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.  


11 comments:

  1. Ron,
    Do you really want to live to be 100? If you do be prepared to compile yet another set of friends. All kidding aside keeping a sound mind and relatively good health is most important. My mother lived to be almost 101 years old and even though her health failed her miserably within days of her 100th birthday, she was balancing her checkbook 5 days before she died. I don't know if I will or want to live to be that old but I definitely want a sound mind. That could be a challenge as my father, his brother and his mother all had Alzheimer's. I can only hope I take after my mother even though should I get Alzheimer's how would I know or care? Just the thought is bad enough.
    I agree about losing friends. I moved more than once to different parts of the country and decided recently to see if I could connect with old friends from Philly. I was actually able to track down quite a few and found that more than half had already died, relatively young as they were in their sixties give or take a few years. It got to be depressing so I stopped. I'll enjoy the friends I have now.
    Your blog is always a pleasure to read and I read it every day. Though we've never met in person I consider you a blog friend, especially because of our mutual ties to Philly.
    Glad again to hear of your good news.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      No, I do not want to live to be 100. My preference is about another ten years. By the time I'm in my middle 80's I figure my health will be pretty well on the downslide and I will have lost almost everybody I care about. I don't want to be one of those old fossils just hanging on another day. The last year of my Mother's life she slide into dementia just as her two older sisters. She was 86 when she died. Her older sisters were 89 and 93. My father died (of lung cancer) when he was 80 years old. His mind was alert right up to the end.
      The saddest part about growing old is losing those old friends but I've made some new friends, mainly through blogging including Pat who found me on the Internet, not through the blog. I plan to do a lot of living yet.
      Ron

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    2. Ron,

      I kinda set my goal on 100, at least, I want to out live my dad, who died at 94. Both my parents had sound minds to the end and were pretty physically active until near the end. By the way, did you hear that Denny Myers died last Saturday?

      Lar

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    3. Lar,
      I have a feeling we'll both have long, productive, happy lives. We've had great lives so far and there is more to come. Yes, I did hear about Denny Myers. He was just at the 56th class reunion at the Brookovers. I just saw the pictures from that reunion. Denny didn't look well at all. I would have went to the reunion but I didn't feel welcome because of their view on same sex marriage, equating my marriage with marrying my pet.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    You will probably die with a lot of things going goofy inside. They got me down for Chronic Kidney Disease now because of my elevated Creatine. The spike dropped down to about where it had been and the Nephrologist told me they consider that normal for people our age. He said everybody our age and over has Chronic kidney Disease. I just had the regular checkup this past week and everything came out well, except the creatine, of course, but my other blood tests were pretty much all where the ranges should be. My blood pressure was 120/80 and my pulse was 60. My weight was 165 pounds.

    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      I think we will slowly deteriorate Hopefully like Gary Kinzey and Denny, in our sleep peacefully.
      Ron

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  3. I always hear, live each day like it was going to be your last, what if you wake up today, and knew you were going to live, what would you do different then you did yesterday? I really don't want to live to 100, only a handful at that age have a good quality of life.

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    1. David,
      Each day is a gift and I live it that way!
      Ron

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  4. Congratulations! As a cancer survivor myself (12 years now) it's always wonderful to hear such great news—even if t's from total strangers!

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    1. Mark,
      Congratulations to you too. Each day is s gift.
      Ron

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  5. I told you you will bury us all, but you never listen.

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