Tracker Code

Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve

Date: 2012-12-31 19:54:20

Well, here comes 2013! Ought to be an interesting year. I sure hope it's better than 2012.

It's starting out well. The wife and I went to the store for some last minute items and she wound up slipping on the floor and smacking her head. Bent the crap out of her glasses too!
She's fine with just a small laceration over her left eye. Could have been a WHOLE lot worse!

Safe at home now so I whipped up a huge pot of my "quick and easy" chili.
A few bowls of that and I sure as hell won't need any noisemakers at midnight! Lol!

*Sips wine*

I'm still waiting for the labs to get back with my urinalyses. I'm starting to wonder if this might be chronic epididymitis. (Google it!)
It is quite common in men who have been through this type of surgery. We'll see. Only my urologist knows for sure. ;)

I'm gonna go watch a movie with the wife now and then go to bed, hopefully WELL before midnight strikes!!!

Cheers and Happy 2013 to all!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cipro Failure!

Date: 2012-12-29 10:49:33
 Title: Cipro Failure!

Looks like I celebrated my victory over this UTI or whatever it is WAY too soon.
It's back with a vengeance so I'm going to have to enlist the aid of Dr. K, the urologist.
Going to try to get an appointment for the early part of this coming week.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

Date: 2012-12-25 19:23:05

It appears the Cipro worked. No more abdominal discomfort!
It appears I may have had a mild UTI since before the surgery!
We'll keep an eye on it and see if it stays gone.

We had a nice quiet day and sat outside on the patio again this evening.

Chatted with the kids in South Carolina for a while. They just completed the move from Sumter to Columbia and are now settled in their brand new house. Nice change of scene!

Not a lot to write about tonight so I'm going to keep it short.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Date: 2012-12-24 16:04:43

Well, good news, sort of...Dr. E didn't yell at me today. Probably because I had the wife there for protection and she's bigger than he is. ;)
He thinks I'm WAY overweight and feeling sorry for myself. He's right!
He thinks I might have a UTI so he gave me a short course of Cipro. He also increased my Zoloft to see if that will help this depressive funk that I've been in since the surgery. We'll see.

I've decided to use the 1st of the year as a target to get back on the ketogenic diet I was on before diagnoses. This will involve eating <20 net carbs/day and staying at 2000 calories or less.
The diet is easy and it works very well in a comparatively short time. Only problem is I have to give up the booze completely for the duration of the diet. :(
When I get that rolling I'll probably blog the progress.

Anyway, that's it for now. Happy Holidays to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


Date: 2012-12-23 20:08:11

It's Sunday morning, The wife and I slept in late. I'm sitting here with coffee trying to think of some juicy stuff to blog about. I just live life to the fullest, don't I? ;)

 I see Dr. E, my GP tomorrow for my annual physical. Boy, is HE gonna get a surprise!
Weight is over 290 and my labs will probably be all over the place. I wonder if he'll have the insight to see why I managed to backslide so badly. I really don't feel like getting yelled at tomorrow.

Looks like I may have developed a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Sort of an irritated feeling when voiding lately and a little bit of blood one time yesterday. Might be side effects from radiation but a UTI would be more likely. Fun and games!

Got work up in Carefree today. I'm gonna give the wife the day off so the can work on her book. I'm gonna grab some lunch and then be off. It's a little nippy today (59) degrees and it'll be about 7 degrees colder up in Carefree due to the altitude. I'll dress warmly, I think!

Had some lunch. Time to get to work.

*Puts on clothes and leaves for work*

Back from the job, showered and ready to start the evening! We're going to sit out on the patio again tonight as long as the weather holds. The wife is making deviled eggs for hors d'oeuvres.
Right now though, I'm gonna lie down and catch 40 winks. I'm tired!

Sat out late and ran flat out of propane, damn it! Nice evening though.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Blahs

Date: 2012-12-17 19:09:15

Feeling "blah" this morning. The weather's been cold at night and good for sleeping. Got to try to roust myself up and get stuff done.
Got a job coming up tomorrow that will require the use of a ladder. I hope the damn thing will support my current weight. Lol!

Feeling fairly good otherwise but still plagued with incontinence. That issue is getting old REAL FAST!
At least it's not to the point of full time diapers, thank goodness!

Grandson moved back to Montana, at least for the foreseeable future so we went over and gave him a nice sendoff yesterday.
It's good that he's getting out from where he's currently living.
It's gonna be a big tradeoff in regards to the weather though! ;)

I've got to try to get some more income coming in on a regular basis.
Nobody's going to hire me in the shape I'm in right now, at least not to do the work I'm used to doing.
I'm looking into work at home opportunities. These still exist but legit ones are really hard to find!
Most of the stuff out there is just advertising hype which is not too surprising.
I should have made the attempt to develop alternative skills much earlier in life, I guess.
I really always though I would be able to do maintenance work all my life. What an idiot!

Hey, maybe I can get on the maintenance staff at the old folks home! Lol!

I just can't seem to stop thinking about food and eating! Right now, health wise, my weight is my worst problem. If I get any bigger I can volunteer as a float at the Rose Bowl parade!

So how was THAT for a seriously fractured entry???

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Today Was The Last Treatment.!

Date: 2012-12-13 20:39:42

Today was the final episode of my series of radiation treatments.
It feels real good to be done although none of it was traumatic in any way.
I just hope the mission was accomplished after all that time and money!

We're hoping the side effects will begin to wane within 4 to 6 weeks.

PSA within the next month which hopefully will give us some idea where we stand and what to expect for the future.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Final Week Of Treatments!

Date: 2012-12-10 18:33:10

Well, we're down to the last 4 treatment days. This Thursday will be the last day. (Yay!)I will be VERY glad to be over this stuff for awhile. We'll probably have a sneak peek at the PSA when I see Dr. E for my annual physical at the end of December.
The bowel and bladder issues haven't gotten any worse but the overall fatigue has! I can't seem to motivate myself to do anything.
Dr. Y reassures me that all these side effects should resolve within a few weeks of stopping treatment.

*Sips wine*

The weather here is starting to get cold at night and that brings with it the winter aches and pains. I wish we had a fireplace. I'd curl up in front of it every night!

I haven't blogged in a while mainly because I really haven't had the energy plus there hasn't been any news.
The biggest news that will be coming up will be my post-radiation PSA numbers. Yes, I am TERRIFIED of treatment failure! I really don't know why since I'm going to go through all this suspense every damn time I get tested from now on for the rest of my life.
But...we've been through all this garbage before.
As my wife says, I tend to repeat myself.

*More wine*

A very sad experience (at least for me) at treatment today.
I was waiting for my turn on the machine and chatting with another patient to pass the time. Turned out he was a colon cancer patient with metastatic disease. He was also a born again Christian. He poured out his heart and his faith in Jesus saying that three years ago he had mets to the liver but Jesus had intervened and removed all traces of cancer from his liver. All one had to do was truly believe.
I congratulated him on his miracle and wished him the very best of luck. I ALSO asked him what he was taking treatments for now and he said Well, now I have colon cancer in my lungs.
Thank you, Jesus
The sad part for me was when I looked in his eyes, it was clear that his faith was not comforting him in any way. He was just as lost and confused as the rest of us.
I wish him the best.

Friday, November 30, 2012

My Friday Afternoon Treatment

Date: 2012-11-30 19:17:34

The waiting room at the treatment center was really crowded today. Usually, there's 0 to 1 patients there. Today, there were three!
They apparently were running a little behind.
We had a lady with a brain tumor, a guy with squamous cell lung cancer
and a guy with bleeding stage 4 rectal cancer.
That was MY afternoon! How was yours?

*Sips wine and laughs at fate!*

We go to see a movie this weekend with one of our friends. Great.
Now I get to hear her moan and groan about HER problems which she usually brings upon herself!
WTF...I guess I'm no different. Fuck it!

*More wine*

As I probably mentioned earlier, the disease is a bit worse than I thought. I am trying to come to grips with the real possibility that I have less than a decade left. You really don't get &quot;cured&quot; of this, you just learn to live with it.
You are definitely going to die early, you just don't know precisely when.

I feel that I'm dissociating, becoming an observer rather than a participant. It's peaceful and yet scary at the same time.
I just keep telling myself that every year I can stay alive there is new research to try. We'll see.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Full Moon Update

Date: 2012-11-28 20:40:21

Did I mention that we got the Monday morning sewer block resolved for a mere $30.00 USD? It's a damn good thing I'm a plumber!

