Accepting my "retirement"

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Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 5/22/2011 10:20 PM (GMT -6)   
As all of you that know my story, I have not been well enough to work since my open RP back in late 2008.  Since  then, and I won't bore anyone with a repeat, its just been one thing after the other, and it left me being a perpetual patient one way or the other.
 
When I was dx. at age 56, I was at the top of my game in my world as the CFO of a Foreign Exchange Company, grossing over 600 million at the time.  I had no intention of retiring or stopping working until I was 68  (my choice).  I have always worked hard, and enjoyed what I did.
 
Just prior to my original operation ,I simply expected to heal in a few months at best, be able to work at least partially until healed, beat the cancer, and that would be that.  It never occured to me, that it would be life changing event.
 
Now that I have been deemed 100% disabled under Social Security, the reality that I am never going back to my "old world" of high finance and all it entailed.  I never anticipated being in this situation, no back up plan, not even remotely.
 
As much as I have suffered as the result of all the ops, the messed up radiation, my catheters, the pain, and most recently, the urostomy I have to live with, I have been fighting a different kind of mental purgatory.  The one I rarely discuss outside a small had of people I trust. 
 
When I couldn't work, I have immense amounts of boring time on my hand, healing from this or that, and it can really play tricks on your mind.  I reached some dark moments where I felt I no longer had any worth or self value, because I wasn't working.  I was starting to feel invisible to my former business community.  Was no longer important to anyone outside of my family.
 
Even though I couldn't work, I still pretended I could, and as recently as 2 weeks ago, was still sending out  resumes even though I knew I wasn't cleared to work.
 
Now that the SS disability came through  (and trust me, its just a pittance of what I made in the hay-days), I am just now coming to terms with all of this.  I told my wife, that I know consider myself retired, 10 years before I had planned.  And now that some of the financial burden has been lifted, my mind will now allow me to think of myself, and what I want to do next with whatever life I have left.
 
I don't have it all figured out, but I am ready to start writing a new book, try to further my fledging independent filmmaking group, and hopefully do some consulting work on a limited basis.  And this weekend, I bought a small sailboat (17'), and for the first time in a long time, something made me happy and feel good about myself.
 
You really do have to deal the cards you are dealt.  And ultimately, it truly is what it is.  I am just now coming to terms with my own reality.  Cancer is a funny thing, when I think of all the living hell I have endured, its all been based on numbers on a piece of paper.  I don't see or feel the cancer.  In my case, its been the "cure" that has kept me in bondage all this time.
 
Sorry  to ramble, but I hope this may help someone else with similar thoughts or doubts about themselves.
 
David in SC

logoslidat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 6057
   Posted 5/22/2011 10:43 PM (GMT -6)   
All's I know is that , and I was going to post this before, for whatever reason have not, but it's short and sweet. I have noticed, sensed, a real, if subtle change in you Purgatory in just the last 4-5 weeks that is IMO, for the better. Can,t be specific, just something I sense. I really believe a corner has been turned , maybe not the PCA, but something has changed and I'm happy for you!
Diagnosed 8/14/09 psa 8.1 66,now 67
2cores 70%, rest 6-7 < 5%
gleason 3+ 3, up to 3+4 @ the dub
RPP U of Wash, Bruce Dalkin,
pathology 4+3, tertiary5, 2 foci
extensive pni, prostate confined,27 nodes removed -, svi - margins -
99%continent@ cath removal. 1% incont@gaspass,sneeze,cough 18 mos, squirt @ running. psa std test reported on paper as 0.0 as of 12/14/10 ed improving

njbmwgs
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 5/22/2011 11:04 PM (GMT -6)   
congrats on the retirement, and the new boat, I hope it brings you years of pleasure. I'm not happy about the circumstances that brought you here though, and I'm sure neither are you.

I do want to add one thing, and that's a big "THANK YOU". Since being diagnosed 2 months ago, I've been on this board a lot, reading and listening to conversations and trying to figure out what the h3ll is going on w/my situation. You've always taken the time to respond to posts, share tons of useful information and in general been a real voice for patients. I know I speak for others when I say that your dedication to this group is and will continue to be appreciated.

