Cancer is exhausting.
Ever since getting my PSA results last Friday, I’ve been so emotionally charged that I just reached a point of pure physical exhaustion tonight. But, on a positive note, today was the first day since last Friday where I wasn’t overcome with complete dread, anger, and sadness.
The whole week I’ve been mad at the world for having to even be thinking about the cancer coming back. I cruised along for more than four years thinking, “I got this licked,” with each successive undetectable PSA test, especially as I closed in on the five year mark. And now this. Pissed me off.
Being so angry didn’t bode well for anyone around me, as the smallest little thing would set me off. Being in a job that is almost entirely about relationships with people, it was extraordinarily difficult—and draining—to not allow that anger to come through and get directed at the people I support.
Of course, there was no way to just purge cancer from my thoughts; it was ever-present, especially because I’ve been doing research in advance of my appointment with the urologist on Tuesday. That made it challenging to focus on the tasks at hand at work, too.
Then the sadness of just having to go through this all over again, knowing that this time it will be a more difficult journey than just a snip-snip, your prostate’s gone, sapped any remaining positive energy from me as well.
Lastly, there’s the frustration of not having any immediate, definitive answers as to what in the hell is going on. Yes, I know that I’m getting ahead of myself, but I’m also not naive. Having three consecutive elevated PSA readings tells me something different is going on. In my mind, I’m trying to reconcile the fact that this really is happening, and that I need to be prepared to accept the fact that the cancer may be back one day.
My prediction is that Tuesday with the urologist will go something like this:
- Yes, this is an interesting development having a third elevated PSA test higher than the others.
- It warrants concern, but not panic. (Too late.)
- We’ll want to do another PSA test in 2-4 months.
Perhaps the best analogy for this week is that I had been driving down the highway on cruise control, bumping my speed up a tad with each successive undetectable PSA test, then—BAM!—out of the blue, I have a blowout. It takes a few moments to assess what happened, reconcile what needs to be done, and then regain control of the situation. After the adrenaline rush subsides, you’re zapped of all your energy.
Right now, I’m somewhere between reconciling and regaining control. I’ll get there.