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Monday, October 24, 2011

My Cancer : The Origin !

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 !

6 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if I've mentioned to you or not that I used to have a gig as a safe sex educator at Planned Parenthood, so therefore no topic is off-limits to me. (Get ready...)

    And thus when I was reading this, I kept thinking that even if you describe yourself as not being sexually adventurous, you still might consider giving anal stimulation a try, because it is NOT just a gay thing (though I wouldn't expect you to be turned off even if it was).

    Unfortunately most orgasms from anal stimulation occur from massaging the prostate--I've heard from some guys that prostrate orgasms are even more intense than the conventional kind--and I have yet to find any research to indicate how well that works for someone who has had his prostate removed, alas. Given that there are so many nerve endings in that general area, though, it definitely is a possibility, so feel free to do some research in this area & get back to me with your results! ;)

    Srsly, though, a lot of straight guys aren't aware of this, or dismiss the very notion because they think only gay men enjoy anal sex, but it's simply a matter of physiology, not orientation; I had a straight-as-an-arrow boyfriend who read my copy of Jack Morin's classic Anal Pleasure and Health cover-to-cover and agreed with me that if it weren't for the cultural taboos and associations, most people probably would be much more keen on pursuing these activities--I mean, c'mon, if orgasms are the end result, who wouldn't want to sign up?! ;)

    As well, he decided that he should give it a go, and though it never became part of our regular routine, he did say that it was definitely pleasurable--once he was able to relax, anyway--and thereafter he was considerably less tense about seeing the doctor!

    Just my unsolicited .02, darlin. I sincerely hope I haven't offended you, because this is one of those things I think more people should know about, but no-one ever discusses...and as per usual, I'm the one who will bring up the topic when no-one else will. ;) ♥

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  2. First of all, I adore you,and I would TOTALLY try various new sensations, but sadly, they are removing my prostate during the upcoming surgery and then, it's a whole new world.

    No traditional male orgasms. The seamen will no longer be allowed shore leave. The ultimate birth control.

    Visual stimulation will no longer be effective.

    I may need a series of pulleys, levers, and winches to do anything.

    They *do* suggest that I try new things.

    You could never offend me, incidentally.

    Eye. Heart. You.

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  3. I have every faith that you will find a way to get around these terrible changes; as I said to my sweetie re: our present circumstances, "Although this is out of the realm of my experience, that by no means makes it impossible."

    I once read a story about a woman who had suffered that most barbaric of losses, a cliterodectomy, and how she was still able to achieve orgasm. Although the story was fictional, I could easily envision that actually happening, esp. with regard to vaginal orgasms (which are by no means a myth--as I know from personal experience!).

    Even with the male waterworks department being significantly different, just remember that you're still going to have a whole lot of nerve endings to work with, and since I know that both you and the Mrs. are highly creative people, well... ;)

    PS: Dunno if you've seen this article about sex after prostate cancer, but I found it helpful and informative. :)

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  5. You have a wonderful attitude and I think it will serve you well on this journey. You will definitely kick cancer's ass.

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