The following is my day by day diary of my very personal story of what turned out to be a terrible scare that I had prostate cancer. I have provided updates on what actions I’m taking, what I’m thinking and feeling, and any tidbits of research that I dig up or glean from the physicians and healers that will be an inevitable part of my life.
Awesome news today from my urologist…..”Robbie, you don’t have cancer”. The best words I have ever heard in my life. The results from my second PSA test showed that the level dropped from 30 to 16 in a week. Combined with the “smooth and soft” description of my prostate, the urologist informed me with certainty that I’m clear. Yipppeeee!
The urologist put me on a script of strong antibiotics today that will last one week. I received a requisition for another PSA test the first week of September with a follow up appointment with the urologist the following week.
I have written another article today titled “Prostate Cancer: Great News & 20 Suggestions” that you might want to read.
If this is truly the end of the story, I’m a very happy man today. The trick will be to see if the changes that I have made in my life as a result of the misdiagnosis will stick. I hope so.
Went to a spin class this morning for a 40 minute ride. To avoid the problem of the pressure point I climbed the entire time. I feel good having just done something that I love
Nothing to report. I really miss exercising and especially riding my bike. I have read many times that people with prostate issues should not ride, as the pressure point from the seat is directly on the prostate.
Nothing to report. I feel more confident today. Despite the fact that 3 GPs and the radiology doctor recommended more investigation, which means “biopsy” in their world, my urologist, who is the real expert doesn’t think I have cancer. I’m sticking with the expert
Yesterday’s good news from the urologist was short lived. Actually, there was some good news in that there was no indication of cancer in my bladder. However, the results indicated that I have a “nodule” in my prostate measuring 0.8cm in diameter or about 5/16 of an inch. That makes the nodule a little bigger than a pea.
The information was sent to the walk in clinic where this all started, and to my family physician, and to my urologist. My family physician is away on holidays and my urologist is swamped. The lesson here is to have test results sent to everyone because there is a greater liklihood of somebody noticing.
The news was definitely a setback after yesterday’s optimistic news.
I called the urologist’s office a number of times, but nobody picked up the telephone. When I called after hours, I was able to leave a message…which may or may not be returned. These people are so swamped that they just can’t handle the volume.
As the son of a medical doctor, I realized how completely offside it would be to call the urologist at home, but I decided that this was too important. What did I have to lose? I looked up his home phone number and dialed. Even though the man is an acquaintance, I didn’t expect a warm reception. I have a lot of respect for doctor’s education and discipline, but I think most doctors are lacking on the human side. Not this guy. He is GREAT. I apologized for calling his home and he said it was not a problem at all. I told him the results and he said not to worry.
My urologist indicated that he was 80% to 90% certain that I don’t have cancer. He said that the nodule could be from an infection or just residual calcium. He said that a nodule of that size is not a worry and he definitely wouldn’t recommend a biopsy, which is what the doctor in the walk-in clinic recommended and the doctor that analysed the diagnostic testing certainly hinted at in his summary. My urologist indicated that biopsies come with a significant level of risk and should not be done unless deemed to be absolutely necessary. I felt relief at this statement because I’m very opposed to biopsies based upon everything I have read. The urologist indicated that he would personally look for my second PSA test results in the morning and get back to me if he had any concern.
This is a roller coaster.
The good news is that I feel very comfortable in the hands of the urologist and I trust him. He is open, honest, and encouraging. I just can’t say enough good things about him.
I can’t say the same for my family physician, as he had no right to tell me I had cancer without even giving me a DRE or without any additional test results. I can’t begin to describe the amount of stress his comments have created for my family and friends. I seem to be the least stressed of anyone, but even still, this has not been pleasant.
The people at the walk-in clinic are more like traffic cops as opposed to having relationships with their patients. They see different people every day and either write a script and make a referral. However, I must say that they have been very diligent in regards to calling me with test results and scaring the crap out of me twice by telling me that I have to come in for consultations immediately. It’s their job and they are doing it well.
It is really clear that this stuff needs to be put in the hands of specialists as they working on a much different level. They are focused on a specific modality and I’m glad they are.
I keep reading about how much better the medical care is in the States than Canada due to the Canadian system being slow from excess demand. I can’t see how the care could not possibly be any better so far, but I have taken things into my own hands as much as possible. There is a lesson here about not taking NO for an answer. The only fault I can see so far is that the GP’s should keep their mouths shut and just refer patients without giving uninformed opinions.
