Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Game With No Rules

Date: 2012-07-31 19:04:11


I'm sitting here at the computer after browsing a number of prostate cancer sites and blogs and have come to the conclusion that there are NO rules in this game. Yes, one theoretically CAN beat the disease and win but the problem is...you'll never know it!

You can LOSE. That's the easy part. The disease recurs, you circle the drain for a few weeks, months or maybe even years, then you die. All you can do is hope you make it more or less disease free until at least you've reached your statistically expected lifespan. Then maybe you don't feel quite as cheated.

If you DO win, you'll never know it because there is currently no technology out there, even now in these modern times that can conclusively prove that.

The cancer game has no rules and the parameters change on a daily basis sort of like trying to win at the "shell game" against a professional. (Not fair!)
The disease is different for everyone. You can be declared disease free one day and a week later discover that you're actually stage IV metastatic. Remember...there are NO rules!

Do I sound depressed? I am. If it wasn't for this damned OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I'd probably be at least a little more optimistic but I tend to not only feel compelled to research all this garbage but then I obsess about it!
I really just want to come to grips with this, be as brave a man as my father was and hopefully die WITH and not OF the disease.

I remember stating MANY posts ago that, come hell or high water, I would see to it that there would be some humor in each entry.
I have failed MISERABLY in that respect and I sincerely apologize to anyone reading this if doing so results in depression.
As I continue to track my progress (or lack of it) through this journal, I will try my best to keep it as light as possible yet still be in reality.

--- Cheers!

Diapers

Date: 2012-07-31 16:48:43


It's been one full day since I've been officially obliged to wear adult diapers and I'm tired of it already!
Before my illness, I used to crack a lot of jokes about "Depends" and the people who use them. I've learned it's different when the shoe is on the other foot!
Maybe, with time my sense of humor will return so I can at least poke fun at myself but for now, unless you're one of those folks with a kinky diaper fetish, my sympathies are with those who are in far worse condition than I am and have no choice.
It tends to reduce one's personal dignity and privacy to minus 0!

It was pouring rain outside while I was writing this. That must be why I was feeling a little tired when I first got up today. We weren't expecting any rain today so it was a nice surprise.

Monday, July 30, 2012

No More Catheter! :)

Date: 2012-07-30 19:49:16


Had my appointment with Dr. K today. Got the Foley removed! I can't even BEGIN to tell you how nice it is to be rid of that thing!
He also removed about half of the surgical staples in my abdomen.
Things seem to be healing as they should and he was pleased with the results. I am and probably will be partially incontinent (urine) for at least a few weeks and have been assigned exercises to strengthen the bladder sphincter. A very small price to pay indeed!

We now FINALLY have the post-surgical pathology report.

Pathologic Stage: pT2c pNO PMX
Gleason Grade: 4 3=7
Negative for extraprostatic extension (Disease confined to prostate)
Lymph Nodes: Negative
Seminal Vesicles: Negative
Proportion Of Prostate Involved By Tumor: <5%
Surgical Margins: 2 Positive

This is FAR better news than I had anticipated! It gives me a plan for learning to live with this in the future.
The positive margins may or may not come into play at some point in the future. There is a good chance there is no cancer left in me but we can't prove that. We will be monitoring my PSA levels for the rest of my life and if they start to rise again, at least we have weapons and a plan. Radiation MAY still needed but at this time we are just going to watch it for the next few weeks/months.

--- Cheers!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Quiet Sunday

Date: 2012-07-29 17:19:45


It's been a nice, relaxing day. The wife and I spent it just doing things we wanted to do and it looks like a pretty good rain coming in so that will make for a cozy night!

Tomorrow, it's off to see Dr. K at 9:15am to get the staples and catheter out. We should be able to find out the results of the surgical pathology report and, based on that, put together a game plan for the future. I am still concerned that the path report will be upgraded which will be VERY bad news. I'm back into that "Murphy's Law" thing for awhile, I guess.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. One GOOD thing to come out of all this is I'm learning a hell of a lot about myself and, whether I survive this disease or not, I know inside that I'll never be the same.

I probably should cut my hair tonight. Getting to look a little sloppy again. At least the weight that I gained back after the initial diagnosis is coming off. Nothing like being diagnosed with cancer to initiate weight loss. You just lose your appetite!

*Gets up and shaves*

It's still raining, light but steady. Trying to keep my mind off my fears. I keep getting that wave of tightness in my stomach and chest whenever I think about tomorrow. I better get used to it. It will most likely be the same whenever I get a PSA done from now on.
Fear of the unknown.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Depression setting in...again. Title: Still Not Sleepy!

Date: 2012-07-28 21:52:13


Still not sleepy at this hour of the night. Sitting around looking up cancer stats (not a good idea at bedtime) to see if I can get some idea of the odds of nodal involvement. I'm over my head here again. I've really gotta stop doing this to myself.

Then I remind myself that I'm only going through what everyone with a serious illness goes through. I'm not unique in any way. I guess we all initially torture ourselves, seeking answers, immersing ourselves in a vat of constantly changing information that we only partially understand at best.

Damn the Internet!

A Few Thoughts On PCa Screening

Date: 2012-07-28 16:56:40


As I enter this new phase of my life living with cancer, I realize that even with an excellent prognosis, there is ALWAYS the possibility of the beast returning one day to bite you in the ass.
Far too many men nowadays avoid being routinely screened due to a variety of reasons, most of them based on fear of the unknown.
A lot of men die at a relatively young age (my father was a good example) because of fear or worse, simple ignorance.
Fear and ignorance can kill you! Knowledge is power!
All that being said, I offer a small list of "do's" and "dont's" purely from a layman's standpoint.

