Wednesday, September 30, 2015
More Thoughts on My Prostate Cancer
Folks, I cannot tell you how relieved I am that my prostate cancer is in remission. I am SO RELIEVED.
As one commenter said "On to your next adventure." And you can believe folks, I am planning many more adventures in my life.
My doctor told me yesterday that if I had prostate cancer in my 40's or 50's, that is usually a death sentence. The cancer is much more aggressive.
My prostate cancer was detected three years ago. I took almost a year before I decided to have a biopsy. I feared the side effects.
The biopsy was awful. Painful, humiliating and . . . . did I say PAINFUL. Oh yes, I heard of others who said "Oh it was no big thing." Well folks, try having a staple gun up your anus taken TWELVE samples of flesh from your walnut sized prostate. And no, I didn't have any sedative. Apparently I should have but . . . . apparently my urologist doesn't believe in painkillers.
So I was set up like a woman having a baby (legs spread, naked, door open with his assistant walking in and out questioning him about other patients.
Not to dwell on the biopsy but I felt that the "procedure" was worse than water boarding. If our previous government, which practiced torture, wanted to get the terrorists to talk, take prostate biopsies from them. After the procedure, the blood running out my behind on the table looked like a murder scene.
Not to dwell on any more gory and uncomfortable details, the biopsy revealed that I did have prostate cancer (six of twelve sample were cancerous). After much deliberation and consultation with others who had prostate cancer, I decided to have seed implants. I did not want my prostate removed because I did not want to give up my sex life (no details, you can figure it out but suffice it to say, once the prostate is removed your erection/sexual gratification days are over.
Well meaning commenters on my blog advised me to have my prostate removed because then I would "pee like a teenager." Well, THAT was attractive because over the years I have had problems peeing. Well guess what, I now pee like a teenager and without having my prostate removed. My doctor explained that when the prostate is cancerous the prostate is inflamed thus restricting the flow of urine through the urethra.
And then there is the incontinence problem. I met a man who had his prostate removed. He was wearing Depends and he will wear them the rest of his life. I could tell he was wearing Depends. But he said "I don't have prostate cancer."
I had seed implants. I don't have incontinence. However, my doctors told me that urinary incontinence is common with seed implants too. I guess I was lucky because my oncologist specializes in preventing urinary incontinence.
Well, I'm going on too long rehashing old history but let me sum up this way. I got a reprieve yesterday from a death sentence. The reason I say "reprieve" is because I had decided not to seek further treatment if my prostate cancer resumed. And it wasn't just about sexual pleasure. It was about quality of life.
I know people who have sought further treatment (there choice and I do not pass judgement) and have side effects that I did not want to spend the rest of my life living with. Hormone treatments that basically turn you into a woman (breast enlargement, hot flashes). No thank you folks, I have lived a long and good life and I was not planning on going out that way.
So yesterday I got a reprieve. Sure, I'll probably die WITH prostate cancer, not FROM prostate cancer. As my doctor told me yesterday, most men do die WITH prostate cancer. Oh sure, I'll die of something. Maybe I'll die in my sleep. Maybe I'll die of some other horrible, lingering, humiliating disease (not if I can help it) or maybe I'll die in an accident. My accident this year, which I could have easily died (falling in that 5 degree cold alley late at night and not being able to get up) made me realize how fragile and fleeting life can be. But I didn't and I'm still here.
My doctor told me yesterday "You have another thirty to forty good years Ron!" Indeed. Can you see me as a centenarian? Hey, I may still retain some of my fabulous youthful good looks (I like to think so anyway) but by the time I reach 100 years, I don't think so. But I would like to try.
The only problem with being that old is the problem I'm running into now. So many of my friends have died. Thank goodness I have this blog and have made new friends.