Wow. This is going to be tougher than I thought.
Ever since that stupid PSA test crept upward from undetectable to detectable at 0.05 ng/ml, I can’t seem to get that fact out of my brain. Even when I can focus on something other than that, it’s still ever-present, lurking in the background ready to consume my thoughts at the first distraction.
Interestingly, I’m not sure it’s the possibility of the cancer returning that I fear, or even the side effects of potential salvage treatments (although some of those can be quite scary). It’s too early to think in those terms. My immediate concern is more about having to play this freakin’ waiting game and the possibility that I’ll be playing this waiting game every three to six months for years to come.
Yes, I’ve already suffered through PSA anxiety after the surgery, so you think I’d be used to it by now. But in a post-surgery world, each time the result came back undetectable, my confidence that I was one step farther away from cancer grew. Now the situation is reversed. With each test, it’s no longer an affirmation of the good news that I already knew (undetectable); now it’s a reason to worry about the unknown. “Did the PSA move upward? If so, how much and how quickly? How many ng/ml am I closer to recurrence?”
I know that each day is a gift and that we’re to live in the moment. Now, though, I feel as if I’m in a state of suspended animation, waiting for 2 December to roll around for the next needle prick. That can’t be. I need to be living for today in case tomorrow I cross the 0.2 ng/ml threshold.
Early in this adventure, I said that we can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. It’s time I followed my own advice–gain control over this PSA anxiety monster.
Wish me luck.