Posted 3/17/2019 12:36 PM (GMT -7)
Thank you for the note. I feel I have much to be thankful for, and I am mindful of every brother here on this website.
I have followed a fairly aggressive, proactive approach to treatments. Immediately upon diagnosis, my doctor started the ADT shots, which had immediate results ... bringing my initial PSA from over 100 down to single digits, within one month. That gave me tremendous encouragement, and I entered the "boxing ring" with a fighting spirit.
After that, the ADT brought my PSA down to decimal levels. I didn't feel that would be possible, based on where I started. I can still hear my doctor, in those first days saying, "We have TREATMENTS to help you."
I have clung tightly to those powerful, hopeful words, ever since.
From there, with the guidance of my main local oncologist, with additional consultations and scans and expertise added from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, my medical team has worked very hard to help me maintain my health goals.
At my local cancer treatment center, I was the first patient treated with the "early chemo plan" as soon as I received the green light to try this approach. I felt it worked to enhance what the ADT shots were doing, attacking those resistant cancer cells.
From there, I was given the chance to start ZYTIGA --- again, at a time when doctors were still describing it as a relatively new "breakthrough medication" --- and my doctor waiting to see how this medication might help me. As a way to mark my progress, I started saving the empty medication bottles at the end of each month.
I'm a school teacher, and a new school year had just started when I began taking ZYTIGA. Words can not express how much it meant to me when I had nine empty ZYTIGA bottles --- because, as a teacher, I knew then that this medication had carried me through an entire nine month "school year" ... and that was very powerful, seeing those nine empty bottles lined up on my shelf.
I decided to carry on with lining up the empty medication bottles --- I now have over 40 empty ZYTIGA bottles and now that spring is here, I'm almost to the end of yet another school year. When summer arrives, I will have taught nearly 30 years, six of those school years living with a health diagnosis.
Each school day gives me a new goal to attain --- and at school, I have formed a bond with students and staff members in my school who also have a cancer diagnosis. We encourage each other in incredible ways.
A year ago, with recommendations from my doctor at Mayo Clinic, I then pursued a nine week course of radiation.
Each one of these treatments --- ADT shots, chemotherapy infusions, ZYTIGA, and then radiation --- have worked with synergism, in my case, to keep my P.S.A. under 1.00 since I was first diagnosed. My recent labs have registered in the undetectable category, in the months following my last radiation treatments.
I work hard to "follow the road in front of me" and to not take my eyes off the path, put before me.
This website is tremendous, in its ongoing goal and mission to encourage the members and readers here ... to share first-hand treatment experiences ... and to form important bonds, characterized by fellowship and camaraderie.
Stay strong ---- and keep looking up, my brothers!
CYCLONE ~ Iowa State University