It’s been a while since I’ve written about this, but as I sit staring at my calendar and see that September is just a couple of days away, a number of things loom large (is that English? ‘loom large’ ? Oh well)
September is my birth month and unlike a number of people I know, the idea of having another birthday is not a bad thing; I mean, consider the alternative.
I would not have guessed years ago that I’d make it this far (very nearly 64) and being mildly superstitious, I never celebrate my birthday before it has actually arrived. But my birthday doesn’t really have a starring role in Angst Fest; that singular honor goes to…envelope please…yes, once again, it’s prostate cancer!!!
Hi, prostate cancer here.
I just wanted to thank Zo for once again selecting me for this great honor.
Rest assured, Zo…well, maybe you’ll actually lose some sleep over it [crowd chuckles amusedly here] I’ll do whatever I can to make your life as uncomfortable as possible.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to my good Buds – Fear and Uncertainty.
Hey, I couldn’t do all this without ya; love you guys!
Well, that was odd, but that’s kinda how my brain works sometimes.
For those of you who haven’t read my blog before or missed a post or two, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in March of 2013. The good news (less bad news?) is that it is small and appears to be rather lethargic – which is the way we like our cancers here at Zo-Central!
The bad news (not so good news?) is that it’s right at the apex of the prostate which means it’s at a point where there’s lots of nerve endings. Those nerve endings control a whole lot of activities which are pretty important to me so I’m none too keen on mucking about in that region.
So, what’s the deal with September? It’s blood test time. Every March and September I do PSA testing and we see what the numbers tell us. A pattern of increasing PSA scores indicates a potential problem and a lowering of PSA or a steady-state says all’s quiet on the southern front (or would that be rear?).
Anyway, I get antsy waiting for September 1 and wondering what the numbers will say. I’ve been taking Finasteride for a year and a half now to decrease the size of the prostate (I also have prostatic hyperplasia as do most men my age) and it has an odd side effect – it depresses the PSA number. When I saw my PSA number drop by more than half and knew that I had prostate cancer, I have to say I wasn’t thrilled. The PSA was a good indicator of something going on. In fact , the continually and rapidly elevated PSA led to the biopsy which found the cancer in the first place.
Now, I have an artificially depressed PSA number. My doctor assures me that the methodology remains the same though, we just work from the lowered score. If the number is rising at a rapid pace we know something’s going on and we’re off to the races, I mean biopsy.
I have friends who cite the stats on prostate cancer and my urologist himself has pointed out that I appear to have a very small and non-aggressive tumor which I definitely take to heart most of the time…most of the time…
But come March and September [insert REALLY deep sigh here] it’s a lot harder to be chill about it.
Maybe it would be easier if my mother hadn’t been misdiagnosed years ago with a cancer that killed her. Maybe it would have been easier if my sister hadn’t had to argue with doctors for years before they did the right tests and found the cancer that eventually killed her.
It’s hard to say.
I do know that I don’t want my un-ease to help promote dis-ease though, so in addition to getting to some deep-breathing exercises after I post this, I will also recite the following, attributed to Mark Twain:
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”