Posted 4/7/2011 7:11 AM (GMT -6)
Great posts, Richard.
I guess I'm one of the few here who went through initial denial. I didn't even know what PSA stood for the first time my doc, in a routine physical, told me mine was 4.1, my free PSA was 12%, I had around a 40% chance of having prostate cancer, and referred me to a urologist for a biopsy. My initial reaction was that this was crazy, I had no symptoms, and the tests must have been incorrect. Nonetheless, I saw the urologist who recommended a biopsy. I turned him down, still in denial, and did a lot of my own numerical analyses (my field is math/stat) to show that the numbers must have been incorrect. The urologist put me on antibiotics in case it was an infection, I got retested in several months, and my PSA had dropped to 2.6, vindicating my denial. At that point I felt pretty good about my own powers of reasoning vs jumping to crazy conclusions.
I put PC out of my mind entirely until the next yearly PSA which showed a rise to the high 3's, but still figured it was anomalous. The year after that my PSA had risen to 5.6 and it finally hit me like a ton of bricks -- I probably have prostate cancer! I went back to the urologist with a sense of humility and this time, interestingly, he was the one who suggested we watch it for a while longer because of the way it had gone down at first. But, having faced reality, I insisted on a biopsy which came back with Gleason 7 and pretty high volume cancer. In fact, it was potentially so aggressive that even the seeds guy suggested I have surgery to increase my odds of a complete cure, which I did do.
After surgery I did very well, no leakage, ED managed through trimix, and undetectable PSAs for the first 15 months. I only had anxiety for the first PSA, and after that my wife had to remind me that I needed the next one. However, I just got blood drawn for my 18 month PSA and for some reason my anxiety began increasing a month ago and the fear of BCR has been weighing heavily on my mind. My pathology increased my condition to G 4+3 with a small amount of tertiary 5 and, even though it was contained with negative margins, I fear that some small celll had already escaped, is growing, and will let me know years later. I'll get my results in a few days and, if still zero, I hope the anxiety will once again decrease. In fact, if zero, I think I will go to 6 month intervals to enjoy a longer period between PSAs.
Thanks again for your posts, and for the oppportunity to share the mental aspects of this disease. We discuss the physical aspects a great deal, but not so much the mental.