Within days of the initial visit to the walk-in clinic, I have had three visits at the clinic, a visit with my family physician, a visit and with the urologist, two PSA tests, and a Transrectal Ultrasound…will all results reported back. I have also spoken on the telephone with the urologist at his home…..all for free with our universal health care. I’m grateful.
I visited the diagnostic lab where I had a transrectal ultrasound. This is a process where they stick wand up your butt and probe around for a few minutes. It was slightly painful at times, but it is a lot more humiliating than painful. I made light of it and the technician seemed to appreciate the fact that I was making the best of an unpleasant task. This is not a job you want to do for a living, but somebody has to do it. They checked my prostate, rectum, kidneys and bladder. I had to drink 6 glasses of water (48 ounces) so that they could do the reading on my bladder. It is amazing how such personal stuff just becomes “matter of fact”. It reminds me of how public everything was when my wife was giving birth. The technician said that the results would be delivered the same day as the request was marked URGENT. There is a message here….get your doctor to make his requests URGENT if you want to avoid days or weeks of waiting. I don’t know about anyone else would respond, but I’m not in the mood for waiting these days.
When I finished up at the diagnostic imaging center, I decided to crash the urologist’s office. I knew that my family physician has sent a referral while the urologist was away on holiday, and now this week, my family physician was on holiday. My family physician told me the previous week to not take NO for an answer as it was very important that things start happening right away. So, I opened the door with the big sign that said “by appointment only” and walked in. The lady at the desk asked me if I had an appointment and I said no, but that my family physician had sent an URGENT request. She told me that they were backed up 2 weeks and I reminded her that I had PSA reading of 30.4 and this was URGENT. She relented and agreed to arrange for the urologist to see me in two days, which made me very happy.
Then lightning struck. As I was about to leave, the doctor walked up to the desk to get his next file. I looked at him and said Hi W____. He smiled and said “Robbie…how are you?”. I was amazed as I had only met the man a couple of times about 14 years ago. He came around the desk, shook my hand and said come into my office. I followed him in and we talked about family and life for a couple of minutes before he asked me why I was visiting. I told him the news about my PSA score. He said “let’s go into the next office and check you out”. I know the drill by now, so I bent over the table and lowered my pants for the DRE. About 15 seconds later, he said “you don’t have cancer”. I was astounded and asked him how he could be so sure. He told me that he has been doing DRE’s every day for many years and he just knew. He indicated that my prostate was soft and smooth. I was in shock….the same shock that I felt when my family physian told me in no uncertain terms that I had prostate cancer and that time was of the essence as I had left it so long.
The urologist indicated that my lab results showed that there was trace amounts of blood in my urine test that were invisible to the naked eye. He told me that he was pretty sure that my “chest cold” was probably an infection and he wanted me to have another PSA test.
I went to lab upstairs and gave more blood and urine. They indicated that they would have the results back to the urologist tomorrow afternoon.
The only bad news is that the lady on the desk in the urologist’s office gave me an appointment for 14 days ahead. When I went back to the urologist’s office to see if I could reschedule, there were ten people in the office and I left. I tried calling from home to no avail as she didn’t answer the telephone. I will call everyday and on Thursday, I will just drop in again as they should have the results from both places for sure.
What I learned is that if you don’t ask, you just have to wait. When I was at the diagnostics lab, I asked for them to check my bladder while they were in there and I asked them to provide results asap as I was visiting the urologist later that day. They tested the bladder and agreed to provide the results the same day instead of a week later. If I hadn’t visited the urologist’s office, I would not have received an appointment for two weeks at least.
All in all, a great day.
A holiday in Canada, so nothing going on. I feel good and my resolve to beat this is strong.
Actions: visited my healer for 2 hours where we talked and he did some energy work. He discussed how he works with two other healers as the power of healing is exponential as others assist. I came out of the meeting feeling very encouraged as the man and his group have performed many “miracles”. He doesn’t see them as miracles at all, but rather just utilizing their gift.
Feelings: I have come to grips with the fact that I have a fight on my hands….which should make me happy as I love a good scrap. I want to live. That may sound silly, but it is a key ingredient in the battle. The morbid thoughts are being replaced with positive thoughts. There will be lots of hurdles, but cancer is not a death sentence. Prostate cancer in particular is very fixable, so my biggest concern is that the cancer is still limited to my prostate.
July 30 Day 1… July 29, 2011
Actions: I was able to book an appointment with my energy healer for tomorrow. The meeting was supposed to be for August 3rd, but I decided to move the appointment up because the timing is critical. The reason the timing is critical is that I expect I will be meeting with the urologist on August 2nd and the urgency of my case may end up with me going for a biopsy right away. My meeting with my healer will play a role in the decision of whether to have a biopsy or not.
