Nov 27, 2008 - 11:44 am
Well I've been thrown into a world that only 6 months ago I was only aware of on a surface level one could say. Months ago a routine check-up with my family physician revealed an elevated PSA and well here I am today. I remember my doctor explaining to me that although most physicians start screening at 50, he prefers to test his patients at 40, even though I had no symptoms and no family history and well I had just passed over the lordy lordy 40 hill.I gave him a simple "ohhkay", went through with the test and went back to work. A week later I suffered a back injury and upon calling the office they requested I come in for a visit. It wasn't until my doctor spoke to me that I realized why I had been asked to come in for a back injury. It was then I learned of the acronym PSA, three of most influental letters in my life. My PSA level had been reported as 7.4. My doctor placed me on antibiotics stating that possibly it could be an infection, even saying, "We're gonna hope it is." I never showed emotion in the office, he even asked me if I understood what was happening. I felt as though he had been talking to someone else until I sat in the pharmacy parking lot looking at the prescription and the lab report, that's when the first realization seeped into me that this is not someone in a movie or book, this is not fiction, this is me, writing my biography as it happens. I cried softly for a few before talking to my fiance, who felt the reality immediatly. You see we had plans to be married on October 2nd in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We had endured many bumps in the road for years to get to this point, but this was definately the largest, our Everest. She insisted at first we stay behind and find answers, at which time I challenged her with the idea of seeing what we can today and enjoying ourselves. I've wanted to marry my best friend for years, and this was an ideal time as far as I was concerned. I went back to the lab weeks later and had another PSA test completed only to receive the results two days before we were to leave for our wedding. The letter read,"PSA 4.7, still too high for your age, please see Urologist." On September 26th we pointed the car up 75north and headed for the serenity of the UP. We married in the most remote area anyone could ever imagine, far from anything modernized and societized as I like to say. It rained drops of ice that day, but it subsided just as we stopped under the trees to begin the ceremony. We exchanged vows promising to love one another and care for one another in all aspects of life, and words will never describe how beautiful my wife was that day, a beauty you could only see by looking deep through her eyes. The rain began again once the ceremony ended showing us that there are certain powers in this world that coperate if even for a moment in life.We spent the rest of the week with our eyes wide open , flooding our senses with all the beauty our mortal bodies could handle. During our trip we never discussed my health, the future, not once, it was our truce and my request. Upon returning home to Atlanta I immediatly made an appointment with the recommended urologist at Emory. He was very concerned with my PSA vs age and recommended a biopsy,at which I gave a decisive "yes",if anything to end the uncertainty. I had never informed anyone other than my wife at this point so it was beginning to become very difficult to keep the whole process secretive. I asked for a couple of vacation days off via email without an explination at which time my boss gave an unknowing response,"Approved! Have Fun!" On November 12th I had my biopsy ,the urologist took 18 cores during the procedure. I came through just fine minus the pressure, clots, bleeding etc. By November 14th I had no signs of blood and felt much better, now it was just the waiting for the appointment on November 20th. I slipped back into my books and music and held my wife's hand to ease the nerves and await the news. November 18th I started bleeding again during the day, out of nowhere. I quickly scanned through my head my daily activities looking to see if I had strayed into anything streneous, nothing came to mind. That night I could not urinate and the pain was becoming excruciating, the blood was bright red and I became faint. I rushed to Emory to learn that I had fallen into that 1% statistic of men that have complications from a biopsy, why couldn't these odds follow me to the lottery! I was up all night enduring something I'm sure could have been used in a Robin Cook medical/horror novel, the manual removal of clots via syringe and catheter. This procedure went on for an hour or so, only the bed rails that I gripped probably kept the time. The next day I was released from Emory catheter still intact. November 20th my wife and I drove to the doctor's office holding hands. He had assumed that the staff at the hospital had informed me of my results so he inadvertly spoke of my cancer as he assured me he would take out my catheter. My wife broke into tears and me, well I stood there and accessed the situation with no reation due to the shell that had just exploded next to me. My doctor was very nice, comforting, I have nothing but kind words for him. He handed me a packet entitled "Understanding Prostate Cancer" at which time I simply stared. He stated that I am the youngest patient he has ever diagnosed and I should thank my family doctor for early screening, which I am planning to do this week in person. He answered all of our questions and without hesitation recommended removal of the prostate due to to the lab results and my age. 8 of the 18 cores contained cancerous cells, Gleason score 7. I have had a few moments with my wife, both fun and crying. I disclosed everything to my boss, who was very supportive, my parents who naturally are extremely worried. My outlook is very positive though, we caught it early in life,I'm healthy and it gives me an advantage of beating PC. I've got the support of my best friend and wife, who has held my hand from the beginning and inspires me. My four children who bombard me with both love and the requirements of a father, which tend to motivate me. Right down to my big goofy rottwieler who covers me in kisses everytime I'm sitting there in thought. I have CT and bone scans scheduled for next week, then another sit and wait, which seems to be the hardest part in this juncture of PC. I'm open to talking to anyone about treatments,experiences,doctors,etc., the more I can absorb the better! I'm extremely pleased with the treatment I've received at Emory here in Atlanta so far and would like to continue. Again this is all so new to me, I expected turning 40 would bring some new milestones in life, but not a challenge like this one. I think we somehow got dropped off in this town of Prostate Cancer, on our way to some more prosperous and healthy metropolis. We never knew our ticket didn't cover the full route, so we had to step off the bus in this little place. There's no application for residency and no vote for admission, just coincedence and chance. We go and play the hand that we are holding, which is a little better than the hands that the folks are holding on the stops on down the route. I'll always reside in this town even after I finish my hand, if for anything to help the rest of the men that continuously get off the bus.