Monday, February 20, 2012

Prostate Cancer - One Year Later

This past week I passed my one year anniversary as a cancer survivor.  It was last Valentines Day that I had a Radical Prostatectomy, having my prostate removed.  At that point everything looked very positive that the cancer had been completely contained within the prostate and should be gone.  But there is always the chance that the cancer had spread and might have migrated into my bones.  As a result my PSA, a blood test looking for a prostate antigen, become very important.  With the prostate gone it should be essentially 0.  But if the prostate cancer is growing in my bones that value will start to grow.  Well, the good news it that as of last week it is still at that 0 threshold; there is no sign that the cancer had spread.  This will continue to be an annual test just to be sure, but it was good to see.

Physically I seem to have fully recovered from the surgery, being able to do just about anything I could a year ago, other than become a new father; something I am not interested in anyway.  I am left with a 4 inch scar on my lower belly that is slowly fading, but no other signs.  And having the prostate gone  now saves me from one of the more unpleasant aspects of the annual physical; you older guys will know what I am talking about.

I am thankful that we have the technology now to discover this cancer at an early stage and to be able to deal with it, even though that process was less than pleasant.  Prostate cancer is generally a fairly slow growing cancer and easily treated when detected early, but very challenging to treat when not discovered in time.  I would encourage all of you men, especially once you are over 50, to keep an eye out for this.  Statistically, most men will get prostate cancer if they live long enough, so thinking it just happens to someone else is not really realistic.  Keep an eye on your PSA and learn about this disease.  Don't let it sneak up on you.

And my thanks again to Sue and her wonderful support through all this.  To the medical staff who took such good care of me.  And to all those who uplifted me in prayer during that time and still periodically check up on me.  And thanks to God who has used this event in my life to draw me closer to him.

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