Thursday, February 07, 2013

Prostate Update



Yesterday I got a notice in the mail from the VA of the results of my annual blood test I took Monday at the VA.  Normally they don't send me the results in the mail, they go over the results during my appointment with my VA doctor which is scheduled for Monday.  But the reason they sent me the results was to tell me that my PSA score was 8.4.  For those of you not familiar with the Old Man's Scourge the normal range is 0 to 4.  Yep, I'm way up again.  

Well, that is a bummer.  As regular follows of this blog know, I already underwent the painful, uncomfortable and humiliating experience of having a prostate biopsy on January 28th.  I will receive the results of that biopsy on February 15th.  So I've already taken the steps that the VA has recommended.  

Last year was the first time I had a high PSA score which prompted me to see my urologist.  I had schedule a biopsy at that time but backed out after I checked all the possible side effects of this very invasive procedure. 

A few months ago my prostate was acting up again so I went to my urologist for advice.  He said he didn't want to do anything until I got a biopsy.  I scheduled that biopsy.   

Ironically, after I received that high PSA score last year, I had three blood tests since and my score was down to just over 4.0.  I thought I was home free and clear.  To hear this latest news is a damper to say the least.

Now all this doesn't mean I have prostate cancer, which I don't believe I do but something is going on and I won't feel comfortable until I get this checked out.  Seems I'm on a medical treadmill in spite of all my precautions.  

Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, Maryland

Last night at work I did some research on one of the preeminent prostate cancer centers in the U.S., the Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  I researched the doctors and have settled on one that I will go to if I do have to take action on my prostate.

I hesitated to make this posting because I don't want sympathy, thousands of men have been or are in my situation.  I only post it to keep all of you up to date with what is going on in my world.

How do I feel?  Well, other than the initial shock yesterday of reading that mail from the VA (which caused me to be a bit late to work), I've accepted the reality of my situation.  I did take a major nap this afternoon though. Usually my naps last anywhere from half an hour to an hour at the most.  This afternoon I slept three hours.  Bill worries.  I don't.  It is what it is.  

Note: A small irony, my nine times great grandfather Jonathan Tipton immigrated to this country from Port Royale, Jamaica in 1690.  His port of landing?  Baltimore, Maryland.

34 comments:

  1. The postman is always bring bad news. I say stop going to the mailbox. Your positive outlook will pull you through this I am sure of it.

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    1. Jeff,

      I wasn't expecting that piece of mail. Usually when I have my "labs", I'm not informed of the results until the following week. I still have that appointment (Monday). I was surprised at how fast they sent me that letter informing me of my high PSA count. Ironically, it was the exact same score, 8.4, as this time last year. I think the high score had something to do with my recent biopsy.'

      Ron

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  2. Thanks for keeping us up to date - I know how hard it is to share and how hard it is not to share.

    You received a high score at the same time this year as you did last year but then tested normal several times?? Could there be a connection to the time of year and some other tests that they run/ran?

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    1. Sean,

      Yes I did have the exact same score, 8.4, as this time last year. I wonder if this is a coincidence or has something to do with the trauma of my recent biopsy. I'm still passing blood (lots of it) in my semen. Nasty business this prostate thing.

      Ron

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    1. Thank you Anne Marie. I'll still be there at the Spo-a-thon!

      Ron

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  4. Anonymous7:05 PM

    I hope your biopsy report comes back with good news. But, if you need more medical care, Hopkins is the best in the world for prostate surgery. Keep us updated. Lynne

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    1. Lynn,

      I have feeling that I don't have prostate cancer and all these high PSA scores indicate a prostate infection much like my cousin Steve has. He also has high PSA scores but doesn't have prostate cancer. But if I do have cancer, I've already made arrangements with a friend to transport me to Johns Hopkins.

      Ron

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  5. Ron, I appreciate the updates and have no doubt that all of your blog readers are concerned. PSA scores tend to fluctuate for a number of reasons.Hopefully there will be no major significance in this sudden elevation.

    It's fascinating that you're able to trace your ancestors back to 1690!

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    1. Jon,

      One of my goals in life was to find my family history. I thought I would never find it but I did in 1994 due to the fact that my first Tipton ancestor to land on these shores had a lot of money and brought a good deal of land in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, thus leaving a lot of records. Those records were the key, including an article about his death in the Baltimore Gazette. He died at 119 years of age, which is what the newspaper stated but most of us don't believe. It was probably more like 99 years of age but he did die a very old man. My direct line of descent thus was Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan, Joseph, Hiram, Fieldon, Isaac then me. Yes, there were three "Jonathans" known as Jonathan I, Jonathan II and then "Major Jonathan." Ironically there are no known "Jonathans" in our family now but many "Isaacs". My father was "Isaac", my brother is Isaac as his his son. These days I fill out t he different branches of the Tipton family tree. Always fascinating.

