Sunday, October 16, 2011

Visit To My Urologist

The "Hobby Horse"


On Friday I visited my urologist for the first time.  This is the next step in the procedure to see if I have prostate cancer.

If you'll remember, a couple of months ago two consecutive blood tests revealed that I had a high PSA account.  While this doesn't necessarily men that I have prostate cancer it could be an indicator that I do have prostate cancer.  Thus, I had to schedule a visit to a urologist for a consultation.

My appointment was for 11:30 a.m.  Earlier in the day I got a call from the hotel where I work asking if I could work the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift for my co-worker as well as the next day's 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. This is a rough shift because of the short sleep time between shifts but I said "yes" like I always do.  More stress for the day.

I arrived at the doctor's office early hoping they would take me in early.  They did.

After I filled out the first time paperwork I was weighed and had my blood pressure taken.  Then I was given a funnel shaped device and taken to a bathroom and told to pee in it.  They would measure my urine flow.  We're off to a great start.

After that I was then ushered into another side room (lots of little side rooms in this doctor's office told to have a seat on the familiar padded table with the sheet of cold paper on it. I don't know what else to call it...a "hobby horse maybe?  Another assistant came in and asked me to life my shirt and T-shirt.  She smeared some cold jelly on my stomach and put a round cold piece of equipment on my stomach.  She was going to take a picture of my bladder (much the same way a pregnant woman has a picture taken of her baby in the womb).  Ambianosis or osmosis or something like that.  She greases me up and then slaps this huge gray, flat, round and cold stethoscope like piece of equipment on my six pack abs (yeah, sure).  She wanted to make sure I emptied my bladder from the urine flow test that I had just taken.  She finishes, wipe the grease off of my stomach and informs me that the doctor will be with me in a few minutes

Lubricant on the shelf - a sign of activity to come

I heist myself up on the hobby horse to await my fate the doctor.  In a few minutes time the doctor, who I had never met before let alone go out on a date, would get to know me better than 99.9% of the men I have dated in my life time.  I was about to get a digital exam (look it up).  I see the plastic gloves in the corner of the room at the ready.  OKAY.

The doctor came in, extended his hand for a handshake (the same hand that would soon perform another function on me) and introduced himself.  He was a young oriental man.  I'm not into orientals but I would rather having a man doing The Deed than a woman.  That's just the way I roll.  No offense to the lady readers of this blog.

Dr. Chang (not his real name) spoke clearly and thoroughly.  He made me aware of the recent news reports about PSA tests and asked me if I wanted to continue.  I said I did.  He then explained to me how the prostate is like an orange; soft and pliable. He said each person's body is different and that by whatever he finds by examining me doesn't necessarily mean that I have prostate cancer.

Gloves at the ready and The Stool 

He explained out the prostate gland work.  I won't go into the details but basically it is the gland that has a small tube running through it from the bladder to the penis so I can pass urine.  He said the cancer could be on the outside of the prostate gland in which case he could feel it.  However, he said it could also be on the inside in which case he could not tell be the digital exam which is was about to perform.  He also said that the prostate gland could be hard as a knuckle in which case that would indicate something bad.  But, if the prostate gland was soft and pliable as an orange, that didn't necessarily mean that I didn't have cancer, that it could be on the inside of the prostate gland.

The doctor gave me a white towel folder over twice and told me to "drop my pants" and to put the towel around my waist.  He left the room while I did this.  I dropped my pants. Surely not the first time that I've done this in my Life Experience but not under these cold, antiseptic circumstances. He would be back shortly.

I wasn't sure how much to "drop my pants" so I lowered them to my ankles.  I was in a bit of a quandary because I didn't want to go "to far" but I wanted to be accessible to the good doctor.  When Dr. Change (not his real name) returned there I stood with my pants (and underwear) down around my ankles (understandably I short circuited my chances for making a mad dash anywhere under these circumstances) with my towel securely fastened about my waist to secure some minimal facade of privacy.

