Journeys to the Twilight Zone

It’s going to be undetectable. It’s going to be 20. It’s going to be 2.4. Pick any number between zero and a thousand and during the last week that’s what I’ve thought my next PSA test result will be.

I had my last blood test almost 6 months ago and am going for another one next week in preparation for my oncologist appointment the week after. Just putting that in writing makes the butterflies in my stomach prepare for take off as I am forced to think of the possible results and the potential for bad news. I am not alone in this phenomenon, commonly known in prostate cancer circles as “PSA Anxiety”.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever heard a doctor use the phrase but ask any man who has to have regular PSA blood tests and I bet 99 out of a 100 will tell you they experience it, along with the dark thoughts, the “what ifs?”, the restless nights and the short fuses.

For over 5 months I haven’t really thought much about how I’m doing. My PSA level is not something that is always on my mind probably because overall I feel pretty good, apart from feeling tired most of the time, of course. I just pop my daily Bicalutamide pill and subconsciously hope that it is doing what it’s supposed to do – preventing the cancer from growing and spreading.

Once again I’ve found keeping busy takes my mind off things. I feel like I’ve never been so active, both physically and mentally, so I have to watch I don’t overdo it. All the activity helps me get off to sleep the second my head touches the pillow but it doesn’t stop me waking up in the middle of the night to have a good worry. Little good that does, I know, but I don’t plan these nocturnal panics, they just happen. I toss and I turn too tired to get up and too awake to get back to sleep while my mind races off on its own to the far reaches of my imagination, then back again before disappearing to other very dark corners before I finally drift off to sleep again.

I suspect that by this time next week my fears will have been allayed and I’ll resume my regular routine where anxiety has ceased to play a major part. I hope so. It’ll never be entirely gone but will just be lurking at the back of my mind because I know eventually that PSA test result will come, the one that won’t diminish the anxiety but will instead cause it to go through the roof. All things considered, I’d rather have my six-monthly series of trips back to the Twilight Zone. I’m not greedy, another 50 or 60 would be fine.


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