In this season of preparing for the Good News to come, I ran into a bit myself last week.
It was check-up time with Dr. O. and the Oncology team. Dr. O. is the physician that orchestrated my whole green-belly, radiation, Bruce Banner, planting seeds in my flower garden thing.
Well the whole ordeal started with a simple blood test, PSA’s and the reading there of. You want your PSA to be low, near zero I understand. My initial PSA of 6.5 sent me to see Dr. O. and I had a PSA as high as 7.5 before my procedure.
Well last Tuesday the good doctor said my newest PSA registered a 1.5. (Yayyy!) I asked him what his target PSA, or my GOAL. Dr. O. says his job is to get it to a 0.2.
So I asked him his time frame for accomplishing his goal? He said over the next 1-2 years. He followed up that he was very excited with good news to start!
PSA Chart showing how ‘Its Not My Time’
But I tell you he was not the most excited one in the room!
With a little luck I should be around for a long, long time he says. And if I can just get the kinks out I can start working on my immortality; again.
But you see…I have kept this news largely to myself for the last week or so, really just to bubbling over with joy to do anything.
So I wanted to ask you, If YOU got good news, such as this what would you do?
How would you celebrate?
I can’t tell you what I actually did and spoil the survey!
Suffice it to say, I was the last patient of the day, it was late, and I pass right by Dunkin Donuts on the way out of the parking lot.
I wanted to give a brief update on my treatment and recovery in dealing with my prostate cancer. Possibly, if anyone finds they have prostate cancer and has theBrachytherapy (Radiation Seed Implant) as an option this can serve as a example to my experience in treating the cancer and hopefully may answer a few questions.
If anyone reading this knows of someone with prostate cancer, and most certainly you will sometime, let this be a guide. But the only way to have my treatment method, Brachytherapy and radiation seed implants, is to get the cancer detected early. To have this option the cancer must still be relatively small and localized; no spreading. Otherwise more invasive treatments must be used, up to and including removal.
My first week has been pretty easy. The short story here is I went back to work the Friday after my procedure; back to work in 3-4 days. Anyone reading this that has this option, I highly recommend you take it. Now 2 weeks since the procedure I feel normal. I feel great; just like how I felt when I walked in the hospital. Infact, I felt that way a week ago.
The day of my procedure was a breeze. They gave me an IV early. I danced in my surgical gown after a bathroom adventure. Two hours later they wheeled me to the operating room. I switched beds by own accord. A nurse with pretty white teeth said, ‘I am now going to drop something in your IV that will make me sleep’ and the next thing I know I am waking up in the recovery room, mentally searching my body to see what hurts. Nothing hurt. It was that easy. I entered the hospital at 5.30am and was discharged by 2.00pm. … for a cancer treatment.
I went back to my Oncologist the next morning at 8.30am and his nurse took out the catheter. This went waaaayyyyy easier than I thought it would be; out in a second. It felt like I was peeing really hard; that’s what the catheter felt like being removed.
Sure there are some anxious moments, mainly stemming from things I didn’t understand; mainly that morning in the hospital, living with a catheter in and especially the catheter removal. I didn’t get much sleep the night with the catheter in. And Pee’ing has been the biggest concern. It really took me half the morning the day of my procedure to pee at all on my own and then I could not get a stream until about 3pm that day.
My butt was sore initially but not where I thought it would be. While I thought the area of injections would be in the land down under, where my legs come together, the actual busy area was BEHIND that area, not so much in the middle, but literally in the REAR.
Note: Urinary tract through one’s prostate and the shortest distance to insert radioactive needles is via the rectum
I came home with a maxi pad type cushion in my catheter underwear for my butt and there were a few blood dots on it from the needles. The inner portions of my cheeks were swollen for about a week. It seems most of the needles entered my prostate via my lower rectum. That area is still a bit sore. And why wouldn’t it be sore? I figure 30+ needles went in through there.
I have what looks like a months’ worth of infection medicine. Thankfully, I do not have any infections though. I do have some meds for pain, percocets.
Now I had not taken the pain meds because I didn’t feel like I needed them after the catheter was removed. I felt fine! However I read online a few days following my release that the pain meds were for the swelling. I didn’t know! It’s a good thing I looked up ‘recovery’ on a web search.
