Friday, June 29, 2012

No Posts This Weekend

Date: 2012-06-29 11:38:05

As I mentioned in my last post, we are taking a brief holiday up north so there will be no blog activity over the weekend.
To anyone who actually reads this stuff, thank you! I thrive on your support and input.
I hope at least a few people will benefit from some of the observations I make regarding this disease.
Have a great weekend and stay safe! ;)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting Ready For The Weekend!

Date: 2012-06-28 18:56:00


The wife and I have decided to make the 1.5 hour trip up north to Sedona for the weekend. We have a little time share type of membership up there. Really nice place to be when the weather gets this hot.
We may even take a few days and go down to Texas to see one of my wife's brothers who is elderly and in poor health. It would be nice to see him at least once more before he starts going down the drain.
Been trying to find ways to keep my mind off the "C word". Overall stress levels seem to be moderating a little bit. I've spent the past couple of days starting to get my ducks in a row for the operation.
I have pre-op education and testing on Monday, July 9th. We just took out a loan for $10,000 to try and offset some of the immediate bills.
We're researching what our financial options are. I can't BELIEVE I had to get this before I qualify for Medicare.
I have to admit, I'm very happy SCOTUS upheld healthcare reform. Yes, I AM going to apply. There are millions of people in my situation and each and every one of them deserves a fighting chance!
I'm STILL worried about waking up in the recovery room and finding out there's bad news, of course. This journal wouldn't be worth reading unless THAT happened. You know what I mean. Why do you REALLY go to the car races? You know damn well you want to see an accident, a bloody BIG one to boot! Why do people watch ice hockey? Same reason, they want to see a fight. The actual game really doesn't seem to matter that much.
Fact is, if 100 people read this journal, probably 60 to 70% of them will get a rush out of it if things don't go well. In fact, in the unlikely event that things DO go well, if anyone out there actually reads this stuff, I'll probably lose at least half of them due to sheer boredom!
If I AM wrong, then I offer my sincere apologies to whomever chooses to follow this blog.
By the way, if there is ANYONE out there that reads this journal and has any type of cancer, especially prostate cancer, I would LOVE to correspond with you ANYTIME.
Knowing one has this disease makes you very lonely.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not Much To Write Today

Date: 2012-06-26 22:29:51


I spent the ENTIRE day doing absolutely NOTHING constructive. Spent all day on the internet and didn't learn a blessed thing!
Trying to keep my mind off my problem by distracting myself with stuff like work or movies.
Not working well. A better solution is 1.5 liters of cheap wine and 10 mg. of Valium.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Prince Valium To The Rescue

Date: 2012-06-25 19:24:09


Well, I made it through an uncommonly bad day. At least I got the air conditioning working again. I guess that made me a hero in my wife's eyes. ;)
Just popped 5mg about 15 minutes ago. Stomach starting to relax at last!
*Pours some wine*
I wanted to cry today for the first time in several years but I can't seem to let go enough to do it. Have you ever felt that way?
This waiting game is gonna KILL me. I'll probably be addicted to benzos LONG before I get into the morphine.
To answer the obvious question, NO!!! I AM NOT trying to be a fucking drama queen! These are real feelings coming from a real person.
(Maybe my wife can make a screenplay outta this shit when I die. The profit from that ought to at least cover cover the funeral expenses).
Maybe I'll even win an Oscar (or a Proscar) posthumously.
I cannot BELIEVE I just said that!
Methinks it's gonna be a long night.