Everything I read about prostate cancer tells me that I need to get a biopsy in order to determine what stage the cancer is at. The biopsy will allow for the docs to provide a Gleason score. The lab report plays a crucial role in determining a course of action for the medical people if I choose to go that route.
While a biopsy is a “must” if a medical approach is taken, I have also read and believe that getting a biopsy is like poking a pin into a balloon. My healer requested that I hold off with the biopsy until he has had the opportunity to talk to me and to work with me on Sunday. His words were something like “you don’t want to poke the hornet’s nest”. While this advice may seem foolish to some, I have read too much from people that I respect to ignore the advice. I will know better after my meeting on Sunday.
The Physical Side: I’m pretty sure that it is just in my mind, but it seems like my right testical hurts. That might have had something to do with being on a SeaDoo for a couple of hours, but I think that my mind is playing games with me.
I have stopped exercising strenously and I miss it. I don’t know why I have stopped, but it just seems like I don’t want to rock the boat until I learn more from my doctor and healer.
When I was lying in bed at the end of the day, I swear I could feel things going on in my body that I have never felt before. By that, I mean that I could feel the electrical currents. I have always been very in tune with my spiritual side, but I have never experienced the physical aspect. I assume that we are all capable of this level of awareness because there is absolutely no reason to believe that any human is “more” than any other human. I think we are all just so damn busy that we ignore it.
The Mental Side:It was a beautiful day and I spent a lot of time on the dock by the water and on my Sea Doo. All in all, the day was very soothing. I had a short cry for about one minute while sitting with my feet in the water in the afternoon. I just got overwhelmed by the thought that I would miss my life so much if things don’t work out.
I thought about my cancer alot. It seems weird that cancer is growing inside me and I’m just sitting here letting it happen. I can understand why so many people would buy an electric water ionizer when they first hear the C word because they just want to do something…anything. The reality is that I have undoubtedly had cancer for a couple of years now, just like most people that get diagnosed. That is why men who are 50 need to get tested for prostate cancer every year…..dummy!
There has been a lot of tension in my family this year due to a number of circumstances. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as we are all faced with far more tension and stress in our lives than is healthy. Something negative came up before bed and I simply removed myself from the situation. I just don’t want or need anything in my life right now that distracts me from my sole job….which is to get better. The body can heal itself if you give it the right nourishment in terms of food, water, and mental state.
Today’s edition will be a long one as it covers a lot of stuff. I expect future updates to be minimal.
My family physician looked me straight in the face yesterday afternoon and said to me: “You have prostate cancer”. He has never beaten around the bush with me in the past, and yesterday was no different.
The PSA level from my blood test this past week was 30.4, which is sky high and way way way above the normal range of 1 to 4 for a 54 year old man. My physician was angry. He asked me how I could be so stupid. He was referring to the fact that I hadn’t visited him for almost three years. He told me that every man needs an annual PSA test every year once he reaches age 50 or even age 45 if you have a family history of prostate cancer.
So, how did I get to be so stupid? The answer is simple. I was a self inflicted medical mess three years ago. I wasn’t over weight or out of shape as I love sports, but I had been suffering from acid reflux for years, I was riddled with osteoarthritis which was ruining my life, and my physician had just prescribed a third medication, Lipitor, for an elevated cholesterol level. My wife said that I had to make changes and I did…well, I made one change.
I started drinking ionized water. The results were stunning. My acid reflux disappeared in a week and my arthritis disappeared in month. The water gave me tons of energy and I got my life back. I felt invincible again. It was amazing to feel like I was in my twenties again. I got back to sports and enjoying my life.
What I didn’t do was change my diet. I also stopped visiting the doctor.
So, here I am three years later with a scary PSA count. What made me finally go to the doctor after three years? My son developed a chest cough and then my wife picked it up, and eventually I started coughing as well. This was a rare occurrence as nobody in our family has gotten sick for three years since we started drinking the ionized water.
I doubt that I would have visited the doctor except that for the first time in my life, I experienced difficulty peeing. At age 54, I knew that difficulty peeing was a sure sign of prostate problems. So, off I went to the clinic on Friday, July 22, 2011. The doctor at the clinic asked me a couple of questions and gave me the dreaded DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), which I hadn’t had done since age 40. The exam is simple, quick, and painless and involves the doctor putting on a rubber glove, lubing up a finger, and shoving it up your butt. It takes about two seconds and is over before you know it. During the process, the doctor feels the prostate with a finger. The doctor is essentially checking for two things….to see if the prostate is enlarged and to see if any nodules can be detected.
