Monday evening, 17 June 2013
I'd not had my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) checked since February--Valentine's Day, in fact. That test result had been an ominous one: In just three months, my number had risen from 7.5 to 13.98. That surge prompted my oncologist to schedule me for another bone scan and CT scan, both of which, to our relief, showed no sign of any metastasis of my prostate cancer. (For new visitors to this site: I should have no PSA at all: Surgeons removed my prostate gland in June 2005. Any number at all indicates that some cells escaped the surgeon--and, later, the radiation oncologist; a rising number indicates growth--perhaps a metastasis.)
Some months passed--more than the normal three--without my hearing from the Clinic about another PSA test, so, two weeks ago, I emailed, got a quick response, a date with a technician in the Twinsburg facility on Friday, June 7, for a blood draw. On Monday, the 10th, Joyce and I headed off on our Indiana-Illinois-Iowa research trip. I checked MyChart every day (the Clinic's online service), but no results were there. I knew that if I emailed my oncologist or his assistant, one of them would send me my score. But I didn't do it--I didn't want to know, not while I was having so much fun seeing things that in most cases I'd never seen before. It was thrilling, pretending that I was well, ageless, still able to do the things I love with the woman I love.
But by Saturday, I couldn't stand it any longer. I emailed. Waited. Nothing all day. Nothing on Sunday morning. But about an hour or so after we got home--a little after 1 on Sunday--an email popped up. With a score: 22.9. Another disappointing--and significant rise. Tomorrow morning at 9, I'll meet with my oncologist at the main branch of the Clinic downtown. And we'll see what's next ...
Tuesday, 11 a.m., 18 June 2013
Not what I wanted to hear today. The oncologist thinks it's time to commence hormone therapy, which, as some of you know, is no cure. My best shots at a cure--surgery and radiation--both failed, so now it's a bit of stalling--a year? two?--before the cancer cells evolve and begin ignoring the hormone treatment. Then ... all we can do is hope that something new has come along.
I'm going to start in mid-July--delaying a bit because we're going to Lenox, Mass., about then to see Richard II at Shakespeare and Company--the final play by the Bard I have not seen on a live stage. I want to experience that last play as my "old" self--not as whoever the "new" one is going to be.
The side effects of the therapy range from the certain (loss of libido) to the possible (discomforts of all sorts). No way to know until I take the initial injection (repeated every ninety days) and the daily oral meds also required. I'll have to watch my eating (the appetite surges), keep exercising (bone issues), take calcium supplements (ditto).
And hope--which, as Emily Dickinson told us, is the thing with feathers--that perches in the soul.