Monday Musings Of An Idle Mind

Date: 2012-06-25 13:01:53


Started out the week well by immediately breaking my own brand new rule. Don't obsess over looking over similar cases on internet sites and comparing yourself to them.
At the end of the day, it appears that I and those close to me would probable be better served in the long run by assuming Dr. K is flat out wrong and that I will be found to have metastatic cancer.
Doing so will allow us to plan more aggressively for the worst case scenario. As far as I can tell, metastases are more the rule at this stage than the exception. I have been right most of the time so far and I seriously doubt that this case is an exception.
I am currently a bit confused as to how to best manage this. My wife and I don't really have access to any sort of competent counseling except in the financial area.
I feel like I'm losing my will to fight this thing. The worst part is I haven't even officially started the race! People like myself statistically have NOTORIOUSLY poor long term outcomes!
I find myself thinking of the MILLIONS of people who die every day from various causes. Why should I be any different? Why should I be an exception. Life is cheap. When I pass there will be many to replace me.
I need to keep reminding myself that I have been there before. All of us have ALWAYS been dead. We are created for some unknown reason only to exist for a nanosecond in terms of eternity. Non-existence is truly the norm, existence is the exception.
Life has lost all it's color for me. The only thing that I really care about now is my dearest wife. She is my rock and my emotional sounding board. She is the spouse, best friend and companion that most men dream of and never find.
I am so sorry that I may not be able to reciprocate.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Night Musings

Date: 2012-06-24 18:52:52


The wife and I just settled in for the night. It wasn't too bad of a day, stress wise, thank goodness!
I must say, chronicling all this crap is improving my typing skills. I bet I'm up to at least 20-25 wpm and 4 fingers! Doesn't seem to do much for my hemorrhoids though. ;)
Seriously though, We DID have a very nice time with some of our Texas based family who happened to be here in Phoenix for a real estate seminar. We went to the the Chinese Cultural Center (COFCO) and had a great dinner at one of the restaurants there.
*Pours some more wine*
I've been reading some of the other cancer blogs on this site. I find that most of them are many years old, like around 1972, 1975 etc. Most of them seem to have only one or two entries and then they end. That's depressing! Does it mean they're all dead???
Well, if that's true, I've got news for you. I'm gonna blog this thing to DEATH, literally! I'll have a laptop with high speed internet in my goddamn coffin!
I keep wondering who is gonna die first, the cat or me. In human years, he is around 70  years old. He is on steroids for a non-specific bowel disorder, possibly low grade cancer but more likely IBS.
I however, have at least moderately aggressive prostate cancer, newly diagnosed Gleason 7, stage unknown till surgery but probably around T2c.
Want to place bets on me or the cat? I'll take emails and post 'em here just for the hell of it!
Yes, way too much goddamn wine again. WOULDN'T YOU?
I wonder if anyone other than my wife actually reads this stuff.
I've mentioned my admiration for Christopher Hitchens previously in this journal. I have decided that I'm going to rewrite "Move Like Jagger" to "Die Like Hitchens". If it sells, I could become a chick magnet!!!
Enough for now.

More Fun! No Air Conditioning!

Date: 2012-06-24 21:15:01


I cannot BELIEVE this! It's 9: 15 at night, 100 degrees and the fucking air conditioner dies. WTF?
Thank goodness we also have evaporative cooling to supplement but the dewpoint is around 52 degrees and coolers don't work very well under those conditions. I'll be ok but the wife's gonna be uncomfprtable tonight.
Ironically, I know exactly what the problem is and also how to fix it as I used to be in the business. Problem is, when I went out of business due to a back injury, I stupidly sold all my tools and let my license expire so now I can't buy the stuff I need to repair the damn thing. It'll probably cost be a couple hundred dollars for a twenty dollar part! *Winces*
*Pours more wine and considers taking a Valium*
It's gonna be a late night.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Some Introspection

