The Dream And Other Things.

Prostate Progress - I

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Prostate Progress - I
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Prostate Progress IV
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Prostate Progress VI
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From diagnosis to, well, whatever the outcome is, in chronological order. Whatever happens along the way I fully intend to maintain these pages, as this is a subject too often ignored by most men.

3rd February 2003......Allocated a National Health Service doctor as part of my taking up residencia here in Spain. Saw him today for the first time and he is a great chap, speaks good English too. Because he doesn't know anything about me, health wise, he sent me off for blood tests and an ECG. Will see him later about the results.
10th February 2003......ECG today and that went off OK. Just a simple matter of getting wired up to the machine.
11th February 2003......Blood and urine tests this morning. Biggest problem was getting the urine in the bottle.
17th February 2003......Urine, sugar, cholesterol levels all OK but doctor a little concerned about the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) at 8.8, and has referred me to a urologist. We are off to the UK first for a holiday, and then flying to Florida to pick up a boat for a two week cruise. A 50th Wedding Celebration. I'll think about the urologist when we come back.
28th April 2003......Saw urologist today and he gave me an internal exam via rectum. Sounds worse than it is and when you think what the ladies have to go through, then it's nothing. He didn't find anything to concern him particularly and asked me if I would like to continue with tests or wait until next year as the PSA figure was marginal and could mean something or nothing. I elected to contine being tested, might as well find out sooner rather than later. More tests then.
26th May 2003......More blood tests and a scan of the prostate. This is like one of those that women have to check on their babies. No discomfort at all and quite interesting. They can also get the size of the prostate with this machine.
4th June 2003......Urologist again and he isn't too keen on the size of my prostate so he is sending me for a biopsy at the University teaching hospital near Alicante.
23rd July 2003......Nurse came to the apartment late this evening to give me an enema ready for the biopsy tomorrow morning.
24th July 2003......A Nil By Mouth morning and off to the hospital. Had a blood test on arrival to test for blood coagulation properties. Next into the biopsy room. The staff there talk you through the operation, because you don't have an anesthetic and they like you to know what is going on. The biopsy is done through the anus and six samples are cut from the prostate for later examination. I won't pretend that this is a comfortable operation because it isn't, but neither is it particularly painful. You are lying in the foetal position while things go on behind your back and the most surprising thing was the amount of noise produced each time the cutter does it's job, a really loud crack which would have made me jump off the bed if I hadn't known what was going to happen. Started on a stiff course of antibiotics straight away to combat any possible infection from the biopsy. Some blood in urine and stools for a few days after the biopsy but this is quite normal.
20th August 2003......Visit to the urologist for results of biopsy. Of the six samples taken, two of them contained malignant cancer cells, not so good. The specialist said that in his opinion the cancer hadn't spread beyond the prostate but that a body scan would be needed to confirm that. In the mean time I was to go on a program of pills and injections to hopefully contain the cancer. The pills are to stop the production of the male hormone testosterone as this hormone feeds the cancer. In effect this is a chemical castration. While I was waiting for the scan and the prostate to reduce in size I was to give some thought, a lot of thought really, as to which course of treatment I wished to follow. The specialist said there were only two choices when the time came, major surgery to remove the prostate completely or radiation therapy upon the prostate. The choice was mine and he wouldn't advise me either way. Each choice carried it's own risks so it was up to me as to what I thought I could live with if things didn't turn out 100% right.
22nd August 2003......Started on a course of three a day tablets and also flying off to the UK today for ten days. Give me a bit of a change from doctors and nurses.
3rd September......Nurse came to the aprtment to give me the first of a series of three monthly hormone injections.
15th September......Another Nil By Mouth day and off to the hospital for a body scan. Turned up at 10:30 and was given a litre of water and told to drink it, foul tasting it was too, then come back in 90 minutes for the scan. Retired to the bar with the water while my wife had her usual espresso, lucky gal. Back to the scan room 90 minutes later and I was fitted up with an injection point in my arm where some kind of fluid is pumped in while the scan is in progress. Whole thing took about half an hour, no problem.
18th September 2003......Had a phone call for me to go back to the hospital tomorrow as they want to do another scan. Don't like the sound of that.
19th September 2003......No Nil By Mouth today so had breakfast as normal. Hospital once more and I asked the technician why the second scan. I was told that technically the first one was fine and the results would go to my specialist who would then tell me the medical result. This second scan was because they had seen something that shouldn't be there lower down the body and it needed closer inspection. Gawd, I am beginning to wish I hadn't bothered. Have to wait now until I see the specialist again and that's not till the 28th October. Ah well, never mind.

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