Let's begin with the "don't s":

Don't assume ANYTHING! Learn about your body and learn the FACTS.
Get  your information from credible, scientific sources.

Don't fall victim to fear of the unknown. What you don't know CAN kill you and probably will if you avoid screening because "you're afraid to find out".

Don't believe that just because the statistics indicate that most PCa is slow growing and may not even require treatment that it ALL is.
Aggressive cancer is actually quite common.

Don't be afraid of screening procedures. Do not believe all the horror stories you hear from your buddies or on the internet.

Common procedures:

PSA: Just a simple blood test involving a tiny needle stick. With today's ultra-sharp venipuncture equipment, you probably won't even feel it (especially if the tech is a hot chick with nice tits!)

DRE: The dreaded Digital Rectal Exam is having someone's gloved, lubricated finger up your ass for all of 5 or 10 seconds. Get over this stupid ass thing about being "violated". (If it was your girlfriend doing it, you'd love it and you know it!) Also, it DOES NOT mean that you and the doctor are now engaged unless of course he bought you drinks and dinner first! ;)
If you REALLY want to know "violation", try having cancer!

The Prostate Biopsy: Probably the most feared of all the diagnostic testing, it is also the GOLD STANDARD to determine whether cancer is present.
If a biopsy is recommended, DO IT! It could well save your life!
Yes, it is a minor "pain in the ass", literally, and usually takes around 10 or 15 minutes. Your imagination is your WORST ENEMY!
Even with NO anesthetic, I can honestly say that the discomfort encountered during the biopsy was NO WHERE NEAR the level of discomfort of taking a dump after eating a jar of hot peppers the night before! ;)

Don't assume that because you're young, healthy, macho, asymptomatic and have absolutely NO family history of prostate cancer that you can't get it. YOU CAN! DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SELF DIAGNOSE!!!

Now, on to the "do's":

Do get your testing done by a competent, board certified UROLOGIST.
This is what they do. Try to find an older one with experience.

Do have your PSA processed by the SAME LAB every time. Yes, it CAN make a difference.

Do pay attention to your "private parts". Learn how they work, how they feel etc. This IS NOT GAY! Such thinking can lead to tragedy!

Do keep a running record of your PSA values, including date of testing.

I will probably add to this as I think of things that may be helpful.
The whole purpose of this particular blog entry is to address the issue of our tendency as men, to attempt to avoid addressing health issues because we're either scared, embarrassed or both.
Prostate cancer IS NOT an "old man's" disease.

So...drop your fears and misconceptions. Then drop your pants! ;)

Stay well. --- Cheers!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Feeling A Little Better Today!

Date: 2012-07-27 18:22:35


My energy seems to be on the way back. I was up most of the day today and was able to do most of the chores that I've neglected over the past couple of weeks. That suggests that I'm probably NOT in the depressive state that I thought I was. The biggest issue is that my diapers keep falling off at inappropriate times. Actually, I should be used to that by now as it happens even in the best of times! ;) (Another long story).

I get the Foley catheter removed Monday. Living with an indwelling urinary catheter is definitely NOT what it's cracked up to be!
You go to buy beer and the clerk asks, "Do you want a bag for that"? You answer, "No thanks, I brought my own"!
*Drum roll w/rim shot*

You go through airport security and the TSA confiscates your leg bag!

Hot chicks now watch you for a DIFFERENT reason... the list goes on and on. :(

On another note...
The eight inch gash in my abdomen is healing nicely as well as is the little puncture for the Jackson-Pratt drain. A J-P drain consists of a tube connected to a see-through collection bulb. The bulb has a drainage port which can be opened to remove fluid or air so that the bulb can be squeezed to create suction. The drain is placed below the area of the wound. (Courtesy: Wikipedia).
Bottom line: I won't be doing any bull riding anytime soon! ;)

The pain is minimal, compared to what I expected. (No brain-no pain, I guess). I need to aggressively resume my weight loss regimen as soon as possible as I was doing prior to my diagnosis. That includes resuming an intermittent ketogenic diet and walking. I WAS doing a fair amount of biking but that may have to wait for quite a while due to the sensitivity in the perineal area.
I will need to discuss the keto diet with Dr. K and make sure I can still utilize that option.

Getting ready for dinner now. Maybe a few thoughts later.

--- Cheers!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Some Late Night Thoughts

Date: 2012-07-26 21:43:17


I'm sitting here thinking about getting ready for bed but I'm not sure that I'm ready to sleep yet.

I still feel that I'm in at least a light depressive phase. It's like I can't really "get my mind around anything". Sometimes I feel terrified about my future with cancer and then at other times I feel far more confident and optimistic.
I'm afraid to let myself be too optimistic because if I do I'm sure to be wrong. Has anyone else had that feeling when attempting to deal with a serious situation that you've never dealt with before?

As I mentioned previously, maybe all this mental bullshit is normal when transitioning from a healthy state to living out the rest of your years with a chronic illness, possibly controlled but never cured.

I'm sorry to always sound like such a pessimist. Before I found out I was ill it was very easy to be confident, cocky etc. Now I believe I'm beginning to see "the real me" and some of it isn't very pretty and DEFINITELY not very brave!
Somehow, someway I've got to get my sense of humor back, for REAL, not just the facade I've been using lately.
I need to learn how to be stronger than the disease that resides in me.
The disease IS me! I AM the disease. My own body has turned against me and now we're in a conflict.

