Epiphany: I Ain’t Gonna Die From Prostate Cancer
I was diagnosed at age 55 in March of 2008. It's now 2022, and I’m sneaking up on 70, as of my writing this. Still here! Over the course of these 14 years I have believed that I was going to die from this disease at least three times, maybe more. I've gone as far as having several unofficial wakes at my house as family gathered to say goodbye.
Having my epiphany
This year after a PSMA scan showed nothing, I felt like I could maybe finally unload this free loader. The gold standard scan found zippo, nada, nothing, praise God!
However, my PSA is rising for the third time. Now since 2018. But it's like an earthworm on a rainy day: very slow. My last reading showed .252. Doc says we wont get excited until it hits 7.0. No treatments since 2015.
The epiphany I had hit me at a patient ambassador conference I was attending. There were prostate cancer types at varying stages of health and a great guest speaker (survivor of testicular and lung cancer). We all shared our stories. I noticed that I was the guy that’s had PC the longest. If I dare say, I’m in pretty good shape considering. I figured it ain’t gonna get me; I think I'll die from old age or one of my other passengers like heart or bladder cancer. But I've got those under control as well now.
Snap shot of my health since 2008
- 2008 stage T3c prostate cancer. A radical prostatectomy. Six cycles of Taxotere, Lupron, and Casodex for several years off and on. Last treatment in 2015.
- Heart attack 2010. One stent.
- PAD both SFA’s blocked 100%. Couldn’t hardly walk. Seven stents.
- Bladder cancer 2015. Caught early stage zero. TURBT and then yearly follow-up.
- AFIB and A-flutter several years after chemo. Countless cardio conversions, much medicine, and two ablation procedures.
- Bariatric surgery. Roux-en-Y. Dropped a tiny 150 pounds. I had blown up to 350 pounds with chemo and not giving a damn. Once I figured that I was going to live, I decided I should lose the weight.
So now what?
I still have the three amigos hanging around: prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and heart issues. But with time comes tolerance. I no longer fear the outcome. I have learned to really enjoy my life. No long-range plans – just today.
I still see the whitecoats periodically, but not as often as when I was getting ready to die. Each time I see my heart doctor, I ask to get off of prescribed medicine and increase the time periods between my visits. I do the same with my oncologist and urologist, too.
I'm down to taking one pill these days for AFIB; that's it. It is on my hit list.
Blessed with second chances
I do realize that I'm blessed with second chances and have earned some of the good outcomes by losing weight, getting my mind right with positive thoughts, getting my heart problems under control, and hitting the gym regularly and moving around a lot.
I've improved my spirituality and am becoming a pretty good guitar player. My biggest thrill is being a solid husband, father, and papaw to seven. So to being here and smiling more.
How familiar are you with inherited gene mutations and cancer?