My stomach felt ‘full‘ the first few days although I could eat. And I think that had to do with overall swelling inside my stomach. They said my prostate should have really swollen up. I thought to get 95 seeds in my tiny, poor ol’ prostate it would have had to be enlarged!
And I don’t feel the seeds or radiation one bit. None! I would never know they were there. Although I swear I can smell the radiation. My wife says that’s not likely. I have had that same ‘hospital smell’ around me for almost 10 days.
I have many of the usual ‘side effects’that pertains to this procedure and my urine. My urine stream has been impaired. Impaired? My 3 year old has more fluid volume than I do.
The gentle flow usually means smaller urination, creating more frequency, given a normal diet.
I get the urges to go real bad but when I make it to the bathroom I barely get a stream. This is normal I hear. Guess the prostate is still rather enlarged. Size does matter! I worry what’s wrong while I wait to finish but when I am done it feels good. It’s hard to explain.
The day following the procedure it was real important that I go to make sure my urinary tract was not injured during the procedure. Well, I went, eventually, just 15 minutes before my deadline, but only enough to fill a shot glass.
I was told to take a warm bath for the swelling that may have occurred from my catheter placement but that “if I couldn’t get a stream going by 3:00pm to come back in.
So I drank some more and waited and waited.
I finally found the old, ‘hands up against the wall’ pose as the most comfortable as I waited for some action down there.
But, now, I go to the bathroom more often than I used to. My streams are weak or smallish. And I frequently have the sensation of wondering whether I am actually finished or still more to come, forcing me to adopt a new pee’ing position
An extreme example of this came last Sunday as I counted 6 times that I got up to go to the bathroom between 10:30pm and 12:30am. That’s one every 20 minutes. I ended up getting up over 10 times that very sleepless night.
But all these issues are listed side effects. I see it as all fixing itself in time.
And while one side effect maybe blood in the urine, I have none of that. However, the 2nd or third day, while I was in the shower, I was cleaning up and noticed my penis was mostly purple, along with a great portion of my scrotum. Yes black and blue.
Yea, kinda like that….
Frankly, you really hate to see black and blue or ‘injury’ in your sensitive areas and this was no exception. Thoughts of ‘withering and falling off’ run through your mind.
It was Plum scarey!
This was really unsettling at the time but I figured it was from all the trauma it must have went through with the catheter initially. And the discoloration is starting to fade now. Thankfully, nothing has fallen off!
In fact, here now at 14 days since my procedure, my doctor told me I am supposed to exercise that wiener!
He told me that intercourse would be good ‘therapy’ for the healing and rejuvenation of my prostate. The catch is that I need to wear a condom in case one of my glowing seeds passes through my prostate.
Now how many surgeries can you think of that tell you to go have sex as a way to heal? So, in a way, we actually will be playing doctor this week!
Another side effect might be my energy being sapped. I fag-out around 3pm-4pm the majority of the days since the procedure. At first I thought it was from the pain killers. But then I stopped taking them during the day. But I still feel nappy.
I left work 30- 60 minutes early each day of my return. Possibly it is the radiation inside me making me tired or my body dealing with some changes
I tried to ride my bike this past weekend but that didn’t seem like a good idea. Yes, my rear is still a bit sore inside.
In looking back, over the whole treatment for my prostate cancer, the hardest part of this whole procedure was done at the testing, the biopsy. And that wasn’t so bad. Again, not too bad for having a cancer.
Of course I am gun-hoe now since it is over but I have to remind myself I still have the cancer and it won’t be for another 2 months or so until I know if this procedure actually got rid of my cancer. So I tell myself it’s not over yet. But so far no complications.
I feel pre-procedure, when I didn’t feel sick at all. I feel unleashed, like a new lease on life. I feel like I don’t have a small box of radiated BB’s in my belly.
I wish I would! Then I would remember to not pick up my two girls and carrying on with them. It’s hard to remember about the radiation without a good mild reminder.
So, in summary, the procedure went well. Recovery is fairly easy and pretty quick. And ‘best practices’for healing and recovery include having sex and sleeping. Maybe I can just drag this recovery out a little bit longer then!
Thanks again to all of you that sent the prayers, well-wishes and healing thoughts. it really meant a lot! Words can’t express my gratitiude but….
