February 28, 2009

ever so briefly

I know it's been over a week, but I don't have a lot to report.

I had a bone scan on Monday (Feb 23rd) and the good news is that it showed no new tumors. Also, the previously existing areas were stable. Ideally, the report would have indicated the tumors had shrunk, but we are choosing to look at the positive, they didn't grow or spread!

We also gathered all my medical records and sent them to a PC medical expert for further recommendations. We have a call with him on Monday evening, and we are hopeful that he will be able to recommend several potential doctors that offer treatments that would be customized to be more effective for my individual condition.

Finally, on Tuesday night we held another FLHW Texas Hold 'em Tournament. I am pleased to report that we were able to raise another $1,300 for prostate cancer research. Congratulations to Mike (in the hat) who made a valiant comeback to beat Kevin for the title. Next up for the FLHW foundation is our second annual disc golf tournament on May 9th.

February 18, 2009

apprehension and ambiguity

Here area a few thoughts I jotted down on Monday in the moments before my appointment:

What if:
- it's good news
- it's not
- this never happened
- my response had been 'average'
- I wasn't surrounded by love
- I was silent
- I was still fat
- I ate a big thick cheeseburger

My thought immediately after the appointment was more like this:
- God I hate ambiguity!

My PSA is stable at: 38.16

I was hoping, as always, for a decrease, and although it is good news that the PSA level did not rise significantly, this just leaves us hanging. We agreed with Dr. V to take no action for the immediate future. The main reason is that although my PSA remains high, I'm not in pain, and if my upcoming bone scan results are consistent with previous scans, showing no upticks in bone involvement, it was recommended we not rush to a decision.

Furthermore, our next decision is a big one, therefore we are going to seek additional medical opinions. We are going to have my file reviewed by another medical oncologist, who will recommend where we should go for a second opinion. As the treatment options become increasingly limited, it is even more important that we chose the right treatment sequence. So our medical team will expand yet again. This is a good thing and we are grateful to all the doctors that have supported us and continue to support us through this journey.

We have files and x-rays to collect and send and we probably won't have an indication of our options for at least a week, more likely two, so I won't say a whole lot more right now. In the interim, we will try our best to maintain a positive attitude (admittedly, some days are easier than others!) and of course, continue to pray for God's continued blessings and guidance.

February 17, 2009

Your Help is Needed

I don't ask for much around here, perhaps an occasional prayer, but have rarely asked the readers of this blog to do anything.

Well that is about to change.

Though I disagree with many parts of the stimulus package, it does provide a major increase for the National Institute of Health. Those of us in the Prostate Cancer community would like to ensure the appropriate amount of money gets distributed to our cause.

If you could just take a few minutes and click on the link below. It will take you to a page that allow you to find your Senators and Representative and even has a pre-written letter. All you have to do is click and provide your contact information.

February 15, 2009

I'll be......

Perhaps it's four years of androgen deprivation therapy and the subsequent lack of testosterone circulating in my body, but I am so much more emotional than I used to be.

Last night we decided to stay in, have a nice dinner and watch a movie.
We split a few pounds of king crab legs, a bottle of wine and laid back to watch
"Nights in Rodanthe" with Richard Gere and Diane Lane.

The movie itself was terrible. It was a poor attempt to recreate some chemistry between these two that can be found in the movie from 2002, "Unfaithful".  Without revealing too much, it takes a rather sad twist at the end, and even as bad as it was, there I was with tears in my eyes. Mary asked "Are you crying?". My response, "Can you believe it? As bad as this movie is, here I am getting all emotional about it!"

So now, here I sit, working on a Power Point deck for our church auction next Saturday. I am shuffling through iTunes at the same time and on comes "I'll Be" by Edwin McCain. Here's the video.   I find the whole song to be beautiful, such that it makes me cry nearly every time I hear it. Click on the link, and pay particular attention to the chorus.

Edwin McCain; I'll Be
The strands in your eyes that color them wonderful
Stop me and steal my breath.
And emeralds from mountains thrust toward the sky
Never revealing their depth.
Tell me that we belong together,
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I'll be captivated,
I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above.

I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your life.

And rain falls angry on the tin roof
As we lie awake in my bed.
You're my survival, you're my living proof.
My love is alive -- not dead.
Tell me that we belong together.
Dress it up with the trappings of love.
I'll be captivated,
I'll hang from your lips,
Instead of the gallows of heartache that hang from above


And I've dropped out, I've burned up, I've fought my way back from the dead.
I've tuned in, turned on, remembered the things that you said

I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your...
I'll be your crying shoulder,
I'll be love's suicide
I'll be better when I'm older,
I'll be the greatest fan of your life.