Did I also mention that we are now up to $35,000 USD for my treatments? All I can say is I sure hope this works!!!

All I know right now is that I recently found out that a Gleason 4 3=7 is generally SIGNIFICANTLY worse as far as ten year survival stats than than a 3 4=7.

*Drinks more wine*

I really wanted to survive more tha a decade but now I'm not so sure that's gonna happen. At least the wife will get some money.

It's gonna be about 2 years before we run out of money to pay the insurance premiums unless things radically change. That's when all the good stuff will start to happen I'm sure, so stay tuned! ;)


Monday, November 26, 2012

A Variety Of News

Date: 2012-11-26 18:55:15

Where should I begin...? Why, at the beginning, of course!
I'll just bet this sounds like it's gonna be a long dramatic post.
Well, it's not!

*Pours some cheap wine*

Went back on radiation today after 4 days off. Saw the oncologist after the treatment and got a LITTLE encouraging news.
It turns out that, despite what I thought in my infinite wisdom, if my PSA values don't return to <0.01 after completion of the treatments, it DOES NOT automatically mean treatment failure and metastatic disease.
It actually might take several months to come down. He also said that even if it doesn't return to zero, as long as it doesn't start climbing, he is not concerned.

*Sips wine*

So I get home and what do I find? No, not the wife in bed with another man. No, far worse than that...the damn kitchen sink backed up!
I could just shoot the other man but I can't shoot the sink. (Messy!)
I learned that in plumbing school.
At any rate, it's not a simple clog under the sink. It's gotta be a major plug somewhere between the outside clean-out and the main sewer line. Tomorrow, I go get a sewer snake and clean out the damn thing in between trips to the bathroom!

*Refills glass and sips more wine*

Pork chops for dinner tonight! I'm gonna go fix ' between trips to the bathroom. :)


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Day/Black Friday

Date: 2012-11-24 13:30:08

I've been kind of quiet lately because there really haven't been any changes worthy of note.

I've gotta say this though, it's nice to have a four day break from radiation. Thursday was a BITCH! We had decided to spend Thanksgiving Day with one of our grand kids, have an early dinner, take in a movie and then come back for dessert.
I was plagued all day with significant abdominal discomfort along with lots of fatigue. I am thinking I may need to resume the use of adult diapers until treatments are finished. Seems like every day lately is just one continuous trip to the bathroom.
Hopefully this issue won't become any worse in the next few weeks.

We had planned to go out dove hunting over the long weekend but now that's off too. The wife came down with a nasty cold on Friday and I'm still not feeling well so it looks like another slow weekend at home. We have a couple of commitments on Sunday which I will cover. With any luck, I won't catch her cold! We'll see.

Friday was 'Black Friday', the busiest day of the year for retail. We stayed hidden at home but heard a few horror stories regarding the storm of shoppers!
Wal-Mart opened their doors at 9:00pm Thursday and went all night. We heard reports of lines being several blocks long at some retail outlets!
I really don't understand what people think their getting, bargain wise in all this. Most retailers aren't going to give you a REAL bargain unless they think they can't sell the stuff.
Oh well.

At least the weather's been good to us. We've been sitting out on the back porch a lot lately as evening comes on. Temperatures in the seventies!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Nice Weekend

Date: 2012-11-18 17:57:58

Weekends are still WAY too short but this one was a lot of fun.
The wife got invited to an ladies only upland bird hunt (pheasant/chukar)up in Prescott so we went up there on Saturday. We stopped off for breakfast at Denny's and then made the hour or so drive to Prescott.
She was signed up for the afternoon hunt and the weather turned out to be perfect other than a gusty wind despite a 30% chance of rain.
She went out for over three hours with two other gals, a guide and a bird dog.
She wound up bagging a chukar which we are having for dinner tonight along with some pheasant shot by others.
At any rate, I'm real proud of her! :)

It's getting a little harder to plan long outings as I find an increasing need to stay near a restroom. Lol!
I DO hope this issue resolves after the treatments are finished but is not, it's something I can work with as long as it doesn't get too much worse. At least it seems to be the only significant side effect so far.

*Pours 3rd glass of wine*

Wanna know the secret of how to drink this much wine and still journal...? A damn good spell checker! ROTFL!

A few funnies that were passed along to me:

I have kleptomania,
and when it  gets bad,
I take something for it.

Except that one where you're  naked in church.

Sometimes too much to drink isn't  enough.
Suicidal identical twin kills sister by mistake!

My short-term memory is not as  sharp as it used to be.
Also, my short-term memory's not as sharp as  it used to be.

Welcome to  Utah
Set  your watch back 20 years.

In just two days from  now,
tomorrow will be yesterday.

 A bartender is just a  pharmacist
with a limited inventory

 I may be schizophrenic,
but at  least I have each other.

I am a Nobody.
Nobody is  Perfect.
Therefore I am Perfect.

Five million  people,
Fifteen last names.

I'm not your type.
I'm not  inflatable.

Dyslexics Have More Nuf.

Sometimes I even put it in the food.

When you work here,
you can  name your own salary.
I named mine, &quot;Fred&quot;.

I Really think this next one  is TRUE!!!  
Money isn't everything,
but it  sure keeps the kids in touch.

Reality is only an  illusion
that occurs due to a lack of alcohol.

 I like cats too.
Let's exchange  recipes.


Red meat is not bad for you
Fuzzy green  meat that was red is bad for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Radiation Proctitis???

Date: 2012-11-14 10:54:57

I think I'm beginning to have signs of radiation proctitis.
Radiation proctitis in basically inflammation of the lower colon and rectum due to direct irritation from ionizing radiation, e.g. x-rays, gamma rays etc.
Been getting bowel discomfart [sic] a lot lately, especially right after treatment. Also, a lot of audible bowel sounds! (Embarrassing)
Going to see Dr. Y, my RO today anyway so I'll run that by him.

Starting to worry a bit about all this time, money and treatments still not eradicating the cancer.
Maybe it wasn't the margins after all. Maybe possible micromets???
I feel way to young to be going into something like this.
I'll be 60 years old in March but I won't feel any different at 70 or even 80!
What the hell, maybe I should just go out, get run over by a bus and get it over with.

My coping skills SUCK!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

22 More Treatments To Go

Date: 2012-11-10 18:49:43

Well, this Monday I get my 14th radiation treatment. Only 22 more to go!
I'm starting to feel the cumulative results in my lower abdomen. Sort of a mild sensitivity or dull ache that seems to go and come.
Trips to the bathroom are getting more frequent! That's a fact.
Hopefully, after the treatments are complete, these issues will resolve on their own. If not, I have a new lifestyle! ;)
That's OK. The alternative is worse!

It's cooled down a LOT here in Phoenix. In the low 50s here right now! Feels good but the cold front tends to bring on aches and pains.
Makes me want to curl up in front of a fire with a cat on my head! Lol!

*Pours a glass of wine*

We're having leftovers tonight. Good ones!
My weight has gone from 255 at diagnosis to 285! I just regained every damn pound I worked so hard to lose!
It's becoming very clear that I'm my own worst enemy.

Just got the first professional haircut I've had in at LEAST the past 12 years! &quot;I have to be seen to be believed!&quot;
Quote stolen from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

And for fun...

Prostate Exam

A man
goes to his doctor for his physical and gets sent to the Urologist as
a precaution.

When he gets there, he discovers the
urologist is a very pretty female doctor.

The female
doctor says, 'I'm going to check your prostate today, but this new
procedure is a little different from what you are probably used to. I
want you to lie on your right side, bend your knees, then while I
check your prostate, take a deep breath and say, 99.'

The guy obeys
and says, '99'!

The doctor says, 'Great. Now turn
over on your left side and again, while I repeat the check, take a
deep breath and say, 99.'

Again, the guy says,

The doctor said, 'Very good. Now then,
I want you to lie on your back with your knees raised. I'm going
to check your prostate with this hand, and with the other hand I'm
going to hold on to your penis to keep it out of the way. Now
take a deep breath and say, 99.'

The guy begins,
'One ... Two ... Three'... (Courtesy,


Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Congratulations President Obama!

Date: 2012-11-06 21:53:19

Barack Obama has officially won four more years and I couldn't be happier! I can be insured for another four years!
The right wing fringe is saying goodbye to America as we know it.
I say &quot;don't let the door hit your ass on the way out&quot;!

I am a TRUE American, not a dim witted pseudo-patriot! America needs more than Jesus, gun rights and white power.

Maybe there REALLY IS a God!


Monday, November 05, 2012

Full Cremation???