Date: 2012-06-22 14:32:11


I think I've narrowed down the issues that are giving me the most stress to one, at least for now.
It seems that I am most afraid that Dr. K is going to open me up and find out that things are worse than he thought. Maybe one of those situations where they just close you back up and don't even bother to remove the offending pathology. I don't want to entertain that possibility, yet it DOES happen.
Of course, I could have successful surgery and still be left to face metastatic disease now or years down the road.
Oh boo hoo...poor little me!!! *sighs*
Yes, if I haven't mentioned it before, I have significant OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)and have lived with it most of my life.
one of the more entertaining tricks it has is that it can put one's imagination on steroids. I will get on one particular thought and then start "looping" which then has the effect of magnifying the original stress. *Prince Valium to the rescue*
I am obsessed with the very real possibility of being terminal.
At this point, there is absolutely NO reason to think along those lines and my rational mind realizes that yet it really doesn't seem to help.
And what the Hell IS "terminal" anyway?
In my case: Terminal illness, a progressive disease that is expected to cause death. Courtesy, Wikipedia.
But then again, aren't WE ALL terminal? Does anything that breathes get out of this life alive? Does ANYTHING exist forever? Of course, the answer is a resounding NO.
Does this help my current state of mind? Also a resounding no.
As a hunter, I am very familiar with death, having inflicted it on numerous creatures bound for the dinner table. I have also witnessed the deaths of more loved ones in my lifetime than I care to count (death seems to run in our family) ;)
I guess what it boils down to is most of us aren't as much afraid of death and dying as we are knowing that a limit has been imposed.
Paradoxically, rather than fearing the unknown, we now fear the known (or what we imagine to be the known)even if there is no rational basis for it.

More Random Drivel

Date: 2012-06-22 19:15:20


It's early Friday evening. I'm sitting here at my computer looking up cancer info. I HAVE GOT to stop doing this. I don't fully understand half of it anyway!
I'm also beginning to reconsider whether I should actively seek out a support group. It looks like unless you happen to find exactly the right group for your personal needs, it might actually do more harm than good! *sips glass of wine*
I was thinking about my previous entry today with all the stuff about death and dying and actually had to chuckle a little bit.
I'm always whining about how afraid I am of The Dr. telling me I'm going to die. Well DUH!...that's a FACT! Of course I am and so is he. Then I consider the scenario where he tells me I'm NOT going to die. Then he's a goddamn liar! I'm not satisfied either way! (The preceding couple of paragraphs were actually intended as an EXTREMELY POOR attempt at comic relief). *drinks more wine*
What the hell, in five years or less I'll probably be writing this on a laptop from a hospital bed while shoving morphine up my ass.
I can tell you one thing for sure, I'm a hell of a lot less cocky than I was before the diagnosis. If I DO survive this, I suspect it will forever change my attitude toward life. Like many, I've always had a tendency to take things and people for granted, especially those who are close to me. I tend to be extremely self centered and demanding, especially to my poor wife who has never failed me. This is in part due to my OCD but the rest is just my own pure bullshit.
The wine buzz is getting stronger, can ya tell?
It's so easy to make jokes about death and dying when you believe you're not.
When you have cancer you feel so fucking ALONE!
I have SERIOUSLY wasted my life, in SO many ways!
I wonder if I'll ever see my new granddaughter again?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Random Thoughts

Date: 2012-06-21 08:43:39


Despite the small bit of reassurance from Dr. K yesterday, I still find myself obsessing over this. My stomach is in knots and I have little appetite.
Three weeks is a long time to wait when you have something growing inside you. I assume most folks in my position feel something similar. Problem is, when I'm like this, I'm of no use to anyone else to say nothing of the ones I love.
I think my wife took more comfort in Dr. K's words than I did. She deserves it. She doesn't need this stress.
It's amazing how a person's life can be permanently altered in just a matter of minutes. Maybe this will ultimately help to make me a better person.
I talked to my son last night and told him about the diagnosis. He is a little stunned, to say the least. I expect I will hear from him today, probably with a lot of questions.
Regardless of the outcome of all this, I've GOT to get a handle on this stress or it's going to literally take me over. I'm going to research some local support groups appropriate for both me and my wife. We need to get through this together.
My wife is having some ongoing concerns regarding her own health. I think I'll spend some time today and see if I can get her some reassurance. :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Consultation Day...cont.

