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In November, a routine trip to my primary care doctor for the renewal of a blood pressure prescription turned into a brief exam plus blood work. The blood work reported that my PSA had gone from 2 to 24 since my last exam about a year earlier.
With that report, my doctor added a prostate biopsy to my already scheduled colonoscopy the next week. The colonoscopy was good but not so with the biopsy. It revealed that the cancer was pervasive in the prostate (a Gleason score of 7 on a scale of 1-9).
My new Urologist then ordered a bone scan as that's where prostate cancer typically goes next and we wanted to rule that out. That test looked good except for something not clearly defined on my tail bone. So, an MRI was ordered to look further.
By now, a visit had been scheduled with the Radiology Oncologist as the typical protocol for prostate cancer at this level is hormone treatments (that actually shrink the cancer cells), radiation treatments and in many cases "seeding" where radioactive pellets are actually placed in the prostate.
The Oncologist was great! He spent well over an hour with Diane and me explaining it all - even drawing pictures. I guess when one gets this far down the line, doctors become more forth-right. He explained clearly that a high PSA, a 7 on the Gleason and scale and pervasive cancer cells throughout the prostate made this a serious issue. He also showed me the pictures from the MRI which showed possible spreading of the disease to one of my two seminal vesicles, so he ordered another biopsy.
Just Monday, January 30 the results of that test came back showing that, in fact, the disease had spread. This unfortunately, means that the seeding option is off the table. I'm not really sure why but it tells me that they can't be quite as aggressive.
As I write this on February 1, I'm waiting for approval from my insurance company for the hormone drug that has been prescribed - it's very, very expensive and I'm obviously interested in what part I and the insuror will pay. Once I have approval, they will ship it to me, I will take it to the Urologist office where his nurse will inject it - this will take place every 6 months. He informed me the side effects would be hot flashes, night sweats, and and insatiable desire to watch Lifetime movies (I made that last one up :) . . .
I will not begin radiation treatments until late April as they must wait 75-90 days after the hormone treatment to begin. I've been told to expect some nausea (for those who have known me for awhile, you'll remember that I did the radiation drill about 37 years ago with testicular cancer) and being zapped of energy during this 8 week process.