This blog is written as the result of a request (to us men...) on Clean and Crazy('s) blog about "Prostate Cancer Awareness" Month...September.
Nearly three years ago, I asked my primary care physician, "How come I have not had a PSA test for several years? Are they out of vogue?" I knew that Medicare paid the full price of about $20...so when he looked it up and told me it was an oversight, we took the sample right then.
Well, yep the reading was "up there" and so it was off to the Urologist for me. After numerous testings--some, quite invasive--one of which involved the snipping of biopsy material from 12 areas of the prostate (ahem!), I was told that every single area showed cancer, and "the horses had gotten out of the barn". And it was close, but not yet into a lymph node.
So began a long but painless road to recovery, radiation treatment every day for five weeks. After a respite, several more days under the watchful eye of a robot-like figure called CYBERKNIFE. Cyberknife had a dedicated room, this was the "big time", you could sense it. Anytime I've got an $8-million machine looking me in the eye and winking, it figures that "I have arrived." A few days of that (it literally pinpoints the cancer, and zaps in just the correct spots) and I was free to go--I thought.
Well, it is now several years after. Every 84 days I trek to the office of the Urologist, where I'm tested, supported and given guidance. Also, I'm given a nice shot in the ass! A very expensive time-released Hormone shot, the potency of which lasts 3 months (according to the government) is given me, one doctor said, "to keep me alive". The rest of my life will be dependent on these quarterly visits and shots.
Warning! Here I go again: The analogies on this blog are that my cancer diagnosis I identify with Step One. Steps Two and Three is when I said to myself, "Relax, Steve. Trust that God is directing your doctors. Let them do the work for now. All you gotta do is suit up and show up. Trust your doctor, their teachers, and all the very experienced staff at the Cancer Center. Pray for you doctors. Let it happen!
The "treatments I line up with those "work" Steps, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Step 11 analogy is when I meditated (I did frequently!) and prayed (for God's Will, no more, no less!) and for Power to get me through whatever would unfurl itself to me--His Will.
Step Twelve, Spiritual Awakening--happened to me when the doctor so soothingly, almost nonchalantly said, "...the horses (cancers) are out of the barn!" And so, this blog is part of the message of hope I am carrying to those who may still suffer from the announcement that they have Prostate Cancer. You are not alone. Many have gone before, and are well into recovery. Have faith, pray, and keep coming back.
IF I wish to live sober, happy, and free, I have to keep my hand in Alcoholics Anonymous till I die. I must continue helping others, speaking at meetings, attending functions, living the program. So long as these things take place, I live.
The same is true with any disease, "follow the doctor's instructions". of which the basic "instructions" (for living without alcohol) are AA's Twelve Steps.
Did I mention, AA IS FREE...
By the way, the real miracle in all this cancer business for me was/is that never once was I stressed, never once gave up, lost hope, never once became angry about it. All the happenings were just another place to go, another task to be done, and some cherished "quiet time" on the radiation tables, where meditation was just a GIVEN!
Thanks to God and AA!