Ever since June of 2008 when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I have been on a emotional roller coaster. During the first few months after hearing the news, I felt as though I had been thrown into a deep dark pit. It was almost impossible to go through any given day without hearing that voice inside my head screaming, "You have cancer". Those words continued to reverberate on and on. Every time I looked in the mirror, the face staring back at me was someone I never knew before. I just couldn't wrap my head around the situation. And to make it worse, there was no one in the medical community that could give any advise as to what to do. Everyone kept telling me, "It is up to you Rich as to whether or not to have surgery". I don't know how they expect a person to make any kind of a decision when there were so many options for treatment. Radiation, chemotherapy, something called seeds that they put in my body and they work over time. I couldn't even get a straight answer as to having the surgery or not. The more I researched, spoke with reputable knowledgeable medical people, read on the Internet, the more confused I became. Then I found out about a research study that was being conducted at the world famous Dana Farber Cancer Institute right here in Boston. People come from all over the world for treatment at this prestigious leader in the treatment of various kinds of cancer. After all of the testing that they did, they determined that I would be an excellent candidate for this study. I felt pretty confident with what they were telling me and made the decision to let them operate on me. It gave me some peace of mind. Then the bottom fell out. I was meeting with the head surgeon to determine the plan of action. He told me that he would not do the operation and that he didn't even think that I was a good candidate. There were some other medical situations that were complicating the matter. I was back to square one. So I met again with my surgeon here at a local hospital. He was of the opinion that he could do this operation with little or no risk. He was going to use a new procedure using the latest method called DaVinci robotics. It was much less invasive than conventional surgery and healing time was greatly reduced. I subsequently signed the papers and had surgery in October of 2008. Needless to say, I felt very relived to have finally come to a decision. A number of months after surgery, I had another PSA test. This is how they determine how much testostorone is in my system. The number should have been zero. No prostate, no testostorne. My number was not zero and he immediately put me on a hormone replacement medication. It was designed to kill or greatly reduce the testosterone that these cancer cells feed on. In theory, if they had nothing to feed on, they would starve to death or just remain dormant in my system. The medication was a shot that lasted about six months. It was like going through menopause. For men, it's called Agrapose. After the medication was completely out of my system, more like 8-9 months later, we did another PSA test. The number was .04. My surgeon told me that we needed to wait another number of months before testing me again. Last February the number was still at .04. Three weeks ago, I had another PSA test. The number was .01. I met with the doctor feeling terrific about the low number. He was not as happy as I was. He said there could be an error in the number due to how they read the results. He felt that one of the numbers was wrong. So I did another blood test on Tuesday of this week. The number was .01. Confirming that the number was correct. He is still not convinced that the cancer is "gone", but was a bit more optimistic. I will never be "cancer free" but he and others have told me that I will not die from these cancer cells left in my body. So the good news is that the number is down and that's a good thing. I would require no further medication and no agonizing routine of side affects. Sweating, mood changes, nauseousness. Ladies, I have so much respect for you for what you go through with menopause. It sucks. For the time being, I can wipe the sweat off my brow and not be so concerned with what may be left in my body. In four months or so, I will have yet another blood draw and we will go from there. While I may still have some cancer cells in me, I feel a great sense of relief as to where I am. At least until the next PSA test. Gentlemen. Please see your doctor for routine check-ups. If you are over 45-50, have a colonoscopy. Early detection can save your life. It isn't fair to your partner or your kids when you avoid finding an answer. Having some uncomfortable tests is well worth the end results. Thanks for letting me vent. I hope that others will benefit from my experience. After all, we are family. And females have to stick together. Don't put off seeing your primary care physician. He just be able to save your life.
Hey Bears....yah, isn't that a big morale booster? PSA at .01 I am very happy with these results. For both of us. This has not been one of those "difficult times" that took a toll on me. That's a lot of stuff to go through. You can't help but be glad it's "over". At least it gives us some breathing room. Put a lot of this on the back burner. Long heavy sigh. Stay well