|Bill entering the cancer center|
Yesterday I met with my doctor (an oncologist) at the local cancer and radiation oncology center. I had just about made up my mind as to what kind of treatment I wanted for my prostate cancer. After meeting with him yesterday, and hearing him explain my options for treatment, I have decided to have radiation seed implant therapy.
|Me checking in|
Yesterday's meeting took about three hours. The first hour or so was supplying them with all my paperwork (insurance, doctor's, blood tests, medical history, etc).
The second hour was meeting with my oncologist. He went over my prostate biopsy result with me. He explained to me that my cancer was discovered early and I had a 95% chance of survival if I decided on a treatment. He told me that my cancer ewas "localized" and had not spread beyond my prostate. He said if I decided not to do anything, that maybe I would have another ten years of life.
|Bill waiting with me in the doctor's office|
He asked how long my father lived (80) and my mother (86). He explained to me that I had a "long lived familial history" and that if I got treatment I would probably have another "good" twenty years. I'll take that! I'm 71 now, that means I would be blogging until I was 91 years old before I faded out to the big Gay Bar in the sky.
Then he went over my five choices of options.
- Do nothing. Just live with my prostate cancer. This is the option where I would probably live another ten years assuming my cancer didn't turn aggressive.
- Remove my prostate by a radical prostatectomy. He said at my age (over 70) this probably wasn't my best choice but that I could have it done because he said I "appeared" in good health. I had long since decided not to go this route because of the incontinence side effects as well as impotence. I'm not ready to go eunuch yet.
- Hormonal therapy. This is one I hadn't considered and after hearing the side effects, I decided against this one too. Basically this therapy turns you into a woman. They inject female hormones into me to lower my testosterone (as if it isn't low enough already) to slow the growth of the prostate cancer. Some of the side effects are that I would grow breasts (I already have man boobs which is quite enough thank you), gain weight, lose muscle tone, get hot flashes and basically become a woman going through menopause. No thank you. Option out.
- Direct radiation therapy. This is where they pinpoint the cancerous cells in my prostate. They paint my stomach and make a mold of my hips so I don't move when they radiate me five times a week (weekends off) for nine weeks. Not only is it inconvenient going to the cancer center for forty-two visits, they also have forty-two times to get it wrong. In other words, radiate a non-cancerous part of my prostate gland. He said I could move or my prostate could move. A definite possibility that my prostate could move after my experience with the latest video I downloaded from "Clothed Men-Nude Men".
- Radiation seed implant therapy. This is where they pin point (by an very invasive procedure which doesn't thrill me) the cancerous cells in my prostate and inject 80 to 90 radioactive seeds in my prostate. Even though the procedure is very invasive (apparently there is no getting out of invasive procedures with prostate cancer) I decided this was the best option for me. My doctor agreed. He told me the downsides were that I couldn't hold my grandchildren in my lap. Bill was sitting with me in the room with him and I explained to him who Bill was and that I didn't have grandchildren nor would I be holding any children (grandchildren or not) in my lap in the foreseeable future. In fact, I don't think I ever had a child sit in my lap in my lifetime. He also told me that I shouldn't hug pregnant women. OH WELL, no worry there either. Then I told him that I may be near a pregnant women at my upcoming family reunion in October. He said "As long as you don't hug them for half an hour." Not likely. He did say that I could be with a man....close. Oh well, that's not going to happen either at my age. The only sexual experience I'm going to have is to be near my iMac watching my latest "Clothed Man-Nude Man" download. He told me that wouldn't be a problem. Thank you God.
So my next visit on March 15th, he and my urologist with knock me out with anesthesia, catheterize me (a first, getting catheterized, finally after avoiding it all these years); then they "map out" my prostate prior to inserting the radioactive seed implants at a later day. Oh joy. Want to know some of the details? In addition to "markers" to my prostate though my anus, needles will be inserted through my scrotum. Good thing I'm out.
|Me waiting for my oncologist|
Then when I come too they remove the catheter (not looking forward to THAT) and send me on my way. He did say that if my prostate swelled up they may have to leave the catheter in so I could pee. Hopefully that doesn't happen folks.
Then he said "about a month later we'll do the actual seed implants." He said they will remain radioactive up to ten months. I'm not sure if those needles go through my scrotum at this time or while they're doing the "mapping" of my prostate. I sort of "blurred out" when I head "needles through your scrotum."
So that's it folks. I do feel less anxious and more at ease with myself since I made my treatment decision. Now just to get through it.
|Bill checking out the puzzle at the cancer center|
One thing I do want to say though, I was very impressed by how they treated me yesterday. They took their time with me and answered all my question in a patient and respectful way. I didn't feel rushed at all by anyone, especially the doctor. That's one of my pet peeves with doctors, some of them never seem to have time to discuss things with you, they're so quick to get to the patient in the next room. This wasn't my experience yesterday.
Another thing that impressed me greatly was that they allowed and even encouraged Bill to be in the room with me. Not only did this save me the trouble to explaining everything to Bill (which I always have to do after visiting a doctor), but it showed me that they respected both me and Bill and our relationship. I actually got choked up a couple of times, sentimentalist that I am.
So I'm on my way folks. I'll still be able to attend the Blog-a-Rama March 22nd and 23rd. And hopefully my seeds will be implanted in time for Bill and I to take our annual vacation down south. I'll be radioactive but maybe that's what they need down there to wake them up to the reality of diversity. Not only will a gay couple who have been together forty-eight years be traveling through red states Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; I'll be leaving a radioactive trail behind us. Oh if they only knew.
|Me at Tallulah Gorge, Georgia last year|