My brachytherapy surgery is tomorrow morning. I'm following all the pre-op instructions to the letter. The mag citrate doesn't taste so good, but it's a small price to pay!
I know from my first post that many people are looking for more information on brachytherapy. So I'll try my best to share my experiences and what I know and learn.
The seeds were custom manufactured in Illinois and shipped FEDEX to Colorado, where they arrive today and go into a lead vault. They cost Kaiser $ 15, 000. I should be in surgery for two hours, then Cat Scan, then recovery for two hours. I may have the Cat Scan and recovery reversed, but they will be doing a Cat Scan before I leave the hospital. The reason they do the Cat Scan is to make sure the surgeon got the seeds precisely where they are supposed to be according to the customized plan created by the dosimetrist. In the unlikely event a spot was missed, the Cat Scan will catch it and they can do pinpoint external beam radiation to zap that one spot.
My final pre-op PSA was taken last week and had actually dropped a bit (more accurately--it hadn't risen) since last taken in January, which was a relief.
This has been a long journey since I received the diagnosis via phone on June 14, 2007, about
10.5 months ago. I talked to the urologist in Colorado while I was in northern Virginia. I hung up, called my wife, then immediately walked into a hotel meeting room and was the featured after-dinner speaker at our professional society meeting. I don’t remember a word I said, but people seemed to enjoy it! It was a surreal way to start the journey.
As our priest likes to say, “Life is full of new beginnings.” How true that is. After receiving the grace of the sacrament of unction following Mass on Sunday, I have felt completely at peace.
Tomorrow is a new and welcome beginning in our journey with prostate cancer. All the doubt, fear, despair, research, questioning and decision trees are gone now. A good course of action is about
to be implemented with a high likelihood of long-term cure and the lowest side effect profile of any of the potential treatments.
I’m a “lucky unlucky” man. I’m unlucky because I have cancer on a gland that has a big impact on a man’s life and certainly can be life threatening. I’m unlucky because prostate cancer doesn’t get the research attention and dollars it deserves. But I’m lucky because they caught it during the window of opportunity for a cure, I have excellent care providers, there is a good treatment option available to me, my wife, family and friends are wonderfully supportive, and I have a strong faith.
Last night as I was laying in bed I started to list in my mind all the people who had assisted me in one way or another in the past 10.5 months on the first part of our journey that will end tomorrow morning. The list kept expanding and widening the more I thought about
it. Every time I’d think of one person who had shown me a kindness or offered a thought or promised a prayer it would lead to three more. It was a good way to end the day.
For those of you who pray, please pray for me, my wife, and the medical staff that will be helping me tomorrow. I will post again as soon as I feel able after the surgery and offer all my impressions and observations.
Diagnosed: 6/14/07 at age 55
6/7/07; #1-1 core on right side, less than 5%, Gleason 3 + 4 = 7
1/23/08; #2-2 cores both on right side, both less than 5%, Gleason 3 + 3 = 6