When Prostate Cancer Returns – One Man’s Chronicle – Where from Here? Part 2

When you’ve lived for eight years seemingly cancer free and then have the rude awakening that – it’s back – I admit it does cause some serious questions to arise.  It seems that we all (well that’s not fair cause I don’t know what others think or feel – so I’ll speak for myself) live daily as if we’ll live forever.  We can look toward the future and plan for eventualities, but do we really ever normally think that life is far too short and precious not to be taking full Chuck Gallagheradvantage of the most of today?  Having my awareness changed by the recognition that I am not cancer free is creating an on going inner dialogue – a dialogue that I will share as this chronicle continues.

BUT WHERE FROM HERE?

Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus – the title of a popular book.  Guess I’ve first focused on the martian route – a solution.

Wonder if my original doctor from Johns Hopkins would be willing to talk to me?

Turns out he was – now at the University of Florida heading up their robotic surgery program, I flew to Jacksonville and drove to the University so we could meet and talk about two things: (1) a book that I am writing on Prostate Cancer (from the layman’s perspective) and (2) thoughts about my current situation.  One thing I’ve learned is to gather information and explore before making a hasty decision.  Your health, my health, is important and not to be taken lightly.  Honestly, in most prostate cancers, the progression is slow…so there is no need for a rushed treatment decision.

MEETING WITH MY SURGEON

Nervous?  Yea a little bit.  Dealing with the unknown isn’t easy – that’s why before the meeting with Dr. Li Ming-Su I did my homework.  Amazing the depth of information that is available on the internet.

Great seeing Dr. Su and after some initial catch up he asked, “So, how are you these days?”

I would  loved to have said great…but I had to be honest.  “I feel great, but my PSA is rising and that concerns me!”

From that simple beginning I shared with my friend the progression – ever so slowly – of my rising PSA.  While he talked openly about probabilities the bottom line came down to this.  I had recurrent prostate cancer and that was nothing to be taken lightly.  The growth had been slow, which to him, was a positive sign.  Yet any growth in something that there should be no growth in was enough to set off alarms.

“Do I need to rush to deal with this?”

“No, but do you have a urologist?”

“No.”

“Allow me to recommend one.”

As you can imagine I was delighted to get a recommendation from someone I trusted with my life when prostate cancer was first detected.

I can’t quote him as this part is shared more in general terms rather than specific comments, but when prostate cancer returns after surgery then one becomes a candidate for salvage treatment when, for the most part, is radiation and/or hormone therapy.  Neither of which I wanted – especially hormone therapy.  But it was now time to come to grips with the harsh reality of being told yet once again that I had prostate cancer.

NEXT STEPS

Occupying my mind with next steps was far easier than dealing with the emotions that kept creeping into my being.  Optimistic?  Yes!  Yet at 56 it doesn’t yet seem to make sense to connect with one’s mortality.  It seems far more normal to believe that life will go on for 30 more years and that I have “plenty” of time to do what I came here to do.  Yet, with a second diagnosis of a disease that can prove to be fatal it is clear to me that I need to re-evaluate my priorities and choices.

I guess when we are young we think that we will live forever.  As we age we know that is not true.  But, damn it, it seems that we shouldn’t be spending too much time thinking of life or the lack thereof till we are 70 or older.  Now I am wondering if I’ll make it to the age when I can draw social security.  Not that that is important, but I’ve paid into it so it seems that getting back is an entitlement.  (And I can’t even believe I used that word!)

For now…the question is what am I willing to do to preserve life in a manner that I wish to live it?  As I write those words it strikes me that “in a manner I wish to live it” is important for me – at least at this point.  Perhaps faced with no life I’d consider making different choices, but at this moment the NEXT STEPS will be a journey of discovery – both inward and outward.

https://chuckgallagher.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/when-prostate-cancer-returns-one-mans-chronicle-psa-rising-part-1/

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11 Responses to When Prostate Cancer Returns – One Man’s Chronicle – Where from Here? Part 2

  1. […] When Prostate Cancer Returns – One Man’s Chronicle – Where from Here? Part 2. […]

  2. wwaessa says:

    Hat dies auf WWaessa rebloggt und kommentierte:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  3. X says:

    Very nice post! Best of luck

  4. […] When Prostate Cancer Returns – One Man's Chronicle – Where from Here? Part 2. […]

  5. Donna says:

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