“100 Questions and Answers about Prostate Cancer” is not a good bedtime read. I made through Question 57 and had to put the book down (mainly because it was 11:45 PM).
Most of the material that I read I had seen in my previous research. But there was one particular section that made me feel as though I was reading a Stephen King novel by candlelight in a creaky old house.
Tables 6 and 7 in the book talked about the likelihood of the cancer spreading outside of the prostate (Table 6) or to the lymph nodes (Table 7) based on your PSA score, your Gleason score, and your tumor staging designation.
Based on the descriptions in the book, I think my tumor would be a T2a or T2b. Combine that with my PSA (5) and my Gleason score (6), and there’s a 66% chance that the cancer is confined to the prostate for a T2a tumor and a 44% chance that it’s confined to the prostate for a T2b tumor. For the likelihood that it’s spread to the lymph nodes, it’s 4% and 11%, respectively.
I’ll definitely ask my doctor to confirm my interpretation of the tables when I see him on Thursday and ask him about the study and its legitimacy.
Needless to say, that little tidbit kept me tossing and turning a good chunk of the night, and I woke up this morning with a pit in my stomach and scared about the likelihood that the cancer has spread. Not a good start to the day that I had a bone scan scheduled.
The bone scan was a piece of cake. I went in at 10 AM to get injected with my radioactive juice, and went back at 1 PM for the actual scan. I just had to lie on the table and keep still for 30 minutes. She had to scan my melon-sized noggin twice; apparently the first image wasn’t satisfactory. (No comments about the content or lack thereof, please!)
On my way out, I asked her if she saw anything that would indicate further testing might be required. She told me the doctor would go over the results with me on Thursday, but that I shouldn’t get too worked up before then. I guess that’s a positive sign, but I’ll withhold setting expectations for now.
Just days before my biopsy, I received a jury duty questionnaire from the Ripley County Court. It was just what I needed on top of everything else that was going on. My doctor wrote a note that I can send in with the survey in an effort to get me out of serving. We’ll see if it works.
When I returned home, I found a message on my answering machine from my urologist’s office. She wanted me to call a surgeon that my urologist recommended to set up an appointment to review my case. He was one of three that my urologist had recommended during that initial meeting on Day 1.
That threw me for a loop. I’m not ready to start talking to surgeons yet.
You know me. I wanted to take time to research all three of them to see what I found about their backgrounds, training, number of procedures performed, and complication rates. I also was under the impression that we’d wait for the results of my bone scan and colonoscopy before we started talking specific treatment options. I guess I’ll have to accelerate that research now.
It also makes me wonder if there’s a greater sense of urgency here than I was originally led to believe. Or, perhaps, it’s just that to get on this guy’s calendar, you have to book months in advance. Either way, I’m feeling pressured to take the next step, perhaps prematurely. I’ll talk to my urologist on Thursday to get the real scoop.
So I started the day anxious, had a bright middle of the day, and ended it feeling pressured and confused. I’m not sure you’ll find “100 Questions and Answers about Prostate Cancer” on my nightstand tonight.