When I started writing the blog Fishrocks back in 2017, my goal was to write about stuff I was interested in, and to take the reader into the day to day aspect of being an advanced prostate cancer survivor.
It wasn’t going to just be about the technical aspects about my treatment, like chemo and radiation and pills, but also the human element. I felt my moods and how my family and friends reacted to the twists and turns of my treatments was an important part of the story.
Having cancer isn’t fun, (wow, there’s an understatement), but my cynical and sardonic view of it occasionally yields up some laughter, smiles, and maybe even an occasional funny eye roll.
My humor is sometimes a bit misunderstood, like the reaction I got about jumping off a building. It was a joke about how the medical profession is sometimes a little lax on helping people.
Some people took this to mean I was suicidal. I’m not. I can assure you I’m not jumping off a building anytime soon. But dealing with cancer treatments can be maddening, especially when you feel like you’re running headlong into a medical bureaucracy that just doesn’t give a shit.
This September, I will be completing my 12th year as a cancer patient. I was a healthy 48 year old male when I heard the words, YOU HAVE CANCER, and those words changed my life forever. Surgery, 38 radiation treatments, hormone treatments, two rounds of chemo and 3 clinical trials have bounced me around over the past dozen years. It hasn’t been a fun ride.
My latest treatment, my third clinical trial, has come to an end. A CT scan has shown my lymph node tumors have grown over 20% since starting the trial back in December. That is the marker the drug companies use to stop a trial. If the tumors grow more than 20%, you’re done.
This is the third time this has happened. The previous 2 times, my doc came into the room with an armful of studies that he thought would help slow the progression of my cancer. This time, he came in with nothing.
We talked for awhile. He told me about a new drug that had shown some promise in treating advanced prostate cancer, and it just became FDA approved. I would need a PET scan to see if my tumors were right for the drug. He also mentioned that there were other trials out there also. But this trial was over.
And then he asked me a question.
“What do you want to do?”
Well then. Do I throw up the white flag, admit defeat, and try to live my life the best I can with the time I have left? Or do I subject myself to yet more treatments, more scans, more expense, more sickness and more pain?
I looked at him for a minute. And then I sighed, and said, yes, of course I’m going to keep fighting. I asked questions about the PET scan. I asked questions about the treatments. He didn’t have many answers at this time, because it will all depend on the scan. He did tell me that the treatment is only given in Troy, Michigan, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive from where I live.
(That’s not a huge inconvenience. I’ve been very fortunate to have all my treatments in the Grand Rapids area. I’ve known plenty of people that drive and fly all over the country to get treated. I’ve been blessed.)
My PET scan is on May 17, and then we’ll see. I’ve done some research on my own, and I have a feeling if I’m approved for this treatment, it’s going to be injected every 6 weeks or so. And once again, there are side effects. I’ll know more after the scan.
I do know this. I want to take Zoey on more walks. I want to see my grandkids. I want to go on more trips. I want to see more sunrises and more sunsets. The featured image of this blog is a pic I took looking at a sunset from a St. Petersburg, Florida beachfront restaurant with Holly. I want more THAT!!
I want more life.
So, the answer to the question was, in the end, pretty easy. Let’s keep going.
The fight continues.
Thanks for reading.