Rusty Dennison wrote:
Saw your article this week and wanted to check in with you. Removing the catheter was such a relief in one way for me though those first few weeks after its removal were a challenge too. At least at that point I felt like I was beginning to move forward and I knew I needed to honor my body’s need to have time to heal. Walking and yoga both helped a lot, especially after the first three weeks or so. It was not a linear process but the water works subsides. Best wishes and trust that it does get better.
The waiting game was hard for me at first and now that I am on a six month cycle instead of three month cycle, it is a lot easier but not still not easy. The first three month cycle I was convinced that based on my pathology report (nearly 100% positive surgical margins and Gleason 7) that I would need radiation right away. I was nearly sick to my stomach waiting for the results and cried with relief when the doc told me the PSA was undetectable. The second three month cycle was equally hard because I couldn’t believe I could be so fortunate to get two in a row. For these first two cycles, I started getting anxious about half way through the three months and built to a peak at the time of the test. It didn’t help that I got my blood work two days before the doc visit each time and had to wait. Those 48 hours were just miserable for me the first two times. Then, by talking to the lab tech at Mayo, I learned that the blood results were in the computer record within 2 hours of the blood draw and that the Physician Assistant would call me that very night if I wanted. That helped me so much because I knew I only had to wait a few hours and could get myself pulled together well to actually ask questions by the time I met with the doc. Now, I’ve refined it even better and schedule my blood and doc visit on the same day with only three hours in between the two appointments. Works well and cuts down on the waiting tremendously.
Lastly, I don’t know about your personal style but my general approach to the doctor was to try to be a good patient and not ‘bother’ him in between appointments. Dumb idea. Once I learned that the Mayo docs didn’t consider it a bother, I did much better at calling the Urology office, leaving a detailed message and asking either the doc, the resident or the PA to call me back. I would always get a call by the early evening of the same day and they always answered every question patiently. I learned that so many of my new ‘symptoms’ were quite normal and some required intervention but were not abnormal. It was so much better than psyching myself out that everything was some new cancer symptom. I limited the drama on the calls, but I was clear about my fears too. It was a new behavior to learn to call more readily but well worth it.
Take care, be patient with yourself, and on a daily basis find things for which you are grateful (some days for me it was as basic as ‘one pad instead of three’!).
Mike Martinelli wrote:
I have read your article on Prostate Cancer in the Chandler Republic and found it very informative. PSA Results should be scrutinized carefully and utilized in conjunction other tests and rectal examinations. .
In early 2000 my PSA went from 1.6 to 4.2 which was a dramatic increase in only one years time. NOTE; I never had any of the usual signs of Prostate Problems. My Physician told me to wait a couple of months and then have it checked again. Because of the anxiety, I decided to have it checked sooner, and the results were 2.3. Although I initially viewed this decrease as good news, something told me that it didn't make sense. I waited a couple of months and had it checked again; however, this time it showed 9.7.
I immediately went to a Urologist who scheduled me for a biopsy. He took eight biopsy's which showed Cancer in four of the tissues. I was 63 years old at the time and decided to have "Radical Surgery" for the removal of the Prostate. The post-operative biopsy showed a Gleason of 6. After only three weeks after surgery, I was driving, playing golf and doing light workouts at the gym. Two weeks after surgery the catheter was removed and I never had a problem with incontinence. It has been over 8 years since my surgery; my PSA has remained at close to
"0". PSA is only part of determining Prostate health and after age 50, semi-annual rectal examinations is certainly recommended.
Dave Rushlo of Scottsdale:
HI I AM ONE OF THE 35000 IN THE SELECT CANCER PREVENTION TRIAL WE WERE USING VITAMIN E& SELENIUM PLUS A MULTI- VITAMIN. THREE YEARS INTO THE STUDY MY PSA WENT FROM .5 TO 4.5 IN SIX MONTHS. AFTER TWO PSA TESTS & ONE BISOPY I MADE THE DECISION TO HAVE SURGERY USING THE ROBOT. I WAS IN THE STUDY AT MAYO CLINIC SO I WAS REFERRED TO DR. ROBERT FERRIGNI WHO DID MY SURGERY AFTER ABOUT A FOUR WEEK WAIT TO GET ON HIS SCHEDULE. THINGS WENT VERY WELL UP & WALKING NEXT MORNING & OUT OF HOSP. & HOME ON SECOND DAY. HOWEVER ONE WEEK LATER RUNNING A HIGH TEMP. WITH INFECTION IN AREA OF SURGERY BACK INTO HOSP FOR FOUR DAYS FINALLY HOME AND ONE WEEK LATER BACK INTO HOSP WITH SAME PROBLEM & 104 TEMP. AFTER FIVE DAYS FINALLY HOME. THINGS WENT FINE FROM THERE. THIS FEB. WILL BE FOUR YEARS WITH A PSA OF .0 AND THE ONLY PROBLEM IS MINOR BLADDER LEAKING WHEN I LIFT TURN REALLY SHARP OR SQUAT & LIFT. I GUESS AT 75 YEARS OF AGE IF THAT IS THE ONLY PROBLEM VS CANCER I CONSIDER MYSELF VERY LUCKY. THE STUDY WAS A DOUBLE BLIND STUDY SO WILL NOT KNOW FOR THREE MORE YEARS WHAT I WAS TAKING. HOWEVER THE STUDY HAS BEEN STOPPED BECAUSE "THE DATA TO DATE SUGGEST, BUT DO NOT PROVE, THAT VITAMIN E MAY SLIGHTLY INCREASE THE CHANCE OF GETTING PROSTRATE CANCER, AND THAT SELENIUM MAY INCREASE THE CHANCE OF GETTING DIABETES MELLITUS. WE WANT TO EMPHASIZE THESE FINDINGS ARE NOT PROVEN."