Date: 2012-11-05 20:18:47

I've noticed something interesting on my way to and from the Forum.
To you uninitiated, the &quot;Forum&quot; is my intimate daily meeting with &quot;Linus&quot;, my 2.5 million dollar linear accelerator.

When I  drive home, I always pass a billboard about a mortuary advertising &quot;Full Cremation&quot; for $500 some dollars. WTF???
Is this opposed to &quot;partial cremation&quot; and if so, what exactly constitutes &quot;partial cremation&quot;???
What happens if I can only afford $300? Do I get a coupon that gives me an extra 6 months before I dance with the &quot;Grim Reaper&quot;? they only do me medium rare as opposed to really well done?

I'm not really sure if I want to go there!


Friday, November 02, 2012

Friday Night Fatigue???

Date: 2012-11-02 18:42:44

I think it's possible the treatments are beginning to catch up with me a little. Got hit with major fatigue and abdominal bloating this afternoon. No big deal really, but kind of unexpected.
Other than that, the treatments seem to be going well.

The beginning of a nice, quiet weekend so far. We don't have anything planned. Time to go and get a good sleep! :)
Did I ever mention that we like sleep?! Lol!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Night!

Date: 2012-10-31 20:53:36

We did a tailgate party for the 'Trick or Treaters' tonight! A LOT of kids stopped by! Best turnout we've had in several years.

Wife went with me to treatment today. Met with Rad Onc. Got a few questions answered.

Some wine and a big dinner. Now time for a LONG sleep!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Really Beat Tonight

Date: 2012-10-30 19:13:11

Feeling really tired tonight! I have NO idea whether the treatments have anything to do with it or not. Picked the wife up from work at five and was ready to fall asleep! Damn good thing we don't have any commitments tonight!

Interesting revelation!
The more cancer patients I meet, the more I notice that most of them are some of the sweetest, most caring people in the world! They are on an entirely different level. I can see now what I couldn't see years ago when I would encounter a cancer patient and recoil in terror or even revulsion. It used to be like being a leper. It's nice to be able to give a hug to a dying person without having to take a shower or wash my hands! It's such a shame that I had to become a patient myself to finally realize this.

Well, Sandy's over! Good night for sleeping!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Night Sandy Watch

Date: 2012-10-29 17:55:30

Interesting stuff going down on the east coast, don't ya think?
The wife and I hail from the northeast originally and I have to admit, we're both glad we're here right now!
The storm missed our relatives in North and South Carolina pretty much completely, thank goodness! We have yet to see what will become of our old stomping grounds in upstate New York.

Back on treatments today. Had the sexy blonde tech for a couple of minutes then she left me with a guy. I admit he WAS kinda cute (hey, beggars can't be choosers)! ROTFL! ;)

I've been spending quite a bit of time on the Cancer Forums helping other guys that are newly diagnosed. Sometimes it's helpful to be able to directly talk to someone who has just gone through what you are going through.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Full Moon Sunday!

Date: 2012-10-28 19:06:45

It's a beautiful Sunday here in Phoenix and we have a PERFECT full moon over the desert...and it's actually fairly quiet! :)
Wife and I worked today and then drove all the way across the city to spend some time with one of our grand kids.
We're tired, but in a nice way. Got catfish and crab cakes for dinner as well as collards and black eyed peas. Yum!
Then, maybe an early bed time! Life is good!
I guess we're lucky to be where we are right now rather than the east coast!

I start back on radiation tomorrow for the next five day stretch then off for another weekend. Feeling fine other than being WAY overweight again. I've gotta get back on serious low carb. The only thing standing in my way is I've gotta kick the booze while I'm dieting. I had it well under control before and lost about 35 pounds then gained most of it back after I was diagnosed. I suppose that happens to a lot of folks.

I will see Dr. Y, the rad. onc. on Wednesday to touch base. I will have several questions. Should make for good reading!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Feeling Better Tonight

Date: 2012-10-26 18:10:45

Feeling a little better tonight and looking forward to 2 days off from radiation. No side effects as yet but the break is welcome.
We were supposed to get together with our &quot;Sunday Night Dinner Group&quot; this weekend but that's not gonna happen. I need a quiet weekend.
We're STILL committed to working Sunday and also seeing one of our grand kids so it will still be a busy day.

Why, WHY do we have to fight so much over politics??? If I'm right or left, who cares?
All I know is that my circle of friends is diminishing rapidly and you know what, I really don't give a rat's ass!

At the beginning of the end of your life, you seem to be allowed to see things as they REALLY are. So it is here.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

So Sick Of City Noise!

Date: 2012-10-25 18:57:41

It goes on ALL f*****g day long, from daybreak to around midnight.
City noise!
Major thru-street fifty feet away from our house populated by every goddamned Harley-Davidson motorcycle in the f*****g city! They don't give a rat's ass if someone's sick or trying to sleep. All they want to do is be louder and more obnoxious than the NEXT guy.
Then we have the idiot with the locomotive air horn who feels it necessary to blow it at least twice when he comes through the neighborhood late at night. I wish I could find him so I could insert those horns &quot;where the sun don't shine&quot; and see if he wants to blow 'em then! ;)
Of course, it wouldn't be complete without the &quot;street racers&quot;! I'm not even gonna go THERE. Too tired.

We need to get out of here for a little while but we can't do that until I finish my treatments.

If I don't get a good report at the end of all this nonsense I'm going to start my own religion! The &quot;Cult Of The Grape&quot;. I invite all who are &quot;on their way out&quot; to join. You worked for it, you deserve it!
Personally, I'm still glad I'm in the latter stages of my life as opposed to just beginning. I don't think I could handle starting over!
I truly feel the world has gone psychotic. I wish I could find hard evidence that would tend to suggest otherwise but I have yet to see it.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

First Radiation Session

Date: 2012-10-24 19:13:37

Hi to all and a quick update:
I finally got my first of 35 radiotherapy treatments today! About 10 minutes on the table.
Met with rad. onc. and got to see my insides displayed in 3D on his computer screen. Very interesting stuff!
Learned that I've gained even more weight. Not interesting stuff! :(
Treatment modality is Varian RapidArc if anyone is interested.

I notice no side effects yet, other than a luminous red glow in my eyes in darkness and a faint greenish tinge to my skin.
No worries, I guess.

A little humor......

A woman and her duck

    A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgery. As she lay her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest. After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, your pet has passed away."

    The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure? "Yes, I'm sure. The duck is dead," he replied. "How can you be so sure", she protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something." The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.

    He returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog and took it out and returned a few moments later with a beautiful cat. The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed the bird from its beak to its tail and back again. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly, jumped down and strolled out of the room.

    The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this
    is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck." Then the vet turned to
    his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed
    to the woman.

    The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried. "$150 just to tell me my duck is dead?!!"

    The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20. But what with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it all adds up."


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ready... Set....Go!

Date: 2012-10-23 21:54:31

Had the simulation for the radiation treatments today. So excited!
We begin tomorrow at 2:45! Life is good!
Nice looking girl tattooed my hips and abdomen (sweet)!
I asked her if I could get something &quot;creative&quot; on my arm but she said that would cost more and I DEFINITELY didn't want HER to do it! Lol!

Treatment will be 35 sessions, daily with weekends off.

This actually sounds like fun!

The specter of failure still haunts me though.


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Nice Day

Date: 2012-10-22 18:49:31

Just sitting here tonight with the usual glass of wine. The cat is sitting on my desk forcefully licking my hands while I attempt to type.
If there are typos, now you know why!

Didn't get as much sleep last night as I wanted. The cat, who always sleeps with us must have taken Viagra around 3:00am and decided to start frantically humping my foot! I would move my feet and he would chase them down and go at it again. This went on for 20-30 minutes!
He finally calmed down and lay at the foot of the bed smoking a cigarette. Silly beast!

The wife and I have discovered that our weekly grocery bill has nearly DOUBLED since I was diagnosed and no, it's not just wine! Sheesh! ;)
We are both dealing with the stress the same way, through food.
This is NOT a good thing. Speaking for myself, I just don't seem to have the discipline to to control my eating until I receive at least a little good news regarding my future, whether it's with or without cancer. It's just kind of depressing for me to gain a lot of my weight back after making so much progress.

Well, tomorrow I go for my &quot;simulation&quot; and meet my LINAC (linear accelerator) which will be my daily companion for the next 7 or 8 weeks.
I'm thinking of naming it 'Linus'. (Any suggestions)?
I may also get coordinate and target marks tattooed on my hips and abdomen. I'm going to ask them if I can get something creative done on my arm as well.
Hey, I forgot, my blonde radiation therapist is a Cancer! Wouldn't ya know it!!!

