February 26, 2005


Perhaps this is happening to early in this whole process but I am totally at ease now with what is happening.?! I know that the days a weeks ahead are going to be tough, but perhaps because the real "nasty" part is not likely to begin for several months, the anxiety of last weekend is gone.

We have this wonderful support group around us; family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, former co-workers and total strangers!
So, no side effects from the Lupron yet, no hot-flashes etc. I am experiencing slight (emphasis on slight) discomfort in my left leg and lower back. Advil is more than enough to help at this point.

Still working on the bracelets, should have an answer next week.

February 23, 2005

The results of the follow up, finally!

I just returned to the office after meeting with Dr. Davis. Mary and I went in petrified, expecting to go through 2-3 boxes of Kleenex etc. It was nothing like that at all. God I wish he hadn't been out of town and this meeting could have taken place last week!

The prognosis is still the same; the Prostate Cancer is Stage D2 (it doesn't get much worse) and it has spread. The lymph nodes only show one small area about the size of a pencil easer. The bone structure involves most of my left leg and hip, right hip, lower back and pelvic area. Though that is a lot to swallow Dr. Davis was very positive about the whole thing and Mary and I didn't shed a tear between us.

Here is the outlook and next steps:
We start with LHRH Therapy. This involves two steps that will completely shut off the production of testosterone in my body.
- I already started taking Casodex and will continue to do so indefinitely.
- Friday afternoon he will inject me with Lupron
By doing this it will also stop the spread of the cancer cells. He will test my PSA level again in 6 weeks and then 6 weeks later. The desired outcome is my PSA level goes from its current level of over 200 to back to 0 (or as low as possible).

At that point chemotherapy or some other more advanced treatment would begin. He recommend two local doctors and also said going to MD Anderson in Houston should be considered. Those decisions are all going to have to be balanced based on insurance coverage and what it would cost out of pocket. Mary's already on the phone making calls! We'll figure it out......

It was kind of strange in that he never talked "percentages" until the end. He said he doesn't believe in that for two reasons; every case is different and if he were to tell us (for example only) that I had a 25% chance it would just demoralize us. We couldn't agree more!! What's to say I'm not one of x% to beat this thing? He also added that the problem with using those kind of number is I get grouped with men 10, 20, 30 years older than me in much worse situations, it just skews the outcome. We're glad the meeting went this way, the situation is VERY serious but there is hope. We don't care what that percentage is, we are going to find a way to beat this a get on with out lives together for many, many years!

We have so many things in our corner that others don't! (in no particular order of importance):
- my age
- the fact that I'm a good physical health (has he seen my abs?)
- the fact we know we have to change our diet and have already started (I have lost 10 lbs already)
- our positive attitude
- a wonderful support group
- our faith

If you've never seen the movie "The Shawshank Redemption", rent it soon. Andy Dufresne, Tim Robbins character has two of the more memorable lines that are very apropos right now. The first is:
"...hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

The other is this:
"Get busy living, or get busy dying."


February 22, 2005

Plans are being made.....

I spoke with Dr. Davis' nurse yesterday. She was very apologetic about the whole situation last week and explained that things were not supposed to happen as they did. We put that behind us and now we move on.

She went over the test results again and confirmed what I have already reported that the cancer has spread. She let me know that Dr. Davis had left a prescription for Casodex and that I should begin taking immediately. I had my first pill last night and I'm feeling more feminine than ever! Casodex is basically estrogen which will shut down the prostate and production of testosterone and the further spread of the cancer cells. Tomorrow Dr. Davis will give a shot with a more concentrated type of estrogen and further the effects on the prostate.

She did say that he will also refer my to a more general Oncologist to treat the bone and lymph node problems. I asked her what they generally do to treat those symptoms and she confirmed that chemotherapy will be the next step. These treatments will begin almost immediately. For some reason, this does not frighten me?

At this point Mary and I are approaching this knowing that the road ahead is sure to be rough but in the end we will beat this like all the other obstacles in our life together. Our support group is strong, deep and wide and growing everyday.

My new battle cry: FAITH - LOVE - HOPE - WIN

I want to make a difference and make it easier for others to fight them same fight. So what we are thinking about doing is having rubber bracelets made (like the yellow Lance Armstrong ones). These would be blue and be embossed with "FAITH - LOVE - HOPE - WIN". I found a few suppliers and can get them for around $1.00 each. The plan would be to sell them for $5.00 and donate the proceeds to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. What we would then do is sell them to friends family etc. either (1) at cost and have you collect what they can and donate it or (2) sell them for $5 and collect the $ and make the donation ourselves. For anyone reading this, what are you thoughts?

Just another day........

February 21, 2005

Without comment.....

Like an anvil being dropped on my head, I received the news. My primary care physician and one of Dr. Davis partners called me on Friday. The cancer has spread and is in both my lymph nodes and bone structure.

We have an appointment at noon on Wednesday with Dr. Davis to discuss all of the details and the path we take from here.

The last 72 hours have been surreal. I find myself at times with this feeling that this is a nightmare and I can't wake up, or that I am living this through someone else's body. It is a very strange feeling. Mary and I have tried to just stay busy. It helps because then an hour or two, or three go by. Once they are over though, reality creeps back in.

