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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!