As you say, look at it as a new chapter, and you've been given the opportunity to do WHATEVER you'd like - book, film, sail, etc. If it were me I'd hope on my motorcycle and head south for a few months. :)

Enjoy it, and let me know if you need a proofreader for that book, I'd be happy to help in any way that I can.

best,

Brian
Age 42
PSA 2/11 of 5.6
Biopsy 3/11 5 pos out of 12 Gleason 6's (3+3) and one 7 (3+4)
Full bone scan 4/11 - neg
Pelvic CT 4/11 - neg
exploring options and getting blurry eyed reading everything I can
staying positive

Sleepless09
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 1267
   Posted 5/22/2011 11:16 PM (GMT -6)   
David, thanks for posting this. It does help. PCa has linked with the recession at my house, and while I still go to the office everyday (and consider myself fortunate to be able to do so) it has been three years now since I took a penny out of the company. This is NOT what I thought 'retirement' was going to be. All you had to say about self-worth linked to bringing home a pay check I can identify with.

I'm glad to see you're thinking of doing another book. Hemmingway said the best cure for writer's block was a call from his bank manager. My bank manager has been calling and I've been talking with my agent about a new book too. All I need now is to find the time to write it. When the student is ready, the teacher will appear, so perhaps, when it's better formed in my head I'll find the time.

Today I was in a book store and bought Elmore Leonard's book: Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing. I've always been a huge Elmore Leonard fan and this book is pure Leonard. Who else but Leonard could turn a New York Times article into a book --- not expanded, just into a book.

So, David, write away. One of Canada's wealthiest men once wrote a book: After I was 65. Apparently much of his success came after he was 65 --- who knows what you and I might yet achieve. When you get an Academy Award for the screenplay of one of your books I'll come to stand alongside the Red Carpet and cheer you on.

Retirement equals opportunity. Let's you and I go get 'em !

But first, I gotta have a nap, so you plow on out front and I'll catch up .....

Sheldon AKA Sleepless
Age 67 in Apil '09 at news of 4 of 12 cores positive T2B and Gleason 3 + 3 and 5% to 25% PSA 1.5
Re-read of slides in June said Gleason 3 + 4 same four cores 5% to 15%
June 29 daVinci prostatectomy, Dr. Eric Estey, at Royal Alexandra Hospital Edmonton one night stay
From "knock out" to wake up in recovery less than two hours.  Actual surgery 70 minutes
Flew home to Winnipeg on July 3 after 5 nights in Ramada Inn  ---  perfect recovery spot!
Catheter out July 9
Final pathology is 3 + 4 Gleason 7, clear margins, clear nodes, T2C, sugeron says report is "excellent"
 
Oct 1st 09 -- dry at night, during day some stress issues.
Oct 31st padless 24/7 
 
First post op PSA Sept 09  less than 0.02
PSA on Oct 23, 2009 less than 0.02
PSA on Jan 8, 2010  less than 0.02
PSA on April 9, 2010 less than 0.02 
PSA on July 9, 2010 (one year) less than 0.02
  

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 5/22/2011 11:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Brian, thank you for your concern and kind words. Sold my last bike about 4 years ago, and after a lifetime of riding, won't be buying or riding another. Been sailing since I was 16, but haven't had a boat in nearly 6 years. I still have a lot of physical limitations and extreme fatigue, but I got my two boys to help the old man out if I need it, and this boat is set up to easily single hand sail, that's why I chose small. HW is a group effort, I just do my small part, my way. Other's do their own thing, collectively, there's a lot of good here.

Sheldon, thanks too, always, my friend. I understand your feelings on the subject as well.

Logo - thanks, the only turn I sense in myself, is just coming to terms with myself. I tend to be generous to everyone else but myself, but have been known to have harsh demands and expectations of myself.
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10

Sonny3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2009
Total Posts : 2448
   Posted 5/23/2011 12:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Many of us spend our lives looking forward to retirement. Many others have never made it to that point for one reason or another. Certainly the economic downturn has forced many who were oh so close to have to continue working.

