This weeks WhatNexter of the week is MGM48. He is a 2 time Prostate Cancer survivor as well as Stroke survivor, a regular contributor on WhatNext and a great advocate for those fighting Prostate Cancer.
My journey actually started in January 2005 with a routine physical. My PSA was high. I had no idea that one day I’d wish for it to be as low as a 4. There was no WhatNext back then. All I found were a bunch of disconnected websites. Even the good ones of 8 years ago have come a long way in those 8 years. I had a radical retro pubic prostatectomy on April 29, 2005 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN (it went very well). My doctor was well known and was referred to me by one of my best friends and clients. Oh, yes by the way I’m an accountant and no I’m not rich. I need to work for the health care to get paid and food as well. Throughout my experiences I have missed almost no work. Just treatment days. I also decided to hire a woman who like me is being treated for cancer. We make the schedule work. For four years after the surgery I was cancer free, my friend has been clear since 1995 and still is. The economy being what it was I skipped my 2010 physical, after all I felt just great. I had gotten into great shape for my surgery and for the most part kept some of the weight off and stayed somewhat active.
In August 2011, I drove myself to the hospital emergency room while having a stroke. It was a blessing in no uncertain terms. Thank goodness I only spent 3 days in the hospital and was discharged fully recovered. The blessing was that the scans they did for the stroke tipped my primary care physician to the recurrence of my cancer. He ordered a PSA. When he told me it was 990.something, I thought he’d missed the decimal but it peaked at 1125.something before the oncologist started to work with me.
The low points so far have been at the time of diagnosis and each time a change needs to be done to the treatment regime (it means something we were doing isn't working). I experience true fear of the unknown and the unknowable. The decision to go to chemo when the first clinical trial fell through was particularly tough. But it all worked out – I wrote an update every day of cycle 1. I still can’t believe it went so well. Going to a clinical trial rather than more traditional therapies when the chemo holiday collapsed was also full of emotion. Signing a document that says a side effect could be death is not the easiest thing.
The high points, hmmmmm! My quick and complete recovery from surgery was the number one high point and will always be hard to beat. The most recent bone scan 2 weeks into the clinical trial was nothing short of wonderful. It gives me hope for even better news in late February when the next scans are scheduled. Chemo was actually cool after I got through that first cycle since it was bringing down my PSA.
As a numbers guy, I operate in a fairly rational mode. Information is important to me, I seek it everywhere. It actually makes me feel better. As I came to grips with the chronic nature of my cancer, I was searching for something. I found WhatNext. At first it was just a place to ask questions and look at other’s journeys. In that regard it was a fantastic real world information source from the people who were in the trenches. But later, I realized that sometimes contributing to the discussion was more satisfying. I realize that I’m not the MD, but my experience is certainly of value. WhatNext has helped me each and every time I’ve had a question or been tempted to get just a bit low. I adopted a mentality early on that I cling to today. That is that the only real thing that I completely control is my attitude. My attitude is how I will face life and how I will feel. With that in mind those who have seen my posts of any kind have seen my mantra.
Keep it positive and smile!
Thanks to Mr. MGM48 for sharing his story with us and you can stop by his profile page and say HI, and thank him for sharing.