The greatest fan of your life.
...greatest fan of your life.

All of this leads me to tomorrow's appointment with Dr. V. I'm tinged with worry. However, I usually am before these appointments. This time I'm not sure what it is? Now that chemo is over, the question of what next lies out there like....well I'm not sure what it's like? Over the past few days I've been having a little pain on my back, nothing severe perhaps a 1.5 on a 10 point scale. It's just enough to make me wonder, to make me worry.

I guess this makes me normal.

February 10, 2009

Year 5 Begins

I wish I could say "I remember it like it was yesterday", but I don't!

I know I was in a conference room in a previous job. I know Dr. D was out of town and I raised a bit of a stink with his office staff. I knew the biopsy results were back but the staff wanted me to wait to talk with the Dr regarding the results and I did NOT want to wait another four or five days for him to return.

One of his partners called me back and dropped the news... dropped the bomb, "You have cancer ...blah, blah, blah…" whatever else he added was moot. My mind was a blur, I was a mess. Some how I made it through that day and the 1,460 that have since followed.

So here I sit, four years later about to embark on year five of this journey I wish it would have never begun. I have no sorrow, I live with no regrets. I am just a man looking forward, but never too far because of the unknown. What will happen next week, next month or in four more years remains a mystery. What allows me to sleep most nights is the fact that not knowing what lies ahead makes me no different than the rest of you. Plan as you may, you just never know what's going to happen.
There is a writer for the New York Times, Dana Jennings. He too is keeping a blog about his PCa experience. Though his diagnosis and subsequent treatment are far different than mine, today's post hit close to home. You should go read it at:
'Love in the Time of Prostate Cancer'
His last line says it all:
"In the long shadow of prostate cancer, I’ve learned that I married the right woman."
Though I might have changed it to:
"In the long shadow of prostate cancer, I’m reminded that I married the right woman."

February 09, 2009

Life is too short...

Just a quick list today I lifted from an email......

Life Is Too Short,
Break The Rules, Forgive Quickly,
Kiss Slowly, Love Truly,
Laugh Uncontrollably,
And Never Regret Anything
That Made You Smile.
Life May Not Be The Party
We Hoped For,
But While We're Here, We Should Dance...

February 04, 2009

180 Needles later

This morning was a good morning, I gave myself my last injection of Lovenox! (see this post http://prostatecancerat42.blogspot.com/2008/08/im-not-lovenox.html)

Six months of daily injections are over, woo-hoo!! Now it's just a daily baby aspirin to control clotting.

The mention of baby asprin reminds me of when I was young and one of my brothers liked those orange Johnson's Baby aspirin so much, he ate the whole bottle. I bet the thought of the stomach pumping that followed still gives him chills!

Four years ago today I sat at work and wrote how frightened I was about the results of the biopsy I had experienced the day before. As it turned out, I had good reason to be concerned. Those thoughts, that fear, feels like it is from another life, one that I no longer lead. Not that I am naïve about the road ahead, but dwelling on the negative does no good.

Spring is going to tease us once again for the next few days with temperatures climbing well into the sixties. If the wind cooperates, we'll be spending a lot of time outside both in the yard and playing, what else!

February 02, 2009

Happy blog-aversary!!

February 2, 2005
The title, "Start of the end".
How short sighted was I?

So many, many things have happened since then, I'll try to communicate the highlights in the list below:
- Fear
- Acceptance
- The root of FLHW
- Disappointment in Houston
- Kenny Chesney, Boston concert, etc.
- Disc golf
- The beauty of Spring
- The continued importance of friends and prayer
- Reaching nadir so quickly
- Selecting an Oncologist
- The emotional ups and downs begin
- Anna Maria Island
- Sweden, the British Open
- The Lake
- The Kooks
- Holidays
- It's not about me
- Birthdays
- The passing of Leona
- The passing of Ric, Rick, Wes, Aubrey, Chef Roger and other PCa brothers
- The power of Hope
- It is what it is
- Chemotherapy
- Friends from: New Zealand, Australia, Las Vegas, Tennessee, New York, Texas, Florida and more
- $100K for PCF
- Brad
- Mary
- the future....