Friday, I made it through work and headed home. We immediately went to our church for a fish fry. While there our Priest, Fr. Bill, took Mary and I aside and anointed me. It was very unexpected, quite touching and much appreciated. After that we went to her sister and brother in-laws, stayed distracted for a few hours and went home. We got Brad to bed and then something that we both knew was coming happened, we broke down in each others arms. Neither of us slept real well, it was a horrible night.

As much as we both want to remain positive, the "what if's" are right there below the surface.

Saturday I had breakfast with two great friends and because of the rain we skipped disc golf. After that I went home and tried to stay busy all day. Did our taxes (almost completed), took Brad to his basketball game and went bowling. We got home after 10, we're exhausted and slept fairly well considering. Sunday we had breakfast , went to Church and then the three of us went to a wonderful park and walked through the woods for over on hour. Mary is not an "outdoors' women" I really appreciate her sucking it up and going with us!

And so here I am, it's Monday and I pray that the distraction of work will help the next three days go by quickly.

February 18, 2005

No news is, ....no news.

Having grown either impatient or worried I called the doctor's office yesterday at 4:45pm. I asked to speak with either Dr. Davis or his nurse. I was shocked when the woman who answered the phone informed me that no the doctor was not in has was out of the office until next Wednesday! Six days later! I won't provide all the details of the conversation that followed but lets just say it wasn't pleasant. The conversation ended with me basically insisting that one of the other doctors in the practice call me today. I'm not holding my breadth.
[note to Dr. Davis, if we are going to have to work together to beat this, you haven't started off on a good note!]

I left the office a few minutes later, out on my headphones and proceeded to listen the new Kenny Chesney CD while calming my mind and thoughts in traffic. (even if you aren't a country music fan, this is good stuff. It's not stereotypical "it got drunk on whiskey, kicked my dog" etc....this musician has definitely been influenced by Jamaican steel drums and the "island life". There are a few qwerky songs (Key Lime Pie??) but the best song in my opinion is "Boston").

So I did my best to think of other things but then I began to remember almost word for word the conversation I had with Dr. Davis last Friday, the 11th. After dropping the bad news in my lap I specifically asked him "What's next, how long before we begin doing something about this, I've been dealing with different symptoms since December and I'm ready to do something about this....". His response was very clear; I would get a CAT scan and bone scan early this week and 2-3 days later he would have the results and the we would decide on which path to take. I asked "So by this time next week we should be ready" and he replied [I distinctly remember this] "I have already asked my nurse at the College Park office to schedule your tests ASAP, if you don't hear from her Monday by 10 call her. The tests results usually take 2 to 3 days to get to us but ask them to send the results ASAP and I should recieve them in 24-48 hours".

I understand the man needs to take time off etc. but to leave me hanging, without instructions for someone, anyone in his office on my situation is beyond me? Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. [there will not be a "twice"]

I just called the facility that did the testing, my reports were sent to the doctor on Wednesday!

February 17, 2005

The Party's Over!

The pity party that is! Even though as I sit here I await the results of Tuesday's testing I have already changed. I have decided that from now on it's all positive thoughts. I have never been one to wallow in self pity, beat myself up with "why me?" or question "how did things get this far". I'm not sure who or where in my life I adopted this philosophy but I have always been one to live life through the windshield and not the rearview mirror.

On the radio this morning I heard someone use a quote from Bobby Jones (the golfer) and it was this, "Play it where it lies". That is it exactly! It doesn't matter how you arrived in your current position or situation. Your goals lies ahead of you. Your focus needs to remain on how to get there.

And so I make this promise, to my wife, my son, my family, my friends and to whoever may be reading this; The strength to beat this lies not in my physical being but in my mind, my heart and my beliefs, I will not look back but look forward to the MANY, MANY days ahead.

February 14, 2005

Dazed and Confused.....

By tomorrow at this time the CAT scan and the bone scan will be complete. I'm nervous, scared, petrified etc. Not at all about the tests, again, it's the results of the tests that have me concerned.

Today is Valentines Day, it's hard to be positive and put on a good face. I'll try my best tonight, I love her so much, she is more responsible for the good things and success in my life than she knows. There is no telling what would have become of me if she had not come into my life.

Instant thought: Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

February 12, 2005

D Day +1

Not such a bad day.....
1) Played disc golf, I got my first HOLE IN ONE!!!!
A rather short but perplexing down hill shot. It was freakin' awesome. And there is nothing funnier than three forty something guys jumping around in the snow high five-ing each other! Thanks Pete and Rob it was sooooo cool!

2) Brad had his last 3 on 3 basketball game. He's not much of a shooter but he can play pretty darn good defense. They won again, but "they don't keep score".

3) Rich, Mike, Brad and I went to the Kansas vs Colorado basketball game. Brad's first, KU clobbered them by 29.

I told my dad this morning and then called the siblings earlier tonight.....no tears but a lot of shock.

I'm not going down without a fight but God I don't want to die.

Instant thoughts: I love spring and glad it is almost here.

February 11, 2005

The answer is.....