Date: 2012-06-20 16:54:12


Saw Dr. K today. It's a Gleason 7 (4 + 3) Apparently the tumor occupies most of the right side of the gland.
He says it could be a lot worse. Surgery (RRP) scheduled for July 16th.
They like to wait 3 or 4 weeks after the biopsy for any swelling to go down.
He says he is aiming for a full cure. I hope he's right!
He will do an RRP aka, a retro-pubic radical prostatectomy (try saying THAT 3 times fast!)including a lymph node dissection.
After that, if the nodes and surgical margins are clear, we're done for a while. If not, there will be a course of radiation. Yummy! ;)
While this news is no guarantee that more involvement won't be found during surgery, I still am a little relieved as I thought I was facing a death sentence.
Being told that you're probably facing an early death can ruin your whole day!
************************************************************************
"Everyday above ground is a good day". --- Antonio "Tony" Montana (Scarface)1983

Consultation Day

Date: 2012-06-20 08:44:15


I didn't get much sleep last night. Gotta find a way of dealing with this stress.
The wife and I have an appointment with Dr. K at 2:15 today. Hopefully, we'll know a lot more after that.
My imagination is running wild. Problem is, so far, I seem to be right about what's going to happen.
Planning on asking Doc for a sedative of some sort. Right now, the stress is probably doing more damage to me than the disease itself!
Still trying to understand how this thing managed to sneak up on me like this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Diagnosis. Finally An Answer.

Date: 2012-06-19 08:56:46


Dr. K just called me about five minutes ago. The biopsy is positive.
"Fairly extensive on the right side".
I am now officially a cancer patient.
I am numb.
I expected this but it doesn't help.
I will know a lot more after our meeting tomorrow. Right now, I kind of feel like a victim of 'Murphy's Law'. If something can go wrong, it will.
A lot will depend on how aggressive the tumor is and if it is still confined to the prostate.
One thing I DO know is that my life is going to radically change.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Waiting Game...cont.

Date: 2012-06-17 18:36:24


It's Sunday night. Hot as snot here!!! Had a pretty good day. The wife convinced me to go see a movie with her so we went and saw 'Prometheus'. It was worth the price, I guess.
It's funny, I want to know the lab results as soon as possible and yet at the same time, I don't. Is that weird or what? I wonder if others in my position ever feel this way.
I can clearly see that if I really DO have cancer, I'm definitely going to need to find a good support group. I hope my wife will join me in that as I feel it would benefit her as well.
If I AM ill, I would like to be able to help others come to grips with their disease through my own experience but I'll never be able to do that unless I can get out of my own pool of self pity. I want to have the same courage and insight that Chris Hitchens had through his life and untimely demise. Instead of asking "why me" I want to be asking "why NOT me" instead. This thing is causing me to look at myself in a whole new way.
I may be discovering that I'm actually a worse coward than I thought. Am I afraid of my death because of the stress and hardship it will likely put on those I love and love me or is it really just because I don't want to personally go through it?
Fuck it! It really doesn't matter in the long run anyway. We're all just a collection of atoms anyway.

Friday, June 15, 2012

: The Waiting Game

Date: 2012-06-15 08:56:29


It's Friday morning, nearly two full days since the biopsy. Still have a small amount of blood in the urine, otherwise feeling ok.
My own imagination seems to be my biggest enemy in dealing with this. I keep going over every possible scenario in my mind which just adds to the anxiety. Even if the results come back negative, the waiting game will still continue for the rest of my life. Watching and waiting.
I'm going over to a client's house today to service his pool, then some yard work around the house. Hopefully, getting out and working will take my mind off this for a while.
Going to try to talk with my brother in law on Sunday and get his feedback. He went through this several years ago and seems to be doing fine. Maybe a good conversation with a PC survivor is what I need.
I worry about how my wife is handling the stress. She is my rock and is incredibly supportive and understanding. She is also nearly ten years my senior and has a mild cardiac arrhythmia. I need to learn that this IS NOT all about me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Biopsy Day (Evening Update)

Date: 2012-06-13 19:33:49


It's been about seven and a half hours since getting poked. Still a little blood in the urine. Starting to feel a bit sore but nothing intolerable.
The waiting game is starting to bother me again with a vengeance. I thought I was steeled for bad news but apparently not as much as I need to be.
Doc K was non-committal as usual when I asked if he saw anything significant on the ultrasound. "Nothing that screams cancer" was his response. He went on to let me know that that didn't mean cancer wasn't there, it still could be.
I tend to keep dwelling on the fact that my dad and his brother both died of this disease at a relatively early age. I know that doesn't necessarily mean I will get it but that doesn't seem to help.
I am one of those people that knows way too much to be comfortable in a situation like this and way too little to be able to fully trust my own common sense. I don't know if that makes any sense at all but that's me.
I have always had an interest in medicine and try to keep up with all the changes but in this day and age, it's getting very difficult to accurately sort through and analyze new data. Nowadays, you really need to try and take charge of your health and understand as much as you can of the world of healthcare and medicine.
Learning the facts about what is really going on out there is difficult and time consuming but it could save your life.