It's late and this train of thought is going nowhere and serves no useful purpose. I'm beginning to sound like a "pseudo-scientist".
No, I will not go off the deep end and and hang a five pound quartz crystal on my balls hoping to channel the cosmic energy of the universe into my body to fight my cancer.
A little decent weed would do fine, thanks! ;)

--- Cheers!

Slept All Day...Again!

Date: 2012-07-26 18:23:06


Woke up about 10:00am today, changed out catheter lines, took a much needed shower, had a bite of lunch, checked email and then lay down. Woke up at around 5:30pm. Productive day or what? :(
I think I need a project to occupy my mind.

A very sweet young lady whom we've known for years dropped me a note today wishing me well and offering her help should we need it.
One of her suggestions was " a kick in the pants"! That made me laugh so hard as to require a diaper change. She's right though, I seem to be the type who will just allow myself to stagnate if I don't have something to focus on.
Do me a favor young lady. Wait till the pain goes away before you administer THAT solution! ;)

I've decided to let the goatee grow back (I had shaved it pre-op) despite the popular vote to stay clean shaven. Now all I need to do is cut my hair back to USAF regs (long story) and I'll be my same old ugly self again.

--- Cheers!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Classic "Piss Poor" Day

Date: 2012-07-25 15:32:12


Today did not go well!
I got up late again around 11:00am. Had to fart around with the damned catheter equipment while putting up with more bladder spasms than usual. Kind of makes me feel like a "one armed paperhanger"!
The medication I'm on for them (Pyridium) turns the urine a bright fluorescent orange which stains almost everything it comes in contact with. Every time a bladder spasm occurs, the urine blows by the catheter and I wind up with a fucking MESS! And yes, I AM using adult diapers but that doesn't always solve the problem. (Use your damn imagination!)

At least I got the floor swept. I WAS going to give it a good chlorine wet mopping because it REALLY needs it(use your imagination again) but I got too tired and had to lie down.

Worst of all, I think I'm starting to slip into one of my depressive cycles. I'm really feeling that this is the beginning of the end. I feel like I've lost control over my environment, my body and my life in general. Time to die.

I want to cry but I can't. I want to lash out and take control when things go wrong but I don't have the reserves. I don't even have the fucking balls to call the doctors office to see if they received the post-op pathology report yet because I'm too afraid of what I'll hear!
I'm just a selfish, cowardly, hypocritical bastard!
Why the hell can't I just do this right, like everyone else?

And WHY do I continue to have this weird feeling of déjà  vu? I really feel like I've been here, in this situation before! I just can't see how the story ends, maybe because I died? No, I think not. That IS NOT rational thought!
More than likely it is some form of pharmacologically induced phenomenon related to general anesthesia but I admit that it IS somewhat interesting.

The stress all this is putting on my wife is beginning to concern me more than it was when we first started down this road. She doesn't appear to realize how much stress she's under, between her job and now me. I'm concerned that she may not be able to handle this in the long term.

Maybe it will help if I'm able to find work after I recover from the surgery. We are definitely facing bankruptcy, probably within the next year due to my unemployment and the massive medical costs we're incurring. Even if I qualify for PCIP, we are now WAY over our heads in debt with no possible way of repayment. I should have stayed with my last employer instead of attempting my own business. We gambled and lost!

As I see it,our future depends on two things:
(1) My ability to regain and maintain my health in sufficient capacity to hold down a full time job despite chronic illness.
(2) Finding a potential employer in my field willing to hire me despite my age and health status.

What a joke!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Recommended Reading

Date: 2012-07-24 19:48:16

For those who regularly follow this journal for whatever reason this blog, My New York Minute: A Prostate Cancer Blog by Dan Zenka, Vice President of Communications for the Prostate Cancer Foundation, and a prostate cancer patient himself, is sharing his story through a new blog. It can be found here:
http://mynewyorkminute.org/?p=51

Dan was diagnosed with his own case of prostate cancer in April 2010 at the age of 51. He had a radical prostatectomy in June and was subsequently diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic cancer. He completed seven weeks of radiation treatment in December and is currently in three years of androgen deprivation therapy. He started this blog within days of his original diagnosis to share information and patient perspectives and, most importantly, to encourage men to talk about prostate cancer.

The main reason I'm posting this is because his initial case presentation, as far as I can tell, was almost identical to mine.
I've mentioned in previous posts how insidious PCa is and this is a classic example. We both chose RRPs as initial treatment however Dan chose to have the da Vinci robotic surgery and I chose the "gold standard" open RRP.
The poor chap went into surgery with a very reasonable clinical evaluation and intent to cure and wound up with a post surgical upgrade to Stage 4 metastatic cancer.
This is why I keep whining about when I'm going to get MY post-op scores. I'm scared shitless, that's why!
I truly hope that if I wind up in a similar situation, that I will be able to deal with it as well as he is. The man is truly a model and inspiration for ALL of us, regardless of whether we have cancer or not!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday Morning Notes ...cont.

Date: 2012-07-23 18:46:26


Well I really wasted the better part of THIS day! Decided to have a "short power nap" around 1:00pm ans wound up sleeping until after 5:00pm. Wasted the whole damned day!
I DID manage to get the garbage collected and out to the curb for tomorrows pickup. That is significant only in the fact that it is the first time I've been out of the house since the operation which was last Monday, the 16th.

On a humorous note: I may have to wear adult diapers for a while after the catheter is removed. Then I saw this. It could be a new look for me. Almost pissed myself laughing! (Okay, I lied. I REALLY pissed myself!)

