Posted 8/9/2017 9:37 AM (GMT -6)
As I mentioned, 20 years is a long time and I purged my files from that era some time ago and so that may be lost. However, if my memory serves, the first PSA I had was back in the late 80's while we made our home in Minnesota. A new resident at the VA and the U of M became an acquaintance and he asked if I had a PSA test done when I last had a blood test. At that point in time I did not know what a PSA was and so he helped me by giving me an introduction to this test as well as what we need to be concerned with for our prostate gland. Shortly after that, 1993, I think, we moved to Florida. Our daughter managed a practice in urology here and she set me up with her boss and he began to address my prostate concerns from that time on. My PSA was 3.5 or 4. and remained at that level while he treated me for a chronic urinary tract infection. Sometime around 1995 or so, my PSA began to rise a bit and we followed that more closely and in January of 1997 it was 7 and he thought that he should biopsy the gland. The biopsy confirmed that there were CA cells and for the first time he mentioned the Gleason score which was 6 or 7 as well. At that point in time, there weren't too many options in that some of the treatments that we see today were not given much attention and so it was decided that a radical or external beam radiation were about the best option. He further stated that because of my over all good health, he thought that the radical approach was the best way to go and I might add that all I wanted to do was to get that offending gland out of there so I agreed. The surgery was on February 27th of 1997. A date I have not forgotten. Following the surgery it was determined by pathology that there was some metastasis into the soft tissue around the gland and that I should submit to radiation in an effort to neutralize that area as well. I had 70 rads of radiation over a seven or eight week span and that was the end of the primary treatment. Over the next five years I had appointments with the radiation oncologist as well as my urologist and that continued over the next five years at less frequent times until I reached the ten year mark and both of those specialists pronounced me cured and discharged me.
In the years since that milestone, things have gone quite well and I was pretty much free of any concerns beyond wondering when and/or if the other shoe would drop and I would have to deal with whatever that might bring. Well, I think that shoe has dropped and I now am experiencing bleeding from my bladder and that has been happening more frequently. Almost every other day or so and my current urologist has referred me to the Hyper-baric center. The orientation yesterday was most interesting to say the least and although I did not sleep very well last night while having to evaluate what I had learned about this procedure and the decision that I will have to make, when I realized that this is a new day and I will have to put on my "big boy" persona and make a decision, the blood in my urine this morning gave me a direction that I will have to do this and make up my mind that I can handle it. At 87 years, however, it is not easy to undertake this kind of treatment without some doubts and concerns as to my ability to manage it psychologically more than physically. When I walked into the treatment center along with my wife, I think that they expected me to be in a wheelchair and they were obviously surprised to see how physically capable the two of us are and they acknowledged that verbally. Hey, we look at ourselves as a couple of fifty year olds and that is the way we act and conduct our lives together.