Saturday, April 25, 2009

Taking a Break Until After My Surgery on Monday the 27th

Here is a little information about my upcoming surgery on Monday. About a month ago I had a CT Scan to follow up on a spot on my right upper lung and a spot on my liver. Every six months I have a CT Scan to see how my little friends are doing. Well the spot on my lung has disappeared. That is a relief since I used to smoke heavily. The spot on my liver hasn't grown so that is good news. Now here is where the fun starts. As the doctor was examining the CT Scans he noticed that my appendix was swollen. He called it a Mucocele which means my appendix is producing extra mucous and it will keep growing unless it is removed. If my appendix keeps swelling it will eventually press on the organs in that area. There is also a small chance that the Mucocele could be cancerous and could spread to my colon. With those things in mind I opted to have my appendix removed. I asked my doctor if it was his mucocele would he do the same and he said yes he would. While I am still on the table the doctor will send a sample of my appendix to the lab. The test results take about an hour. If the test sample is cancerous I will have to have the right side of my colon removed. This procedure is called a Right-Hemi. The reason the entire right side of the colon has to be removed is because of the blood supply. If the sample comes back benign, then all is well. I will only be missing my appendix and I will be home on Tuesday. Jeesh all that just for a little old appendix. What is this world turning into? My saga will continue either Tuesday or Wednesday depending on how I am feeling.

Peace and Love to All

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Saga Continues

It felt good to finally have found someone who cared in the medical field and at the VA to boot. Now to find out what was causing this terrible pain. All the CT scans and lab work at the Air Force base showed nothing because they were concentrating on my abdominal area.
The blood work from the VA came back and the reading was high at 28.5 to say the least! Previously I told you that a normal PSA reading was 4.0 or lower. 28.5 raises a few flags one of which is the old biopsy routine. I was scheduled for a biopsy of my prostate in 2 weeks. Sometimes a high PSA can mean a man has Prostatitis which is an infection of the prostate. In case that is all I had I was put on a high dose of antibiotics for two weeks. The day before I was to go in for my biopsy the VA called and said both of their biopsy machines were down for repairs. Imagine that. Since we were still in with the Air Force hospital I managed to get my biopsy done several days later. On May 23rd I was told over the phone by the base Urologist that I had Prostate Cancer. He ordered a bone scan to see if the cancer had spread to my bones. Prostate Cancer likes to spread to the bones.We picked up the bone scan results up before my appointment with the Urologist. the report indicated that the cancer had spread to my bones. The term used for this is called metastasizing. So I had Prostate Cancer with bone mets. Oh boy. I reported to my Urologist to hear what he had to say. Since my wife and I had already got the results we knew what he was going to say. Unfortunately once the cancer leaves the prostate and get into the bones there aren't many treatment options available. He suggested that I have an Orchiectomy. I would suggest if you are a layman, with emphasis on MAN, that you sit down before I tell you what that procedure is. Every man sitting down? An Orchiectomy involves two deft and precise cuts in your scrotum whereby your two little friends are removed and disposed off. No you can't bring your testicles home in a jar. I know because I asked. Before I agreed to that procedure my wife spoke up and asked if a chemical Orchiectomy would be better to do. Now let me clarify a couple of things about my wife. She is a nurse and an avid reader. We also used the internet to find out a lot of interesting information on prostate Cancer. Google is our friend. When she found out that a high PSA score could be indicative of Prostate Cancer she immediately got as many books on Prostate Cancer that she could take out of the library. My wife and I consider ourselves to be proactive when it comes to our health. Apparently this particular doctor was not used to someone questioning him about medical procedures. He said the Orchiectomy was better. My wife tried to ask him a few more questions, chasing him out of the room, but he didn't have the time. Here I am just being told I have Prostate Cancer and he didn't have time to answer a few questions! Thank God we still had the VA. We thanked the doctor (I don't know why) and left. We would call the VA and make an appointment with a doctor there and see what they suggested we do. Thanks to my wife I now can suggest the best book to read if you have Prostate Cancer or are just curious about it. It is a book from the American Cancer Society called "QuickFacts Prostate Cancer." The book gets right down to business in a simple and understandable way. This saga to be continued. Thanks every one for taking the time to read about my adventures.

Peace and Love to All

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All Days Are Good Except Some Days Are Better Than Others

Hi, This will be a short entry. The reason for today's title is that today is the anniversary of my daughter's death from an auto accident in 2005. Needless to say it is a sad day for me. Nothing comes close to the pain and grief I feel on these days. I won't ramble on except to say no one should live longer than their children. Goodnight all. Tomorrow is another day.

Peace and Love to All

Sunday, April 19, 2009

From the Beginning

Hello Everyone, First I want to thank my beautiful wife Karen for inspiring me to write this blog. I am blogging about Prostate cancer to help myself and, hopefully, others. So without further ado here goes.
I am a 100% disabled veteran with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer with bone mets (bone tumors). This journey started around January 2007 with a visit to my primary care doctor at Wright-Patterson Air Force base, Ohio. I was seeing my doctor because I was having lots of abdominal pain on my right, lower side. On the pain scale my pain rated a nine. This pain had been going on for about three months and I finally had had enough. Well this doctor's visit didn't go quite as I had hoped. My doctor decided that I was constipated! I was subjected to her brand of treatment for constipation and my pain continued. I saw her a couple of more times with the same end results-no relief from my pain.
Then in April I was getting some dental work at my local Veteran's Administration Medical Center or VA for short. I have all my dental work done at the VA wherever we live and any other medical procedure at either a military base or a Tri Care approved civilian doctor. The reason being that I had heard many of the rumors of bad care at some of the VA hospitals and I wasn't going to take any chances. So I have never had any treatment other than dental at the VA hospitals. I let the VA take care of my dental work because I was service connected for dental (I was shot in the mouth) and have always had excellent work done at the VA hospitals. When my dental work was done I was asked to go down to Primary Care and get vested. Vested means to pick your Primary Care doctor so you can be treated at the VA if you so desire. Even though I already had a primary care doctor on the air force base I decided that it would be a good idea to have an alternate doctor especially since the base doctor wasn't resolving my pain. So I went down to the VA Primary Care clinic and signed up. The PA (Physician's Assistant) was a young lady who was very thorough with my exam and questioning. She did the usual physical exam and ordered several labs. She asked me if I had ever had a PSA test. PSA stands for Prostate Specific Antigen and it is a screening tool for Prostate Cancer। I told her negative on the PSA test and she ordered one for me. I discovered later that I did indeed had a PSA in November 2005. That PSA reading was around 3.7. A PSA reading of 4.0 or below is considered normal. I was not told after the 2005 reading that I should have a PSA test every year. During the course of her questioning she discovered that I was in Vietnam and Cambodia where they used Agent Orange. I had read where AG can cause Prostate cancer. She set up a meeting immediately after our current exam with the Agent Orange representative. She also examined where my abdominal pain was and scheduled an appointment for me with my brand new primary care doctor I thanked her for being so thorough. I went across the hall to meet with the AG Rep and I signed the AG register so that I was recognized as a veteran that was officially exposed to Agent Orange. I left his office feeling like finally found someone who cared.

Peace and Love to All