Month 67 – Back to “Normal”

What a two months it’s been.

I’m finally back into a more normal routine after getting knocked off my horse with my PSA increasing to 0.08 ng/ml in April. The raw emotions have subsided and have been replaced with a constant, low-grade concern as I wait for my next PSA test.

One ironic thing that won’t let me completely purge the notion of cancer from my mind is the fact that my office is in a hospital and, every morning on the way to my office, I walk down a long corridor that leads directly to the “Radiation/Oncology” suite. And every day, I’m reminded that radiation may be in my future.

The urologist set my next appointment for 23 August, but she put the blood draw order into the system for any time after 1 July. I won’t go that early.

The engineer in me wants to make sure that the PSA tests are evenly spaced for easier analysis (geek, I know). The last two tests were almost exactly 4 months apart (3 December 2015 & 6 April 2016), so I plan on going in for the blood draw on or about 3 August to keep things consistent. It might make calculating PSA doubling times easier.

Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, I came across this article: Is standardization of the PSA cut point for biochemical recurrence after surgery a good idea?

Yet another study offering conflicting and confusing guidance. <sigh>

When you introduce cancer into your vocabulary, it’s impossible not to think about the end of life at the same time. Sure, none of us want to jump the gun and rush things, but it’s a natural extension of the word cancer.

My father died peacefully in his sleep 19 years ago next week. My mother, on the other hand, went through a grueling end ten years ago as mesothelioma and emphysema took away her ability to breathe.

When it comes our time to go, most of us would opt to die as my father did—quietly and quickly. Sure, it was hell on those of us who remained behind because no one ever expected it to happen; he was just 69 years old. For him, however, there was no extended suffering or pain.

The California End of Life Option Act went into effect this week, and I’m thankful that I now live in a state where I can have a say in how my life ends if this cancer thing ultimately gets the better of me.

Yes, I’m getting waaaaaay ahead of myself. The only question is whether more courage is required to make that end-of-life decision or to suffer through cancer running its natural course.

Mom wasn’t afraid of dying, but her biggest fear was that of suffering at the end. Her fears came true. I know she would have jumped at the chance to make her own determination on how to avoid that suffering if the option was available to her.

Again, I hope that I don’t have to worry about this for a very, very long time. I’ll settle on worrying about the next PSA test results for now.

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