Before I get started with this blog, I would just like to thank you all for the responses to my last one, The Results Are In. It got a lot of views from all over the world, and the generous and caring comments made me feel loved and appreciated. You guys rock. Seriously. Thank you.
I was a little nervous about my detour into fantasy where I escaped the cancer center and made my way down to Mexico for some yellow fin fishing with Andy and Red, but judging from the responses I received, most people enjoyed this little sojourn. And here’s the thing: I really have had fantasies like that while sitting in an examining room. I call it “Calvin daydreaming.”
No, not THAT Calvin.
I loved when Calvin would be in a particularly boring class at school and his imagination would carry him off to a far away alien world as Spaceman Spiff. But I must confess, my daydreams don’t usually happen when the doc is in the room. They usually happen when someone is droning on about upcoming appointments, or, even worse, insurance stuff. Nothing will make me blank out quicker then the mention of co-pays and deductibles and all the crap that goes into the interminable process of making sure everyone gets paid. My response usually is,”Y’all figure this out. I’m going for a beer. Later.” I know, real mature. I can be pretty childish when it comes to dealing with the real world aspects of my particular affliction. Just ask my wife. She knows all too well.
I also think my little fantasy trip to the west coast of Mexico revealed a possible title for my upcoming book.
Fishrocks: A Stage 4 Gringo in Search of the Sun and the Meaning of Life.
I mean, that title rocks, right? Who wouldn’t see that in the bookstore and think to themselves, “Man, I am totally intrigued and I desperately want to know more. Barnes and Noble clerk, take my money!”
Anyway, in today’s episode, we rejoin the conversation where people see the amazing return of my incredible hair and ask the following questions:
“So, you’re pretty much all done with that, right?”
“Are you in remission now?”
Here’s the thing, peeps. When prostate cancer escapes the prostate and is not subsequently wiped out by salvage radiation, the PSA can and will keep rising. Basically, the PSA is measuring little microscopic bits of cancer that are floating around in my blood. The idea of continuing treatments with hormone blockers is to keep the disease at microscopic levels. Eventually, hormone blockers become less effective, and the little microscopic cells all get together in a fun little party known as a tumor. A tumor is billions of cancer cells that are not supposed to be there. It’s basically my body fighting itself.
Listen. I’m not a doctor. I’m just going with the knowledge of all this crap I’ve acquired over the past 8.5 years of my life. And, as you read previously, I do tend to blank out at times. It’s why Holly has to come to all my appointments. The doc says something I don’t want to hear, my brain says,”Ok, that’s enough, we’re out of here,” and Holly listens to what he has to say in order to pick up info that may be very important. But I’m pretty sure that I’ve got the whole cancer and cancer cells things right.
The thing about advanced prostate cancer is that it is a chronic disease, which is a fancy way of saying it just keeps on keeping on. There is rarely “all done with that.” There is rarely “remission.” If that does happen, it’s usually because of the Hail Mary of all cancer treatments, the clinical trial. If the docs find something that works for your particular brand of the disease, voila, you could be cured. The chances of that actually happening are pretty slim. I’m trying not to be a Debbie Downer here, just trying to be real.
The REAL issue of advanced prostate cancer in my case is dealing with the side effects of the medication used to make sure my testosterone stays at low or zero levels. My cancer loves testosterone. Testosterone makes it grow and get nasty. It makes tumors appear. But, I also LOVE MY TESTOSTERONE! It makes me be me. When I am deprived of this naturally occurring hormone, things get a little weird. Here is a list of all the possible side effects from hormone treatments used to fight advanced prostate cancer. It’s not a fun list.
Sounds like a party, eh? In my next blog, I will go over these side effects and how they effect my life and general well-being. If you looked at this list, saw the third thing and thought to yourself,
“Wait, it shrinks?”
I will let George Costanza answer that for me.
Thanks for reading.