|Feeding the seagulls this morning at Rehoboth Beach|
Oh how I wish I could post something today that is light and upbeat. The best I can do is post this picture of sea gulls that I took early this morning at Rehoboth Beach. I had some left over Panera bread in my freezer that I was never going to eat (I'm not a bread person) so I decided to feed the sea gulls on this cold February morning. They appreciate it plus I can take some new photos.
If it wasn't so cold (27 degrees) and windy this morning I would have taken a walk on the boardwalk but that was out of the question this morning. In fact, the parking lot where I parked my car was an ice rink. Not the ideal conditions for a morning walk. Plus, I have yet another nagging cold.
Yes, I have another cold. This one is a head cold. My sinuses are the repository this time of the cold/flu infection instead of my lungs like my last cold. Thank God my sinuses are draining but still I feel washed out and my nose is raw from blowing it.
So here is where I am on my decision for what kind of treatment for my prostate cancer. After talking to some more men, including two "Riches" (a coincidence), I have just about decided to have my prostate removed and be done with it.
Of course in any kind of treatment there are upsides and downsides. The main downside to a radical prostatectomy is incontinence. In other words I would be wearing a diaper for a certain period of time. This possibility was the main reason I decided not to get a prostate biopsy last year. I met a man at a friend's Christmas dinner who had his prostate removed. He was wearing Depends. He said "Well, I don't have cancer anymore." Of course I was freaked out and cancelled my biopsy appointment.
All year I lived with this dark cloud hanging over my head. This year I decided to get the biopsy after I had more urinary problems. My results came back that six of the twelve samples indicated cancer.
My urologist strongly recommended radiation therapy. He said "You don't want to be wearing a diaper for four months do you?" Of course I didn't.
When I got home I checked with my neighbor Rich (the first "Rich"). Last summer he underwent the twelve week regimen of radiation. Quite frankly he looked like death warmed over during this period. All gray and washed out. He is 76 years old. He looks good now though. He told me that his PSA score was down and he should be good "until it comes back", which he said it will. "Until it comes back?" Do I want the cancer to come back? I guess it will as long as those cancer cells are floating around your prostate gland. The thinking here is that an older man will die of something else before he dies of prostate cancer.
Yesterday I called a friend of a friend who had his prostate removed. He is doing fine now but right after his surgery he was incontinent for two months. He said another man he knew was incontinent for nine months. So "one size doesn't fit all" which I am finding out during my research.
He strongly recommended removal of the prostate. He said he didn't like his body radiated and just wanted to be rid of the cancer and possible return.
This morning I talked to my friend Rich (the second "Rich") who had his prostate removed six years ago when he was 64 years old. He said he wore a catheter for five days (over a long weekend) but wasn't incontinent at all. He said all his functions returned, including sexual. In Rich's case he sought out a doctor who had a lot of experience with prostate removal.
I think that is the key, get a doctor who is very experienced. Last night I was on the Internet checking out the Johns Hopkins website. Johns Hopkins Medical is only two hours away from where I live and one of the best medical facilities for prostate treatment. A friend of mine said he would take me there. This is too much for Bill and I have no experience driving in cities, especially one I'm not familiar with.
So this is what I have decided. Tomorrow I will call Johns Hopkins and tell them my situation. I would like them to evaluate my medical records and give me a second opinion. There is a slim chance that I don't have prostate cancer. This is what happened with my cousin Steve Tipton. He was all set to have his prostate removed and when he went to another doctor ("Dr. Magic Hands" he called him because Steve was concerned about losing his sexual function), that doctor reviewed his medical records and said he didn't have prostate cancer! He said he had prostatitis, an infection of the prostate and thus did not have to have any treatment. I don't think I'll be that lucky but I am going to get a second opinion first.
If it is confirmed that I have prostate cancer, then I will ask if I am a good candidate for prostate removal. At 71 years of age, I am right on the cusp of those older men for whom prostate removal is not recommended, especially men who don't have good health. Other than this nasty head cold I have now, I am in good health.
So that's where I am now folks: tomorrow I will arrange to have my medical records transferred to Johns Hopkins for a second opinion. If I do have prostate cancer then I will ask if I can have it removed. I want to be done with this cancer and get my life back to normal.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to comment on my previous posting on this subject. I appreciate your concern, it is very comforting during this stressful time.