It's funny that when you have so much time on your hands how quickly the days pass. It seems that the list of things you want to do never grows short. Throughout our lives we have all put things on hold because of work, raising children and plodding through what we thought life was supposed to be. Then when we are relieved of those burdens our first thought seems to be a small sense of guilt.

We begin to think of the things we have always wanted to do and feel guilty that we can do them now while others still have to plod along.

How many times has it been said here, "If I only knew then what I know now, I would not have wasted the days."

I consider myself fortunate that I am in the position to now do the things that matter and not be constricted by the daily activities of life in the fast lane. David, you and Sheldon and I and many others here, now have a new found sense of freedom that allows us to think in the terms of "What do I really want to do today?"

Yes we are all dealing with cancer. We are all aware of our mortality. Yet we all now have been allowed to reach that point where we think "What do I really want to do, What would bring me joy and Why am I not doing it."

So you both need to begin the books, take the sail on the lake, bounce the grand kinds on the knee, and take the nap when you feel like it, all without guilt.

I find myself going to bed now when I am tired and not because the clock says it is time. There are things I want to do and the clock is not an influence. Some days I rise at 5-6am, some days not until 9-10, yet all of those days bring me the opportunity to experience joy regardless of the time spent awake.

I am not trying to make up for lost time, you can't do that. But the time I spend now is worth spending.

Maybe that is why I refuse to be swept up in the panic, worry and anxiety of PCa. I give it it's due and time when it is required. The rest of the time I chose to spend with Lynn and the enjoyment of life.

I am sure I have wasted a lot of time in my life, but now I chose not to waste it on things I cannot control.

I envy you both about writing. I just guess I will have to spend my time traveling, shrimping fishing, cooking, entertaining, etc. None are noble but I do think that one of my lasting works of art will be the friends I have made along the way. How I treated them and how I strive to bring a little bit of sunshine into each of their lives.

Thanks for the thread David, you have given me the opportunity to say a few things as well.

Sonny

Post Edited (Sonny3) : 5/23/2011 5:10:46 AM (GMT-6)


logoslidat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 6057
   Posted 5/23/2011 1:06 AM (GMT -6)   
Interestingly enough, Just 2 hours ago the following quote was received by me from a friend who teaches a writing class I was considering taking.

" Is life not a hundred times too short for us to stifle ourselves? " Friedrich Nietzsche
Diagnosed 8/14/09 psa 8.1 66,now 67
2cores 70%, rest 6-7 < 5%
gleason 3+ 3, up to 3+4 @ the dub
RPP U of Wash, Bruce Dalkin,
pathology 4+3, tertiary5, 2 foci
extensive pni, prostate confined,27 nodes removed -, svi - margins -
99%continent@ cath removal. 1% incont@gaspass,sneeze,cough 18 mos, squirt @ running. psa std test reported on paper as 0.0 as of 12/14/10 ed improving

rcroller
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2011
Total Posts : 327
   Posted 5/23/2011 6:52 AM (GMT -6)   
David, it sounds like you are making great progress in shifting gears and adjusting to the situation as it is. I've only been dealing with PCa for a few weeks but in that short time I have seen you offer counsel and comfort to many others on this board. It is obvious that you are a very giving person and have the love, admiration and respect of many on this forum. When I began my career in Human Services my first superviosr told me that I needed to learn to be self-caring. She explained that I would be of no use to her or anyone else if I burned myself out by only giving and never taking. I took her advice and when I was at work I gave my all to others, but when I was off the clock I pursued the activities that gave me pleasure (sailing being #1). I still maintain that balance today...work hard and play hard. At times I have felt guilty and even selfish, labeling myself a hedonist in my personal life, but then I think of what she told me and understand there is a difference between being selfish and being self-caring. From your comments above, it sounds like you are making strides in redefining your identity and learning to be a little more self-caring. I am so glad you got that sailboat. I used to refer to sailing as "cruise therapy" and IMHO there is nothing better for the soul. Enjoy that new boat and all the joy that sailing will bring. Lastly, thanks for being such a giving member on this forum. You are helping countless others everyday.
Age 53-PSA 8/10 3.0 PSA 2/11 3.5
4/15/11 BX
4/21/11 Path Report: 3 of 12 Left side PCa , 3+3, 3+4, 4+4
4/29/11 PCa DX, Gleason-8
5/6/11 BS: Negative
5/18/11 open RP Performed
5/20/11 Home from Hospital

