Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Visit

Taussig Cancer Center
Cleveland Clinic
Today was one of those days.  A visit with my oncologist at Cleveland Clinic.  Late in 2004, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.  I took the surgical option, and on 19 June 2005, I underwent a prostatectomy (removal of the gland).  The disease went away.

And then it came back, a little.  And then ... more than a little.

So in January 2009, I began seven weeks of daily radiation treatments up at the Clinic.  (I listened to Middlemarch, going and returning.) The disease, perhaps daunted (or shamed?) by the beauty of George Eliot's prose, went away.

And then it came back, a little.  And then ... more than a little.

Every three months I go over to Twinsburg's Clinic branch for a blood draw.  A PSA test.  "Prostate Specific Antigen."  I should not have any measurable PSA (I have no prostate gland), but I do.  And the number is rising.  What this means: Some cancer cells escaped the surgeon, escaped the radiation oncologist.  And now they are duplicating.  But where?  No one knows, not yet.  The most likely location?  The bones.

I've undergone a couple of bone scans in the past six months--and, despite some oddities (one rib lights up)--nothing seems to be growing.  Not visibly.

On Friday--my most recent PSA test.  Result?  It had doubled since my last test three months ago. Not good.

So, this morning, down to the Clinic again to the Taussig Cancer Center.  I know the corridors so well I have no need for signs.  Joyce was with me; son Steve met us there.  (Could any man wish more?)

The next treatment?  Hormone therapy.  Not a pleasant prospect.  I will get an injection--and from that day forth I will be a different person.

My physician is cautious--does not want to start too soon.  He talks about "quality of life."  I agree. Hormone therapy is not a cure.  It confounds the cancer cells for a while.  But they eventually figure it out (a year? two years?), and then they're back in business.  Other, newer, therapies lie beyond.  No cure, though.  Time is my ally, though: The longer I can hang on here, the closer to a cure they come.

Today, the news: He wants to wait--a little longer.  In six weeks I will go in for another full-body bone scan, a CT scan of my abdomen (just in case it's nesting elsewhere).  And then we'll see what's next.

So, today, the news is all right.  I have six more weeks of being ... well, whatever/whoever I am.  Then ... more tests.

And then we'll see.


  1. Your words touched me, I can imagine the uncertainty of your health and the treatment weighs heavy on you. Great that you have one of the best medical institutions (Cleveland Clinic) to provide for your care--keep us posted.

  2. Even if there are no "right" words to tell you how your post moved me, I realize saying something is better than nothing. For two nights in a row now since reading your post, I have laid in bed at night letting my wander through time. Those magical moments on the stage. The times where the spot light was on me. I mattered. I was smart. I was talented. You chose me for that moment. In those insecure years, what a gift you gave so many of us. I have always carried those moments with me. They shaped who I would become.

    I waited with great anticipation to read your little comments at the top of my creative writing papers. Your words mattered. They built me up in those years. Much to my dismay my Freshman year in college, my creative writing teacher would write no such little comments on my papers. Clearly you spoiled us with your kindness. You had that perfect balance of a teacher. We respected you so much as a person, that it made us want to work harder in your class. We wanted to spend our lunch hour in your classroom with not just our Teacher, but our friend.

    Life is fragile. I have learned that lesson as you know. Time is a gift. My Mom recently said to me, " As long as I can walk, then I will just keep moving, traveling, and learning." Smart women she is. So for you my forever teacher. I wish you time, and lot's of it! Time- to keep moving, learning and traveling. You classroom then and your classroom now (blog) will always be the best places I have ever learned.
    With love- Brooke (Estis) Bleyl