I wanted to reach out real quick and let friends and family know everything went fine with my procedure so far. The radiologist says’ text book’. He said he inserted 95 radiation seeds in my prostate.
I came home yesterday wearing my catheter, didn’t sleep much but still got some rest, and got to see some great smiles on my girls. (good medicine!)
So today, I just got back from Dr. O’s office to have that pesky catheter removed. Like most games we play in our mind, this all was easier than I made it out to be all this time.
And I think many THANKS go out to YOU, and everyone else for your prayers, well wishes, healing powers and positive thoughts. You and the rest my Angels ROCK!
There were a few hiccups along the way though.
Like the first nurse yesterday who was to administer my IV needle. She said she wanted to get the ‘drama’ over early.
Being fit and as healthy as one can be with a few cancer cells in their belly, I have good veins for this. These needles don’t bother me. Yet she still chose to prick a vein on top of my arm (a.k.a. the hairy part) instead of underneath it.
She apologized and laughed, “it will be like getting a wax job when they pull all this tape off with the needle.”
I was still thinking about the deed ahead of me and said, “if they don’t shave me in my land down under it will be like getting a Brazilian job there too !” Yikes!
She left and I had to wait some more for the next step, administering the anesthesia. My wife was with me at this time so we could text each other on our phones….in the room.
Now I am a regular guy. Ever since my healthy quest a few decades back I have always tried to eat healthy. And my bowel movement in the morning you could count on. But Monday I wasn’t allowed to eat anything. Although I did have to shower a few times with anti-bacteria soap.
So as the clock clicked on it became apparent I had to go. Maybe it was nerves, or regularity, or just fate. But I didn’t know if I should, given all the anti bacterial cleaning down there and that area being the place of operation in my procedure. Know what I mean?
BUT I also didn’t know what would happen to my muscle function once they knocked me out and I was afraid of pooping on all these high-priced needles filled with radiated seeds. That would be some radiation poisoning!
So I talked it over with my wife and we called a nurse to get her thoughts. She said go ahead, showed me the bathroom and went to get some wash clothes for clean up.
Now keep in mind I have an IV bag attached to me at the time, hindering every process.
Well I went with little difficulty and tried to clean up in the bathroom as best I could, thinking infections and bacteria and other dirty words.
I get back to my waiting room and the nurse did bring back 2 sets of towels and wash cloths.
So, not wanting to take any chances with infection, I grabbed a wash cloth with the plan to wipe one more time and be sure no color appeared on the white linen.
Oh! And I am wearing those nice surgical gowns that only tie in the back.
So, holding my IV bag in my left hand, I reached around to the back and tried to pull that piece of the gown forward so I can hold it with the IV hand. Of course this left a large part of my front exposed.
I was standing right in front of the door and I knew, with my luck, a nurse would walk in as I am standing there, bent over, naked up front, wiping my butt in the back, my face looking out to anybody and everybody in the hallway.
So I did what anybody would do, I did a 180 turn around so they would only see my back side… and not my face.
So, I tried it again, trying to hold one gown flap back with my IV bag hand and check the wipe with the other. However this over sized gown was so big that the other side’s flap was covering my area I intended to check.
So trying to think through the logistics of my problem, I did a quick quarter turn to try to get the momentum of the wind to hold the flap up long enough where I could slide my wash clothed hand underneath it.
All most butt but no good this time. So I tried it again.
I got closer this time but still no good. Knowing I knew the secret on how to do this on my next attempt I thought I would try it one more time.
But I heard this faint laughing.
I look up and see my wife standing there, laughing in hysterics to the point of tears. I said, “whats so funny?”
She said you look like a dog chasing his tail! And she continued to laugh.
Well, I finally got it and the cloth came back clean. But still you wonder about bacteria.
So on the wall of this room was one of those gel alcohol soap dispensers that kill germs. So I thought, why not?
So I got a handful of this gel and tried the same trick as the wash cloth, successful on the first try.
Oh no! Bad idea!
That alcohol wanted to burn that fleshy area. I said “ouch, ouch ouch!” as I tried to wipe it off.
It continued to stay warm down there in Australia. But at least it should have been sanitary for the operation.
Other than that sensation there really has not been too many discomforts, other than the tube up my penis. I haven’t noticed any spidey senses, or increased strength, although I really didn’t get a good look at my jewels last night in the dark.
