard you had prostate cancer, I wasn’t sure what to say to you, whether to talk about it or not talk about it, how you were feeling about it, etc. Now, thanks to your wonderful article, I feel comfortable speaking to you about it, asking you how you are, and offering any support I can. Thanks for your candid discussion on the issue. Well written, as always!

    • Nelson - One Old Sage
      September 11, 2013

      I understand your dilemma as I have the same feelings when I hear news like this. You can ask me anything at any time.

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