Sunday, October 23, 2011

Prostate Update

Well, here we are and Halloween is almost upon us again.  I've changed my blog photo to a picture that I took over took thirty years ago on Halloween Night at the Venture Inn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  That was the last time I really celebrated Halloween big time.  I would love to do so again but the opportunity just isn't presenting itself so bear with me while I pull up these photos from my Past Life.  This one I titled "The Lost Soul."

So here is the latest on my prostate drama.  I am scheduled for a random biopsy December 16th.  This is where the doctor takes twelve chunks of flesh out of my prostate.  And as the description says, it is "random."  I have decided not to go this route.  My first reason is the risk of infection.  Pardon the grossness but the instruments that take the pieces of meat from my prostate actually has to pass through my colon, thus risking infection because the colon has feces in it.  Of course I am to take an enema the night before as well as take an antibiotic but I've been reading that the antibiotics are becoming less and less effective.  And then to top everything thing else off, taking these random biopsies is no guarantee that they will find the cancer if in fact I do have prostate cancer.

I am very sensitive about catching a hospital or doctor related infection because that is the one time I almost lost my life.  I got a staph infection from a routine hernia operation when I was seventeen years old and almost checked out.  I was in and out of the hospital for six months in 1959 and underwent three operations before they finally cleaned all the infection from my young body.  I doubt if I would have survived if I was older.  Thus, before I put myself in that situation again I had be pretty damn sure that the results will warrant me putting myself at that risk.  Upon examining this situation, I don't think the risk is worth it.

Instead what I am going to do is undergo what is called an MRI-S which is a much less invasive procedure to find out if I do in fact have prostate cancer.  This involves a 30-40 minute session in which an MRI will obtain between 700 and 800 clear images to be reviewed by a radiologist and urologist.  The images may deem that a biopsy is not even necessary.  Then is a biopsy is necessary it will be targeted rather than random as is the standard test now.

Monday I call my doctor (urologist) to discuss.  The adventure continues.


  1. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Pittsburgh (PA) also had a gay bar called the "Venture Inn."

  2. Anonymous,

    The Philadelphia Venture Inn is still going strong from what I hear. I haven't been there in years.

  3. Ron,

    Sonds as if you have the peace of mind to make rational and considered decisions regarding your prostate diagnosis. Stay in that space. The medical establishment can sometimes be like a runaway train just steaming down the tracks. But if you have a good medical team, they will listen to you and work with your objections.

  4. I am glad to know you are doing your homework. The MRI sounds so much more "civilized".

  5. Will,

    A "runaway train" is a good way to describe the medical establishment in regards to medical treatments. I am well aware of the biggest flaw in the "PSA" score prostate drama is that the patient often is worse off because of the other things that happen once they get on this "train" because of their high PSA score. Before I have a lot of needles stuck in me and pieces of my prostate taken out for biopsies I will explore all alternatives that are a lot less invasive. I don't always trust the Medical Establishment since they already had one crack at me that almost did me in.

  6. Nadege,

    You are so right, the MRI is so much more civilized. However, think I will meet with some resistance because it is probably more expensive. Just a hunch I have. I'll see how right I am when I talk to my doctor on Monday.

  7. anne marie in philly3:39 PM

    I like the MRI idea. hopefully you will get the procedure and BE FIRM with the doctor!

  8. I think that I would go that route too. Good thinking!

  9. Anne Marie,

    I am going with the MRI procedure and I will be firm with the doctor. No one is going to rush me into anything that I don't feel is right for me. Too long the medical establishment has been unchallenged. After having almost lost my life due to an infection that I received during my hernia operation and then the incompetence of the doctors when I complained about a headache from the infection (the doctor said I was "imagining things"), the infection broke open and I was almost a goner. It wasn't until years later I learned how close I was to death. They had given up on me. Believe me, I question everything now.

  10. That's the route I'm going Mark. Thanks for the backup. I wasn't feeling comfortable with the other way plus my friend Bob C. had that procedure and he is suffering now because of the side effects just as predicted from the numerous news reports lately about the ineffectiveness of depending on the PSA score for detection of prostate cancer.

  11. There are no standards, so what you decide with your doctor is the right course.
    I got septic after a colonoscopy, so I sure side with you on the wariness to poke through the colon !

  12. Dr. Spo,

    You are right (again). There are no standards and each person's physical being and reaction is different. I just don't feel right with the random biopsies. What if I do get them and my PSA is still high? So where am I then, more biopsies? I'm going to call my doctor in shortly and discuss my options.


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