We'll see what happens.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Night Whine And Cheese [sic]

Date: 2012-10-21 19:06:52

Well, it's another Sunday night. We spent the majority of the day at the shooting range coaching the SCTP (Scholastic Clay Target Program)kids in beginning shotgunning. That was fun! We're going to try to do it Tuesdays and Sundays at least for the next few weeks.
It'll keep my mind off the radiation.

Feeling a little achy again. We had a 10% chance of rain earlier but now nothing. Oh well. ;)

The cat just walked all over my desk and wanted some attention, AKA love.

*accordions the cat*

If you REALLY love cats, that will not need an explanation.

I'm getting fairly good at believing I'm gonna be alright, at least for a while. Still not so certain about the distant future.

Radiation SHOULD start this week, probably on Wednesday.

I will blog about the experience.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

First Ever CAT Scan

Date: 2012-10-16 13:19:08

Just had my first ever CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scan today in preparation for RT starting next week (hopefully).
Apparently it was a medical "faux pas" to provide my own cat! Who would know?
Had a really cute technician (a blonde)!
Rad. Onc. checked out images and said everything looked good.
Now they have their big planning meeting and then do a dry run on a dummy (no, not me!) then we're off and running.
They seem quite optimistic as to the outcome. We all agreed it was in their best interest to keep me alive to pay the bill!


Friday, October 12, 2012

1st Appointment W/Radiation Oncologist

Date: 2012-10-12 11:32:02

Just got back from the appointment with the radiation oncologist.
As expected, we are going with a course of IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy).
I go This Tuesday for a cat scan (with a REAL cat) and then another appointment will be made for a &quot;simulation&quot;.
After that, I should know the duration of treatment but I assume 8 weeks.
My wife and I were very comfortable with the doctor who spent over an hour with us going over details and answering our questions.
My blood pressure was 180/90 when we arrived and less than half that when we left. See what a pathetic wuss I am?
Doc says there is about a 50%-75% chance this will eradicate ALL the cancer, assuming it really is confined to the prostatic fossa.
I have to admit, I wasn't that pleased with those stats but I guess beggars can't be choosers.
I'm afraid I'm still looking for that answer that ALL of us in &quot;the club&quot; want to hear&quot; but will probably never get. &quot;You're permanently cured&quot;.
Turns out I've also put on 29 pounds as a bonus since all this crap started!
I'll update as the story unfolds. --- Cheers!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Post-Op PSA Results

Date: 2012-10-10 18:31:12

Dr. K called this morning with the results of the PSA I had done last Monday. The results were less than pleasing.
PSA level was 0.4 as opposed to <0.1 or undetectable as we had hoped.
I admit to being a bit bummed.
What this means in a practical sense is there is still active cancer somewhere in my body, most likely in the prostatic bed where the positive margins are. (Whoopee)!

Adjuvant radiation therapy is now a certainty and I already have an appointment for this Friday with a radiation oncologist.
With any luck, the radiation will mop up this mess and the wife and I can get on with our lives. She is very concerned and I hate to have her go through this. She's been through enough already in her own life.

I have absolutely NO idea how and where this is going to go because the statistics are so complex and frequently contradictory.
Funny part of this is that I already knew that there was around a 30%-50% chance an elevated PSA. I was just hoping for a better outcome but I guess I'll just have to get used to this new lifestyle.

On a final note, thanks so much to those of you out there who choose to occasionally write to me. Your kind words and advice are always welcome. I really DO try to respond within a day or so keep those cards and letters coming in folks.
As I mentioned before, if things get really dramatic here, we'll try to make a screenplay out of it to pay for the medical bills! Can't let the Federal government pick up the WHOLE thing, now can we??? Lol!


Monday, October 08, 2012

First Official Three Month Checkup

Date: 2012-10-08 20:04:04

Just got back from my first official 3 month check up since surgery.
DRE was fine.
Got blood drawn for first PSA. Should hear about that in three or four days. (Here goes the anxiety again!)
If PSA is <0.1 We can wait another three months. If not, he DEFINITELY wants me to do radiotherapy.
It seems I need to make a choice here. Adjuvant or salvage.
With adjuvant, I start radiation now even with a zero PSA based on the positive margins.
With salvage, We wait and see what happens down the line.
My MAIN concern is if I opt for salvage, if and when it becomes necessary, am I increasing my risk for distant mets?
I'm not as concerned about treatment side effects as I am in eradicating the cancer!
I'm planning on setting up a consultation with a radiation oncologist ASAP and discuss all my options with him.
I just don't want to play my trump card (radiation) if I don't have to.
That being said, I don't want to wait too long either!
A lot more research to do before I make a decision.
Will post PSA results when they come in.


Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Feeling Weird Tonight

Date: 2012-10-03 19:23:16

I don't know what's with my tonight. I feel like I've had about ten cups of coffee! I reality, I only had my usual one cup this morning.
I'm also obsessing over every little ache and pain again, right out of nowhere.
I thought I had that at least SOMEWHAT under control. Maybe it's just a phase in the whole process of living with the uncertainty of cancer.
WTF? How would I know?

I'm also a little upset because it appears that I may be losing friends as well as losing contact with some of my non-immediate family due to my political beliefs.
This is why I HATE politics in general so much. Hell, I'm not even watching the debate tonight. I'll just wait till the dust settles and let sort it out! ;)

Appointment with Dr. K coming up this Monday. Wish me good luck, diary.
I'm gonna need it! I sure hope I won't need radiation therapy. Even with PCIP, it will cost us a fortune that we don't have!
I have NO idea where the money's going to come from.

Oh well, Maybe I should just chalk it up to a bad night.


Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Back On The Cooler... Yay! ;)

Date: 2012-10-02 18:38:56

Finally switched back over to evaporative cooling versus refrigeration today and my bones feel better already! I love it because it not only adds moisture to the air while cooling it by as much as 30 degrees but it also costs pennies a day as opposed to AC.

We're having burgers and mac & cheese for dinner. Nice choice of diet for a cancer patient, huh? ;) Comfort food rules!!!

Still having a few urethral issues, presumably at the point of re-attachment at the bladder neck. There is soreness, especially after any kind of pressure on the ares and occasionally a small bleed from what I assume is the suture line.
I see Dr. K on the 8th and hopefully will get an answer to those issues.

Not much else going on.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Night Garbage

Date: 2012-09-30 17:15:16

Man, am I beat tonight! I think all this time I spend in air conditioning makes my "arthur" worse. I can't wait till we get back on the swamp cooler. Unfortunately, the damn dew point's still too high.

*Pours wine*

I recently registered myself with "The Cancer Forums". They seem like a nice bunch of folks united by a common bond. I've included their link if anyone is interested.

Went out to a friend's for dinner last night. One of the guests, actually a close friend (at least for now) showed up with a cold he'd had for only a day or two and was double dipping in the salsa!
What an asshole!
Now the wife and I will most likely get it in a few days!
I HATE colds!

Isn't it nice cancer isn't contagious? Lol!

BTW: Have you hugged your surgeon today?

Okay, enough for now.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Case Anyone Is Interested...My Surgical Stats.

Date: 2012-09-27 18:30:02

I am posting the stats of my disease on the chance that there might be someone reading this that has a similar case or perhaps just a medical interest.
It is a common practice in online support groups, (especially PCa) to provide "stats", so here they are, albeit a bit out of context! Lol!

Age At Diagnosis: 59
Pre-Op PSA: 4.9
Diagnosis: Prostatic Adenocarcinoma
Surgery: Retropubic Radical Prostatectomy (RRP) 07/16/2012
Pathologic Stage: pT2c,pNO,PMX
Gleason Grade: 4 3=7
Extraprostatic Extension: Neg.
Lymph Nodes: Neg.
Seminal Vesicles: Neg.
Positive Surgical Margins: Multifocal Involvement, R.Apical (1mm) R.Lateral (3mm)
Tumor Quantitation: <5% Of Prostate
Tumor size: 1.1cm.
High-Grade PIN
Perineural Invasion: Present

Monday, September 24, 2012

Great News! :)

Date: 2012-09-24 18:10:20


I have officially been approved for health care insurance through PCIP (Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan). The only BETTER news I could get right now would be that I was free of cancer. (Oh well, beggars can't be choosers!)
The most important part of this in my case is I can now be assured coverage immediately if I need further treatment. Under private insurance plans, there is a 12 month waiting period before clams can be made on a pre-existing condition.this is all well and good if one has the upfront capital to afford that but we sure don't!
There are still premiums and deductibles that we are responsible for but that has NEVER been an issue. I was flat out uninsurable even through an employer's blanket coverage because of the 12 month waiting period.

