Patient name: Cole, Daniel
Date of birth: 02/28/1962
Admit date: 02/03/2020
Report name: CT abdomen pelvic w/ contrast
Reason for exam: Prostate cancer
1. Resolution of the soft tissue abnormality in the right region of the right seminal vesicles.
2. Overall, peritoneal metastasis visualized on the prior exam improved with residual lesions present. Enlarged right external iliac chain lymph node on the prior study has resolved.
3. No osseous metastatic disease is evident.
Summary explanation: Holy shit, my tumors have gone away!
The past ten years have been an up and down journey for me. But, I have to admit, most of the journey has sort of tumbled in a downward direction. When I was diagnosed in September of 2010, my cancer was deemed aggressive, and even after surgery, radiation, ADT and chemo, things have gotten progressively worse. After fighting this thing for as long as I have, I’m tired. I don’t feel like I have a lot left. The drugs that I’m on make me sluggish and fat, with a pretty good helping of brain fog and unsteadiness thrown in for good measure.
The past three months have been particularly challenging, with a couple of falls that lead to a bout of “stay in the house under a blanket” style depression. I also came to the realization that I no longer had the physical ability to do my job, which was kind of devastating. I take a lot of pride in my ability to work even while I’m fighting this disease, and my decision to walk away from my job felt like a major concession to my own mortality.
So, with all that going on, when I was walking into the hospital to get my latest CT scan to see how things were going with my tumors, my attitude wasn’t the greatest. I absolutely abhor CT scans. The yummy barium contrasts that they give me to drink before the scan are just awful, and my body wants to get rid of them as fast as possible. As a matter of fact, while I was in the waiting room, I had to scoot off to the bathroom twice in 20 minutes. Good times! And then, before the scan is administered, I’m connected to an IV full of contrast that makes me nauseous while the scan is taking place. Like I said, this is NOT my favorite procedure.
Two days after the scan, Holly and I went to an appointment with my oncologist to go over the results and figure out our next move. Once again, my attitude wasn’t the best. After being in the fight for this long, I don’t get angry at test results anymore, I just sort of accept them with quiet resignation. My usual response is more along the lines of,”Okay doc, now what?”
And then he read the above summary. Resolved. I honestly had no idea what he meant. I know the definition of resolved. It’s basically to have a determined mindset to settle or find a solution to something, but this was different. In medicine, the word resolved means to cause a symptom or condition to disperse, subside, or heal.
The tumor in the region of my right seminal vesicles is gone. GONE! The tumor on my lymph node is also gone. GOODBYE YOU LITTLE BASTARD! The tumor in my abdomen, the one I named good ol’ Ricardo, has improved to the point where there is nothing left but residual lesions. I prefer to think that Ricardo simply exploded, and all that’s left are little pieces of burning cancerous wreckage like a scene from a Michael Bay movie. HASTA LA VISTA, RICARDO!
Needless to say, we were pretty happy with these latest developments. All the pain and agony of the last year, the falls, the muscle pain, the unsteadiness, the swelling of my extremities, (yeah, that’s a new one. My feet on some days painfully swell to the point where I have to take off my shoes and socks and elevate them for a couple of hours) now seem worth it. And the fact that the drugs are working has me more determined to carry on the fight. When things were at their worst, a beam of positive light has shot through the gloom of despair. There is hope. Prayers have been answered. God is good.
But, if you are a faithful reader of this blog, you know that there is no cure for advanced prostate cancer. The fight continues. On the day we heard of the great results of my latest scan, I also got a Lupron shot. It’s been 4 days since that shot, and I feel pretty awful. My PSA for some unknown reason has also risen dramatically, and a trip to the University of Michigan hospital could be in my future to try to figure out why. My care team and I also have to walk a tightrope with Xtandi, the wonder drug that is responsible for keeping my cancer at bay. It is also the drug that causes me physical pain and all kinds of mental anguish. And I’m tired.
Today, however, is a day to celebrate. It is a day to rejoice that, for once, there is good news in the test results.
And I have resolved myself to carry on with the fight.
Thanks for reading.