It appears the only enhanced sense I got was an increased sense of pee’ing, which came with its own accessory….
Stylin’ and Profilin’
Many of you have asked how the girls will handle me not being able to hold them on my lap. We told Dylan the night before my procedure and she started to cry. It was sad.
But then she pulled herself together and looking for a bright spot she asks if I’ll still be able to play with her.
Now by playing she means wrestling. You see every night she likes to stand on the foot stool of the sofa and dive at me like a body slam. I pretend to be knocked back and then we wrestle a little until I get her in a position to tickle her. Being tickled is a form of affection to this girl.
So every night we have done this around dinner time. But I am afraid that too has to wait a few months. She may be too big to do it when the time is up!
So that’s about it! I feel good. I’m up moving around. That’s right I went to Dunkin Donuts in the above attire after I had my catheter removed. Celebratin’ at Dunkin’!
I am still waiting for me to pee, sans the tube and poach. This is important or else the tube has to go back in. So I am drinking a coupla light beers in order to help me go.
Just kidding! Apple juice is the order of the day.
We were leaving the hospital yesterday around 2pm and I got my Hollywood ride in the wheelchair I was looking forward to.
I was helped on the chair and then helped in my car, in the passenger side this time. And as I carefully sat in there I had to find a place for my pee bag and just opted to hold it on my lap. Which added a whole nother dimension to holding your pee in the car.
A man elects to have a prostatectomy (removal of the prostate) and asks the surgeon to try to spare the nerves that produce an erection. Well, he goes into surgery and wakes up in the recovery room and sees his doctor. Man: So how did it go? Doctor: I’ve got good news and bad news. Man: Give me the good news first. Doctor: We were able to save the nerves. Man: That’s great news! What’s the bad news? Doctor: They’re under your pillow.
My good friend, the great Dr. O is going to spare me this scenario I trust. In fact he and my cancer doctor have become some hero’s to me. They are trying to save my prostate.
Yes, early detection, annual physicals, and PSA’s gave me some options. I can’t say enough good things or good advice other than get yourself checked early for prostate and breast cancer and get yourself checked often.
Early detection allowed me to save my prostate and, after some work, enables me to use it for years to come. Yes, if you are wondering, immortality!
My options included removal (surgery), to radioactive seed implants, to futuristic surgery by a robot.
Its good to have choices!
I opted for the radioactive seeds procedure, called a ‘brachytherapy’ for many of the obvious reasons from outpatient surgery, to shorter healing to still being able to still use my prostate.
If you are interested in learning more about achy-brachytherapy’s, from procedures to side effects and benefits click here and here.
I was initially crushed with the news that I had cancer but reading this really, really, saved my summer.
But I am getting ahead of myself. People have asked what is going on the day of my procedure. If you don’t enjoy some mildly graphic medical and body images I think you should close the curtain on this post right now. In fact I only allow this window in my mind open for a short time until it makes me a bit nauseous and I have to think of something else.
I have to arrive at the hospital at 5:30am. In which case they are going to give me a series of anesthesias to put me out. I am then placed in what I imagine to be something like a birthing chair where my legs are spread apart giving the doctors full access to the land where my legs come together, just in front of my rectum.
I don’t think I’ll be riding my bike next week!
The tool I used to consummate my marriage will be taped up and off to the side I hear. Oh, how I hope they give me a shave first!
So this is my first issue in this procedure, all doped up, tubes in my arm and mouth while I lay limp, legs spread apart, waiting to be violated.
The goal of this cancer treatment is to insert radioactive seeds into my prostate in order to kill the cancer cells. Now how many radioactive seeds, the size of a pencil tip, do you think that would take?
If you guessed 75-100 you are in the right ballpark.
Radioactive seeds have the benefit of keeping the radiation local, with little radioactive runoff to neighboring organs. They can be much more precise than laser radiation treatments that have to shoot through your body, laying victim to everything they touch.
Do you think they will jingle when I go for a jog?
The doctors are literally going to fill my prostate with these seeds, in hope of killing any and all cancer, detected or undetected.
On the down side, these seeds are due to stay in me way (way) past their useful life. They are mine. I keep them. I paid a lot of money for them after all.