I asked him "is this alright?" I think this is the first time in my life I ever uttered that phrase with my underwear and pants down around my ankles to another man I (or woman).  Oh well, there's a first time for everything.  Life is an adventure and mine was about to continue.

He said "Yeah, sure."  Then he uttered the phrase that all straight men fear ...."BEND OVER."

Thus the Digital Exam proceeded.  Oh wow.  Man oh man.  For what seemed like a LONG TIME, he stuck his BIG FINGER (didn't look that big when he put on the vinyl glove) up my You Know What.  He probed to the right, then to the left, then a massage of the prostate gland itself.  I could tell he's done this before.  He was VERY EXPERIENCED.  All I could think of besides when was he going to get his finger out of my ass, was WHAT A WAY TO MAKE A LIVING.  When I was in grade school my little friends would dream of becoming a policeman, fireman or astronaut.  I wonder what the Good Doctor dreamed of?  I'm going to grow up and make a living sticking my finger up in someone's ass?

The exam was very uncomfortable for me.  My back end is for EXIT only, and not ENTRY.  That's just me.  You know what I mean?  EXIT...yes.  ENTRY....no.  Well, at least he wasn't wearing any rings.

I couldn't help myself but I kept clenching. For a few seconds I expected to hear the Good Doctor utter those words "just relax."  Oh please doctor, don't say those words.  He didn't.  Thank you Jesus.

Then I worried that he couldn't get his finger out because I was clenched down too hard on it.  Am I telling too much here?  Perhaps.  I'm trying to keep this a concise as possible.

Finally he finished and removed his finger with what sounded like a "Pop!"

He told me that he couldn't find anything on the surface on my prostate gland.  That was good news.  He also said that my prostrate gland was soft the way it should be and not hard like a knuckle (which he showed me by forming a knuckle on his own hand).  He said that was good.  But then he said that my PSA "Freewill" (I think that's what he said) score was only 5% and it should be 25% or more.  He then asked me if I wanted to get a biopsy.  I asked him what that entailed (no pun intended).

He said he would do it in office.  He would take twelve biopsies which is twelve little chunks of meat from my prostate gland removed by some pincer like apparatus he has in his office.  Last Sunday I talked to my cousin Bud who is the same age as me and he had it done.  He said while it is "no picnic" he had it done.  I told the doctor I would have it done.

Thus I now have an appointment December 19th for have my in office biopsy performed.  Sort of like my Christmas present to myself.

So that's where I stand now folks.  No cancer detected yet but the PSA scores still are indicating something is amiss.

I went to work that afternoon and then yesterday morning.  When I left work yesterday I was exhausted.  The hotel was full and the many of the hotel guests needed attention. How do you pronounce "Lewes"?  "Lewis or Loose?"  Oh yes, I do more at the front desk than provide a dazzling smile and pleasant banter. I'm a Jack of All Trades.  At least I didn't have to deal with the wobbly toilet on the third floor.  Mike (the manager) took care of that.  I don't do toilets.

I have off now until next Wednesday unless I get a call to come in again to fill in for one of my co-workers who has the vapors. So that's the deal folks.

Updates as I learn them.

21 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:32 AM

    So is it Lewis or Loose?

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  2. Ron,

    I was a bit worried how far your picture taking would go. I'm sorry to hear you must go through all this, but so far so good, I suppose.

    Lar

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  3. What an ordeal! I have thyroid problems and will go for another set of ultra-sounds in 4 months, then maybe a biopsy if my nodules have grown; a walk in the park compare to what you have to go through.

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  4. Well, the news seems good so far! Good luck with the biopsy, I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. ((HUGS)) :)

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  5. Several good points in your narrative with the main one being the procedure on 18dec is in his office. That is a positive sign. Its when they say "I am going to send you over to the hospital." I was like when next month? and he was "right now" Which is why I get so worked up even with my biweekly INR checks.

