A bump in my road

BandaidI visited my new family doctor in April complaining about dizzy spells and he ordered the usual battery of tests including blood, urine, fecal etc. They came back with little clue but one thing stood out; my PSA levels were high and required further investigation. For those not familiar with this test it measures the level of free and bound PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) in the blood and is used to detect Prostate Cancer. After a quick digital examination he sent me to a Urologist for further testing.

My urologist, Dr. John Warner, scheduled me for a cystoscopic bladder inspection, prostate biopsy and bone scan which, to the uninitiated, is scary, mysterious and fascinating all at the same time. During the time this was going on I was also having some pain in my hip which I attributed to a tendon issue due to past bicycling, jogging and weight training. So, what does this have to do with Prostate Cancer you ask? Like everyone else I started reading about the condition on the Internet and discovered that Prostate Cancer is very slow growing but advanced cases extend into bone through the pelvis and that’s where the problems really start. I was convinced this was my fate and was sure my time was up. I was wrong.

The bladder examination came back negative, the bone scan was fine but the biopsy was positive. Uh oh…I had prostate cancer.

So what were my options? Dr. Warner gave me three:

  • Radiation therapy – Irradiating a targeted area (my prostate) to kill the cancer cells
  • Hormone therapy – Prostate cancer hormone therapy removes the chemical that “feeds” cells and can stop or slow the growth and spread of the tumor
  • Prostatectomy – Yard the puppy out

I chose number three. Oh yipee!…I get to go to the hospital, which I did on September 29 waking up at 3pm that day with compression pump bands around my legs (to reduce the possibility of blood clots), oxygen tubes in my nose, a catheter tube and bag, fluid and morphine IV drips in my arm, an adorable little drainage tube and 26 metal staples in my abdomen. Good times.

I’m in the midst of recuperating at home and hope to be rid of the catheter in about 10 days and back to normal in a few weeks. Overall, I was very lucky and if the cancer had not been detected as early as it was I would have been picking out my casket in a year or so. So what did I learn from all of this?

Our healthcare system is broken – There’s a lack of competent and trained nurses and other healthcare professionals. You know something is wrong when your surgeon is the one that fetches you from the pre-op room and wheels you into the operating room.
Have a PSA test – Prostate Cancer affects men starting in their early 40’s but has been detected in those as young as their early 20’s. It is the most common cancer among Canadian men and will afflict 1 in 6. You have to pay for the blood test yourself (figure that one out!) but it may be the best investment you ever make. Don’t piss around…get it done.
I’m not here forever – Life is fleeting and one can only really understand that fact when it might be snatched away. It’s the usual sappy stuff but try to appreciate your days on the planet and don’t be such an asshole.

To those with which I didn’t share any of the above, I apologize but think that most of you have your own worries and problems and didn’t need to share mine. I thought it best to get all the nasty stuff out of the way and let you know when it was all over and I had some good news to report. I hope that’s OK and appreciate your understanding.
As for the dizzy spells, I visited a neurologist and he advised that it will just “go away on its own”. Those dizzy spells saved my ass and may be the best thing that ever happened to me. Life is weird, huh?

R&O

  35Comments

  1. Rebecca Guzzo   •  

    WOW!! Adam I am so sorry to hear your news…yet VERY happy, as you state, that you found it early!!
    Best wishes on a speedy recovery!
    Rebecca

  2. Victoria Brown   •  

    Hi Adam,
    Your bravery is commendable. My thoughts are with you and I hope having gorgeous Sharon by your side you will always look at the bright (red) side. Thanks for sharing with me. Take care,
    Victoria

  3. Kelly Bocking   •  

    Hi Adam,
    I am so glad that you are going to be OK. The world is a better place because you are in it.
    I don’t want to get too sappy either!
    Thank you for letting me know what has been going on with you. Sending this out and letting us know what to look for so we talk to our loved ones about this cancer is a really great thing to do. I hope that you have a speedy recovery, see in the office soon enough!
    Kelly

  4. Marcus deparcus   •  

    Glad you came through in one piece hope you have a quick recovery

    Cheers
    Mark

  5. jim harr   •  

    What a pussy! (Just kidding Adam) I’m extremely happy yhat you found out early. So does that mean that you don’t have vertigo?All my thoughts are with you and cheers to a speedy recovery.

