Thursday, July 27, 2017
My doctor said I had a year to live. That was 11+ years ago. What do you do when you hear those words? You start thinking about all the things you won't get to see or do and in my case you spend your retirement savings.
I have been throwing money at retirement trying to get caught up. It isn't easy but it is a necessity. It appears I am going to live long enough to retire. I have also lived long enough to experience some of the challenges of aging. Getting old sucks but it does beat the alternative.
Tuesday last I developed a rash on my left shoulder blade. I knew what it was immediately. For the two days prior I had chills and mild flu-like symptoms. I have Shingles. ( darn those chicken pox ) On the Monday before, during a routine cleaning, I found out that I am losing gum thickness. I also need a couple of dental implants.
Every time the weather changes, a few days prior, my left big toe aches to high hell due to arthritis in the joint. I use to think old codgers who claimed stuff like that were senile! I understand now why so many people move to Arizona when they retire! My hearing is not what it use to be (too much rock n roll ), I don't pick up a book (or even a package of taco seasoning for that matter ) without first donning my reading glasses, and when I walk into a room, half the time I cannot remember why. Maybe those old codgers are senile!
There were many many things I thought about when I was diagnosed. It saddened me that I would never get to celebrate a 50th birthday. December 2, I will be 54. I had just started an apprenticeship a few months before my diagnosis. I was sad that I would not become a journeyman. I have been a journeyman pipefitter for 7-1/2 years and actually completed another apprenticeship in lubrication. I thought about all the places I would never get to see or do. Over the last decade, we have seen and done many of them.
I never considered what aging was going to be like. Quite frankly, I didn't think it would happen! Although I am not at an age that most would consider old, I am in no way a spring chicken anymore. I guess I am more of a mid-late summer chicken. Now that maturity (physical that is ) is beginning to set in I believe I will have more things happening to my body to laugh about!
The point of all this is that nobody knows the date and time or the when and where of our demise. Common wisdom says I should have been ashes long ago but here I am. Even if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness it doesn't mean that the doctors are correct. Human wisdom can be wrong. Live for today, plan for the tomorrow, and above all, take care of your body. It is the only one you have.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
I know, I haven't written much lately. Quite frankly there's just not a lot to write about. It used to be I would see my oncologist once a month. Seemed I was always having blood work drawn and test results to post. Lately that has not been the case. I last saw my oncologist in January. Until yesterday I had not had a PSA test drawn since that time.
So far, it has been a pretty incredible summer. We have put almost 40 hours on the new boat. Considering that we are only midway through summer, that is a pretty significant amount of time. Last week we were on vacation. We loaded the camper onto the truck, hooked up the boat, and chased the sun to Prineville reservoir in Central Oregon. Once again, it was just Mandy and I as our daughter is now a full-time student at college and a part-time employee at the local burger joint.
We reserved our campsite nine months ago to get the very best campsite available. It was worth it. This was the view from the door of our camper!
This photo was taken the first morning of our vacation. We awoke to 75° temperatures at eight in the morning and a lake as smooth as a sheet of glass. It was perfect!
We spent our days on the water, our evenings gazing at stars, and our nights holding each other close. Thank God for air conditioning. At times it was hard to keep my upcoming Oncology appointment off my mind. I was a little stressed out.
We got home Saturday last and my anxiety continued to build around my upcoming appointment on Monday the 17th. I was really nervous regarding what changes had taken place. Had my PSA risen? Was the cancer growing? Would I require a change in treatment? So many questions.
On Monday as the Nurse inserted the I.V. line into my arm, I was filled with a sense of peace. I knew that no matter what the results were, it would be okay
Yesterday I received my test results. Here is a screen shot of the results of my PSA
. As it turns out I had no reason to be worried. After 135 months since my stage IV Prostate cancer Diagnosis, that include 10 years on lupron, 3 years on Casodex, 6 months on D.E.S., Provenge Therapy, and 4 years and counting on Zytiga, my P.S.A. is still holding steady at less than 0.01. Needless to say I am very happy.
Many thanks to God, Janssen, Dendreon, Kaiser Permanente, my many friends and followers, and Providence Cancer Center.