Post Edited (rcroller) : 5/23/2011 10:41:28 AM (GMT-6)


Ed C. (Old67)
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 2460
   Posted 5/23/2011 8:40 AM (GMT -6)   
David,
I'm glad you got disability from Social security, at least you don't have the financial pressure of having to work and fight PCa at the same time. Enjoy the boat and live every day without looking back.
Age: 67 at Dx on 12/30/08 PSA 3.8
2 cores out of 12 were positive Gleason (4+4)
Davinci surgery 2/9/09 Gleason 4+4 EPE,
Margins clear, nerve bundles removed
Prostate weighed 57 grams 10-20% involved
all PSA tests since (2, 5, 8, 11, 15, 18, 21, 2 years <.008? ) undetectable
27 months: .005

Gleason 6
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2011
Total Posts : 876
   Posted 5/23/2011 9:41 AM (GMT -6)   
I always worked to live and didn't live to work, but know lot's of people who do enjoy their work. Nice when that happens. There are so many things to do and people to see in this world. Hopefully you can adapt, enjoy and never look back. Glad you got the boat and are enjoying some of that money you worked so hard to get.
Age 61 Active. No other problems (except small hernia)
PSA 4.3 9/10
PSA 5.5 2/11
PSA 7.1 3/11
PSA 6.73 5/18/11
Template Biopsy 6 pos out of 40 3/25/11 GS 6 (3+3)
CT bone scan neg
6/18 areas positive - 2 in left base, 4 left apex. 6/40 cores pos. 33cc.
Stage T1C
Appointment with Dr Terk at FROG scheduled 5/26/11

Cajun Jeff
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 4119
   Posted 5/23/2011 11:53 AM (GMT -6)   
David my brother: I am so pleased that you now have SS retirement. Takes the pressure off of you and Peg. As someone else said sounds like you have found the clutch and are shifting gears.

As you know I retired 5 months after my surgery not because of complications. I came to the realization that I had put in my time at a wonderful job that I truthfully loved and I was darn good at it as well. I was working in the #1 public school system in the state of Louisiana. Yet I knew that I wanted more time for me and my family. So at 57 I hung it up. Have not regretted it not for one moment.

Our life is different for sure. We do what we want when we want to. Sure the money is not nearly what it was when both of us were working. We still would not move back to the stressful world of work. Sometime it is just too hard to wipe the smile off of my face.

I don't feel isolated from people heck I'm more busy now that I was when I worked. I have more time for my hobbies and much more time for my friends.

I am healthier than I have been in years. I not go to the gym and workout 3 times a wk and ride my road bike about 100 miles a wk. I am off of all medications. Had some elevated BP before retirement. Have managed to drop 45 lbs and the BP issue is gone.

David all I wish for you is that you find that place in your heart, mind and relationship where you can live in the joy of your new found freedom.

Peace to each of you out there.

Cajun Jeff
9/08 PSA 5.4 referred to Urologist
9/08 Biopsy: GS 3+4=7 1 positive core in 12 1% cancer core
10/08 Nerve-Sparing open radicalSurgery Path Report Downgrade 3+3=6 GS Stage pT2c margins clea
r3 month: PSA <0.1
19th month: PSA <0.1
2 year PSA <0.1
Only issue at this time is ED but getting better

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 5/23/2011 12:46 PM (GMT -6)   
sonny - that was a good addition to my thread, thanks

rcroller - some good points you made there

Ed - thanks as usual

thanks gleason 6. i worked because i liked to work, the money part was nice too, lol.

Jeff, great answer and encouragement, thanks, so glad you are doing so very well
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10

English Alf
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 2217
   Posted 5/24/2011 9:43 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the update on your (non-pca) "status" David.