I included this quote from the PCIP website for anyone unfamiliar with the plan.

"What is the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan?
The Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) was created as part of the nation's new health insurance law, the Affordable Care Act. The PCIP program was designed to make health insurance available to you if you have been denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. PCIP provides a health coverage option for you if you have been uninsured for at least six months, you have a pre-existing condition or have been denied health coverage because of your health condition, and are a U.S. citizen or are residing here legally. PCIP is a transitional program until 2014." Courtesy: PCIP

Now I can afford better wine! Lol! Just kidding. ;)


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Taking Control (or not)

Date: 2012-09-22 18:37:19

I'm sort of going out on a limb here with my daily "self analyses.
I can't really tell if I'm being totally honest with myself or not when it comes down to why I feel the way I do.

I'm a little afraid to face it but sometimes I feel that I'm using this whole "I've got cancer" thing as an excuse to drink to excess and not work, even around the house.

I am and always have been that type of person but in the past, I was able to control it much more effectively, i.e. monitor my diet and alcohol consumption, hold down a job, maintain my own house and generally be a reasonable facsimile of a husband and father.
Since I learned I was sick, it seems all that has gone to hell.

I'm not a "power person". I don't know how they do it!
I read all these stories about people who are MUCH worse off than me, going on, despite their problems and achieving great things, frequently in the face of a terminal prognosis!

How does one overcome the tendency to "just give up and rot away"?
I need to stop being hypocritical and start "walking the walk" instead of just "talking the talk".
That takes effort! :(

I want an excuse to smoke and drink and sleep all day as an escape. This is a very poor "life choice" (SoCal slang)!

*sips on 4th or 5th glass of wine*

Hey, your looking at a guy here who's so fucking fat he hasn't seen his own willie for at least a decade and now if he did, he wouldn't know what to do with it! Strange to someone who used to be quite uh... active!? Lol!

Sorry if I offend anyone but you ARE here by your own choice.

So, in summary, I strongly suspect I am at least partially using my condition as an excuse to do nothing. It's so EASY to just do NOTHING, but it's not at all fair to those I care about.

*Pins medal for valor on chest*
*Shovels up bullshit*

The world DOES NOT revolve around me...unfortunately.
I've gotta remember that!


Friday, September 21, 2012

Title: Backslide!

Date: 2012-09-21 19:33:47

The past week has been quite good as far as keeping my mind from obsessing over my PERCEIVED condition. Stress has be very low and things have been going well, at least mentally.

Today, the roof caved in. I spent almost ALL day online researching positive surgical margins in the prostatic bed. This IS NOT good for me as I invariably obsess over what I learn, if anything.

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is really going to be a problem in dealing day to day with cancer. It has gotten to the point where my mind picks out words related to PCa when ever I read text, no matter where it is. I go to the grocery store and cancer related words seem to jump out when I'm reading advertisements and labels.

This runs deeper than a simple obsession. If PCIP is approved, I need to enlist the aid of a psychiatrist.

More later. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

It's Been A Good Day!

Date: 2012-09-18 18:32:47

I actually had a nearly stress free day today thanks to Father Time and great input from a few online friends.
I feel it's time to stop complaining about how stressed I feel and start posting something reasonably constructive.

I got a response to one of my job solicitations today. It probably doesn't mean much but it is a large company in the field I'm used to working in so we'll see what happens.

I hope to hear from PCIP in a week or so. I am told that my application is being "reviewed" as of yesterday.
With any luck, it will be approved before my next appointment with Dr. K.

Enough for tonight.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Not Motivated Today

Date: 2012-09-17 20:21:51

Feeling REALLY sleepy all day long today. Took about a 2 hour nap in the early afternoon and even THAT didn't seem to help.
Probably a damn good thing I don't have a part time job yet or I'd lose it in a minute at this rate!

Sometimes I really believe I have a subconscious death wish! I still haven't even STARTED to participate in improving my own health.
I need to become a participant, like I used to be. I believe I've become so confused with all the conflicting data regarding this cancer issue that I've lost track of reality.

I think the tiredness and sleepiness during the day is actually mostly mental.
I have absolutely NO idea how to correct this at this point. Some kind of counseling is usually an option but in MY experience, most "counselors" are IDIOTS and of no help whatsoever. I've been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt.

A lot of them just want to grab your fucking crotch! Unfortunately, when that happens, they're usually men...and not even cute! ;)
Seriously though, you really need to be your own doctor/therapist nowadays. The passing grades for medical personnel has slipped so much in recent years that we actually have an ophthalmologist publicly stating that we can an should do our own Digital Rectal Exams!

America is fucked up is SO many ways.

--- Cheers!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How About Those Mets...Not The Baseball Team

Date: 2012-09-15 21:41:19

I find myself obsessing about the possibility of local or worse, distant metastasis of my now excised prostate tumor.
Everyday, I wake up and have that "tight stomach" syndrome. I currently have no reason to suspect that this has occurred but this is what cancer patients go through.
Imagine yourself living every day of the rest of your natural life it still there???

I have come to believe that cancer is the ONLY disease that can put your mind in this place permanently. All other diseases and conditions that I am familiar with are either present or they are not. With cancer, you don't know and you will never REALLY know!
That, in itself, is probably the worst part for most of us. I never seemed to grasp the potential impact of that until I joined the "club".

The main reason I'm whining about this tonight is that once cancer has spread, even locally, it is generally considered incurable. I obsess over that! Many people say, well ya gotta die of something and obviously, that's true but most folks don't have the opportunity to actually see it coming. We, as patients, don't have that luxury!

Well, enough sniveling for tonight. More depressing shit later! ;)

--- Cheers!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Note Of Appreciation

Date: 2012-09-13 19:44:58

Not too much on my mind tonight to talk about other than the recent supportive emails I've received over the past few days.
I didn't think anyone actually read this stuff except my close friends and family (even THAT'S sketchy)due to the simple fact that cancer blogs are generally not popular reading. I can understand why! ;)

That being said, I wish to sincerely thank those who took the time to write to me. It really means a lot when you have an issue that people generally don't like to talk about.

--- Cheers!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Another Cozy Night

Date: 2012-09-12 20:44:40

Despite all the issues we're going through right now, the wife and I still manage to enjoy the "cozy" times like rainy nights with a good supper on the way and an early bedtime.

I cautiously say that the stress is very slowly becoming more manageable during the day. I hope this leads to my drinking less!
I think I MIGHT be able to outsmart my imagination if I try hard enough!

--- Cheers!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Financial Update

Date: 2012-09-10 17:33:21

We just managed to pay off the last of what we owe to the "independent contractors" e.g., pathology, anesthesia etc. so now we're left with a $9000 hospital bill.
Does that sound like a lot? Well, IT IS!


That is a reduction from an initial bill of around $37,000!
Because of my uninsured, self pay status, they automatically reduced the bill by 35% bringing it down to around $24,000. Then, after the wife and I scrambled to prove our actual income/indebtedness ratio and total income, they actually reduced it further to $9,000! (Maybe there really IS a God!)

We are now set up with a 48 month interest free payment plan. Payments will be $118/month.

This all sounds like a great deal and we are grateful to the hospital, of course, but in reality, we cannot cover $118/month   PCIP which, in our state will be $334/month.
We are selling off our small stock investment at nearly an 50% loss to cover the payments for a few months.
I'm still trying to find a job but the wife and I agree that it's got to be part time with NO insurance. The reasoning is that even though the coverage might be better through a group plan and we wouldn't have to concern ourselves with the premiums, they usually impose a 12 month waiting period before you can make a claim on a pre-existing condition, plus, if I should lose the job for any reason I would be back to another six month waiting period before I could re-apply for ANYTHING. It's not like the old days when you could go from job to job pretty much as often as you wanted. They just aren't there!

What all this means to me in practical terms is if I need radiotherapy, I could EASILY run up another bill somewhere between $50,000 & $100,000. PCIP has no such waiting period and we would receive help immediately.
Chapter 7 is still looming it's ugly head but we may have at least delayed it for a while.

--- Cheers!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

It's All About Me!

