Thursday, April 17, 2008

Uncomfortable Moments Update

I left you about 4 months ago having just received a phone call from my doctor telling me that the test results of my prostate biopsy were fine but that I would have to come back to him in about 3 months for a follow up visit. I did not heed my own advice to lose his phone number and address.

Several weeks ago I went back to Frank's office. Blood was taken to see if my PSA levels had gone down from the time of the first go round. I was feeling fine, and was certainly hopeful that I would get the good news I wanted. I had to wait a week for the results.

I was also, at this visit, scheduled to have a minor growth removed by Frank. Modesty prevents me from discussing any of the specifics relating to the whereabouts of the offending mole. With little mental preparation, I lay down on the 'operating table' and was shown, from a camera being projected onto a screen, the site where the work was to be done. I had absolutely no interest in watching the proceedings and suggested that the screen be used for me to watch a replay of the Yankee game from the night before.

After receiving a series of local injections, the dicing, slicing and splicing began in earnest. For several minutes, small pieces of me were taken away and deposited into receptacles, to be analyzed. Once this process was complete, and the offending parts removed, the stitching commenced. You would have thought there was a crater being sewn up from the number of stitches utilized. I would think my head and my feet were being tied together for this much work to be necessary.

Finally, the work was completed and I was sent home, to deal with my physical and emotional wounds, and to wait for the results of the blood test.

When Frank called the following week , he said that the growth was benign, as expected. However, the results of the blood test on the PSA levels were not as hoped for, which meant that I would have to go through round 2 of the biopsy . Frank said there was no rush, but I decided to do the procedure as soon as possible (last Friday).

The time waiting to go in for the procedure was painful on several levels. The recovery from the minor surgery was not as minor as I would have expected. I was not able to move about freely and had some level of discomfort. I also was envisioning my upcoming reunion with Frank and the instruments of torture.

The day finally arrived and the biopsy itself went very well. I guess, because I had been through it before, I was slightly more relaxed. Frank reported that I was not quite the tight ass I was the first time, and thus his work was a little easier. After viewing the pictures he had taken, Frank stated that the medication I had been ingesting the last 3 months seemed to be doing its job on the prostate. Yet, I would have to wait another week to get definitive answers.

Tomorrow would be one week from the biopsy. That also happens to be my birthday. By this morning, I decided to try to get an accelerated answer. I did not want to spend my birthday waiting to hear news I didn't want to hear. I called Frank's office, advised them of my birthday, and asked if there was any way they could try to get the results to me today. They said they would do what they could.

About an hour later, I picked up the phone. It was Frank, singing happy birthday to me. It was the best rendition I had ever heard. He then gave me the good news, and told me to stay the course with my medication, to try to fight off what appears to be no more than a stubborn infection. I am to repeat the song and dance with him in another 3 months.

I have 2 friends who are battling cancer. One has been sick for a while, and has handled his struggles with amazing grace and dignity. He is forever positive and is always upbeat in our conversations. When we speak, he is more concerned with talking about my issues or my son's efforts to get back to good health, then he is about focusing on himself.

The other friend has been recently diagnosed. He has avoided doctors studiously for almost 15 years until his health demanded his attention. He went to the doctors and was then rushed by ambulance to the hospital, where he spent 13 days. He had surgery done, and is hopefully on the way to a full and speedy recovery. Like my other friend, he speaks little of his own condition but deflects attention onto others.

It is not easy to face up to our mortality. These past few months have given me a small window into what waits for all of us.While I watch my friends deal with harsh realities in courageous fashion, I don't know if I would have the inner fortitude that they have shown. I hope it is many years from now before I have to find the answer to that question.

In the meantime, I will follow the doctor's orders and take my medication every morning. I don't want to have to be reporting to you , after my next visit, about round 3 of my biopsy battles. I would rather be reporting on the battles between McCain and Obama or the Yankees and the Red Sox. Until then, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope that any future 'contact' with Frank is just verbal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, did we forget your birthday again.... damn I thought it was today. Oh well, Happy Birthday!!!! Big kisses, P and T