Tuesday 15 August. The day finally arrived for the long awaited visit to the Medical Oncologist. After our previous bad experience with a registrar, we were disappointed when a young female doctor called my name. Not another registrar! How wrong we were. First she asked about my medical history and how I came to live in Canada. She discussed treatment options with insight, sensitivity and compassion.
Once she had sufficient information, including the story of how we were re-united after 51 years, she asked us to wait while she spoke to the Medical Oncologist. It turned out he is the Director of the Oncology Department and he came to see us. He explained my current status in detail and showed us the old and new psma scans side by side as he did so. He discussed treatment options and advised that as I am experiencing few symptoms at this time he feels it is too early to start chemotherapy. Apparently the Zoladex is still having a beneficial effect and he believes the sudden rise in psa was due to me not using it when it was due.
He also said that a psa of 140 was not a bad thing as it has been stable at that level for the past 2 months (apart from a brief spike of 160). He was very understanding about our desire to return to Canada and has supplied me with scripts for enough medication to last 6 months. Ideally he would like to see me in 3 months, but is happy for me to keep in touch via email, monitoring my psa and advising any change in symptoms. I am to see him again in February 2018.
So, all things considered a pretty good outcome. I need to have some dental work done prior to commencing Denosumab (Xgeva) injections every 4 weeks, to strengthen bones and hopefully slow down the bone metastases. I am also to continue Zoladex injections every 3 months. There is an increasing risk of hip and femur fracture so no more skate boarding for me! (Just kidding, I have never ridden one!) I am also taking Gumby Gumby daily, it is supposed to boost immunity and healing. The doctor said it can’t hurt, so worth a try.
So, S and I are looking forward to returning to Canada in a few short weeks. She has been very patient and I am blessed to have her in my life. My sinuses are much improved and I am feeling much stronger. Ready for the next stage in the cancer merry-go-round.
I am very grateful for the support and prayers of so many people, people I regard as friends, all around the world. Thank you, and God bless you all.
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.
This morning I received the long awaited phone call. “Your psa is 107”. I had so much hoped for a much lower number than last time (48.6), or at least a levelling off. I was even prepared for at worst a doubling (97.2) but 107 came as quite a shock. S and I were getting ready to go out to lunch with some friends. We had a great lunch, fresh Halibut at a great venue, right near Vancouver airport. Of course we could not say too much as we are still trying to come to terms with what this number actually means……
So, what does it mean? At first sight it would appear to indicate that the cancer cells are multiplying at an increasing rate. A closer look at the graph shows that there was a decrease following radiotherapy and then a sudden rise coinciding with taking black salve internally in October 2016. I am now taking a powder form of black salve in capsules. To be more correct it is a mixture of bloodroot powder, chaparral powder, graviola powder and burdock root powder. None of which would cause me any harm, but should disrupt cancer cells.
Prostate cancer is supposed to be slow growing, so maybe it is reasonable to assume it will be slow to die as well. (It works for me!). I can theorise about it until the cows come home, but at the end of the day only definitive tests by my oncologist will reveal the true story. I plan therefore to return to Australia where I can have testing and receive treatment.
Tonight, S will give me a Zoladex injection and I will have another psa test in 3 weeks to see if it is making a difference. My sincere thanks go to Dr JM for his advice. (I am so grateful that you cared enough to give your opinion.)
Maybe some reader is wondering about how I am feeling. I feel disappointed. I feel frustrated that I will have to leave my beloved S, even if it only for a short time. I hope she will join me in Australia at a later date. I feel there are so many things that I have not done and may not be able to do, yet at the same time I am grateful for the things I have done, the people I have met and the opportunity to spend real quality time with the woman I love. I feel hopeful that my treatment will be successful and that we will return soon to Canada in time to enjoy the beautiful weather that is just now coming with Spring. I thank all of my readers for your prayers, your good wishes and your support. God bless all of you. Les.