The physician at the clinic told me my prostate was enlarged, but she didn’t feel any nodules, which she said was encouraging. She did however send me off to a lab to provide blood and urine samples. She also scheduled a transrectal ultrasound test, which is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, 2011.
The results came back to the walk-in clinic on Thursday July 28. I got a call from the clinic at 9:30 in the morning asking me to come in to speak with the doctor. The doctor informed me that my PSA was 30.4 which was very high, but not to worry. HUH? Not to worry….are you kidding me? I know it doesn’t help to worry, but geez….don’t worry! She sent off a requisition for a consult to an Urologist and recommended that I contact my family physician.
I called my family physician’s office and informed the person on the phone that my PSA was 30.4. The person on the phone said that she would call me back shortly, which she did. All of a sudden, the doctor had time to see me. Now that is scary. I visited my family physician. As I mentioned earlier, he was angry, but he was also efficient. He requested an URGENT consult with an urologist that is an acquaintance of mine and faxed off the request immediately. He also provided me with the actual letter of request and told me to call the urologist myself on Tuesday August 2, when the urologist was due back from his holiday.
Research: I have been doing lots of reading. Although everything you read tells you that an elevated PSA level doesn’t guarantee you have cancer, a PSA level of 30 is not good. It is so high that bone scans become effective in diagnosis if the cancer has metastasized to nearby bones.
Water: I have been slacking off the amount of water that I normally drink for awhile. As of today, I will be drinking a minimum of 120 ounces of strong ionized water per day. Dr. Robert Young uses water with a very low negative ORP as an alternative to chemotherapy. It is hypothesized that very strong alkaline water acts as a natural oxidant, as opposed to harmful oxidants used in chemotherapy. One way or another, I’m going to give my body every opportunity to operate as efficiently as possible, which means a thorough rinsing of toxins.
I don’t see any need to drink anything but water. If I’m going to drink water, I want it clean and ionized so that I can get the antioxidant and energy producing benefit of free hydrogen.
I will also drink the juices produced by my juicer as it squeezes the juices out of raw vegetables and fruit. I consider the juices produced from the juicer to be a food even though I consume the food in liquid form.
Food: My alkaline diet starts today. That means fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts. I will also get my protein from protein powder or from lean chicken or fish.
Once again, I look to the teachings of Dr. Robert Young author of “The pH Miracle Revised and Updated” for advice on an alkaline diet. I will also utilized the teachings of Dr. Dean Ornish, an advisor to President Clinton and author of “The Spectrum” and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, another advisor to President Clinton and author of “Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease”
Medical Testing and Treatments: Nothing on the weekend, but I have a visit to the lab for a transrectal ultrasound scheduled for Tuesday August 2nd, and I will be on the phone that morning to book an appointment with the urologist. I trust my family physician and urologist, so I will be listening to their advice and definitely taking advantage of the excellent testing facilities offered by western medicine.
Alternative Treatments: My wife and a number of friends visit with a gentleman who is quite remarkable in his ability to heal by non traditional methods. I have an appointment scheduled with him next Wednesday.
Physical Status: I feel good. I feel strong. I have backed off physical exercise for the most part this week other than some strenuous yard work moving earth. I love to ride and I have read that riding is bad for the prostate, so for now….no riding. I miss the physical activity and will be getting back to it today in my canoe.
Mental Status: Yesterday was weird for sure as it is not everyday your doctor tells you that you have cancer. I had a great sleep and I feel good today. I have researched a great deal about prostate cancer and I know it can be beaten. My main concern is that I have waited too long and the cancer has spread. There is nothing I can do about the unknown other than to get the testing done. Today, the weather is beautiful and I’m going to make the most of the day.
Stress: We have all read that stress is a killer. I believe that stress plays a major role in one’s health. I have asked my wife and kids to put their egos in check and leave the power struggle that always seems to exist when young adults are stretching their boundaries on hold. I have declared that this is Rob’s time to focus on my health, and I can use all the help I can get.
Faith: I’m not a religious person in terms of frequenting a church. I do however have my own connection with God, which was inspired after I had three visits from my father after he passed away. I don’t fear death, but I would like to stick around and watch my children and their children grow up. I will be praying in my own way for the strength to be strong. The rest is out of my hands.