Thursday, August 22, 2013
Yesterday, I went to the local University Hospitals lab here in Hudson (see picture), where I underwent some blood tests, including the first test for PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) I've had since I commenced hormone therapy on July 16 (Bicaludamide--for thirty days) and on July 26 (Lupron injection). My PSA score, which should be zero (I have no prostate gland--removed in June 2005 surgery), had risen after surgery to .31 in late October 2008. I began radiation therapy a couple of months later (thirty-five daily treatments, weekends off), and the score fell to .07 when I had my first blood test afterwards (August 2009).
And then ... it started rising again. My final test (before hormones) was on June 7 this year, and it had soared to 22.9. Not good.
But the result from yesterday was very encouraging. In just that short time--from July 16 to yesterday--my PSA has fallen from 22.9 to 0.59, the lowest it's been since January 2011. (My other scores were good, too--liver function, electrolytes.) As important--or even more so: I feel all right. Nothing egregious is yet going on with me--no major hot flashes, no lassitude, etc.. I sleep more soundly (that is not a problem), and I seem to have even more mood swings than usual ... but much better than I'd feared ... so far.
So .... I'm encouraged. But, of course, I know that these numbers are both real and chimerical. They're "real" because, well, I took the test; 0.59 is my score. (Kind of like some Algebra II quiz scores I remember from high school.)
They're chimerical because, as I've written here before, hormone therapy is not a cure but a delaying tactic. Right now, the cancer cells are starving (no testosterone to "eat"), but some of the clever little fellers will figure out what's going on; some evolution will occur; the hardiest/fittest will survive--and reproduce. You know.
We're hoping that doesn't happen for a good long while. (A year or so? More?) But anything is possible with this nasty disease. And when the numbers begin again to rise--as they surely will--then it will be on to chemo--or, we all hope, something even more efficacious that will have emerged by that time. Something that works. A cure. Then ... something else can dispatch me!