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=447795868574272&set=a.228905707129957.57147.227435433943651&type=1&theater

Because we still haven't received the surgical pathology report, I'm starting to dwell on the possible results regardless of what Dr. K says. It is causing me a great deal of anxiety probably because I don't think I've fully steeled myself for bad news. I don't really know how to do that. I keep telling myself that we're all going to die eventually anyway so what does it matter?
There is SO MUCH going through my head. I guess a great deal of it is the fear that something insidious, invisible and possibly unstoppable is inside you...waiting. I think that is probably what those of us who have been touched by cancer actually fear the most. Even in the event of a great prognosis, you just will never really know. It will be a day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year waiting game finally culminating in death.

Monday Morning Notes

Date: 2012-07-23 10:54:31

So far the day is starting fairly well with a bit of good news. I was able to ward off two, count 'em TWO bladder spasms without loss of bladder control and leakage around the Foley. This also allowed me to get out of bed and make it to the bathroom without "incident"!
This may mean absolutely nothing to the average individual, however to anyone who has "been there-done it", well, you know what I mean! ;)
I'm going to TRY to stay as active as possible today but the energy I'm so used to having is still almost non-existent.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Start Of A New Week!

Date: 2012-07-22 23:01:32


It's Sunday night and the wife and I have definitely agreed that ALL weekends are way too short! ;)
Still encountering occasional bladder spasms but they don't seem quite as frequent as before. Maybe by the end of the week they'll be a thing of the past.
We had a great chat with my cousin in Maryland tonight. Almost 1.5 hours! With he enjoying his beers and I with my Oxy (Oxycodone)that was about as long a conversation as we could handle.
I expect we'll hear from Dr. K sometime this week regarding the surgical pathology report. I'm beginning to get nervous all over again. As Hitchens said, "why NOT me" and he was right! I wish I was that strong but I guess we always want more time. Life is good and I think that most of those guys who walk around trying to act tough and saying, "it's a good day to die" are full of shit!
Why the hell am I being so morbid tonight. I'm sorry! What I SHOULD be doing is changing out the little "pee bag" for the large overnight model and getting as good a sleep as I can. Maybe even one more nice, messy bladder spasm for good measure. It just doesn't get any better than this!

--- Cheers!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Night Thoughts

Date: 2012-07-21 21:16:38


Just a short entry tonight. Brain kind of fogged from 2nd dose of Oxycodone. I try to limit the narcs to evening and bedtime so I have a better chance of getting a good sleep.
Other than a few minor catheter issues, it was a pretty good day.
No word on pathology yet. Probably Monday or Tuesday.
My wife is incredible! Thank goodness she has both strength AND brains!  I truly feel sorry for those not blessed with someone in their lives capable of such selfless, unconditional love.
Skyped with the kids for a while today. They're having their first home built! They've decided to build in Columbia, South Carolina.
Gonna cut it short for now. Getting real sleepy and the intermittent thunderstorms don't help. We LOVE thunderstorms!
--- Cheers!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Night Before Surgery Or Why Are Hotdogs So Damned Expensive?

Date: 2012-07-15 19:23:05


I just paid $5.99 for a four-pack of Hebrew National jumbo hotdogs! To be "frank" about it, I could have gotten a reasonably sized sirloin steak for that price! I'm only eating hot dogs because they are statistically associated with a more rapid return of abnormal sexual function following prostate surgery. Ironically, they are also associated with a 50% increase of lifetime risk of developing the disease.
Probably better used as some type of prosthesis. ;)
Oh well, moving on...
*Pours the only glass of wine he'll have for awhile*
It'll be be nice to get this thing over with and finally get a "real" prognosis whether good OR bad. It's the not knowing and not being able to formulate a plan of action that's the real killer.
I plan on continuing to maintain this journal regardless of the eventual outcome. Now that I think about it, if it ultimately DOES kill me I can always start a new career posthumously as a "ghostwriter" and continue sharing my "stream of unconsciousness".
I am looking forward to interacting in a positive manner with the hospital staff. From what I've seen so far, they truly love what they do and firmly believe in a sense of humor. Please support that philosophy because if I lose the energy from the humor of life, I most likely WILL succumb.
BTW: Is it considered a bad sign if the operating room has fly strips hanging from the ceiling?
Please do NOT be afraid to inquire about my condition and/or state of mind. Use humor, the more the better as I do not offend easily. Every time someone I know or love makes me roar with laughter it strikes a powerful blow directly in the face of cancer.
I want to use this powerful tool for my own benefit and hopefully for the benefit of others in my situation. You just have to allow it!
For those of you who have serious interest in what I will undergo tomorrow, I am including a link to what I consider to be up to date, reliable information on the procedure.
It can be found here: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/447439-technique

--- Cheers

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Saturday Night Fervor...NOT!

Date: 2012-07-14 18:47:31


As I get closer to the day of the operation, I seem to be calming down a little bit. Not that wine and Valium aren't largely responsible for that but I'm referring more to during the day.
Since the beginning of all this nonsense,I have never used alcohol or any drug to control stress during the day. I am hoping that I can "man-up" and manage this thing under my own power, regardless of the prognosis.
The wife and I were out to lunch today with a friend at a local restaurant we like. There was quiet music in the background and I wasn't paying much attention to it till one piece caught my attention. I was "Won't Get Fooled Again" By The Who, remember them?
There is something about that piece that gives me hope and inspiration.
When I heard Roger Daltrey's final scream of "yeahhhhhhh!!!" near the end, I felt an incredible sense of renewed spirit and power. The power to WIN!
Go here for the vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp6-wG5LLqE
Turn up the volume and draw courage from it regardless of your fears or weaknesses!
We are going to watch the ORIGINAL version of M.A.S.H. tonight. Should be a nice evening!

