So my story starts with a tough winter of 2015-16. Around the beginning of December 2015, my wife of 21 years fell and hurt her ankle, and I had to pick her up and stick her in the front seat of my Silverado just to get her to the ER. Ended up as a grade 3 sprain, and the pain in my back would not subside. While a former football player and prone to back pain throughout life, I scheduled a visit to the chiropractor for some immediate pain relief. Well, I got it for about 12 hours and then back it came with a vengeance. It got worse and worse over the next few weeks, and after a bit of soul searching I decided to go see the urologist, as now the frequent pee stops and starts had begun, peaking on New Years Eve where I had about 8 beers and must have peed 35 times- drip drip drip.
So off to the urologist, gives me an emptying test, and draws a PSA. Previous score was 3.12 in September 2013, and while it had been a few months past my one year follow up test, the results were crazy- 355. So the uro says he thinks it is not correct, and has me come back in for a re-test. We do it three weeks later, and bam now it's 658. 12 needle scheduled, and while waiting for that date my back got worse and worse, no one would prescribe pain meds - I was a mess. I tried the chiropractor again, waiting for the biopsy results. Two days after the biopsy, my back all of a sudden stopped hurting. Just stopped. Like when the Uro did the 12 needle, he moved something off the sciatic nerve and the excruciating pain in the back, my glute, and down my leg had stopped.
The following Monday, 4-11-16, I went back for the biopsy reads "ADENOCARCINOMA- STAGE 4" at the top of the result. I was shocked, and due to the wife having an asthma attack that am on a very hot Austin Monday, alone. The uro told me to go get scans immediately, both CT and Bone, and come back in a month with the results and a Lupron shot. His attitude was very condescending, especially considering the fact that I was self pay and without insurance...long story. Let me just say that now, a year later, his behavior was so abhorrent and just downright mean that he has a special place in the next life for folks like him...
So I took the rest of that day on a long drive, listening to music and taking in nature, and thinking seriously for the first time at age 57 about my now impending mortality. I got home, shared the results with the wife, and we had a good cry and then started a plan of action. Scan were schedule for that Wednesday, and we contacted a close friend and cancer survivor for oncology referrals. We found the UT Cancer Research Center in San Antonio, and one of the finest staffs in the profession. My oncologist is a world class researcher and MO - and they are working closely with me on costs and helping getting the drug companies in their patient support programs for things like Zometa and Lupron Depot.
So first visit to CTRC was 4-25, PSA had dropped to 115 from a three week run of Casodex, and the first Lupron shot was in mid May. Zometa followed 4 weeks later, and then a 6 run dose of Docetaxel from 7-18 to 10-31, every three weeks. Lupron and Zometa continued every 12-13 weeks. During my chemo the PSA got as low as 1.45 on the last infusion date, but since then has jumped to 22.59 as of the past test, which was last Monday, 2-20-17. I had follow on scans in the beginning of January which showed the lymph nodes that were involved last March had shrunk or disappeared, there were no soft organ lesions showing, and that the spot in my bladder neck and the prostate itself had shrunk by half. The only real issue is the bone pain, which is increasing and spreading slowly but surely to most of my skeleton with a couple of spots of real concern on my shoulder and right femur.
Pain meds are 10mg Norco 3-4 times a day, which has increased from 5mg 3-4 times a day over the past year. The oncologist says that I have MANY YEARS to live a decent life- so on we fight. Thanks for reading.
MichaelGee's e-mail address is: ontheroad589 AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")