Death sentence? I think not. Prostate cancer is one of the most curable cancers out there, so don’t count me out!
I was as surprised as you probably are, but from the moment I found out, I felt that everything was going to be alright. My doctor has been tracking my PSA for years, since my father too had prostate cancer. I don’t know what stage he was in when he was diagnosed, but I can remember that he wasn’t do so well with the therapy he was receiving. I didn’t even know chemotherapy and radiation therapy were different until now. I do know that 25 years ago, he was sick enough for me to move back home and help. My mother doesn’t even remember what kind of therapy he was receiving; she was tied up in a conservatorship with her Uncle Lawrence, the man whom I was named after. Distant cousins from all around were trying to get a hold of his estate, which my mom managed to take care of his needs when dementia set in. Every penny went to his care, and he had plenty of nickels and dimes from his many real estate holdings in LA. Nobody offered to help, but everybody wanted to know where the money was going. Needless to say, she had her own worries to nurture, with the specter of her husband’s illness floating before her eyes. Damn the cousins.
Fortunately for me, I was earmarked for screening as cancer tends to be hereditary. No red flags popped up until 6 years ago, when my PSA levels were high during a routine check-up. Aside from my gastrointestinal discrepancies, I’m a healthy guy. I became an herbalist in my freelance journalist days when I was surviving on food stamps and rent parties. I started eating crazy again when I moved back home, simply because I didn’t have the space to store and blend my herbal concoctions, plus it was easier eating food that my momma already cooked.
The protocol for potential prostate cancer patients is to wait and see. That’s right. Wait and see if any changes in the blood or size of the prostate produce positive signs of a prognosis. 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018. A few up and down swings in the PSA, thanks to my knowledge in finding herbal remedies to cure my ails. 2019 I was referred to a urologist who thought I should have a biopsy. I was hesitant. I had to reschedule the procedure a couple of times because I was freelancing in the film industry at the time, and work was more important than health when it came to paying rent and bills.
2020. I couldn’t book an appointment to save my life, but not being able to see a doctor could have saved my life from Covid-19. (I think I had the virus late November 2019 before the pandemic was announced, but that’s another story.) It was a weird year, certainly enough weirdness going on to not think about the health of my prostate.
January 2021. I couldn’t wait to book an appointment. It was like an alarm went off. Get thine ass to the urologist! That’s where they must check the prostate for lumps and probe you for the biopsy if you didn’t already know. Another reason for my hesitancy in going. I certainly wasn’t excited about it, but like I always tell my sons, sometimes you gotta do what you don’t want to do. A healthy man grows to an age where he gets pricked, prodded, and probed because the body that’s brought him this far starts to show signs of wear and tear. I had a blood panel done on the 9th and it showed that my PSA was way high and that I was overdue for a biopsy. The urologist I was seeing dropped out of my insurance network, so I had to get another referral. After doing my research I found one that had a good Yelp rating and ranked high in Google searches.
July 9, 2021. Six months to the day after the blood test, I had the results of a biopsy I was supposed to get two years ago: cancerous cells found in numerous core samples. I didn’t know what it all meant, so I started reading. From what I could surmise, the disease is still contained in the prostate. There’s no spreading from what I can predict through my six senses, and today’s tests affirmed my prediction. Now, I must decide what action is best suited to delete this disease from my body.
I’m taking this so calmly because a good attitude is the key to surviving tragedy. I have cancer but I’m not dying. I have more fear of dying from a car accident, getting shot, or drowning as the California coastline sinks into the Pacific after The Big One. I can see this death coming, and I’m heading it off at the pass. You shouldn’t think that I haven’t thought about what will happen to my sons should anything take me out, or how much I’d be missed by family and friends. I’ve been doing the best me possible every day of my life. Fifty-something-year-old Black Lives Matter too, ya know!
Be blessed and be a blessing. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…