You have had this major change forced upon you, and I am guessing that there are many others who have been forced to make minor changes to their long term plans, in terms of what they are going to do with the rest of their lives and when.

The sailboat sounds perfect.

I decided quite soon after diagnosis (and perhaps even before treatment began) that there was a good chance that the rest of my life would not and could not play out the way I had envisaged.
PCa puts a time bomb under you, but without any idea about how much time the timer will run for.
It thus seemed to me/us that it would be best to start doing those things I had always wanted to do rather than wait till I/we was/were "65" (My wife and I are very close in age). The pair of us have simply had to accept that I might not make it to 65. If I do get my "three score years and ten" then that will be a bonus.

There aren't a great many things on my "to do" list, and at present we are dealing with moving from our appartment to the house we have bought (So gardening is definitely going to be part of our future). Ideally, travelling will be part of it too, especially to visit friends and family, but failing that the new house has space for guests so folk are being encouraged to visit.

Writing a book is, if nothing else, therapeutic. I have written heaps, but have never sent one off to an agent or publisher. (I have been writing fiction for about 25 years and probably do it as I find it an interesting way to escape/relax)

David, you have somehow managed to stay positive through all your woes, or at least come out of assorted low points with a new lease of life, and I would encourage all of us to take heart from this and make positive plans for the future and not worry that we have nothing to look forward to besides an anxious stumble from one PSA test to the next.

Alf

Post Edited (English Alf) : 5/25/2011 12:19:49 AM (GMT-6)


Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 5/24/2011 11:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Alf, sounds like you got things pretty figured out in your life.

I started creative writing at age 6, when I edited and published my elementery school's first ever school news paper, Been writing ever since.

I am either too stupid to stay down, or else I just keep bouncing back up, not sure at times, lol

Trying to get the new boat in order, it needs so little, hoping to take a shakedown cruise with my youngest son as early as late next week.

Wife and I going camping with the RV this weekend at another area lake, weather permitting.

My best to you, my friend

David
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10

CJD
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 5/25/2011 3:43 AM (GMT -6)   
when i joined this forum a few short weeks ago some names stuck out when i was trying to get a start on linking in with other PC professionals!!!!!!!Being strong in faith I thought that 'Purgatory' is the one for me - let's click it.... Yes, indeed my faith told me the truth.  I have learned more from your comments than I could ever imagine and like someone else replying to this psot yes, i sensed that there has been a change in your circumstances. L little bit of doubt, fear of the future, and anger at all the chances you gave the pc to heal and go away.....or at least stay static.  As i await my appointment for my Brachytherapy assessment can i just add that you are a fantastic individual.  Unlike you i never had a great financial envelope every week but i always had enough to keep me going.  My family are the most important to me right now. Haven't even told my boss yet and i suppose unlike you I will be getting jstua little less if i have to give up work - but i don't care. My ideals have changed this year and i want to do the best i can as long as i can - just like you.  Keep up the great work.  You should consider counselling as a career also.  Becuase that is what you are actually excellent at - long distance. I'm in Ireland and i sense that you are the other end of the globe.  Whatever it doesnt matter you are a professional support to ME and many, many others.  Waiting for the book
wink  

Purgatory
Elite Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 25393
   Posted 5/25/2011 7:27 AM (GMT -6)   
thank you cjd. i am so pro-irish it hurts. my marriage is the combining of the Riley's from Belfast (father's side) and the O'Neills from Dublin (wife's side). So everything is green.

i wish you the best of luck ahead in your journey.

david
Age: 58, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 7 of 7 Positive, 40-90%, Gleason 4+3
open RP: 11/08, on catheters for 101 days
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incont & ED: None
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12, 4/8 .04, 8/6 .06, 2/11 1.24, 4/11 3.81
Latest: 6 Corr Surgeries to Bladder Neck, SP Catheter since 10/1/9, SRT 39 Sess/72 gy ended 11/09, 21 Catheters, Ileal Conduit Surgery 9/10
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