Hi! I'm Tony Crispino and this is my story about living with a diagnosis of cancer. I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer at the age of 44. I am 51 now and I am doing well. You can expand this window and read about my diagnosis...I log my thoughts and progress in my journal below.
In October of 2006, the 19.8 PSA on my PSA test was indication that I have cancer. On the 19th of December, Dr. Zommick. just walked into the room where me and my wife waited. "Well there's a little cancer down there." My first thought? What the heck is a "little cancer". As it turned out my biopsy confirmed in half of the 8 tissue samples were positive as follows:
Core 1> Right side. 20% + Adenocarcinoma Gleason 3+3=6 Core 2> Left side. 70% + Adenocarcinoma Gleason 3+4=7 Core 3> Left side. 80% + Adenocarcinoma Gleason 3+4=7 Core 4> Left side. 80% + Adenocarcinoma Gleason 3+4=7
After surgery at the City of Hope, by Dr. Tim Wilson, My Gleason was 4+3=7 and the TNM was pT3b, N0, Mx. The TNM indicates that the stage was just shy of incurable stage IV, ten lymph nodes were clean, and they could not confirm distant metastasis. A silver lining perhaps. But I had to continue additional therapies in hopes this does not come back. I started attending the Nevada Cancer Institute in February of '07. Under the care or Dr.'s Nick Vogelzang and David Pomerantz, we began ADT, or Androgen Deprivation Therapy. ADT is a therapy were my body is medically deprived of testosterone. The agents used are Lupron and Casodex. Casodex is a hormone drug that blocks androgens in the prostate cancer cells and also stops the generating of testosterone. After receiving that ADT, I also hit the area were the prostate was with 38 IMRT radiation treatments. We thank you for your prayers, and we stay close to our faith!
May God Bless you all. As for me, I will gladly leave things in His hands...
PSA history: October 3, 2006 19.8 October 10, 2006 18.9 November 27, 2006 13.9 Surgery February 16, 2007 February 28, 2007 0.9 March 12, 2007 0.1 March 23, 2007 <0.1 May 16, 2007 <0.1 Begin Adjuvant ADT and Radiation July 18, 2007 <0.1 September 19, 2007 <0.1 January 29, 2008 <0.1 May 9, 2008 <0.1 September 17, 2008 <0.1 January 13, 2009 <0.1 May 11, 2009 <0.1 T=50 October 7, 2009 <0.1 T=21 PAP=0.3 January 4, 2010 <0.1 T=128 PAP=0.4 May 18, 2010 <0.1 T=230 PAP Untested November 3, 2010 <0.1 T=263 May 18, 2011 <0.1 T=325 November 6, 2011 <0.1 May 2012, <0.1 T=332 February 2013, <0.1 T=331
And that's a bold welcome. It was over 7 years ago that we didn't think that I'd be here but here I am. I have not had any tests in about a year and I need to get scheduled for one. But after 7 years I think I'm finally over the hump about apprehension. I will get it scheduled and with confidence that I think I beat this cancer.
And that sounds damn good to me!
But cancer has not been all bad. I learned a lot since being diagnosed about the fortitude and courage in the folks I met along the way. I have lost a couple dozen friends since this all got started but many of my friends that were even worse than I was when I joined HealingWell.com are still around too. This is awesome news for anyone newly diagnosed. And I have walked the walk and know how helpful it is to hear a long time survivor tell ya that there are many like you and you can do great. Those words bounced off of me early on. I didn't really believe them. When David died last year I was discouraged because I was feeling good and was believing that he would too. But the last year of his life was a tough one. He went through so much with chemo and other drugs and it really beat the heck out of him. I have corresponded with his widow a few times and I am happy to report that she and their son Brad and doing well and have chosen to keep alive David's charity.FLHW.org has raised a quart million for cancer research. Brad is the new spokesman.
I am 51 years old now and I look up to a 16yo prostate caver spokesman. And that's the way it should be. He paid a much higher price than I ever did. God bless you both Mary and Brad.
This last October my work as a volunteer in prostate cancer advocacy reached a pinnacle. Per the attached picture I was elected into the society at the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Me a lowly patient being recognized and made a member of an organization on the smartest oncologists on the planet. This membership has given me a very interesting view that most patients never see. I better understand the business of oncology, I better understand the painstaking research necessary to make a difference, and I recognize how important it is to work as a community as opposed to individual effort. With that I have started a new website dedicated to prostate cancer advocates who want to help others.
The Prostate Cancer Advocates Forum is a grassroots effort to allow interfacing between advocates and the team of physicians I work with at ASCO and at SWOG. But I don't want this to the my effort but rather the effort of all advocates and thus I have formed committees to help the site grow beyond my vision. But please stop in and pay it a visit.
I am still teaching in Church but have enjoyed a month off. Next Tuesday we study the book of Job. That will be a 6 week course.
I have scaled back my posting at HealingWell. It was getting stressful. My hope is that giving it a few months I will return but that is iffy. The cause of the stress is ironic. With everything I do as a volunteer I received recognition for the major organizations but I also received grief from a small patient minority that feel that I've left out the patient in my advocacy work. But let me be clear, it is ONLY the patient that I joined SWOG and ASCO. And I only care about helping patients get through this terrible experience. It's a shame that volunteers would ever be ridden in a negative light. But when I read the comments section at CNN.com on just about any given article I see that there are folks that are only happy if they are trying to make someone else unhappy. So I should not bee too surprised that I got into someones crosshairs. So it is, just time to move on. C'est la vie!
With love and well wishes ~ Happy New Years! May 2014 be the best ever!