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  6. anne marie in philly3:07 PM

    "I would rather having a man doing The Deed than a woman. That's just the way I roll. No offense to the lady readers of this blog."

    no offense taken. I prefer a woman over a man for my female checkups; only a woman knows how another woman feels (no pun intended).

    I am glad to hear you are taking the biopsy. I had a biopsy done, which confirmed my cancer. touch and sight is not enough to prove the disease is present. much good karma coming your way!

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  7. Thinking of you and wishing you the best.
    Take care.
    m.

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  8. Anonymous8:26 PM

    Hey I have been checking back at your site to get the update on your doctor visit. Everything sounds good so far. Now you have time to read up on the biopsy information. I am glad you went through with the doctor appointment.
    Lynne in Annapolis

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  9. Anonymous,

    "Lewes"is pronounced "L-E-W-I-S". If I had a quarter for every time I am asked that question. The second most asked question is "Do you have a pool?" The answer is - ready? NO!

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  10. Larry,

    You worry way too much about when, where, what and who you take pictures of. I just don't worry about it. I take the pictures.

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  11. Nadege,

    In the latest issue of Time magazine there is a short article titled "Just Say No" to invasive procedures undertaken because of high PSA readings. The one time I almost died was when I had a hernia operation (which I didn't need) and I contact a staph infection that almost killed me. Now I'm scheduled for a biopsy session in December and at risk of getting an infection. I'm giving this serious thought.

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  12. Anne Marie,

    I don't know where all the men doctors are but I rarely see them. I just am not comfortable with a woman checking me out. Absolutely not. I don't need that extra stress when I'm undergoing these medical procedures.

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  13. Thank you Mark. By the way, I'll have a further delay in posting the reunion pictures. I was just called to go into work for the next three days. I'm supposed to be working PART-TIME but that isn't happening. I have to have a talk with my boss. This is getting serious now.

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  14. Thank you for your concern Lynne. I've been reading up on all the procedures that are recommended one a high PSA is indicated. After reading a recent article in Time magazine I'm not sure if I even want the biopsy now because of the risk of getting an infection. I'll have to think this through.

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  15. Ron,

    I think that you are in a process right now -- step by step.

    By the way, instead of describing the DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), you could just say that you played Finger Puppet with the Doctor. The medical establishment probably doesn't like it because it doesn't sound so intimidating. However, I usually insist on at least dinner and movie before I'd let someone do that to me, so we obviously have different perspectives on this.

    Stay centered.

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  16. Good news so far. Keeping my fingers crossed (unlike the doctor) that it stays that way.

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  17. I agree with you Will...at least dinner and a movie before playing Finger Puppet.

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  18. Thank you Walt.

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  19. I am glad you did this.
    I get mine in a week. Since I 'give them' (or did) I can't get squeamish to receive one, and I don't. It's just another exam for me, no different than having someone feel my stomach for lumps and bumps.
    I hope to get your similar results - but I don't have to have that lecture!

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  20. Dr. Spo,

    I don't really mind the digital exam even though it is uncomfortable for me. However, I am apprehensive about getting the 12 biopsies that I'm scheduled to get on December 19th. My concern is contacting an infection because of the procedure. I don't think that I have prostate cancer. I think my PSA high score is for another reason but I want to rule out the possibility of cancer.

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  21. An e-mail from my friend Don McK.
    Ron,

    You did a great service to a lot of men by detailing what you went through. Going to a urologist the first time can be quite distressing, mainly because you do not know what is going to happen. This at least will tell those who have never been through it what to expect. The first time I went to a urologist the nurse, an older woman, seemed to know what I was going through. She chatted pleasantly with me during the time I was waiting for the doctor which eased my distress no end. I was always grateful to her for that.

    Now all of this is second nature to me. Finger up the butt. "Do you mind if my new assistant checks you out too." Peeing in a funnel. Check with ultra sound to see if you bladder is empty. The one thing I still dread is "Do you mind if I look in your bladder?"

    Don

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