Dawn Reader

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

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Back to Seidman Cancer Center

Seidman Cancer Center
Beachwood, Ohio
The last few days I've made two trips up to Seidman. The first time (on Friday) was for blood tests and for a CT scan (with contrast). My blood work was all normal--except for my PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen), which, sadly, continues to rise: January 11: 10.8; February 1: 12.84; February 24: 15.77.

So ... my oncologist has now prescribed a second testosterone-suppressing drug, Casodex, joining Lupron (which I will continue to take via quarterly injections in my you-know-what). (Prostate cancer thrives on testosterone.) Casodex, fortunately, comes in a daily tablet form (whew), and my oncologist has assured me (insofar as any oncologist can assure you about anything) that I should experience no new symptoms--other than some additional surges of heat (they call them "hot flashes," but there is nothing flashy about them; I feel like a dry sponge slowly soaking up hot water).

Those symptoms, I'll remind you, are heat surges, disappearance of libido, loss of energy, increase in emotion (depression, weeping, etc.), and a possible threat to bone mass.

Which now becomes another story. I learned yesterday that I will now be on monthly injections of a drug called Denosumab of XGEVA. Here's a quick summary of its function (from the Internet): used to prevent bone fractures and other skeletal conditions in people with tumors that have spread to the bone. My oncologist assures me, again, that I should experience no new side-effects, but I will tell you this: Yesterday, the damn shot hurt. (I know, I know: Wuss!)

Oh--and then this bit of news via the CT scan: a spot on my lung. When I met with my oncologist, the radiologist had not yet read the scan, so I sat there in the examination room, watching as my oncologist scrolled through that weird-looking scan (like an expressionistic cartoon), pausing, scrolling, pausing, returning, pausing, proceeding I did not feel, I would say, comforted by what he was doing.

He told me that in his view it did not look like a cancer--perhaps an infection? And last night he called to tell me that the radiologist concurred. So ... I'll start a major antibiotic today--and have another scan in a month or so to see how the spot is responding. (When he called, by the way, I was watching, for the 1000th time, an episode of The Rockford Files, which I promptly muted!)

The worst thing about going to Seidman (besides, of course, the terror and the terrible news now and then) is how slowly everything proceeds. Waiting room--meeting with nurse--meeting with physician--waiting for someone to come with the injections--scheduling for next time. We got there about 8:45 a.m. and did not get home till about 11:30 (it's about a 25-minute drive). We'd spent about five minutes with the nurse, ten minutes with my oncologist, five minutes getting the injections--and the rest of the time was w-a-i-t-i-n-g.

And, as I've written in just about every other post about Seidman, the waiting room is a graduate school course in humility, compassion, gratitude, wonder, admiration. People of every age, race, gender. Sitting together. Afraid. Some suffering profoundly. Some with family and friends. Some alone. Some wearing on their faces the mask of hopelessness and despair--a mask, by the way, that is very difficult not to don.

I did not come home in a good mood yesterday. The months of little change are over. The months of deeper worry--of battles with depression and deterioration--have commenced. And the only real good news is ... I am not alone. And that, my friends, is no wee thing.


  1. Thank you Dan for posting the journey you are taking. All of us are sharing being human and your story is important.
    In Yoruba (a tribe in Nigeria) legend the older person on a journey goes behind a young one. The young one is supposed to go ahead to learn and to come back to tell the older one what lies ahead. You, being the young one are explaining to your friends and family what it is like for you. And you don't whine or try to make your reality pretty.
    Thanks for that. You have the support of all of us!
    Plus I like your bread photos.

  2. Keep you head up. And smile. And yes I like the bread photos too.

  3. I read every post, and cannot help but feel some sadness for all your going through. I hope you can keep your spirit up as good as possible, and keep fighting this battle. My thoughts, much respect, prayers, are with you every step of the way. You were one of my inspirations when I was honored to have you as my teacher, director of some fun musicals.......and I always talk about you to this very day. That will never change. You have a huge support base, so please lean on us if you need to, even if some of our posts are "crazy"!!!!! �� Much Love Mr. Dyer.......and keep that bread going!!!!! I almost taste it every Sunday, lol.

    1. Jennifer--Thanks so much for those kind, kind words. I remember you so fondly--such a loyal young woman you were--and, I see, still are.