Date: 2012-09-09 18:51:24

It seems that obsessing over my disease and related general depression are the order of the day today.
I've GOT to find a way of connecting with others who have "been there, done that, bought the tee-shirt" instead of the "farm"!
It appears very clear that I'm not going to be a "good" cancer patient!
The only break I get from this obsessive thought is when I'm asleep and sleeping all the time isn't an option.

The wife and I went to a movie with a close female friend of ours today. Shared with us that since we had gotten together last, her sister in law was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. In addition to that, our friend ALSO told us that SHE had a palpable nodule in one of her breasts. This REALLY improved my depression!
My thoughts are with the both of them. NOBODY deserves to get this damned disease! :(

I find myself brooding about the self perceived "fact" that my own body "betrayed" me and now my life has been changed forever.
Maybe I've been possessed by Rodney Dangerfield's spirit!? Lol!

*Pours third or fourth glass of cheap wine*

I wonder why healthy people would read a cancer blog? They're usually incredibly depressing. (Including mine!)

Nobody reads this shit anyway. Most of the blogs on this site haven't been updated in YEARS! The only time this one will be of interest is when I'm in a fucking coffin. Oh yeah, I forgot, I'm to be cremated!
Once again, I succeed in making an "ash" out of myself.

I wish being a "drama queen" was a paid position.

The wife and I were just having a conversation about all this. She suggested that I might not really be living in the present. I suspect she's correct but if she is, then I don't understand how to do that. I suspect alcohol is playing a bigger and bigger role in my life and I KNOW I need to control it but so far, It's the only thing that relieves the anxiety.

Enough for tonight! I've got to eat and get some sleep.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Rainy Night Ramblings

Date: 2012-09-07 19:26:51

I haven't posted anything for a while mainly due to the fact that there is no news, at least as far as my health goes. I haven't heard from PCIP yet. I hope to be accepted before I see Dr. K in October.
My overall mood has improved somewhat over time but I still find myself slipping into the "what if this and what if that" mode on occasion.
I suppose that's normal.

*Sips some wine*

Our women's introductory shotgun program at Ben Avery has started up again and the wife and I have resumed our coaching positions. I think this will help get my mind off my problems for a while.
We had our first session last night and my friend Larry, a 12 year PCa survivor happened to be there. It was good to chat with him as he also happens to be a patient of Dr. k. When he had HIS surgery, he had no one to talk or express his anxiety to. A very scary and lonely time for him! I am SO fortunate to have friends like that!

I DID make it out dove hunting twice this week as I said I would! Bagged a total of 11 over 2 days. Planning on going out tomorrow afternoon. (I'm sure there will be a study out soon suggesting a link between dove meat and PCa!) Lol!

That's all for now. --- Cheers!

Monday, September 03, 2012

Sadly Out Of Shape!

Date: 2012-09-03 20:40:50

Not a whole lot to talk about tonight, especially cancer related stuff.
That's GOOD news for me, of course but I realize that this is getting boring for my millions of devoted readers.
I just keep hoping PCIP is approved BEFORE radiation starts!

I AM really out of shape though, and I can't put the blame on the cancer. I've really GOT to get my lazy ass out there and at least start walking! I had to change a tire on the truck today and discovered to my dismay that I could barely lift the new tire on to the wheel lugs!
That was depressing but not totally unexpected.
I really haven't done anything constructive since the diagnoses.
I need to get OFF the wine and ON the mountain bike!

Still no employment opportunities. Not too surprised. If I get any private work, I am seriously considering hiring my step-grandson to help me out on a day to day basis. I think the working relationship might be mutually beneficial. My family will undoubtedly understand my viewpoint.

On a positive note, I am DEFINITELY getting out the side by side and going dove hunting tomorrow, even if it KILLS me! ;)
I've already missed most of opening week and that's a SERIOUS sin here in Arizona! ;) Wish me luck!

--- Cheers!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Food Poisoning And Dove Hunting!

Date: 2012-09-01 17:21:59

Hopefully this will be one of my more entertaining entries. ;)

It is now September 1st and opening day of the early dove season here in Arizona. Although I hadn't made solid plans to go out today, I HAD committed the wife and I to show up at the shooting range at 5:00am to coach some teenage kids on their first dove hunt.
I was feeling up to this and both of us we looking forward to it.

On the previous Thursday night, we had shared a nice sized piece of steak that we got on sale as it was close to expiration. (We do this all the time.)
The wife usually likes just a small piece, medium rare which is what she got. I tend to like mine VERY rare and I had the remainder, probably around 3/4 of a pound. It was VERY good! ;)

Friday morning, as I was having my morning coffee, disaster hit. I won't go into precise detail as to what followed but let's just say it's a damn good thing one of our bathrooms is about ten feet from the office!
Apparently, we got a piece of meat (probably from a "bum steer")that was contaminated with some nasty little pathogen. I wasn't too sure it was food poisoning until the wife came down with it in the early afternoon. She had a MUCH lighter case than I probably because of the difference in portion size and degree of doneness.
I really didn't think too much of it figuring it would probably confine itself to diarrhea and be mostly gone by the evening.
I was wrong!
Keep in mind that we we're STILL planning on getting up at 4:00am to go to the range.
By 8:30pm, the diarrhea had stopped for the most part in trade for chills and fever, body aches and dehydration. It just doesn't get any better than that!
I was STILL going to tough it out and go to the range but then to top it off, I didn't get ANY real sleep. The night seemed to go on for an eternity, partly due to the wife's snoring! To top off the whole thing, the alarm was accidentally set to 5:00am instead of 4:00am so we got up an hour late and missed the whole event. Range boss not happy. (Fuck him!)

Moral of the story? None, other than learn to like medium rare! ;)

--- Cheers!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

It's Going To Be A Long Six Weeks!

Date: 2012-08-30 19:36:33

As I mentioned previously, my next appointment with Dr. K is in six weeks. At that time we will do the first post-op PSA.
I'm starting to obsess a little bit about the possible results.
Although Dr. K has assured me that the only thing that currently concerns him is the two positive surgical margins left behind, one 1mm and the other 3mm. I wouldn't be QUITE as concerned if they were anything less than grade 4 cells which tend to be quite aggressive.
There is still a lot I have to learn before I can learn to accept this and live with it.

There is still a bit of blood in the urine, especially when pressure is applied to the urethra/bladder junction e.g. full lower colon/rectum before a bowel movement. Dr. K doesn't seem concerned about it so I guess I shouldn't be, at least at this time.

I hope PCIP comes through before the PSA results. If the results are not undetectable, we will go straight to radiation.
If there is no financial assistance, we will will be forced to file for bankruptcy.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trying To Get Back On My Diet!

Date: 2012-08-29 19:03:50

I've finally concluded that I HAVE to muster the discipline to get back on the diet I was using before I knew I had cancer.
My weight isn't TOTALLY out of control yet but it will be soon.
To restart the diet ALSO means that I need to abstain from alcohol COMPLETELY! This is difficult because it gets rid of the stress (but not the stressors) of life with cancer and no job or insurance.

*Pours another large glass of wine* Lol!

I had managed to get myself down from 300lbs to around 255lbs over several months before the diagnoses using an intermittent ketogenic (low carbohydrate/high fat) diet.
I had gotten the approval of Dr. E to do this as we consider it safe as long as I remain non-diabetic.
Unfortunately, when I received the cancer diagnoses, I lost control of everything, especially alcohol.

Truth be told, if I DON'T get a handle on this soon it'll do more damage to me than the cancer EVER will!
I've NEVER been good at sustained diet and exercise but my lifestyle probably contributed directly or indirectly to my current problem.

More to come. --- Cheers!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Good Samaritan

Date: 2012-08-28 20:01:08

What a fun evening THIS was!
It all started around 5:00pm. The wife was headed home from work after stopping at the grocery store for a few items. I was doing dishes from the night before and had just gotten supper put on the stove when the doorbell rang!

*Ding-dong, followed by long pause for effect*

For some reason I chose to answer the door this time. I usually don't because it's usually either a politician or a religious nutjob trying to save me from eternal damnation. Whatever!
This time though, it was our neighbor two doors down the street informing me that the wife was stranded about three miles down on Cave Creek road with a flat tire.

*Pours a large glass of cheap wine*

As I had just put supper on and gotten comfortable for the night, I thanked him for the information and closed the door, mentally considering the potential consequences of just letting her walk home.
After a brief assessment of the current state of my briefs, (yes, that was "incontinence humor")I decided I would probably be in my best interest to go and fix the damn tire.

