Hi all. Well, it has been an while and a lot has happened.
This week saw me with my general practitioner on Monday (quarterly hormone therapy injection), my shrink on Tuesday and my oncologist today (Wednesday). Tomorrow is pre-chemo blood tests and medication, and Friday is chemo cycle five. Phew! That easily fills in a week. I am also trying to live my life!
I am really over chemo. Even though I look around the room and see people much worse off than me. It sucks. On all eight cylinders.
Anyway, about the oncologist. He initially said that we would not do a PSA test until after the chemo has finished, because the results would be erratic. But last meeting he asked for a PSA test to discuss today. No wonder I get so confused. PSA is up from 21 to 27. Not good, as it is increasing. But good, because it is increasing at a slower rate. The oncologist was happy, so I am too.
Also confusing was the discussion about the chemo dose. At chemo cycle four, I commented to the chemo nurse that the oncologist prescribed a lower dose due to the peripheral neuropathy (numbness at fingers and toes, which could be permanent). She said that the dose was unchanged. I assumed that I was wrong, and that the oncologist must have said that he would reduce the dose if the neuropathy worsened. Damn chemo brain makes me doubt myself! Today, the oncologist stated that the dose was indeed reduced. No wonder I am struggling!
And the final kicker was that the oncologist said that we will monitor the PSA after chemo cycle six to determine if we need to proceed with chemo cycles seven to ten. Extreme confusion. I have never heard about chemo cycles seven to ten. Being almost in sight of chemo six which I thought was the end, I am not keen on adding another twelve weeks to this ordeal. That would end in November! Good grief! Thirty weeks of chemo!
And… a scan will see what is happening after chemo cycle six.
Neuropathy means that you have to concentrate on what you are doing to avoid breaking things, hurting yourself, or just getting things done without fine motor skills. I have it mild, so not so bad. However, chemo brain (confusion, lack of concentration etc etc) is making managing this side effect “challenging”.
Emotions are all over the place and can be extreme. Fatigue is increasing, but maybe due to me doing more. On Sunday we walked a five klm charity walk. Monday was an hour in the gym. Today was a five klm bush walk. Great to do, but tiring. Add to this managing a five acre property, two horses, one dog, a wife and a twelve year old daughter, plus life in general, and maybe I am doing ok.
Life is going pretty good. Our tree change is finally backing off the “money pit” period and is more about lifestyle. Lovely. We built a beautiful deck six metres by four metres in the shade of a large gum tree as a place to spend the warmer months in comfort (as opposed the the sizzling west facing terrace of our home!). I put the last oil coating on the deck today, so I am waiting for it to dry so that I can give it a test run. Hmmm………
Despite all the hard times and negativity I realise that I am very fortunate indeed. I am still here, with a beautiful wife, sensational daughter, supportive family, a great circle of friends, good neighbours and a kick arse home and property. Beating the doctors’ life expectancy estimates was a great win, and getting on with life has been brilliant. I could have listened to the doctors and given up. Building our rural home and property was probably a crazy gamble that I may not have seen happen. But I did see it happen. So great.
Why am I still here? Who knows? Hormone therapy? Radiation therapy? Medicinal cannabis? Prayers of family and friends? Healthy living? Tree change? Divine intervention? Meditation? Or, more importantly, who cares? So long as I can enjoy good family, friends and supporters then I am a winner.
Good health and happiness to all. Cheers, Phil