“It’s only prostate cancer”

I’ve yet to meet a man with prostate cancer who thinks it’s “only” anything. I’ve just had a year of hell and thought it was coming to an end. It seems it’s not.

Despite undergoing major surgery to remove the offending organ and then having 32 sessions of radiotherapy over six and a half weeks, I’ve just been told my PSA level has gone up some more. Bearing in mind I no longer have a prostate to produce PSA, my PSA level should be around zero. Before I started radiotherapy it had increased to 1.3. Now it’s 1.6. What does that mean? It means not good.

I didn’t expect my first post-radiotherapy blood test to show a zero level, or even close to zero, but I did expect it to have gone down a bit, rather than up. I think my Oncologist did, too. She explained how what has happened is not unheard of and it could still go down and she wants me back in 3 months to see if it has. I like my Onco and I trust her. I know she wouldn’t say that unless it was possible, but I know she can’t guarantee it. I hope it does go down.

The hope is that the rising PSA might be the dying cancer cells having their final fling before once and for all curling up and dying and leaving me alive and kicking. The radiation will have frazzled them to the point they will die, but the little buggers are taking their time. I sincerely hope that’s all it is. The other possibility is that the cancer has already spread further and in 3 or 4 months I’ll be starting hormone therapy.

It’s bloody depressing. No kidding. It really is! I’m not about to pop my clogs but it wasn’t that long ago that my list of options seemed fairly long (for cancer) and now it feels like I’m using them up a lot faster than I thought possible. I’d always planned to live till I was at least 90 and to be a miserable demanding old git. OK, so I’ve already achieved most of that, but the 90 would have been nice, too. Right now, today, I’m having trouble seeing beyond five years.

The people who’ve actually voiced their opinion to me about it being “only” prostate cancer now seem even bigger twats than I thought when they said it. I wish I’d told them at the time instead of maintaining a polite, if incredulous, smile. Next time they’ll be left in no doubt.

So what do I do for the next three months? It’s September. I can hardly sit in a darkened room till December, can I? I have to try to put it all to the back of my mind and get on with it. I can hear the aforementioned twats saying “easy”. Yeah, well, they would, wouldn’t they?

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