Friday, July 13, 2012

T.G. I. F.

Date: 2012-07-13 20:28:45


Hah! That title strikes me as amusing considering I'm Atheist. LOL!
Getting ready for the big day! I've decided to ask Dr. K to throw in some liposuction and a liver transplant, just to be proactive.
I figure if I can get him a nice, fresh Kosher pork liver then I'll be able to bypass the transplant waiting list! ;)
*Pours some wine*
Buffalo wings later!
Hey, if I continue to write all this crappy tumor-humor shit after I'm dead, am I doing it "post-humorously"?
Hah! I KILL me!!! Nah, just kidding. Doc will see to that if if he's not cold sober by Monday morning! ;)
Seriously, I REALLY gotta knock off the wine this weekend. Propofol   alcohol = Michael Jackson! :(
*Pours more wine*
I'm considering bringing the laptop along and posting some obscene shots of my incision. It seems a lot of folks are into that lately.
Also, I will be offering my prostate gland, lymph nodes and any other relevant body parts on eBay. Standard auction with "buy it now" option!
Positive nodes will command a higher price. Free shipping within the continental United States.

**********************************************************************
Two cancer patients go to a baseball game.
One says to the other: The Yanks are really doing well this season.
The other replies: Yeah, but how about those Mets?!

Support Cancer Research! ;)

**********************************************************************
*Puts wings in oven*

I hope I haven't depressed anyone reading this TOO much. My sweet sister in-law believes that I think too much. She is probably right!
This is precisely why I'm desperately trying to see the humor in this. If I DO have to go "early", I want to depart this life in the same manner the Christopher Hitchens or Art Buchwald (remember him?)did.

1.5 liter wine gone and wings almost ready. I just doesn't get any better than this!

Cheers!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Starting To Think About Monday

Date: 2012-07-12 16:19:07


I find myself starting to stress out about the upcoming surgery this Monday. I suppose that's normal. I don't really know what's bothering me the most. The actual operation or what they'll find in there.
Sometimes I think my BIGGEST concern is how my dear wife is going to handle it if things don't go well. She's had enough stress, disappointments and losses in her life without adding this to it.
Friends are telling me to always keep a positive attitude. For me, it's hard, especially with OCD. I WANT to be an optimist but then I find myself getting into this deep funk where I feel that I don't deserve a good outcome. It's like a feeling of guilt or possibly a lack of self worth. I should have done more with my life. I should have not taken for granted those who have trusted me and freely given me their love.
In short, I've truly lived a selfish life so why should I be given a break now?
I think I'm beginning to trade alcohol for rational thought. VERY POOR LIFE CHOICE!
*Pours a large glass of wine*
*About a half hour or so later...*
Well, the wife and I had another one of our conversations about death and dying. I think both of us feel a little better now. It may sound morbid to discuss that stuff, especially at this stage of the game but then again, what if we NEVER addressed it. How would the surviving partner feel?
I do apologize to anyone reading this if they frequently find the content somewhat depressing. These entries are not intended to be inspirational although, at some point, with any luck, they may be.
This journal is merely a "stream of consciousness" reflecting my personal moods and feelings at any point in time. My sincere hope is that if reading about MY experience with cancer helps even one other person embarking on the same journey, then it is more than worth the effort. I know that at least for me, it helps to be able to ramble, even if few if any read it.
Once again, I invite anyone who wishes to interact with me to please do so. I am not contagious! (Yeah, I used to think cancer was contagious!) ;)

**********************************************************************
Now for the humor:

Doctor: Well, Mr. Johnson, I have some good news and some bad news.

Patient: What's the bad news?

Doctor: You have incurable prostate cancer, and you probably have less than a month to live.

Patient (stunned): Well... what's the good news?

Doctor: Did you see that hot nurse out in the reception area?

Patient: Um... yeah?

Doctor: I'm fucking her!

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Called Into Service...!

Date: 2012-07-11 19:42:19


I actually got "called into service" today, doing what I do best! (No not THAT, you pervert!) Property maintenance. Got called for an emergency plumbing issue and a small landscaping project. It felt good to get out and actually DO something besides sit around feeling sorry for myself.
Oh yeah, I forgot, I also had a pool to service. Since it was around 104 degrees and humid, I decided to do a "detailed physical inspection" of the skimmers, jets, drains, tiles, grout and ALL plaster areas. Of course, this took a significant amount of my "valuable time" actually spent IN the water. Being the type of person I am, I just plain "forgot" to charge for all that valuable time! ;)
Regarding my impending operation, I discovered that, since I currently am uninsured, I can choose any anesthetic I want! I have chosen Wild Turkey 100 proof, IV push. A little slower than Propofol but administering it requires A LOT less skill. My bartender will assist.
Great dinner tonight too! Roast beast with salad and acorn squash! The wife and I watched "The Russians Are coming".
Now that I think of it, that would make a great title for a porn flick. ;)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Support From Friends & Family

Date: 2012-07-10 19:16:22


Not much to talk about tonight.
I just want to thank all of those folks who have sent a note of encouragement to this old fart.
Just knowing you're there makes Karen and I feel warm and fuzzy.
Always know that if ever the tables are turned, my hope is to be there for you as well.
************************************************************************
“Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog, you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty-five years and you pay it back and then -- one day -- you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed, you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then -- one day -- you step off a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die. Maybe.”

