2006. I was driving to work, listening to the radio. There was an ad urging men over 50 to get their prostates checked, specifically, have a psa test. “It is just a little prick” is how they described the procedure, a simple blood test. How true that clever little play on words turned out to be!
I heard the ad just about every day. I was 59. My reaction to it was that this is just another way to get money from us by inducing fear. No way I was falling for that!
Fast forward to 2008, my GP referred me for a routine blood test, “just checking” she said. The next time I saw her she told me my psa was 10. It should be 4 or less, so she referred me to a urologist. The waiting room was full of quiet men, some alone, some with partners. The plan was to wait and see. 3 months later my psa was 11, and 3 months after that it was 12.
Be prepared, as they say in the Boy Scouts. When you see a urologist or any male doctor you will get a DRE.(Digital Rectal Examination) Goes something like this… “Lie on the table on your side, facing the wall. Lift your knee up to your face.” You then hear the rubber glove going on, ‘Snap!!’. Next thing, the KY Jelly and two fingers slide into your fundamental orifice. A bit of a feel around and then a sucking noise as he withdraws his fingers. A quick glimpse of a dirty rubber glove going in the bin. He smiles and says nothing.
“You will have to have a needle biopsy”. This sadist of a urologist shoved a ‘gun’up my rectum and shot me 17 times. Each time was excruciatingly painful. I had told my brother about my psa. his was rising also. He had the biopsy under general anaesthetic. Afterwards, I could hardly walk.
The needle removes tiny pieces of prostate tissue for analysis. Well, not so tiny, they were 15 to 25 mm in length. I read somewhere that the the holes were too small for cancer cells to escape. BULLSHIT!! Next time I had an orgasm I came blood. And the time after that for two weeks.If blood can get into the prostate, surely cancer cells can get out?
The diagnosis was “malignant; bilateral prostatic adenocarcinoma”. Gleason Score 3+4=7.
The verdict……”you have about 15 years” delivered without emotion. I guess bad news is not easy to deliver, however I still wonder if this man has a heart!