My first reaction was 'how can this happen?' but then I quickly realize the answer is it really doesn't matter now, and we have to deal with what is. I am posting this now as a cautionary tale and I hope someone who reads it gets some benefit.
Sorry in advance, but this will be a long post.
Tuesday night my wife gets a call from her father's girlfriend (basically his wife, they've been together 30 years) telling her that her Dad (Jack) is in St Vincent's Hospital in Evansville, IN. He is 81 and lives in Minnesota (as do I) and he was traveling by car to their house in Venice, FL for their annual snowbird getaway. He began experiencing excruciating back pain and by the time he pulled into a Rally convenience store his legs had begun to go numb. He went into the store to get help and by the time he got back to his car and sat down, he was completely paralyzed from the chest down.
He was traveling with his 14 year old, deaf dog so when the ambulance came to take him, the police had animal control come and get the poor pup, and they left the car in the Rally parking lot.
Wednesday morning we get some information that he has a lesion on his spine that has compromised his spinal cord, causing the paralysis. Of course my first thought is prostate cancer.A little 'Divine Intervention' interlude...
My wife and I just happen to have a very old and dear family friend that lives in Evansville. What are the chances he ends up there with all the towns between Minneapolis, MN and Venice, FL? So our friend is able to retrieve the car and the dog Wednesday morning. Thank God.
So I jump on a plane and get down to Evansville and head straight to the hospital. It's 10 PM by now so I am not really able to get any more information other than they had done an MRI and discovered he has lesions on his spine, both sides of his ribs, pelvis, and the lymph nodes in his pelvic region are inflamed. As a result they had begun radiation treatments on the bone mets. I hang out with Jack for a couple hours, talk to the nurses, ask them to clean up his IV port and get him some more pain meds, and then I head to my buddies house which is literally 2.4 miles from the hospital. Just a crazy good coincidence.
Talked to the Oncologist a couple times yesterday and the preliminary results of the biopsy, which was taken from the spine, indicate PCa. He said he is almost 100% sure that is what it is, but we should get final results and his PSA levels today.
So, to make a long story at least a bit shorter, here are some bullet-points I would like advice and/or comments on:
- He went to the urologist 2 years ago with frequent urination problems. The urologist did a DRE, told him he was fine other than an enlarged prostate, and sent him on his merry way. Jack does not remember, and does not think he got a PSA test at that time.
- How the hell do you get to be 81 and never have a PSA test??? I know you have to be your own advocate but I can't believe some doctor, at some time, did not test his PSA. This seems insane to me.
- I do not know Gleason score or PSA levels yet but with this many mets, it seems his PSA will probably be astronomical. Does anyone know if Gleason even matters at this point, other than for prognosis? Seems to me the treatment would be the same no matter the Gleason score at this point.
- The doctor says he has a less than 10% chance of regaining feeling or function in the paralyzed area (mid-chest down). Any thoughts on this? Has anyone heard of a similar story?
- With this level of mets, I know there is no chance for a cure, but has anyone heard of a similar story where the cancer was this advanced, and the patient lived for more than a few months or maybe a couple years?
- Jack is in relatively good health other than being overweight (5'9, 257 lbs). Normal blood pressure but taking a statin for cholesterol.
Anybody reading this with who is male and over age 50, or has a parent that fits that descript
I know that there is a debate on the efficacy of PSA testing, but it seems to me a good idea to at least get one at age 50 for a baseline, and at least re-check it every so often. My father-in-law should not be in the situation he is in and I think it's just tragic. It did not need to get this far!!!
DOB 9/14/58 - Age 59
Yearly PSA History:
.58, .60, 1.11, 1.00, 1.74, 2.85 (01/2014)
3 Month AS PSA History:
.7 (04/30/14), .54, .85, .64, .74, .85, .68, .70, .99, 1.04, 1.24, 1.12, 1.15, 1.22, 1.48, 1.56 (07/11/18)
<5% - 1 out of 10 samples
Post Edited (GeetarMan) : 1/4/2019 11:11:31 AM (GMT-7)