***pours yet another glass of cheap wine***

Anyone who actually reads this crap on a regular basis gets a free pass to my "pity party" next week.
More to come!

Biopsy Day (The Procedure)

Date: 2012-06-13 12:28:40


Well it's over and I survived.
For anyone who might possibly read this and is considering having a  needle biopsy of the prostate, or if you're just plain curious, here's the bottom line (I can't believe I just said that!)
Don't be a wuss like me and let your imagination run away with you.
THERE IS NOTHING PAINFUL OR SCARY ABOUT IT, even without any anesthetic whatsoever.
It took all of ten minutes and I was dressed and out the door.
The most uncomfortable part of the whole thing was when he stuck a Q-tip loaded with Betadine up there to clean the local area. It stung a little because my butt was already sore from mutiple times on the john due to the pre-medication, in this case, Cipro.
I'm not going to do a play by play of the whole thing but for those who are worried about what it will feel like here are the facts.

The dreaded ultrasound probe: Feels pretty much like getting a DRE from someone with large hands. No worries!

The needle punch: Sounds like a cross between a large rubber band snapping and a stapler.
Feels like a tiny prick. I had 12 cores done and really only noticed 2.
It happens so fast there really isn't much time for the brain to respond to the pain signal. Again, no worries!

So...what IS the downside? NOW WE WAIT! Waiting for a week not knowing what the results will be. That's the hard part.
Oh yeah... In case you're curious, if you are without health insurance and are self pay as I am, this procedure will set you back somewhere between $1500 to $2500 total out of pocket cost depending on who does it and where it's done.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Night Before Biopsy

Date: 2012-06-12 03:29:48


Tomorrow is "B" day. At 11:15am, I will undergo a TRUS (Trans Rectal Ultra Sound) guided needle biopsy of the prostate gland.
He will poke a small ultrasound transducer up my ass and then stick my poor little prostate with at least 12 very fine needles. (I hope he at least kisses me first!) Let it be known to all that this is WITHOUT any form of anesthetic!
Oh, did I mention that I also get an enema? It just doesn't get any better than this. :(

***pours more wine***

As it will take up to a week to get the results, I'm hoping he will be able to give me some kind of information based on what he sees on the ultrasound. The waiting without knowing is HELL!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Go Directly To Biopsy, Do Not Pass Go, Do not Collect $200

Date: 2012-06-04 02:51:12


Had my appointment with Dr. K today. Haven't seen the guy in at least a decade when my wife saw him for another reason.
Dr. K is what I would probably call "right to the point". He is slightly older than myself and has 30  years experience fiddling with people's personal plumbing.
We chatted a minute about why he was seeing me today, then a quick check of the external plumbing and a DRE. He then had me get dressed and left the room without a word.
Two or three minuted passed before he returned. He sat down and in characteristic form said, "well, one side of your prostate is a little firmer than the other. Because of that and your recent PSA values, I would like to go directly to biopsy".

Jesus H Christ!!!

I was stunned! So much so that it seemed like things were happening in slow motion.
He went on to explain the procedure in graphic detail but I barely heard what he was saying. I managed to ask him if there was an issue, did he feel that we were catching it early. He responded, "as early as you could have", whatever that's supposed to mean.
I left the office with an appointment for the ultrasound guided biopsy in one week.
I am numb!
I am convinced that there will be bad news. I am afraid I'm going to die! My blood pressure is way up. I'm drinking WAY too much and...I HAVEN'T EVEN HAD THE GODDAMN BIOPSY YET!!!
I am a first class wuss!