The percentages to killing the cancer cells are quite high, in the 90’s, and its a good chance I will be cancer free, down there, for good.
A down side to this procedure is that our urinary tube runs smack through my precious C-spot. This is one of the immediate issues when prostate cancer shows its ugly head, inhibiting normal urinary functions.
The issue with my procedure is that there is a chance or two that the needles inserting my seeds poke or break that urinary tract. They tell me this is a small chance but it is a big deal if it happens.
When everything is said and done I get a brand new catheter installed with a tube running down to my leg. I should be home by 4 or 5pm that same day. The good Lord willing and no surprises occurring I will have that catheter out the next morning.
Choices are good!
All in all I think that is a pretty fair deal for having cancer and the treatment of it. I am so blessed to have this new and developing technology to handle my treatment and CURE.
And I can say CURE due to early detection and options!
You don’t know how hard it is for a fit 50 year old man to tell family and loved ones he has cancer. Trust me, at 50 you are not ready for this. Not at any age.
BENEFITS / SIDE EFFECTS
Some of the side effects of this procedure include, frequent urination, immediate urges to go, some incontinence or even a burning feeling with with urination.
Heck, I have half of those now! But my doctor tells me they would be short lived and everything, EVERYTHING, including regular sex, should be back to normal down there within a month or two. I’ll let you know how that goes!
In fact, my doctor tells me he wants me trying to have sex (to strengthen the organ) as soon as two weeks. But with the use of condoms.
You see the radioactive seeds have about a 17 Day half life. Meaning, after 17 days they lose half of their potency. After another 17 days they lose half of that and the seeds should be inactive after about 3 months.
Which means after 2 weeks I may be shooting some kryptonite into those condoms, if anything at all. But he does want me to try.
A second precaution, and this may be the hardest, is I can not hold my kids for TWO MONTHS.
That’s right, the radiation coming from my belly can actually make them sick to some very bad diseases. He said hugs are OK but not on my lap. I hope they can understand.
Which leads my mind to wonder, what else might I expect from having a garden of radioactive seeds in my belly?
One funny reader thought I may have some glowing nuts!
I thought my belly may glow in the dark at night…not unlike a firefly.
Will I become telepathic? Or have x-ray or heat vision? Spidey-senses? Or become a Bruce Banner?
Don’t make me mad and find out…puny human. Hulk smash!
But to be told you have cancer and then have it (hopefully) killed by a 90 minute procedure and then being able to go back to work two days later is a pretty fair trade off.
Folks, if their is anything to take away from this it is early detection. If I had ignored this a year or two more the cancer may have grown too big to allow these choices.
Get checked! Tell your friends and family!
Through this whole ordeal I have been able to follow two strong ladies and their procedures for treating their cancers, breast and ovarian.
These ladies have given me strength and perspective, allowing me to understand I am very lucky to have this, my treatment available.
I think He just said we are all going to be OK. Its not our time!
Will you two stand up and take a bow?
Sorry, I had to walk away and dry my eyes. It does get emotional sometimes when laughter alone isn’t enough.
These two ladies are so much more courageous than me. They deny their importance but I am humbled at my illness based on what these ladies go through. I hope to be at least half as brave, strong and spirited.
An old guy goes to his doctor for his physical and gets sent to the Urologist as a precaution. When he gets there, he discovers the Urologist is a very pretty female doctor.
The pretty doctor says, “I’m going to check your prostate today, but this new procedure is a little different from what you are probably used to. I want you to lie on your right side, bend your knees, then while I check your prostate, take a deep breath and say, ’99’.
The old guy obeys and says,”99″.
The doctor says, “Great”. Now turn over on your left side and again, while I repeat the check, take a deep breath and say, ’99”.
Again, the old guy says, ’99’.”
The doctor said, Very good. Now then, I want you to lie on your back with your knees raised slightly. I’m going to check your prostate with this hand, and with the other hand I’m going to hold on to your penis to keep it out of the way. Now take a deep breath and say, ’99’.
“My big day is coming up on September 17th. So I’ve been doing a lot of research about prostates and prostate cancer. It seems if you masturbate a few times a day it can add years to your life. I’ve just been doing a quick tally and it appears I’ll be immortal!”
OK, that was just one of the many jokes that seem to circulate around prostate cancer. Believe me, there are A LOT of masturbation jokes!
