Today is June 9th, 2015. I've gone in for my first three month checkup with my cancer surgeon. His specialty is urology, and he's also a surgeon, having worked at the Mayo Clinic. I trust he's good at what he does.
Over three years ago my family doctor found an elevated PSA level that concerned him. So he sent me to a urologist. That doctor performed a biopsy of my prostate gland and found things were not as they should be, but could wait and be monitored. I was then scheduled for the same biopsy on an annual basis.
The next year things were pretty much the same. Again, I was scheduled for a biopsy.
The last was performed in January of this year. They found cancer.
My options, since it didn't seem to be aggressive or extensive, was to have radiation therapy over a six week period of time, or to have surgery to remove the prostate gland. That would resolve the problem. Or, at least, that was the odds on favorite. The majority of men having the procedure would be cured. The surgery was to be performed six weeks after the diagnosis. That would allow my body to heal adequately from the biopsy just completed.
The last week in February I went in for surgery early in the morning. The procedure is called a Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. It seems to be the newest form of surgery for this problem and has had good results.
While recovering in the hospital I did have an incident that was troubling to everyone. I lost conscious while attempting to rise out of bed with the assistance of a nurse. After numerous tests it was finally determined that I had simply been dehydrated. It didn't alarm me but it was rather disturbing for my wife. Especially when they started asking if I had a "DNR." That means, Do Not Resuscitate. That was inappropriate at the time. There was never any indication that I was close to death.
Four weeks later I was back to my regular schedule. I was walking every day and doing my pushups. Once a week I had my Ballet class, and also a Jazz dance class.
I never had any doubts that I would be fine. And if not, well, I had lived a fine life. In my opinion.
Several others in my family have suffered from cancer in various forms. Most have died from it. Thankfully, some have lived through it and are happily continuing to live pleasing, productive lives.
I just talked with my doctor. My PSA level is negligible. Actually, without a prostate gland it should be zero, but they can't measure that finely. Thus it appears that things are doing well. I'll continue to see him every three months from now on. Or until we're sure I'm cured. Doctors say if you live five years without a recurrence, then you're considered cured.
We're in the final week of rehearsals for South Pacific. I have a small role, but a lot of stage time, dancing and singing. It should be fun. Next month I'm in an all-dance production of Little Orphan Annie. And I'm now in a Modern dance class. So life goes on.
My question is simple. Am I a survivor yet, or do I have to wait five years to accept that award.