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Ernest’s Story

This story was submitted by a community member and reposted here with his permission.

I reside in New England; I am in my mid 70’s, and in mid October, 2017, my “water works” shut down (couldn’t urinate). I was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate gland at the hospital emergency room. A catheter was installed, but when the emergency room doctor examined my prostate gland she ruptured the protective skin so it began to bleed and the blood would clot causing me three more trips to the emergency room to get the urine flowing again and finally they contracted a visitor nurse organization to keep an eye on things. But one night it clotted again and the visiting nurse was not authorized to remove the catheter, so back to the hospital.

It took them two hours to get the urine flowing again. The following week I got to see a urologist and he removed the catheter. He made an appointment for tests and for a more thorough examination and at that time decided to do a biopsy. He was able to do that procedure the next day (Dec 22). He went on vacation and scheduled an appointment for Jan 4th, 2018.

Calling in the radiation team

It was at this time he notified me that I had a fast moving cancer (Gleason 9). He told me he would treat it with pills, hormone shots and radiation. He immediately had his assistant give me a shot and called the pharmacy for pills. This is where we had a communication break down. I am a snow bird and go to Florida each winter. I told him so and he said go to Florida. Apparently he thought I was only going for couple weeks.

I found a urologist in Florida through a friend and got my second shot there in April. I then called my original urologist for an appointment. He was not in and called the next day saying I should already be receiving my radiation treatments. So I had to call the radiation center for an appointment in May.

So with the various tests and waiting periods it was mid July before I began my radiation treatments. In the midst of my treatments my urologist had his license suspended but the Department of Health had found me a new one, but he wanted to have his own tests, (CT scans, MRI’s) so here we go again.

Crumbling kidneys

It was when someone there discovered a blemish on my left kidney. He directed me to the surgeon (best in New England) who ordered a 3T MRI which divulged cancerous cysts on both kidneys. Also I was diagnosed with excess calcium being discharged into my blood so I needed a para thyroid surgery before the cysts could be removed from my kidneys.

In mid December (2018) I had the para thyroid surgery and in January (2019) I had the cysts and part of my right kidney removed. In July the surgeon went in to remove those cysts in my left kidney. He got a nasty surprise. The cysts had developed in layers and did not show up in the 3T MRI so the kidney crumbled during surgery so he had to remove the kidney.

I can still function normally with the partial right kidney except when I got to go; there is no holding it. I am still getting hormone treatments every six months and taking one med each day. Shortly after my treatments were complete my mother died of cancer. She was four month shy of her 98th birthday and very alert.

Missing old habits, feeling blessed

So far I do not feel any PTSD effects but I do sleep a bit more in the day time then I used to. I am 76 years old and used to having a few beers after a golf game in the sunshine in Florida. These two things I miss. I feel blessed I had the best surgeon in New England, otherwise I very well may have lost my right kidney also. I healed very quickly but as was written in the newspaper by a cancer survivor; “a cancer survivor lives from scan to scan“. My next scan is scheduled for mid November.

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Comments

  • Will Jones moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Thanks to Ernest for sharing his remarkable story. I’m impressed by how calmly he recounts what must have been a terribly trying experience. His courage is an inspiration!

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