I am calling this page my Cancer Chronicles. As I am likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer within a few days, I am going to log my experience through the process. I will share pix, video, thoughts, and feelings as this journey continues.
My goal is to make this as my final entry: MY PROBLEMS ARE ALL BEHIND ME NOW!
This chronicle will be logged with the latest entry on top. You want to read from the bottom up…or you may not.
Here we go!
Mar 16 – At the request of my urologist, I have reached out for a second opinion. As luck would have it, a family friend of ours, former pro Golfer Jay Sigel, has some contacts at the University of Pennsylvania’s PennMedicine.
I sent along my labs, etc., for him to review. He called me back this morning and told that he would recommend that I have what is called a FUSION BIOPSY. This is where you have your MRI and biopsy at the same time. The real-time imaging helps guide the biopsy needles right into the core of the lesion.
I have reached back out to my local urologist for his thoughts.
Mar 14 – I heard back from the doctor’s office this morning. One of the assistants called me and shared the urologists feedback on my results. Here are his exact notes:
Please let the patient know that I reviewed his results. He can be conservative and we can follow up in 6 months with a repeat PSA or he could consider starting finasteride which can shrink his prostate or he can consider surgery to debulk his prostate and help him void easier while decreasing his PSA. Up to him. I probably would lean towards either nothing and follow up in 6 months or start finasteride and follow up in 6 months with a PSA.– Dr. Henderson
Below are 2 screenshots from the report the doctor was given from the biopsy lab. You can click on the images to see a larger version.
All 12 samples were benign. This is AMAZING and almost MIRACULOUS news considering the size and severity of the lesion found on the MRI.
Naturally, I am quite pleased (and surprised) by this outcome.
I am extremely grateful to the many people who offered their prayers, positive thoughts and energy. I truly believe all of that makes a difference.
Thanks to each of you! Much love.
My next step now is to decide how to deal with the enlarged prostate.
Mar 13 – I just spoke with the nurse at the doctor’s office about the results of the biopsy.
When we completed the biopsy last Tuesday, he told me that I should fully expect that I have cancer. He also told me that since there was a chance the results would come in Friday (which they did not) how to decipher the call from the office medical assistant.
He told me that if they call and tell me that he wants to meet with me to discuss the results, then that means the cancer is confirmed. He said the assistants were not allowed to give those results over the phone.
The data showed that 9 out of 10 men who have a Level 5 PI-RADS score like mine, have cancer. That is one of the reasons he said what he said during the biopsy.
I recorded the call with the nurse today. You can listen below.
I am cautiously optimistic. Like I said on the call, I am waiting to hear his take on the results. I want to make sure the results are read correctly, and if they are, I am interested to learn about what if anything we do next. After all, there is a 2 cm lesion on my prostate.
So my fun way of thinking of it today is CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM, at least for another day.
Mar 7 – The biopsy. Prior to this day, I did a lot of research on what takes place during the biopsy. I found out that an incision is made in the perineum area (between the testicles and the rectum) and then they stick 12 or more needles into the opening to take the biopsy samples from the prostate. All this while being awake. Each version I read spoke of the pain involved and said that many reported it to be quite horrible.
From the day I read that info, I started to seriously dread having the biopsy. After all, I am the type who sweats profusely in the dentist’s chair just getting my teeth cleaned. I had weeks to dread it.
Something strange happened 2 days before the biopsy. I calm and peace started working its way throughout my mind and body. It was strange and unexpected. On the day of the procedure, I calmly drove to the doctor’s office and entered with very little nerves or worry. The video below gives a brief glimpse of the room of the procedure.
When the doctor came into the room, the first words out of his mouth were, “I want you to know that you probably have cancer.” I nodded in agreement and then told him that is also what I had determined based upon my research.
He then started to tell me about the procedure. This is the funny part for me. It turns out that the procedure that I researched was NOT the procedure that this doctor uses.
He uses a procedure where no incision is made. Instead, he inserts the sonogram probe (which looked and felt like a baseball bat) into the rectum so that he can see the prostate. He then moves the probe to one side and then the other to inject lidocaine into the major nerves on either side of the prostate. Following that, he moves the probe side to side to insert 6 biopsy needles, one at a time, on each side, totaling 12.
Well, that didn’t seem as bad as the incision method. And perhaps it was not as bad, but that does not mean that it still wasn’t bad….because is sure as heck was!
When he put the probe in, I thought I was going to die. I could barely breathe. He kept trying to talk to me and have me respond. All I could do was to give him thumbs up signals to his questions.
I thought I was going to start bawling. I was getting nauseated from the discomfort of the probe.
Getting the lidocaine shot was barely noticeable other than the probe being move to accommodate the needles.
The 12 biopsy needles felt like little sparks going off inside of me. There were not very painful, just very, very different. Again, the probe moving side to side was the worst part.
I am not sure exactly how long it took, but I am guessing it was around 15 minutes. I was so relieved when it was over!
After getting dressed, I was able to drive back home with no problem or complication. I am writing this 3 days later. I have not had any problems. I do have a little tiny bit of tenderness in my behind, but all seems as it should be.
Now comes the waiting game for results.
Feb 14 – The MRI results came in. The urologist called to let me know that the MRI showed a 2 cm lesion the base of the prostrate. A screenshot of the report is below. The report indicates that the lesion has a PI-RADS (Prostate Imaging Report and Data System) score of 5, which is the worst. I have included a screenshot of the PI-RADS scale below.
My level 5 rating indicates “clinically significant cancer is highly likely to be present.” Here is a link in case you want to geek out and learn more.
After doing some more research, I found this information on survivability rates for prostate cancer. After reading it, I am naturally hoping that mine is localized and has shown no signs of spreading.
Feb 10 – I had the MRI at Mountain View Hospital in Payson. Apparently, this was the closest facility that had the new MRI machine with the best technology for prostate scanning. The MRI was with contrast, which means they injected a fluid through an IV that helps with the imaging.
The MRI experience was a bit surreal. As I mentioned in the video below, it was like a groovy Sci-FI experience out of a Stanley Kubrik movie. Sounds and sites that were quite unique. While the scan was going on, they played Pink Floyd via the headphones they gave me. I was in there for about an hour or so.
Feb 6, 2023 – Visit with the Urologist. He explains the PSA results. He wants to have an MRI to see if there is anything going on with the prostate. Next day, I got a call and the MRI was schedule a few days out.
Dec 27 – New blood results show that after the antibiotics, the PSA actually increased to 9.9. Wrong way Jackson! The Urologist wants to do an MRI. However, a few days later, the Urologist calls and says in order for it to be covered by insurance, I have to come in for an in-person visit.
Dec 22 – Gave new blood for follow up test.
Dec 9 – Blood results show terrific cholesterol and triglycerides. However, PSA is a 7, my highest ever. Normal should be around 4 or less. GP Doc refers me back to the urologist. I mentioned to him that I was having some tenderness in the perineum area (between scrotum and anus). It was sensitive and painful if I sat on a bike at the gym. So I had to stop cycling. Urologist prescribes a round of antibiotics to rule out prostatitis. Since my PSA score has gone up and down a bit, he thought it would be good to try the antibiotic 14-day regimen and then retest.
Dec 6, 2022 – Regular physical. Gave blood.
Here is the first video I made talking about my health situation.