Sooooo... I jump in the van and arrive at the scene only to find that the goddamn lug wrench which doubles as the crank for both the spare tire undercarriage rack AND the scissors jack was missing!
Being a month out of surgery, I'm still not in good enough shape physically to go crawling around underneath the truck to get at the spare to say nothing of lifting the blown tire into the van!
I needed help!

*Enter: The good Samaritan*

I'm sure that, during the time the wife and I were stranded on the shoulder of the road, an obviously elderly couple with a vehicle issue, somewhere between 500-1000 vehicles including police, tow trucks, contractors etc. passed by without an offer of help Mexican man, who DID stop and changed the tire WITHOUT my assistance. We had a little cash and I almost had to fight him to take it.

What does this have to do with a cancer blog? Not a damn thing! It just shows there are STILL people out there who care enough to help others without needing a reward.
Perhaps we should keep that in mind in November.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Nice Weekend Up North. (Too Short Though!)

Date: 2012-08-27 19:12:10

The wife and I spent the weekend up in Sedona in our favorite little log cabin again. (No, we don't own property in Sedona!) We have had a membership arrangement for the past 12 years with one of the local recreational facilities and it's been WELL worth the investment!
It sometimes seems that it's one of the few places in the world where people can still get along with each other regardless of their race, religion (or lack of it), sexual preference, politics, etc.
Up there, you're allowed to be eccentric. That's probably why we fit is so well there! ;)

Had one of my follow up checkups with Dr. K today. He is pleased with the way things are going, so far.
In his opinion, the perineural invasion is not an issue. The only thing he is concerned about currently is the two positive margins, one 1mm and the other 3mm for a total of 4mm.
My next appointment is in six weeks. At that time, we will do a PSA and a DRE. the results of those will determine whether we go on to radiation or just basically sit back for a while (probably 3 months) and see what happens.

For now, we're biding our time trying to figure out the best strategy to pay for all this!

--- Cheers!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, Here I Come!

Date: 2012-08-23 19:44:46

Well, it took Arizona Blue Cross/Blue Shield all of two working days to decline me coverage after receiving my online application.
As a matter of fact, I actually received the hard copy letter of declination within that time. No mess, no fuss! ;)
I now have all the documentation required to apply for the Arizona Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. (PCIP or Obamacare, whichever term you prefer.)
If accepted, this coverage MIGHT help us avoid having to file for bankruptcy again. At the very least, it should allow me to continue treatments, should that prove necessary.

I guess to some, this would make me a card carrying Republican Moderate Centrist Socialist fence sitting traitor.  I forgot though, the fact that I happen to be Atheist trumps all that! Lol!

--- Cheers!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Time For Another "Sedona" Break!

Date: 2012-08-22 16:57:34

The wife and I have decided to take another break in the middle of all this garbage and spend this weekend at our time share in Sedona. It'll be nice to get out of the city and all the heat for a couple of days.

I've started a fax campaign to see if I can generate some interest in the local business community. Neither the wife nor I have ever tried this approach to finding employment but hey, why not?
The worst that can happen is that HR gets the fax package, rips it up and throws it in the trash! Lol!

*Pours a glass of cheap wine*

Early dove season starts in early September around here. I hope I'm well enough by then to get out in the field! It was a pretty sparse  last season so we're hoping to make up for it this year.

More later. Try to contain your excitement! --- Cheers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Feeling Halfway Normal Again

Date: 2012-08-21 16:26:32

Things continue to improve as the weeks pass. The urinary incontinence issue is nearly gone, (knock on wood) and there have been no other issues, infections, etc.
All the pain is gone so I really have no excuse for not getting outside for some good exercise.
Actually, the REAL reason I'm not trying too hard to get out is that it's been in the 110s lately with high humidity. I can't take too much of that anymore!

We are continuing to negotiate with the hospital financial department to try to get the debt load down to something we can pay off in our lifetime. So far, they have been surprisingly accommodating!
As I've mentioned in previous posts, our goal here is to try to get the hospital costs down from approximately $47,000 to $9,000 or less, hopefully with an interest free payment plan we can afford.
Ironically, there are actually certain "benefits" to being uninsured in some cases.

We HAVE determined that our only recourse for the foreseeable future is going to have to be PCIP. It's POSSIBLE that I could be accepted by a private insurance company yet it's HIGHLY unlikely. They might accept my pre-existing conditions but if I require additional treatments within the next few months, any claims I made would be denied for 12 months! That's just not a viable option here.
With PCIP, I WILL be accepted and there is no waiting period or lifetime cap.
I've just applied to Arizona BC/BS KNOWING I'll be denied coverage but I need the letter of denial to qualify for PCIP. (Now watch, BC/BS will probably approve me!) Doh! ;)

The best route is if I can find a job that offers reasonably decent group coverage. If I DON'T wind up needing radiation treatments, there's a possibility I can get back into housing. If I do, I probably won't be strong enough for 3 or 4 months to do the work that would be required of me. {I really worry about that!)
With 4mm of positive margins, the odds are pretty good that I WILL need adjuvant therapy.
If I had stayed put at Desert Mountain I probably would be financially secure right now.
I seem to be a master at making bad life choices! ;)

Finally, as I've mentioned MANY times before, this is a cancer patient's "on the spot" stream of consciousness. I may, on occasion, make comments that appear to reflect my personal political views.
I you don't happen to agree with them, please don't add stress to my life with abusive comments. If you can't handle it, then don't read it!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We Need To Win The Lottery!

Date: 2012-08-16 16:58:36

There hasn't been much to post over the past few days. Physically, things seem to be gradually improving. Most of the day is spent in communication with our healthcare providers in an effort to get our total medical debt load down to something we can manage.

I have been cleared by Dr. K to do light physical work which is a good thing, however I'm NOT ready to do the work I used to do before the surgery. All my life I have worked as a maintenance mechanic, primarily in public housing. I am the guy you call at any hour of the day or night when something doesn't work and you panic!

I've always enjoyed that type of work because there is a great deal of variety in the day to day routine. I ALSO had mistakenly assumed that that type of work would pretty much insure reasonably stable financial security well into my later years.


Companies nowadays, whether large or small usually aren't too interested in hiring a 59 year old obese man with multiple medical issues. I can't really blame them. They want young blood, right out of one tech school or another, ready to work 80  hours per week, be on call 24/7 with a starting salary of $10 or less. They want people in career mode, not some old fat guy who is just looking for a job to pay the bills, even if he DOES have 30  years worth of experience in the field.
Experience and practical skills trump book learning with little or no field training ANY DAY!

If I can't find a full time job with a starting wage of AT LEAST $10/hr. plus health coverage, we will be forced into bankruptcy...again.
A great deal of our concern financially, is whether I will require further treatment down the road. We may not know that for another two or three months. If it IS needed, it could easily set us back by another $50,000 or more.

Ironically, If we made just a few thousand dollars less per year, we might not have to pay for this AT ALL! Go figure!

--- Cheers!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Evening Train Of Thought

Date: 2012-08-13 20:20:04

Had a nice chat with my cousin in Maryland this evening. Got some stuff done around the house and no disasters occurred so I'm happy tonight.

*Pours some wine*

I think the kids are pissed off at me for something. Maybe I'll try to Skype tomorrow and see what's up.

Most of my time lately is spent trying to figure out how we're going to pay for all this. PCIP eligibility looks like it's going to be a little tougher than I thought. I should have had brains enough to apply much earlier (hind sight being 20/20) but I didn't.
Any documentation I originally had regarding denials from insurance companies are now outdated and useless for our purposes. This is going to be an issue if I need further treatment.

*Takes 10mg Valium*

My mind seems to be constantly fixated on whether there are little grade 4 cells roaming around my body already. We will never know until even one cell decides to settle down and and set up housekeeping. Then, a tumor develops somewhere. Cancer sucks ass!

I want to live at LEAST as long as current stats suggest I should. I that unreasonable?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Weekend Blues

Date: 2012-08-11 19:14:28

So far today hasn't really been the greatest. My blood pressure is elevated and my overall mood is down. I'd like to get out and have more physical activity but I honestly don't feel that good yet. I tire easily and any time spent outside still needs to be calculated around my proximity to a restroom. It's also been extremely hot, 105-110  degrees!

This mood change has happened a few times now but never before I was diagnosed. It seems like I currently see life in a sort of dreamlike state, devoid of ambition and color. I feel old and yet, at the same time, young.
I feel too young to just give up and die, yet I'm glad I'm not just starting out on life's journey. I just don't have the energy!