 Denis Leary quotes (American Actor, b.1957)

Support From Friends & Family

Date: 2012-07-10 19:16:22


Not much to talk about tonight.
I just want to thank all of those folks who have sent a note of encouragement to this old fart.
Just knowing you're there makes Karen and I feel warm and fuzzy.
Always know that if ever the tables are turned, my hope is to be there for you as well.
************************************************************************
"Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog, you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty-five years and you pay it back and then -- one day -- you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed, you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then -- one day -- you step off a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die... maybe".

 Denis Leary quotes (American Actor, b.1957)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Pre- Surgical Testing & Education

Date: 2012-07-09 21:14:43


Went for pre-surgical testing and education this morning. Actually, it was a fun experience. These people are AWESOME!
Honesty and humor seem to be paramount. (No, not just "tumor humor"!)
I'm now wearing a wristband that cannot be removed (at least not by me) containing all my pertinent information. I'm thinking it might be fun to tell people that it is a a radiation dosimeter and they need to stay at least ten feet away from me at all times. That way, I can save a fortune on deodorant! ;)
Not a whole lot to say tonight. Seems as though people we know are either getting sick or dying almost every week. This is not what we would like to hear but it IS normal, natural and the way things are meant to be. A little depressing though!
I'm still drinking way to much just to try to cope. I was honest with the pre-surg person this morning regarding that. She was sympathetic and non-judgmental which I appreciated IMMENSELY! She asked me if it helped and I said yes, it does. It keeps my sense of humor up and the knots in my stomach down. Right or wrong, it WORKS!
I'm gonna state right here though that the issue that probably bothers me the most is THAT I'M SUCH A FUCKING COWARD!
I promised some kind of humor in each entry so here it is.

***********************************************************************

-Most people think life sucks, and then you die. Not me. I beg to differ. I think life sucks, then you get
cancer, then your dog dies, your wife leaves you, the cancer goes into remission, you get a new dog,
you get remarried, you owe ten million dollars in medical bills but you work hard for thirty-five years and
you pay it back and then -- one day -- you have a massive stroke, your whole right side is paralyzed,
you have to limp along the streets and speak out of the left side of your mouth and drool but you go
into rehabilitation and regain the power to walk and the power to talk and then -- one day -- you step off
a curb at Sixty-seventh Street, and BANG you get hit by a city bus and then you die. Maybe.”
~ Dennis Leary

Sunday, July 08, 2012

End Of The Weekend, Damn!

Date: 2012-07-08 19:21:22


LOL! I have NO idea why I titled this entry the way I did. When you're unemployed, EVERY day is a weekend. If I could find some gainful employment it would probably take my mind of this stupid cancer. (I'd most likely have insurance too!)
I was recently informed that I was loved by one of my nephews and his dear wife. I did not expect that kind of support since my wife and I haven't seen them in many years. When I read it, I cried, (silly) but it made me realize how much I have taken for granted in my life and how priceless these people are.
You are not "in laws". You are my family and I love you all!
Well, tomorrow I go in to the hospital for a couple of hours for my "pre-op testing and education"! This ought to be fun! ;)
Then we wait while they decide whether I'm healthy enough to survive the procedure. If I'm not, I'm told they will simply use a well known Islamic treatment which apparently involves putting a "fatwa" or a "fat one" up my fat ass. Not sure which one! The doctor's accent was difficult to understand. I'll keep you posted!
I should probably mention that the preceding attempt at humor WAS NOT IN ANY WAY intended as a slam at the Islamic faith. My wife and I have a number of Muslim friends and none of them are what the common stereotype seems to be lately. For the record, I happen to be atheist so I consider myself an "equal opportunity abuser"!

**********************************************************************

FAQ on Health and Dieting

Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life. Is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended dailly allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?

A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?

A: Well, if you have a body and you have body fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program? A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?

A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!. Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?

A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?

A: Are you crazy? HELLO ..... Cocoa beans ... another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?

A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me..

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?

A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

AND.....

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health.

It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies:

1. The Japanese eat very little fat

And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat

And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine

And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine

And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats

And suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you !

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What Cancer Cannot Do

Date: 2012-07-07 19:32:46


I ran across this today and thought it was worth posting.


What Cancer Cannot Do

Cancer is so limited . . .
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot destroy peace,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the spirit.

(Source unknown) Courtesy:YANA.org ( You Are Not Alone)

Another Bit Of Humor

Date: 2012-07-07 23:05:26


An old prospector shuffled into the town of El Indio , Texas leading an old tired mule. The old man headed straight for the only saloon in town, to clear his parched throat. He walked up to the saloon and tied his old mule to the hitch rail. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out of the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, saying, "Hey old man, have you ever danced?" The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, "No, I never did dance... never really wanted to."

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, "Well, you old fool, you're gonna' dance now," and started shooting at the old man's feet. The old prospector, not wanting to get a toe blown off, started hopping around like a flea on a hot skillet. Everybody was laughing, fit to be tied.

When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon. The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air.

The crowd stopped laughing immediately. The young gunslinger heard the sounds too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old timer and the large gaping holes of those twin barrels. The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man's hands, as he quietly said, "Son, have you ever kissed a mule's ass?"

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, "No sir..... but..... I've always wanted to."

There are a few lessons for us all here:


* Never be arrogant.

* Don't waste ammunition.

* Whiskey makes you think you're smarter than you are.

* Don't mess with old men, they didn't get old by being stupid.

Goodlife

Cancer Humor. Yes,There IS Such A Thing!

