Many of you who read this blog often, have probably wondered why the stories and photographs have trickled down significantly...
It's time to explain my absence.
Although I've updated our Taiwan Listing on a weekly basis, I've not delved into more interesting stories for a number of months.
Every year, after New Years, I usually travel to Taiwan for 3 or 4 months, return to Hawaii for 3 months or so and then fly back to Taiwan for another 3 months, sometimes longer.
This year I stayed in Taiwan a little longer because my grandson was flying into Taipei for a three week vacation. He arrived in April.
Some time in late February, I begin to feel different, I noticed that my usual visits to the rest room were more frequent, my urine stream began to decrease significantly and my urine turned to a deep yellow, just about orange. I drink a lot bottled Costco water in Taiwan. Probably consume 6 or 7 bottles a day, so I was drinking enough water. I noticed my bowels were also smaller and darker.
My urine flow continued to be difficult. Before these changes, I urinated 6 or 8 times a day, may days more often. I consumed lots of liquids, many bottles of water, coffee and noodles.
Everyone I talked with about my body changes said, "Oh, you need to drink more water." And I would always say, something like, "I drink so much water, I'm going to the bathroom every hour."
In May, I returned to Hawaii and immediately saw my PCP (Primary Care Physician.) My Doctor apparently had just hired a new PA (Physician's Assistant.) I told my story to him, he gives me the greasy finger prostrate check and announces it feels normal, it's not swollen. I tell him, "something is wrong with me." He leaves the office, apparently discusses my urine problem with my regular PCP and returns to tell me they were sending me to see a Urologist.
A few days later I was in the Urologist's Office. I tell him the whole story. He greases up the finger and finds a bump on the right side of the prostrate. He told me we needed to do some needle biopsies on my prostrate. A couple of days later, I'm back in his office, he shoots his biopsy instrument into my prostrate around 15 to 20 times, I counted up to 15. It was not painful, just a lot of pressure on the prostrate. A few days later, I'm back in the Urologist's office for the results. The lab results showed cancer in two different areas of my prostrate. For you men who have gone through this, my Gleason Score for both areas was 3+4 or 7.
I was prepared for the worst, but my heart sank with he read the results.
He went into how I might go forward. I asked a few questions, and he presented me with a booklet, "100 Questions and Answers About Prostrate Canter,"
I returned home, talked with my family and tried to slow down and rest. I read through the book, went on-line and watched a couple of You Tube videos on removing the prostrate. Checked out all the possible avenues of attack on the cancer.
In the meantime, I was sent to have a bone scan to see if the cancer had spread. That came back negative, but, they saw "something" around the hip, so I went back for some type of additional x-ray on my hip. Of course, each one of these images required a follow-up visit to my Urologist's Office.
They (the Doctor who reads X-rays) saw something in my colon. My Urologist wanted me to have a Colonoscopy to see what was causing the narrowing of the colon in a particular area.
I just did Colonoscopy two years ago. They did the new colonoscopy and the results were negative, clean with nothing in the colon. The Doctor who performed the test said the colon moves and squeezes, and probably when the X-ray was taken, it was squeezing, which made it look narrow on the X-Ray.
So, I have cancer in my Prostrate, however, nothing in my bones. I return home to contemplate what I should.
Statistics say, more than 80% of all men will have Prostrate cancer during their lives, but a large percentage of these men will die from other causes, never knowing they had Prostrate cancer.
Those stats really made me feel good - No!
There are a number of things one might do at this stage, but they are too numerous to discuss.
I talked with my family again. I felt that the choices I had were limited. One of the choices was what I describe as, "Wait and Watch." I figured, maybe I could live a few more years or longer, but if the cancer moved out of the Prostrate and into my body, it wouldn't be fun. My wife passed with cancer 13 years ago and I don't want to go through what my wife had to experience, it was as terrible, really unbelievable, the pain and suffering she experienced.
SO..... After much research, watching films, reading about various options, I decided it best to get rid of the cancer, remove my Prostrate.
I had a feeling of peace flow through me after deciding. If the cancer has not spread, and the Prostrate is removed, I should be cancer free.
I went into hospital on a Monday morning. I opted for the surgeon to use the "da Vince robotic apparatus." It's the type of surgery where you are strapped to operating room table, hanging backwards with your head and body hanging down, at about 30 degrees. Really a weird position.
My doctor told me later in the evening that my face was all swollen after the procedure. They cut 5 small slits into your belly and insert instruments to the perform the surgery, one is a light and camera, and other tools they need to move the tissue and fat to expose Prostrate. The doctor is working these levers at console with a large video screen. Quite a machine.
Actually, the most painful part of the whole experience was the hose they push up your urethra into your bladder, after the surgery. In that plastic/rubber hose, down toward the bottom is a small balloon which is inflated to hold the urine from escaping from around the tube.
This set-up works OK if you're laying in the bed, in the hospital. But, when you get out and take it home for another 7 days. the problems begin.
The hospital nurses teach you how to clean the hoses, your private parts, etc. How to empty your urine bag, how to remove and install a new bag. how to secure a small type bag around your leg if you want to go out to the store or something.
I've gone into enough detail on this I guess.
I got the hose removed this past Tuesday and walked over to my Urologist's office.
The biopsy results were back on the Prostrate and lymph nodes that were removed during surgery.
The photo of the sliced Prostrate showed, the cancer as being quite large, but, it was completely inside the Prostrate, no cancer along the edges. Also, all of the lymph nodes were negative for cancer.
I'm just one of thousands of men who were diagnosed with cancer this year.
My recommendations to you:
Have you Primary Care Physician take his time in your colon, as he feels for any bumps or unusual feelings along and around your Prostrate to include the ends of the Prostrate.
My PSA (prostate-specific antigen) blood test results were 2.71 in January this year but had dropped to 2.20 in June of this year. Yet, I had quite a lot of cancer in my Prostrate, which we discovered only by doing the needle biopsies.
So, I would encourage all older men to see their doctor every year and take the blood tests and prostrate exams. Don't miss these annual tests.
I'm still physically exhausted, they cut a lot of tissue and fat and it will take time. My bladder is beginning to come around. I noticed it was holding more liquid this evening. Before tonight it was escaping and I had wet diapers. We wore diapers when we were babies, now we wear them again when necessary, but it's only until our bladder recovers, which can take up to a year for some. BUT, - the cancer is gone!
Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would be happy to talk about my experiences with anyone who has questions about the whole episode I went through.