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Kilted to Kick Cancer focuses on Prostate cancer. I’ve been down that particular road, last checkup was in April – my 9th annual follow up. All has remained clear – I am truly grateful.
Since I’m officially in the C.O.G. group (Crotchety Old Guy), my last birthday was my 62nd. How the hell did that happen. Regardless, for you “young guys” approaching your late 40s and early 50s – my story.
I was having a hard time peeing. I could get the job done – after 2-3 minutes. Nothing serious, nothing painful – just an annoyance. My annual check up that August put my PSA at 5 – high enough to raise a flag in my Doctor’s mind so he sent me to an Urologist. I was re-tested, same result. Less alarm in him, I was 52 – “getting up there”. I said fine, fall – busy schedule – holidays only 4 months away, lets wait and retest after the first of the year. OK, no problem.
February 2003 – sitting across from the Doc, he’s not smiling. Same result – a tad over 5 – time for a biopsy. Really?? Yep, he wanted to be on the safe side. Heavy sigh – OK. 6 weeks later I walk into his exam room. On the “work bench” are 20 shiny 18” long, hollow stainless steel needles and Jackie with a smile on her face. She explains the procedure to me. YOU HAVE TO BE F’ING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!!!!! But, she wasn’t. Thumb nail sketch – rectal probe, hole for needle, ultrasonic for “aiming”, bowel wall, 20 samples – through the wall – 10 down each side of the prostate. YOU HAVE TO BE F’ING KIDDING ME!!!!!!!!!! All that said, as uncomfortable as it sounds – is was painless for me. Some pressure, “uncomfortable”, but no pain at all.
The waiting sucks. We’d done this before with Susie nearly 20 years earlier. Honestly, it was easier because it was me and not her. It was NOT easier on her. I set the appointment to get the results for the following week – Susie had to work and couldn’t come.
Went to the Doc’s office, he was not happy. Good guy, very direct – “Bill, you have cancer. About 25% of each side of your Prostate is involved.”
Well shit!! Not really what I wanted to hear. I had three options – targeted radiation, “rice” inserts that provided continual radiation, or removal. Well shit!! He had no recommendation, suggested I research it (he knows me too well) and we’d get together the next week. Alrighty – off I go to call Susie and give her the news. Well Shit!!! She did not take it well, flashed on her year to hell-and-back – basically did all the things I did when her Doc told me she had inoperable cancer. Well shit!!!
I’m a geek. I spent the next week pretty much non stop researching this new visitor to my life. I finally chose to have it the Prostate removed rather that radiation and follow up chemo. The Doc was fine with it so a date was set – my birthday, April 14th 2003. Yippee!! I had one request – 90 days after my surgery was was to be on a trek at Philmont with our scout troop. It was too late for a replacement – the Doc needed to paste me together so I could make the trek. No problem he said. Well, let’s rock and roll!
Surgery went fine. The only “hitch” was a 40% chance of total incontinence. YOU GOTTA BE SHITTING ME!!!! Nope says the Doc – nerve bundles – sharp scalpels – “slips” – 40% chance. Well shit!!! I tell him he needed to have a good day in the OR – says he’ll do his best!
The surgery went fine, I don’t pee all over when I sit,stand or walk – thanks much Doc!! However I could be a poster boy for ED. Yet . . . . dead?? ED?? Dead?? ED?? MMmmmmm . . . . I’m doin’ OK! And, 90 days later I geared up and my good friend Glenn and I hit the trail with our troop – 62 miles, 7 days, 9,000ish feet – it was a great trek!
So now I look back on the past 9 checkups. One to go and I will part ways with the Doc - he will forever have my thanks. I am grateful to be a “survivor”. Not sure why the good Lord saw fit to give me a hand, I question myself on that nearly daily. But, it was not my day and I thank Him for letting me meet my grand kids and spend more years with my wife.
Some final thoughts:
- GET A FRICKIN’ PSA TEST EVERY YEAR.
- Let your Doc do the “digit dance” to test the size of your prostate
- If your Doc says he wants a biopsy – GET THE DAMM THING DONE
- If he says you have cancer – IT’S NOT NECESSARILY THE END OF THE WORLD
- Be aggressive
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