Date: 2012-07-07 12:39:31


Cancer humor?! Who'd a thought?
To some, especially those who are free of the disease, the thought of applying a sense of humor to a serious, potentially life threatening  condition might sound ridiculous, or worse, downright macabre!
It is, in fact, generally quite the opposite. Laughter has long been referred to as "the best medicine" and although it cannot cure cancer, it CAN do a lot to relieve stress and take one's mind off their everyday problems ans stressors for a while.
With that in mind, I have decided to try it myself and include selected, PCa specific jokes and general humor, some original and some from from selected sources that I find amusing.
Please remember that this journal is written from a cancer patient's perspective. All are welcome to read it and offer comments if you so wish however it will most likely be far more relevant to immediate family and/or others with the same condition.
*********************************************************************
Thai DRE

After experiencing the discomfort and embarrassment of a prostate test on the UK National Health Service, a friend of mine decided to have his next test carried out while visiting in Thailand where the beautiful nurses are rather more gentle and accommodating.

As usual he was asked to strip off and as he lay naked on his side on the bed and the nurse began the examination.

"At this stage of the procedure it's quite normal to get an erection" said the nurse.

"I haven't got an erection" said the man.

"No, but I have" replied the nurse.
*********************************************************************
FAQ on HMOs



Q. What does HMO stand for?

A. This is actually a variation of the phrase, "HEY MOE." Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget about the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eyes.

Q. I just joined an HMO. How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want?

A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. These doctors basically fall into two categories-those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry; the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away, and a diploma from a Third World country.

Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification?

A. No. Only those you need.

Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions?

A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment.

Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine?

A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment.

Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand. I tried the Generic Medication, but it gave me a stomach ache. What should I do?

A. Poke yourself in the eye.

Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick?

A. You really shouldn't do that.

Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem. Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his office?

A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving him a shot at it.

Q. Will health care be different in the next century?

A. No. But if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then.

*********************************************************************
THE DANGERS OF BREAD

In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home, the average life expectancy was less than 50 years; infant mortality rates were unacceptably high; many women died in childbirth; and diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever, and influenza ravaged whole nations. Every piece of bread you eat brings you nearer to death. Bread is associated with all the major diseases of the body. For example, nearly all sick people have eaten bread. The effects are obviously cumulative:

99.9 percent of all people who die from cancer have eaten bread

99.7 percent of the people involved in air and auto accidents ate bread within 6 months preceding the accident

93.1 percent of juvenile delinquents came from homes where bread is served frequently

Evidence points to the long-term effects of bread eating: Of all the people born since 1839 who later dined on bread, there has been a 100% mortality rate.

Primitive tribal societies that have no bread exhibit a low incidence of cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, and osteoporosis.

More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.

Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.

Newborn babies can choke on bread.

Most bread eaters are utterly unable to distinguish between significant scientific fact and meaningless statistical babbling.
*********************************************************************

From now on, I will TRY to include something at least reasonably humorous with each each entry. ;) --- Cheers!

Friday, July 06, 2012

: Not A Good Way To Begin The Weekend!

Date: 2012-07-06 10:28:41


Woke up this morning feeling like I just want to give up.
It seems like If I try to foster an optimistic attitude and believe what I read or what I'm told when it's good news (which isn't often), it seems the opposite happens. Plus, I woke up with a raging sore throat. If I get sick now, they may have to delay the surgery. That scares me!!!
I just want to get this thing out of me and then see what the options are.
Posted what literally amounted to a "goodbye" message on Twitter and Facebook last night. Dumb! I deleted them this morning when I saw there were no responses. Hopefully, nobody paid any attention to them!
I have NO problem with folks who like to believe in "the power of positive thinking" however I have never believed in it. That's not to say I'm a chronic pessimist. It simply means that quite a number of studies based on good, hard science have been done in recent years and have clearly shown NO significant difference in outcomes (especially health related) whether the person is optimistic or pessimistic.
And yes, I CAN cite reliable sources to back that up. I am not electing to do so, however because I'm not trying to prove a point here. I'm just sharing my day to day feelings. That IS the sole purpose of this journal.
I'm really not trying to be deliberately dramatic or depressing. My imagination is WAY out of control and I don't really see that changing until a week or so post-surgery. There will be a whole lot more reality when we actually have real facts, good OR bad. I have absolutely NO idea how I will react either way. I don't even know what emotional "stage" I'm going through right now!
You know what's REALLY funny. If I get dumb lucky and actually get a clean bill of health or at least SOME good news after the surgery, I'll probably start obsessing about my wife's health! We have beem discussing it from time to time because her mother passed away from IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) in her early 70s. Understandably, my wife is very concerned that she may suffer the same fate.
I feel that I'm not addressing her concerns very well right now and that's GOT to change!
We'll see how the rest of the day goes. More tonight.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Sorry About Last Night!

Date: 2012-07-05 13:07:32


Sorry about the last blog entry last night! All of a sudden I found myself in a real state of depression. I'm sure the excessive wine didn't help.
I wish I could exercise better control over my imagination. Even though it is only three weeks from diagnosis to surgery, it seems like an eternity. My imagination keeps convincing me that every little ache or pain is a symptom of spreading cancer which is statistically unlikely yet not impossible. This, of course, multiplies the stress of waiting exponentially! (Wow, big word!)