My constant life companion, the OCD was messing with my head today as well which didn't help matters at all. It's kind of like being in a prison without walls and a lot of people who have no fucking clue what they're talking about still get uncomfortable around me when the subject comes up. I'm NOT INSANE and I'm NOT A FUCKING SOCIAL PARIAH!
Hell, I should be used to these transient mood swings by now seeing as how I've had them all my life!

I'm afraid to make long term plans. The wife and I were originally considering moving back east or somewhere down south, possibly Charleston, South Carolina but with both of our new health issues and massive debt load, that seems to have turned into more of a pipe dream. I STILL feel like I'm going to wake up one morning and discover this is all just a bad dream.

I need GOOD NEWS for both the wife and myself and we need it on a continuing basis!
Based on the way this year has gone so far, I just don't see that happening.

--- Cheers!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Getting My Mind Ready For 1st PSA

Date: 2012-08-10 21:18:33

I'm trying to get ready for my first post-op PSA test. This is the test that will help determine, among other data, if I am going to need further treatment at this time.
I am a little nervous, mainly about the grade 4 cells and the 4mm positive margin. The positive margin is common and usually, not too much of a threat however the grade 4 cells are a bit of an issue as they are aggressive and make up most of the surgical margin.

I am not thrilled about the possibility of having to undergo radiation therapy in addition to surgery but I will go through it if it is deemed necessary for my prolonged survival.
Actually, most of the research I've done seems to indicate that in the majority of cases, the side effects are usually fairly well tolerated, especially if one is in reasonably good health to begin with which, as far as I know, I am.

Thanks to my wife, we now have the name of a highly rated oncologist should either one of us need to go that route in the future.

I am seriously considering contacting Strong Memorial Hospital In Rochester, NY to see if I can still obtain the stats regarding my father's disease and how it compares to mine. Information such as that would be useful if passed on to other male members of our side of the family.

This is my train of thought for tonight. Stay healthy, Stay aware!

--- Cheers!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

To Pee Or Not To Pee, That Is The Question!

Date: 2012-08-07 20:28:49

The ongoing saga of the post-catheter urinary incontinence continues but appears to be improving on a daily basis.

The urethra is still what I would describe as "hypersensitive". The urge to pass urine comes and goes, sometimes without anything to void.
The urges, when they occur are usually extremely intense but not painful.

The goal here is to restore the bladder sphincter to it's original tone through exercise. I"m hoping to have nearly full control within a few weeks. (Hard to be in a job interview wearing wet diapers!) 'Course I suppose it depends on what kind of a job you're applying for.
Like I always say, "better to be pissed off than pissed on"! LOL!

Tomorrow will likely be a "phone day" for me. I need to begin negotiating payment arrangements with the hospital. I am currently unemployed and uninsured and cannot even apply for PCIP until the August 16th.
They want money NOW. I was mailed information regarding state and federal aid programs however the forms must be submitted in the same month as the provided services were rendered. Unfortunately, all the services were rendered in July and I didn't receive the information until August 6th. Kind of makes you wonder. :(

Bottom line: They are going to have to live with the maximum we can give them!

Words of wisdom: If you live in America, and have a job, KEEP IT! If you have decent insurance that you can afford, KEEP IT! Finally,try to stay as healthy as possible at least until you reach age 65.
The healthcare system is NOT your friend!

--- Cheers!

Monday, August 06, 2012

The Staples Are Out!

Date: 2012-08-06 20:15:33

I had my second follow up visit with Dr. K today. Got ALL the staples out this time. He say the incision is looking good. Of course, he WOULD say that considering it's HIS work! LOL!

He appears to be mostly concerned with the urinary incontinence issue. There DOES seem to be a small improvement over the past week but he says as long as there is ANY improvement, it will continue. He just wants to be absolutely sure we're heading in the right direction.

My next visit will be in three weeks on the 27th. He didn't mention it but it's possible he'll do the first post-op PSA. Hopefully, levels will be in the "undetectable" range. (between 0-0.02 ng/ml).
If not, he will probably do a repeat test within a few weeks of the first and base our next move on those results.

My job, in the meantime is to lose as much weight as possible and get myself into the best shape I can, both mentally and physically.
I will really need to have my body as fully recovered from the stresses of surgery if I need to undergo radiation treatments.

The wife and I watched "The Big Lebowski" last night. It seems that it is one of my son's all time favorite movies. He introduced me to it years ago and said "the Dude" reminded him of me, or vice-versa.
When he first told me that, I admit to being mildly offended. Now, I clearly see the connection! LOL!

--- Cheers!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Painkillers Linked To Depression???

Date: 2012-08-05 13:43:04

I decided to take a day off from the diary to try to regain some semblance of reality. Some of the stuff I've been posting lately is so depressing that I don't even read it myself! LOL!

Although it would be a tragic mistake to make the assumption that I am totally and permanently cured of cancer, the situation, in reality is nowhere near as dire as my imagination would have me believe. It is simply way too early to tell.

It is interesting to note that my gradual mood upswing roughly correlates with my running out of opiate painkillers, specifically Oxycodone, which I have been on since the surgery.

It is well known that I have at least a mildly addictive personality, especially when it comes to anything that calms or relaxes such as the benzodiazepines or even just alcohol.

I need to remind myself that opiates ARE NOT "mother's little helper" (Valium) and need to be used with great care. The potency and addictive potential ranks right up there with heroin, especially in certain individuals. (Just ask Rush Limbaugh!)

I am by no means addicted but I DID find myself using it when it was clearly unnecessary. I have now exhausted my supply with NO refills and I'm glad.
I'm not sure if there really is a connection between opiate use and depression but what I AM sure of is that, despite the relief and "pleasure", I am clearly FAR better off without them!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Depression Back...Again

Date: 2012-08-03 20:04:19

The wife and I are really beginning to feel overwhelmed lately.
I just feel that NOTHING is going to go right for either one of us from now on.

We are becoming acutely aware that we are both confronting our mortality and neither one of us is prepared for that.
The fact that we are both affected by recent health issues is actually only part of the problem.

We feel that, even if we get another 10-20 years, it will fly by in a heartbeat. We will NEVER be "ready"!
We want answers and reassurance but none can be had. All that goes through my mind lately is what if this and what if that.
Do ALL elderly people go through this?

It breaks my heart to think that one of us could suddenly be left alone. We have loved each other and depended on each other for so long...whatever, it doesn't matter. I feel our energy and reserves being rapidly sapped and it's scary.
We clearly need professional counseling to help manage this but competent, experienced people are so damned hard to find.

All we ever wanted was to grow old gracefully, together and in reasonably good health. Is that so fucking much to ask?

I feel like I'm outside, looking in at life, the world and the people who infest it and I realize we're all doomed to the same fate.
This realization does NOTHING WHATSOEVER to lift my mood.

I also realize that this entire journal entry was pointless.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Blah, Blah, Blah...Etc.

Date: 2012-08-02 20:05:53

Things continue to go well,as far as we know. I get the rest if the staples out this Monday.
They still don't want me lifting anything over ten pounds so I'm still excluded from the power lifting competitions. :)
Embarrassing if your intestines accidentally fall out, I guess.

Got some reading material from the Virginia Piper Cancer Center in the mail today. Looks like the wife and I have more options than I initially thought regarding ongoing information and support etc.

I'm hoping to resume my "normal" work schedule within a couple of weeks. I really need to get back to annoying folks like I used to.
Who knows, maybe I can even con some poor, innocent, unsuspecting company into giving me a REAL job!

It's that time of night when there's nobody online to interact with. They have real lives and real jobs. I feel like I'm in sort of a kind of "limbo land". Interesting, I could have cared less about that before I found out I was sick and now it really matters. I guess that's part of "Not Taking Friends For Granted 101".

--- Cheers!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Today Was A Good Day!

Date: 2012-08-01 20:31:08

Today was a good day, at least from MY perspective.

I think I recall reading something, somewhere about post-op depression???
I can't seem to find any information the subject from any sources that I would tend to consider credible. If anyone reading this has had any experience in this area, I would welcome any feedback.

Anyway, maybe that's what's going on when I get so morbid lately. Yesterday was bad but today I felt depression free all day.
I didn't seem to have that stomach/chest tightness that I've been dealing with since all this started.

I'm planning on starting a daily walking routine starting this weekend. It's essential that I get out and move around as soon as possible.
We live in a nice neighborhood and the weather hasn't been too bad lately so I really have no excuse! ;)
Maybe I can get the wife to walk with me once in a while. She always complains that I outpace her when we walk together but that certainly won't be an issue for a while. :)

--- Cheers!

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'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!


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!