My phone jsut rang, it was the doctor.....I've got it.
There apparently is a scale they use to grade cell degradation..
For me it's a 7 on the right side and an 8 on the left. Next step, and CAT scan and bone scan ASAP next week.

I'm sitting at my desk, trying not to cry while at the same time trying to figure out how to say even a word to my boss without breaking down.....I'm outta here....more next time.

INSTANT THOUGHT: I don't want to die, this is harder than I even expected, pray for me.

February 10, 2005


So I'm driving home from work today, bumper to bumper traffic and my cell phone rings. It's my primary Dr., just checking in to see if I had the results of the biopsy. Nice touch.....just goes to show their not ALL bad. Just kidding doc, I can't imagine modern medicine as primary care physician? Like a factory, next, next, next.....he's a good guy though, as much as I can tell from the usual 5-10 minute visits.
I hope they call tomorrow, I don't think I can last another weekend without knowing.
And on this upbeat note (finally, huh?!) I am taking the boy to see KU vs Colorado this weekend in Lawrence (thanks Rich). He's never seen a live basketball game...should be a great time!

New item I'll try to capture thinking about; Peter, disk golf, Doug, Dan, I love Mary, not really tired yet, work bites right now, night John Boy

The paradox....

Another day passes by, still no answer. I called the Dr.'s office an hour and a half ago to check. The nurse said the lab had not sent the results back yet, but she would check on them. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that call.

What a paradox, I've grown impatient waiting for an answer to a question that might in the end mean death! How ironic is that! "Hurry up and f*&^ing kill me!"

February 09, 2005

The wait continues.........

Though I'm not having problems sleeping at this point, I am finding it difficult to initially fall asleep each night. The number and intensity of thoughts racing through my mind as I lie down seem to be increasing exponentially.

We experienced a snow storm yesterday, it was somewhat mild 3-5 inch range. Not to bore you with a weather update but my point in mentioning it was that when I went to bed last night it was extremely bright out. As I tried to calm myself enough to sleep I was able to look over and clearly see my sons face as if the lights were almost on. I couldn't help but wonder "how in the world is he going to grow up without a father in his life?". I was also struck with the thought of "How will she handle the pressure of being a young widow and raise him alone?" Needless to say my sleep was restless.....

As I write this it brings this thought to mind......"How do I approach this with a positive attitude?"

It's Ash Wednesday.......

February 08, 2005

Just another day....

And so another day is well underway. No update on the test results.

So what will it be like when the phone rings and the doctor tells me the results? If it is an infection, who cares what my reaction is! However, if it is worse...will I break down on the spot? Will I keep a stiff upper lip and be strong like usual? How will I tell my wife? My family? My friends?

What comes next? Surgery and the risks associated? Chemotherapy or radiation
losing my hair? Weight loss? Physical sickness?

I wish this would have never happened, I really wish the phone would ring......

February 07, 2005

Worry, worry, worry........

At this point I haven't shared what was going on with many people....what's the point until we know. I did tell me brother on Friday. We were talking on the phone, it had been a few weeks since we had spoken, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time.

My dad doesn't know. He's 73 and had prostate cancer about 5 or so years back. I just can't tell him yet.

We did have a good weekend though, mostly due to the distraction of disc golf, basketball games, camps, a church dinner/auction, cub scout events and the Super Bowl. But now it is back to rat race and moments like this when I am almost forced to stop and think and worry.....

God I love my wife dearly. Do I tell her enough? I hope she knows how much she means to me, how much I owe her
for making me the person I am today.
tick, tick, tick, tick...................

February 04, 2005

Step 1 - the biopsy....and the waiting begins

Yesterday at this time I was preparing for the biopsy. Though not painful, it was an uncomfortable process. It only takes about 10-15 minutes.

Dr. Davis is a good guy, excellent bedside manner. Consoling, comforting etc.

So now the hard part begins....waiting for the test results....it could be up to five days. The good news would be an infection treatable with medication. The bad news would be prostate cancer and perhaps worse if it is advanced and has spread.

And so begins a weekend of putting on a fake smile and trying to carry on....and countinuing
to pray.....

February 02, 2005

The start of the end?

I thought about starting this with links to resources about prostate cancer, but had second thoughts. Interested parties can easily find those on their own, just start at www.WebMD.com or www.prostatecancerfoundation.org and go forth.

So here I am, a 42 year old, white male and tomorrow I am having a biopsy to determine if the problems I am experiencing are ultimately diagnosed as Prostate Cancer. Grim thought indeed.

Worse case, unsuccessful treatment, or surgery and death. Best case, it's simply prostatitis (sp?) and the wonderful world of medications will cure all. I'm remaining somewhat hopeful but because of family history and the number of symptoms I have, I am fighting to remain positive. I pray a lot more than I ever have.

I worry most about my wife and young son and how they would go on? Braggadocio aside, I am her life. We are very close and literally are each others world. She lost her mom at 8, the same age he is now. Financially she will be fine because of insurance and other investments we have made over the years. But I worry about them both emotionally and psychologically. I can't imagine going on without her or him, it saddens me deeply. I pray a lot more than I ever have......