Gut Rumbles

November 17, 2004

i don't mind

I'm always surprised when I write about my experience with prostate cancer and receive a lot of emails (well... four or five PRIVATE emails on one post are a lot to me) from guys going through the same thing I did or just getting ready to face it. That's some pretty spooky stuff for a guy, and I damn sure don't mind talking about it if I can help anyone else through a rough time. I wish I had known someone to talk to when I was going through it.

Breast cancer gets a lot more publicity, but prostate cancer kills more people than breast cancer does every year. That's a fact, and the treatments for prostate cancer are myriad. I suggest that every man past the age of 40 have a PSA test done every year, and if you come up positive on a subsequent biopsy, do a lot of reading before you make a decision about what to do. Once you make that decision, there's no turning back.

Talk to more than one doctor. If you're an old fart with a slow-moving cancer, tell everybody to kiss your ass and wait for something else to kill you first. That's a good bet. If you're 48 years old, the way I was when I was diagnosed, you have to weigh your options and select the best one. There IS no good one, but you can choose the lesser of several evils.

I made my choice and it appears to be the right one, because I'm still at a zero PSA more than three years after a radical prostatectomy. The doc killed my dick, but he saved my life. I consider myself to be a lucky man.

Yeah, I wish none of that shit ever happened to me. But it did, and I was stuck with it. Knowing what I know now... if I had it all to do over again... would I make the same choice? I've spent more than three years thinking about that question and only recently have I made up my mind about the answer.

Yes. I would. I did the right thing.

Guys... don't hesitate to write me about this problem. I don't claim to be an expert, but I'll tell you what I know from my personal experience. I won't lie to you, either.

I may not be much more than a candle in the dark, but that's more light that I had when I walked into that tunnel.


You're a good man, Acidman. I'm only 27 so, hopefully I won't have to worry about this problem for a while, but I DO check myself for the testicular cancer regularly. Hey, I'm not taking any chances with the jewels. They're a VERY important part of ME. Thanks. And I'll heed your advice for my prostate in the future.

Austin, Texas

Posted by: Jason H on November 17, 2004 11:41 PM

Well after my dad and your advice I'm going in for I'm 40 and please be gentle on the sphinxter Doctor test. My dad had his prostate removed 2 years ago and I know that means that I have an elevated chance of developing prostate cancer someday. Keep telling people to take this serious cause it is.

Thanks Again.

Posted by: shastarob on November 18, 2004 12:19 AM

Well said, Rob! There is a nice bone or two in your body, no matter WHAT velociman says!

Posted by: Michele on November 18, 2004 04:53 AM

Those who've scouted the difficult path make the best guides for others to follow. Your offer to answer questions makes both practical & compassionate sense. I hope many will take you up on it.

9 years ago a lifelong friend took many of us on his pancreatic cancer journey to the Abyss. He answered EVERY SINGLE QUESTION all of us caregivers & others asked, for he hoped to allay some of our fears. I've never forgotten his selfless quest to help counquer ignorance & fear.

As for the annual "finger wave" & PSA, I'm 56 now & wouldn't miss it. Not that I enjoy the digital closeness with the doc, but the peace of mind is worth it.

Isn't it ironic how few (any???) ribbons, golf tournaments & 10K runs there are for prostate cancer? Just not a disease with political clout, I guess.

Posted by: Hap Arnold on November 18, 2004 02:26 PM

My father went through the same thing as you and he, too, is zero PSA to this day. Supposedly, the nerve that is often severed in the prostatectomy, which results in impotence, was not in his case but he did experience it anyway. I don't know if any functionality has returned yet.

My father's brother also has prostate cancer but they caught it too late. The surgeon went in to remove the prostate, took one look, and just sewed him back up. It had metastasized all over the place. He's still alive and controlling it through medication. He seems perfectly healthy but I don't know how much longer that will last.

The two of them together equals family history so you bet I'm going to be watching for it. I pretty much expect that it will eventually strike me as well.

Posted by: RadarRider on November 18, 2004 04:17 PM

Great post. My father's was caught early, in 1991-ish or so. He had the op, which was successful, and gave him eight more years. After he went in for one of his tests in 1998 he received the news that the cancer had returned. He did some chemo and even went into a clinical study (run by asshole doctors who didn't give a shit about their patients -- don't get me started) but at that point he was dying. Betweeb his operation in '91 and his death, his quality of life was excellent, until the last five or so months. Then it was straight downhill, and almost unbearable to watch, especially in the last stages. But watch it I did, and I was with my dad throughout, something I take a little solace from.

Your comment about the disparity between the attention that breat cancer gets and the attention that prostate cancer gets rings true. Breast cancer seems more fashionable. I can't help but think that people find prostate cancer offensive to talk about because of where the prostate resides. There are other factors, I'm sure.

Again, great post. Good luck managing it.

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