      Ron

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  6. Sorry to hear it is up again. But we'll wait and see what the biopsy shows, You are on our prayer list.

    Lar

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    1. Larry,

      I don't believe I have prostate cancer but it is worrying to see that score going up again. I am pretty sure I have a prostate infection.

      Ron

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  7. Ron, I think my first question to the urologist would be, could the trauma of biopsy cause elevated antigen levels in the prostate? I have no experience with this besides getting the routine blood test, so it's probably a foolish question. Still, I'd ask. Best of luck.

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    1. Geo,

      I think you're exactly right, my high PSA score this time is probably a result of the trauma of the biopsy. All of last year my PSA scores were just over 4.0, now all of a sudden it's 8.4 right after the trauma of this awful biopsy in which my semen is still full of blood? Too much of a coincidence.

      Ron

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  8. I understand why you would worry. I hope it is not cancer and that a solution can be found to your problem. Getting old is no picnic!

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    1. Nadege,

      You're right, getting old is no picnic. If it isn't one thing to worry about, it's another.

      Ron

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  9. Ron, Thank you for keeping us updated on your situation. Please know that we'll be praying for you especially on the 15th.

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    1. Sean,

      I was of two minds about keeping my followers informed of my medical situation. It's not in my nature to keep things secret, especially something that is weighing this heavily on my mind. But then again I don't want to burden my followers with my "trials and tribulations." And I especially don't want sympathy. So many others are going through a lot worse that I'm going through now. I've been very lucky my whole life to have had good health. I've had a long run (71 years) so it is of not great surprise to me that maybe my luck might be beginning to run out. I can't go on forever. But I would like to hang around for a little while longer. So much to do yet.

      Ron

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    2. Ron, Part of friendship is "bearing each other burdens." Personally, I feel honored that you'd share this stuff and allow us to come alongside you. :-)

      BTW, depending on the weather, I may be out and about a lot this weekend with kid activities, so I may not be on FT at all.

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    3. Sean,

      Thanks for your comment. My medical condition is part of my life so why hide it? The only reason I hesitated posting anything about it was because I don't want to be seen as seeking sympathy. So many others have much more serious problems than I do. Mine are small in comparison to them. Big for me, yes, but in the overall scheme of things very minor.

      Ron

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    4. It's your blog my man. If someone perceives you as "needy", that's their problem.

      Dr. Spo had an interesting post called "Spo-Reflections on The Communion of Saints and/or the Connection of Bloggers." This is one of the benefits of social networking.

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    5. Sean,

      Thanks for the tip. I'll read that post of Dr. Spo's. It's a shame you can't make it to the Spotacular. It's going to be a blast. Pictures will be taken.

      Ron

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    6. Indeed, it does sound like fun! I just wouldn't feel right about taking off on the Mrs. and the kids. I'm funny that way. ;-)

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    7. Sean,

      Bring them with you! Our hotel accommodates families. :) We could put you up in the mini-suite.

      Ron

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  10. I hope the major PITA turns out that the PSA doesn't matter...

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      In my heart, I don't believe I have cancer. I'm not sure if I'm in denial or just wishful thinking but I think this high PSA score indicates a form of prostate infection and not cancer. I'll know for sure on the 15th. Now for the wait.

      Ron

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  11. Well I hope all ends well. You have Bill to support and worry about you. Have just done a post called Help is Near where I sing an original song. Thought it was appropriate to mention this as it is great to know that people care about you even if it is from the other side of the world.

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    1. Paul,

      You know my biggest worry? What would happen to Bill if I was no longer around. Of course I don't want to check out anytime soon either but I have had a good run and a happy and healthy 71 years. That's more than many people on this earth. I still have a lot to do and would enjoy a few more years of healthy life but I'm not all that upset about checking out but I do worry about Bill. He's 84 and totally dependent on me. He has no family. I really worry about him.

      Ron

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  12. As usual I am late in line.....
    It's all been said already. I am glad to see you have such support here.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      I'll know on this Friday, February 15th. Big countdown week this week. Finally, this dark cloud will disappear that been hanging over my head for the past year. I'll know one way or another.

      Ron

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  13. You're right to take precautionary steps now while you can. Hopefully its something else, but in almost all cases early detection is best.

    Let me know if I can do anything for you at all. Keeping you in my thoughts.

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    1. Mark,

      I saw your picture in the Cape Gazette today. I knew you would do well as a real estate agent. Congratulations on your new and successful career.

      Ron

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  14. Thanks for the update. Just to give you a heads up, you might want to do some research into Super Beta Prostate Supplement. Beta-sitosterol, which you've probably heard of is a key ingredient but it also contains about a dozen other trace minerals. It's a good deal for prostate care.

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    1. Thanks Jeffrey for this information. I'll check it out.

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