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.