Several people have asked me about my big day and some of the fun funny experiences I have had. As many of you know, when being diagnosed with Cancer you have to keep a sense of humor about it.
I was diagnosed back in the beginning of May and have known all summer I would have to get fixed.
Oh gosh, now I’m sound like a male dog!
No, I have had fun all summer and I hope to right up until next Tuesday. I find if I start thinking about the procedure, or some side effects, I literally go blank; wide-eyed, deer in the head lights, sick to my stomach blank. This past Monday was like that. I would rather laugh!
“I never understood why all The Muppets’ eyes looked like they were popping out of their heads.
Until I got my first prostate exam…”
Yes, this all started with some early detection via blood tests and then a prostate exam(s) at my annual physicals.
First, just like breast cancer, never ignore your early detection tests. They have saved lives! Maybe mine.
Second, I’ve had so many prostate exams by now I am actually starting to enjoy them!
OK, not so much,. That was one of the prostate jokes too. But I am getting used to them. Too used to them!
Which brings us to the next test in this prostate story, to confirm how much cancer I have…the prostate biopsies!
After my first meeting with my Oncologist, I’m going to call him Dr. O from now, he told me he needed a sample of my prostate to see the extent of my cancer; how much I may actually have. I think you women can appreciate this. A biopsy.
He tells me I have to go to his office (the same week as our dreadful move) and I will disrobe. He will then give me some anesthetic by way of a needle up my arse to kill the sensation. He then takes a little gun with a similar needle and with a click of the trigger the needle dives up and in and snatches a piece of my prostate.
To aid in the precision of this procedure he also inserts a camera in my backside to get a look at my prostate as well as guide the needle. Dr. O has a dirty job!
So I got up that Saturday morning washed myself like three times in that area that morning, took a deep breath, and marched into this biopsy chambers.
I can do this I thought. I can do this!
It’ll be a little uncomfortable but it will be over in an instant and then I have the rest of the day to get some pity play.
So I walk in his back procedure room (pardon the pun) and there’s this beautiful young blonde nurse and she asks me to take my clothes off and lie on my side on this bed.
Yes, she only had to ask me once.
But as I turned around I took a pan of the room and the equipment in it.
The first thing I noticed was a row of 12 nice blue shot glasses. I joked (its how I handle duress) “oh are we doing shots this morning? “
She answers no, they are for my samples.
Laughing at my gullibility, I knew I had been duped, I thought Twelve samples? Twelve pieces of my butt?
Oh but it gets better!
As I continue scanning the room, right beside it appears to be the table, like a mammogram table, where the doctor will view images from up my butt.
And there it sat.
It looked like a huge, acrylic clear plastic dildo statue. ~Sorry ladies I looked but still can’t find the right term for the camera.
But I only saw one. And I thought, this is the device he uses to look up every other man’s rectum. This one. I am sure it is made for the average sized male. Which I am not!
I looked at my fingers for a disappointing comparison. I am only 5’7″. NOT 6 feet tall! Not nearly the average size male.
So again, I laughed and spun around to the pretty nurse and asked, “Excuse me? Does that thing come in different sizes or is it a one size fits all type of device?”
She told me that is the one and only but that I won’t be disappointed!
Easy for her to say.
So I laid naked on my side on the cold table, while looking at some cone shaped chair directly in front of me that I figured must be for giving and receiving enemas. Nice! A nice Saturday morning. Can I go now?
The doctor walks in and casually asks if I didn’t have anything better to do this Saturday morning (..than lay here naked on his cold table?) I told him no, not really. Just mowing the grass but that can wait.
He continues to tell me how it was going to go. He pulled out his needle gun, although from my position I couldn’t see it, and told me this is what its going to sound like.
Then he pulls the trigger and I hear a click, like from one of my kid’s toys. I told him, “Great, lets not be pointing guns in the house.”
He laughed and applauded at my attempt at humor. And began.
He clicked. I twitched. He clicked I twitched.
Actually it wasn’t too uncomfortable. It was just the sound that made you realize he was taking a small piece of your insides out and dropping them in a cup that made you jump. If I hadn’t heard the click I might not have twitched at all.
Trying to talk and joke as my way to distract myself from the situation, and also looking towards the finale, I asked, “How many is that now? 8? 9?”