I started writing this piece a week ago. Should I or shouldn’t I? I decided to turn my story into one of encouragement for others.
Two and a half years ago, with my first-ever elevated PSA, my family physician said, “I think I feel something there. We should keep an eye on that.” That is the purpose of a prostate exam, to know if further examination is necessary. As an Army Vietnam Veteran, I decided to proceed through the Cincinnati VAMC for my health care. I am glad I did.
First, there were the exams and blood work which led to recommendations and an MRI which revealed a lesion on my prostate. A biopsy was ordered. The results of that was one cancerous sample. Five doctors agreed the best course of action was “keep an eye on it.” In medical terms and treatment, it’s called “Active Surveillance.” Sounds like something the CIA or FBI would do.
Six months later, another PSA and MRI showed no change. I began to think, “Well, this is good. Hope it stays this way.” Subsequent six-month follow ups and PSAs all looked good. Then, in the fall 2022, with a slightly elevated PSA, the doc said, “We should get an updated MRI.” That showed an increase in size of the lesion and another biopsy was ordered. That was last week and the results came two days ago.
The biopsied lesion went from one cancerous sample to four, but still considered low-grade prostate cancer. Active surveillance is still an option, but treatment is now in the conversation.
Even though I have been living with prostate cancer for two and a half years, this change has been an emotional roller coaster. I am so glad I have an understanding wife who is my biggest supporter. She is much more than that.
Why does the C-word scare us so? I cannot express how much I appreciate the doctors and nurses of my health care team at the VA. They have been excellent. Professional. Personable. I feel fortunate to have them.
It’s a little scary, but my doctors have told me this was caught early, and it’s not going to kill me. However, it’s still a roller coaster ride of emotions.
The Purpose for this Post
I could rattle off some of the stats about men and prostate cancer, but that info is available elsewhere. What I want to do is to encourage men to have that annual prostate exam. Begin with the PSA which is an indicator. And, ladies, encourage your man to get that exam. Early detection is the best defense for a longer and happy life.
Be well, my friends. I love you all.
See you on the highway.