*Decides to take a power nap before doing more laundry*

The power nap helped a lot and I actually managed to get some stuff done.
Called my cousin in Maryland to update him on the news. We haven't chatted in probably a couple of years! Talked for about an hour and a half. He was very supportive as everyone has been.
Regardless of what the doctor is saying I am still privately regarding my condition as terminal, probably within 2 to 3 years and I am trying to adjust my life around that premise.
I am not bothering my family and friends with this. If it should turn out more in my favor then all the better. Do I sound like a pessimist? I'm not. I'm a realist and I know the stats.
I truly believe it is better to "make friends" with one's own death well before the actual event. I have been doing this for a number of years now and I think it may actually be helping me cope.
If this sounds unduly pessimistic, it is important to remember that we are ALL terminal in the sense that no living thing gets out of this life alive. It is all about how we do it and when.
Most of us prefer NOT to know the time they have left and when that is stuck in our face, the majority usually don't accept it well and I am a classic example.
Still consuming 1.5 liters of red wine at night, usually accompanied by 10mg Diazepam (Valium).
If I keep THAT up long enough, it'll probably kill me before the cancer does.
One can only hope!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Fuck It!

Date: 2012-07-04 20:00:34


Made it through the day very well but reality snuck up and bit me in the ass in the early evening.
Been evaluating my life and the people in it and I realize that I'm just not ready to let go!
I am just convinced that I'm going to have a bad prognosis. I've been right about almost EVERY other aspect of this damn disease and I really doubt that's going to change.
I really wanted to be a hero and an inspiration to others in my situation but I see that I'm just a worthless piece of shit that deserves to die. Fuck it!

Happy 4th Of July!

Date: 2012-07-04 11:47:12


Just beginning the day here. Looks like we have about a 60% chance of rain today and believe me, we need it. Just hung out our flag so maybe that'll encourage the rain, sort of like washing the car. LOL!
The wife and I got together with our so-called "Sunday Dinner Group" to watch fireworks from their driveway. We generally do this every year and try to get together every month or so for dinner and such. It was a real treat for us as we haven't been able to join them in nearly nine months due to "life getting in the way".
Our little group is unique in the fact that other than a common age bracket, we all are vastly different. We have religious, atheist, gay, straight, wealthy, poor, college educated, non-college educated, Democratic, Republican, liberal, conservative...the list goes on and on.
The interesting thing about all this that despite these apparent disparities, we are closer than most families and have been for over ten years.
We can talk about anything, frequently disagreeing yet at the same time, maintaining our bond of friendship and personal individuality.
I agree, this post IS a little out of context for a cancer blog but I thought it worthy of mention. Why can't we replicate this on a global scale? We never have and probably never will but I'm just throwing it out as "food for thought".

Monday, July 02, 2012

Minor Concerns

Date: 2012-07-02 21:26:46

Nothing dramatic to report as yet. That is not expected to happen until about a week after surgery.
My main concern right now is getting off the alcohol and Valium.
At least a large bottle a night and 10 mg Valium. I AM a fucking coward, aren't I?
I cant seem to figure out if I'm doing this out of legitimate fear or just because I want to justify using drugs for recreation. I frequently feel that I am deceiving myself.
I'm not even really sure if I even care that I have an early death.
I am not an intelligent or important person in any way. I just want what everyone else does, as many good years as I can get. Please don't fault me for that.
I can't cry. Please don't judge me because I don't live up to your standards. I am just me. I did not make a conscious choice to exist. My conception was an accident. When I leave this world, I just want to have done no real harm.
Do I sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself? Yes, right now I am! I am also totally fucked up on alcohol and Valium. I'm sure that within a few months or years, I will have access to stuff that makes this look like candy. I can't get my father's death out of my mind.
This is a fucked up night. *Pours more wine*
Why the fuck doesn't anyone read this shit? I read others journals when they are available. The real possibility of an early death is hard to accept, for ANYONE. I need company.
If there is anyone out there in a similar situation as me, if you feel like sharing you will find a friend hear!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Back To Reality

Date: 2012-07-01 19:14:04


We're back home safe and sound from our little weekend adventure up north. The weather was perfect and we enjoyed hours of swimming in Oak Creek. We both really needed the time away before the shit formally hits the fan.
Now it's back to reality and wondering what the future holds for the both of us. One thing we both are going to have to do this week is go over both our wills and get them properly signed which is something we ought to have done sometime ago! I also need to find another outlet for stress and fears other than excessive alcohol consumption every night along with Valium. So far, that is the only thing that keeps my stomach from being in knots. Sad huh?
I guess my biggest fear is how I'm going to manage this if things don't turn out well. I was doing so well before all this happened. I went from nearly 300 pounds to 255 and was really starting to get in better shape than I have been in years. Now it's like I've lost the initiative that was driving me when I thought I was healthy. All I want is my old boring life back.
One positive thing about getting away was that the bond between my wife and myself was unexpectedly strengthened. We have been together over twenty years and still didn't really know each other completely. I have been married four times in my life, widowed once and divorced twice. She is my fourth and last and is the ONLY other person who actually knows EVERYTHING about me. Some people seem to think that's a bad thing but I tend to disagree. I feel that each person should know as much as they're comfortable with and should never be lied to. I feel a new sense of freedom and closeness with her. I hope she shares this new dimension to our relationship.
I feel that the realization of actually having this disease is gradually changing my outlook on people and possibly life in general.
This may be a good thing in a number of ways because I now realize that even in the event of a favorable outcome, I will NEVER be totally free of the possibility of recurrent disease. The specter of death will always be drawing closer.
Possibly, with that reality hanging over me, I might be able to make better use of whatever time I have left. I have spent FAR too many years taking others for granted. It is time to start giving back. I sincerely hope I can do this.
Ranting away like this really DOES help the stress (in addition to the drugs and alcohol of course). If anyone is actually reading any of it, I will always welcome comments, regardless whether you are a victim of this disease or not. I doesn't matter.
Just talking relieves the sense of loneliness that I'm sure most people with cancer feel. I just can't believe I'm really a cancer patient! Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and it'll turn out to be just a bad dream.