Dawn Reader

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Seidman Cancer Center ... continued ...

Seidman Cancer Center
Beachwood, OH
For about two and a half years, Lupron has held my prostate cancer down. I was first diagnosed almost exactly eleven years ago today (late 2004), had a prostatectomy (removal of the gland) in June 2005. But the cancer returned (some cancer cells had escaped the prostate before surgery), so I underwent thirty radiation treatments (M-F) for six weeks in January 2009. But, again, not long afterwards, it began to return, slowly at first, then not so slowly. In July 2013 I received my first quarterly injection of Lupron, a drug that essentially killed my testosterone (the food of prostate cancer).

The results were quick and (in terms of the cancer) effective. Other aspects of my life disappeared. My energy. My libido. My emotional stability (I weep easily about the most mundane things). I'm also visited by frequent periods of high body heat and perspiration ("hot flashes" is an inadequate term).  But this is the price of holding cancer at bay.

I knew from the outset of those injections, however, that Lupron was only a stop-gap measure--not a cure. There is no cure. And so it has been. Until late September of this year, my quarterly measurements of my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) came back "undetectable."

Then--on September 23, 2015--it was again detectable--at the lowest measurable level (0.01). (Want to know more about this test and the numbers? Check out this link.)

My oncologist at Seidman Cancer Center (University Hospitals) told me in September that he was not too worried--the number was very low--but he would test me in six (rather than 12) weeks, just to see.

Six weeks later the number had risen to 0.18. Six weeks after that (last week) it had moved to 0.25. I will be meeting with him at 10 in the morning today--and I'll will finish and post this blog after I return.


At Seidman--a bit of a snafu: They'd neglected to enter my appointment in their database, but they worked it out, and we didn't wait any longer than usual  The doctor is happy with my weight loss--nearly 20 lbs since the summer--and he tried to assure me that the PSA number is not too worrisome, though it does mean, of course, that some cancer cells are alive and duplicating.

He scheduled me for a bone scan in February (prostate cancer loves to move into the bones), and he'll be watching my PSA number every six weeks from now on--instead of every three months. Which was bad enough, mind you. It's not the measurement (a simple blood draw) that's troublesome; it's the waiting for the result.

After he left the room, we waited a little while for the nurse to show up with the Lupron injection (derrière, left cheek!) and with apologies for messing up my appointment. I told her my mother had taught me to worry about evil, not about mistakes, which all of us make. For some reason, I did not feel a thing when the needle punctured me--not usually the case, believe me.

Then we sat for a while with the scheduler to work out times for the upcoming PSA tests, the bone scan, the next visit to Seidman (early March) to consult with the oncologist.

And then we were out of there.

We stopped in Twinsburg at the Starbucks drive-thru, then home for a quick lunch before heading to Stow and the OMBV, where I had to renew my driver's license (I'd forgotten it expired in November; sigh). Passed the little tests. Got it.

(Have I commented lately about the wonders and glories of aging?)

All of this was far more tolerable today for any number of reasons--I'm not feeling sick (well, other than the things I already noted); I am very fond of my oncologist. And Joyce was beside me, every single second. And tonight--we go out to dinner to celebrate our 46th wedding anniversary (which was yesterday).

No comments:

Post a Comment