Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Prostate Cancer Health Update



For the past several months I've had a black cloud hovering over my head.  That black cloud was the reoccurrence of my prostate cancer.

In 2013 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  After much deliberation and checking with others that I knew had and have prostate cancer, the treatment I decided to take was seed implants.  

I was told by my urologist that my PSA score would drop down to zero.  A year earlier my PSA score was 8.4.  The range should be from 1-4.  

After my seed implants my PSA score did drop to 1.1 but then six months later it went up to 1.2.  Not much but still, it went up which concerned me.  

Of course I had all kinds of dreaded scenarios in my mind.  

"What if my prostate cancer returned?"  

"What treatment should I get, if any?"

I decided that if my prostate cancer returned I would not seek treatment at my age.  The side effects are just too horrific.  Of course dying of prostate cancer is "horrific" too but hey, we're all going to die.  At least I would know what I'm dying of and could have some control, albeit with an End Game Finish.

Well folks, I have to tell you that I approached my visit to my VA doctor this morning with more than a little trepidation.  Today I would be getting the results of my labs (blood test) that I took last week. 

Ironically, I slept well last night even though I haven't been sleeping well for the past week since I took my labs.  

When I arrived at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Georgetown, I was a pretty morose veteran.  

Of course when I checked in they didn't have my records . . . . again (like last week when I went in for my labs.  Oh, the VA).   

The woman who works there told me not to worry and they would see me.

I took a seat.  About fifteen minutes later I was called in.  Another woman took my blood pressure (64, normal) and weighed me (174 lbs - my cargo pants with iPhone in pocket must weight a ton).  

Then I was told to "have a seat" to wait for my doctor.  I was seated in front of the VA employees who were taking blood from other veterans. I didn't take a picture of that activity.  

I took out my iPhone to play some online Scrabble.  "Network error".  Couldn't play.

I brought up my photos to delete some to make more room on my iPhone for whoever will inherit my iPhone.  

After about five minutes my doctor opens his door and invites me in.  He is in good cheer.  That's a good sign.  

He motions me to sit.  We start chatting (as we usually do) about the state of medical care in the VA and general.  I have a good rapport with my doctor.  That's why I continue to see him instead of a private doctor.  He has time to talk to me and (I think) likes me.  I'm more than a cog in the wheel of making money for the medical profession.  

After about ten minutes of chatting I ask him about my PSA score, of which I am very concerned. 

Here was his answer:


20 comments:

  1. Good news, I like my neurosurgeon, he is very straight forward and takes what ever time I need.

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    1. David,
      It is such a comfort to have a doctor that takes the time to listen to me and explain things thoroughly without being rushed to the next patient waiting in another room. That's why my VA doctor is my primary doctor. I hope he outlives me.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    Ah yes, a true writer who knows how to milk the suspense. Glad all is going well on this front. Not sure what you mean by Blood Pressure 64, is that just the bottom number?

    Lar

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    1. Lar,
      Yes, indeed good news. I was wrong about the blood pressure. I mean to say that was my pulse rate. My doctor said that it is within the acceptable range.
      Ron

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  3. Anonymous12:27 PM

    OH, Ron! I am SO happy for you! I know how worrying about one's health can really affect your mood, overall health, etc. So glad you got good news! ~~ NB
    P.S. Like Larry, your BP number seems odd; was that maybe your pulse instead?

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    1. NB,
      Thanks! By the way I misspoke, "64" wasn't my blood pressure but rather my pulse rate. You caught that. (smile)
      Ron

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  4. Hi Ron,

    Great news...we can all use some!

    :-)

    -Andy

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    Replies
    1. Andy,
      Indeed, good news. And yes, we can all use good news.
      Ron

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  5. Fantastic news! Now you can breathe an enormous sigh of relief - - and go out hunting for those pesky rabbits that invaded your garden.

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    1. Yes Jon, I am breathing a sigh of relief. I have to admit, I had that fear of my prostate cancer returning looming over my head for the past six months. Something will get me and maybe it will be the prostate cancer, but not in the near term anyway. Now to just be careful this winter that I don't take another fall.
      Ron

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  6. Hey Ron - terrific. I know waiting for results like this must be so stressful. I think that's why some people avoid tests and visits to doctors - too much rear involved. Well again you've soldiered on successfully. A huge congrats! If you don't mind me adding - cancer has a difficult time with plant based diets. Just in case you want to be a little proactive on your trek to 100 and beyond!

    Pat

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    Replies
    1. Pat,
      Thank you so much for your good wishes. I am on a good diet now, I just wish I had adopted a healthy diet much early in my life. Onward and upward though.
      Ron

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  7. very splendid news, indeed !

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  8. Anonymous7:13 AM

    I told you that a small PSA rebound in about a year after BT is very common. But I understand you wanted facts, not theory. Congratulations.
    I wonder why you cannot download the results by yourself (they are actually available in a couple of hours after blood extraction) instead of going weeks later to the doctor to be informed with big suspense. I guess American doctors believe in paternalism and do not want connected patients..
    Juan (Madrid).

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    1. Juan,
      Actually I am in a good place with my PSA. At my age (73), prostate cancer is slower growing. If I had contacted prostate cancer in my 40's or 50's, then I would have a problem. I understand that most men die WITH prostate cancer, not FROM cancer I hope to be in the former category. I'll die of something as we all will but the probability of dying of prostate cancer looks less and less in my future. By the way, I can access the results of my blood test fairly quickly. I only had my blood taken last week.
      Ron

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  9. Good to hear, onward to the next adventure.

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    1. David,
      You know me well, onward to the next adventure. I'm not done living yet!
      Ron

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  10. Ron,
    Great news, I couldn't be happier for you. Sometimes the discomfort is worth it when the end result is positive.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      The last time I felt this relieved was when I got the results of my FOURTH HIV test. All negative. I remember the first time I heard the results my HIV test. The doctor said "Your results are negative." My first reaction on hearing the word "negative" was that I had HIV. Talk about roller coaster emotions. Thank goodness "negative" that time was good as were there results of my blood test yesterday. I am so relieved.
      Ron

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