Today I turn 72! Actually I turned 72 yesterday because I was born on the other side of the International Date Line in Australia.
Today is not a day to be thinking about cancer and psa, blood work and radium223, it is a day to CELEBRATE!!
Therefore my darling S and I are going out for an intimate dinner this evening where I may even consume a small amount of alcohol and a large amount of dessert!
Actually I have felt rather well the last few days…..
I believe I will make it to 73!!
I find that doing crosstitch is a wonderful way to relax and take my mind off myself. The works that I am doing are destined to remind people that I lived a good life and that I cared about them. The Shiralee tapestry is yet to be framed and will go to my daughter.
The second project is for Stefanie. It is her favourite Australian wildflower, the Waratah. Both are around 10″ x 13″ in size. Following the Waratah I plan to do a boat that my son built, a 36 ft Van de Stadt sloop.
Thank you to all of my blog friends for your support and encouragement. You do not know how much you mean to me.
Why would I celebrate a psa of 91.6? Because it is lower than the last psa of 160, that’s why!! The Zytiga and prednisone continue to work so S and I are very pleased with progress. The cementoplasty in February has restored strength and stability to my left hip though I continue to use my stick and my faithful walker when I am out and about. Cancer wise I have no symptoms that I am aware of. There are no ugly swollen bits of bone and to look at me you would think I am perfectly well…and I feel well, better than I have in a long time.
The photo above is of a cross stitch that I began in March as both therapy and pastime. It will be a picture of a boat that I designed and built back in the early 70s. I hope someone will treasure it when I am gone. There is love for family in every stitch.
WARNING!! THE NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS GRAPHICALLY GROSS SCENES!!
My life at this time is great. There is only one drawback apart from the inevitable, which I plan to postpone for as long as possible. Ostomy blues. The polite word for it is “output”. Mostly my output is manageable. You may be aware of the expression “sticks like shit to a blanket!” Well, I am here to tell you the “output” sticks to everything! Now I always wear protective gloves when draining my pouches, and mostly I manage to avoid trouble. Last week we were out shopping when I felt a sudden and voluminous outpouring of output. I quickly went to a disability washroom only to be beaten to the door by a staff member. After a considerable wait, S knocked on the door and the staff member came out. I think she was taking a break. Anyway, I knelt before the throne as I do to empty the pouch. The next step is to sit on the throne while I clean and reseal the pouch. However, as I made the transition from kneeling to sitting, there was a sudden rush of liquid you know what and a mad panic to minimise the damage. You can guess the rest! I tell you these things because no one talks about it.
Should I tell you what happened this week? It was even worse. Every 5-6 days I change the adhesive flange that supports the ostomy pouch. While I am unencumbered, feeling free, just me and my stoma, I like to have a bath and then allow my skin to air and have a break from the sticky plaster that supports the flange. This usually does not cause a problem, and on the rare occasions there is output, I can catch it in a tissue and dispose of it in a plastic bag kept nearby for the purpose. This week however routine turned to disaster. Diarrhea Disaster! After about an hour of relaxing rest while watching TV, airing my belly, suddenly there was an outpouring of output like you would not believe. Totally without warning. There were screams of horror, more tissues and plastic bags required quickly. I got off the bed while S removed the sheet and headed for the bathroom where I sat for the next half hour in my birthday suit while the thing in my belly got rid of what was left.
Well, now you have some idea of what it is like to live with a colostomy bag. I apologise if you are having dinner… but at least there is still cause for celebration!!
I never thought I would pass Maths……. but I did.
I never thought I would get married and have children….but I did
I never thought I would find S again…….but I did
I never thought I would build a 55 ft yacht…….but I did
I never thought I would go to University………but I did
I never thought I would get divorced……..but I did
I always thought I would be wealthy………but I’m not
I always thought I would sail around the world…..but I didn’t
I never thought I would have Prostate Cancer………………………
Every picture tells a story, and what a story this one tells. Compare it to the one I published some time back! The metastasis has multiplied and grown despite my optimism. Many people have expressed their concern for me and I do appreciate your words of support. Some say they are sad. I don’t want you to be sad for me. I only publish this rather personal picture of me to show you how technology can find exactly where the enemy is. If we can see it maybe we can do something about it. I am assured that while there is no cure as yet, there are treatments that can slow it down and improve my quality of life……
Speaking of quality of life, I do experience pain in my lower back and hip, but it is manageable. I am concerned about falling and /or fracturing my hip. However I have to say my quality of life has never been better! I am happier than I have ever been to be honest! Now that S is back in my life! She will join me in Australia in 2 weeks and we will never be separated again! We have both realised that we are each other’s first and last true love! That is a wonderful thing to discover at the age of 70! I consider myself to be so lucky, believe it or not!
Having cancer has liberated me to do things I might otherwise have put off until it is too late, so please don’t feel sad for me, be happy that I have found my soul mate and that we are living!!
My oncologist will discuss treatment options later this month. Meanwhile S and I will do some sightseeing and visiting friends and family. Doing things we may never have gotten around to doing!
Life is for living, and that is what we are doing!
Cancer is not my enemy…..I am cancer’s enemy!!
Finally some good news, my psa is going down!! Around a month ago my psa was 107 and doubling in under 5 weeks. By a rough estimate, when S gave me my Zoladex injection on April 21, it would have been around 140. A blood test May 5 gave a psa of 110! A drop of 30 in 2 weeks! So it appears the hormone injection is working despite a testosterone level of zero. I never would have expected to call a psa of 110 good news. Yet it is! I thank Dr JM for his advice, encouraging me to use the Zoladex…..
Meanwhile I am adapting to life down under in sub-tropical New South Wales. Having survived one of the coldest winters in recent history in Canada, I am now feeling the cold in Australia. I believe the hormone treatment affects the body’s ability to regulate its temperature. It is a small price to pay.
S is still in Canada and we are missing each other terribly, although we communicate daily by email, and the occasional phone call. Tomorrow I will see my oncologist and will discuss the next step in the journey. I feel well apart from some occasional arthritic complaints. I really don’t have any evidence or symptoms of cancer apart from that number! What if I have experienced a spontaneous remission? How will I explain that? Black Salve? Curcumin? Faith? or modern medicine?
Unrealistic!! Don’t get your hopes up. What else is there? We stop hoping for a cure or at least a long term slowing of disease progression we are dead already!! And so I fight on, believing that S and I will have a long and happy future!
Cancer is not my enemy – I am cancer’s Enemy!!
Footnote: The ship in the photo is the French barque “Adolphe” that was wrecked entering Newcastle Harbour in 1904. Her bones rest against Stockton breakwater to this day. The photo is part of the Newcastle City Library collection. Other ships had been wrecked in the same place, known as The Oyster Bank.