Warning: The following entry might be a little graphic for some people’s taste.
As far as origin stories go, my prostate cancer’s isn’t very exciting. I didn’t get bit by a radio-active compound tubuloalveolar exocrine gland and gain its proportionate strength, nor did I submit my prostate to cosmic rays during unprotected space sex, but here it is, the story of how I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
I found out that I might have cancer of the prostate a couple of months ago when I received a 9 p.m. phone call from my doctor telling me that the results of my routine blood work showed that I had an elevated PSA. I figured that if my doctor was calling me during prime time something must be wrong. I also wondered how I had elevated public service announcements in my body. It turns out this particular PSA stood for Prostate Specific Antigen, and my doctor suggested I see the urologist as quickly as possible. This had me a little worried.
My urologist appointment was not the most fun I’ve ever had. I knew I was going to have the dreaded Digital Rectal Exam, which I had to prepare for in ways that we don’t need to go into here, but they were new experience for me, and I don’t remember those experiences fondly. Having never been particularly sexually adventurous and having never been abducted and probed by aliens, I was not very comfortable with a gloved stranger’s finger feeling around for abnormalities in prostateville. He found some enlargement even though his patient was “quite tense.” Next step: a three week regiment of antibiotics to see if my PSA levels would drop. This had me more than a little worried.
The PSA did not drop significantly in those three weeks, so I had to schedule a biopsy. This had me worried.
The biopsy wasn’t any fun either, but your mileage may vary, because the nurse said she’d never seen anyway “jump” so much during the procedure. The doctor said the biopsy results would be in within ten days. This had me quite worried.
Speaking of worried, the doctor mentioned possible side-effects from the biopsy but omitted a very important one: BLOOD RED SEMEN! Fortunately, I read up on prostate biopsies after I got home and found out that little tidbit, otherwise… Oh, the screaming I would have done driving to the ER.
After an anxious ten days I called the urologist, and I was surprised to find out that they had found cancer. I didn’t expect to get that info over the phone, but at least I knew. We set up an appointment for a cancer consultation.
The consultation let me know that while I could have a slow growing version of the cancer that might not kill me for twenty years; I could also have a more aggressive form that, if left untreated, could spread much more quickly, and eliminate the possibility of some of the treatments available to me now while the cancer is localized. Also, it’s fairly rare for a man of my age (44) to develop prostate cancer. I elected to have the prostate removed, which will very probably result in me being cancer free. I also found out that urologists are immune to the hilarious line “Rectum? Hell, it killed him!”
As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, I need to stay alive as long as possible for my son, and being cancer free seems like a good way to accomplish that. The down side is that after the surgery I’ll have to deal with a period of time with a catheter, followed by possible period of incontinence. Also there are sexual side-effects, that while going a long way towards never parenting another child, might not be any fun at all, and some of those after-effects will be permanent. Fear not, dear readers, you’ll get to read all about it after the surgery.
One positive I can get from this diagnosis is that I am now aware that I need to make some lifestyle changes. Through diet, exercise, meditation and some yoga, I hope to be healthier and more centered than I have ever been. So I’ve got that going for me... which is nice.
Now my five thank yous for this entry.
Michael Gardner, brilliant artist, better person. http://www.michaelgardnerart.com/. He has helped me immensely in finding ways to deal with this upcoming journey by suggesting meditation techniques, good music, and introducing me to my new friend Liz Carr, who I mentioned before in a previous entry and adore for her inspiration and support. He also introduced me to …
Marilu Henner, http://www.marilu.com/ who really talked me off the panic ledge by telling me of her experiences with loved ones with cancer, and more importantly gave me ideas on how to become a much healthier person. I won’t lie: Hearing the voice of someone who I’ve long admired, tell me how to get things straight and that everything was going to be all right, was a very helpful and humbling experience.
Sabrina Zbasnik, http:/www.Introvertedwife.com/ , a brilliant artist who actually moved me to tears by creating a twibbon supporting me. She’s also met me and doesn’t hold it against me.
Christina Kim, Fambly member, aunt of the Boo Monster, and my favorite professional athlete ever. Her inspiration and support have been endless. Eye. Heart. Her.
Emily Volman http://emilyvolman.com/ A good friend whose name I like to drop.
Next Up : Trampolines, ghosts, and Perry Prostate’s Last Stand … plus five more thank yous !
Until then, Love each other !