About David C.
Funny, I just wrote this 2 days ago and posted it to FB. I hope that any man over 40 reads this.
This might be a little TMI but I had my 6 month blood test after directed radiation therapy for prostate cancer yesterday. My oncologist’s office called today and said good news, they are cancelling my appointment next week because my number was .9 which is better than he expected.
ALL MEN PLEASE READ BELOW!!
The PSA is a blood test indicator for the possibility of prostate cancer usually included in annual physical bloodwork, if not make sure that it is. Mine jumped from 3.6 to 4.6 in one year and my GP kicked me in the ass to see the urologist. Anyone looking for a good GP in SW Broward I highly recommend Leslie Herzog, It took me 10 years and 6 doctors to find her and I have chased her to every office where she moved. I even threatened to put a bell around her neck.
Saw the urologist (after 6 months ) and he said that he doesn’t become concerned until a PSA of 7 or more, but the more we talked (and those of you who know my mom knows how we can talk ) the high risk of cancer in my family became evident. He suggested a biopsy just as a precaution and boy am I glad that he did. Another plug, anyone in need of a wonderful urologist I highly suggest Jeffry Marks in Plantation.
Ok all you cowards, I saw you wince at the word biopsy. I gotta admit that I did a little more than wince in anticipation, but my fears were unfounded. I was so nervous that I took a half of valium before which had little effect. I can tell you that I felt nothing except the slight pop of each sample being taken, I don’t even think that he used anesthesia. I was just disappointed that he didn’t buy me dinner first. or at least have wine and soft music going! All good, just a precaution. right!
Fast forward to a coupla weeks later to my follow-up appointment. I was totally convinced that this was just a formality, that it was just a precaution, no biggie. That is until I saw the look on Dr Marks’ face when he walked in the room. He opened my folder and said “I am sorry, there is cancer”. You could have knocked me out of the chair with a feather, Damn, the C word. He briefly explained what class my C was in medium low risk Gleason 3+4=7 (Google it) and threw out the options of which his recommendation was surgery due to my age, typical cautious Doc. At that moment I could not even think about treatments, I was still processing the C word. I left the office kinda numb for the short drive home, trying to just get through to the next step. Half way home I was stopped at a red light and it hit me like a freight train, I cried.
After a few oh poor me moments I did what I always do when I have to deal with something new, I hit the interweb and researched and educated myself. The interweb is a fantastic tool when used correctly. I went to every reputable website such as John Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic, Pitt U and many more. I watched video after video on Youtube about the different treatments watching every gory detail and listening to many reputable opinions doing my best to filter out the bias. I knew that I had to make a decision that was right for me and no one else and wanted as much info that I could get me hands on.
After about a month of this anal-retentive madness I pretty much made up my mind for noninvasive treatment strongly leaning towards directed external radiation. Surgery!!?? Too much possibility of severe ED and I wasn’t dried up yet! FYI, ED after surgery which is a very real possibility (not to mention the incontinence, bit I did) is only treatable with surgery and mechanical means while there is a possibility of ED 10 or so years down the road but it is treatable with boner pills. I had a lot of good years for debauchery left in me!
I made an appointment with Dr Marks to discuss my thoughts and seek his council. He 100% supported my decision and assured me that I was a good candidate, we caught it early and the odds are about the same between surgery and EBRT. Off I went to the oncologist Dr Kaplan who Dr Marks recommended and treated his cancer, good enough for me . After a long meeting with Dr Kaplan I still wasn’t sure which treatment to go for since it was April 2020 and my company’s sales are about 90% to Italy (and you remember how it was there at that time) and we were just sent home to work remotely so I was very concerned about losing my health insurance. The treatment I chose was 43 treatments once a day five days a week and with the possibility of losing my health insurance, it was a risk so I was also considering Brachytherapy which is inserting radioactive seeds in the prostate which is much less time but somewhat invasive.
Well after freaking out on my first preparatory appointment due to my anxiety I decided to go for the 43 treatments. I knew that my company had taken a PPP loan so I knew that I was OK for at least 2 months and sales were up so things looked good. The crew at 21sT Oncology Coconut Creek FL were fantastic sans the fun of a catheter in the beginning. I tried to make an adventure out of each day’s treatments, wearing a different novelty t-shirt every day (I ran out 2/3 through). baking them cookies one day. Gotta keep em happy, after all they have a death ray pointed at my Scheckel! I got a kick out of the different videos that were playing on the overhead monitor while the Goldfinger laser buzzed around my private bits. From Tony Bennett to Lady Gaga, Tom Jones to The Cranberries, Streisand to Beyoncé they gave me a snapshot of the wide range of people effected by the C weasel. I really looked forward to each day, always doing my best to be positive and cheery with the crew. I soon knew that they actually did care, that I wasn’t just more income. This made the journey easy and even entertaining. What wasn’t easy was the 30-minute drive to the treatment center chugging a large bottle of water so my bladder would be bulging for a 10-minute treatment. Goddess help anyone who would have gotten in my way to the bathroom after each treatment.
After 43 days of exposure and not even my privates glowing in the dark just a little bit it was over faster than I expected. I knew that I would miss the glow crew. But I was back 2 months later for my first PSA test results to say to them all. 2.8, just were the Doc expected!!! And now .9 which was so good that the oncologist cancelled my appointment! What Doctor turns down a fee!! Here’s hoping that my 12-month test is even better.
Yes, I know that was long, but I want to give anyone who is facing the C weasel one person’s journey in hopes that it makes their road less bumpy and helps them see that there is hope. To all of the men out there MAKE SURE THAT YOUR DOC IS INCLUDING A PSA TEST IN YOUR ANNUAL PHYSICALS and check early!! I was blessed in having a Doc who knows me and put a foot up my ass when needed. I was also blessed in catching it very early when treatment is minimal and survival high. Most biopsies are not painful so if it is recommended DO IT. Prostate is one of the most treatable with one of the best survival rates of any cancer but it is the 3rd highest killer of men because of our stupid macho attitudes. And for anyone facing the C, I hope that you were able to take something from my journey to help you on your road.In all things what is most important is to educate yourself but with a skeptical eye.
Best of luck to you all. To paraphrase Mary Chapin Carpenter, Stay safe, stay mighty, stay strong!