  6. Steve lowe   •  

    Adam,

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight – you had a puppy instead of a prostate gland and that made you dizzy? Dude, that’s seriously unusual. Did I read that all too fast?

    Glad you’re all ticketyboo now. Really glad.

    Mucho besto,
    Steve

  7. nestor   •  

    oh crap… I guess that means that cigars and irish whiskey are out.

    N

  8. susan bains   •  

    Adam…..! Thanks for sharing and I will urge all the men in my life (yes i have many..) to get themselves checked. You have to be an advocate for your health. Thank God you are okay. Get back here quick as we all need a dose of your good humour to get through the work week. hugs, susan

  9. Celie   •  

    Adam, Again, thanks for sharing your story. It seems this test should be free and as frequent as women having a breast exam. Glad you’re on the mend and that everything is ok. See ya soon!!!! Celie

  10. Caralyn   •  

    Yikes. Scary stuff. So glad to hear you’ll be alright.
    Take care.
    Caralyn

  11. Bob & Lisa   •  

    Wow and we just thought you didn’t want to room with us at the Wine Festival this weekend…… now we know…
    Hope your feeling better real soon, your a great guy with always such a upbeat outlook, something we can all learn from. We are sure that Sharon (she spoils you rotten) will have you back up on your feet in no time. Look forward to seeing you when your up to it.

    Get well, Bob & Lisa

  12. Bill Mullaly   •  

    Adam,

    I figured something was up when I heard you were on ‘holidays’ and Sharon wasn’t. Mark Hanson tried to cover things up as well..
    I don’t want this to go to your head but I have a ton of respect for you for coming out publicly with this and giving everyone, boys & girls, a wake up call about the big ‘C’.
    A digital rectal examination is also a real wake up call. Owwww!!!
    Thinking of you Adam and positive that you will be 100% in no time.
    Bill Mullaly

  13. Carolyn Berg   •  

    Adam:

    I am so happy to know that you are okay! Thank you for sharing, I am sure that you are helping someone else by being so honest about your last few months.

    Looking forward to seeing you soon.

    Carolyn

  14. annie winter   •  

    Adam – I am so happy to hear the good news. Life throws us some crazy stuff! Good to hear you are healing quickly.
    See you back here soon your a good guy to have around.
    thinking of you and Sharon both.
    Annie Winter

  15. Marie Warder   •  

    That’s awful news! I’m putting you on my prayer chain. We have had some awesom results.

  16. Cheri Caleb   •  

    How stressful that must have been for you, and yet you still maintained your sunny demeanor. I’m glad to hear that you will still be around to take my put downs and smart alec comments. Don’t push yourself to get back (especially since I’ve got a nice displaced family renting out your office until the end of October).

  17. Laura Hoorweg   •  

    Hey Big Guy,

    I promise I didn’t know about the “puppy” when I sent you the Doggie Get Well card…LOL Sync.

    We are just glad to hear you are on the mend.

    It will make our next dinner with you guys even sweeter knowing that none of us should ever taking anything or any one for granted.

    You get an extra desert for being such a brave boy 🙂

    Huggies Laura & Tim

  18. Greg Ryan   •  

    Ah the joys of aging….root canals,rectal examinations and so on.
    I know the initial news is startling….but now you are on the road to recovery and the prognosis is good.

    Life looks pretty darn good!..and a positive mental attitude cannot be beat

    Greg

    Take care
    Greg

  19. Al Worobetz   •  

    Hey, Adam

    Glad to hear that you are much better after the surgery. I, too, had some high PSA numbers, but, fortunately, they were all negative. Still damned scary.

    Al

  20. Doug Bower   •  

    Hi Adam,

    Sorry to hear about your condition. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    Doug

  21. Laura Larson   •  

    Hi Adam,
    I’ll send you strength, but you already have it.
    Thanks for the honesty; it means other people will take the initiative to look after themselves, too.
    Take care and see you soon.
    Laura

  22. Matti Dread   •  

    Fozz,

    Thanx for sharing your story, we’re so glad that you dealt with it so proactively. No wait this means that we’ll still have to put up with your sardonic sense of ha ha! Miss ya buddy. When you and the lovely Sharon get back over this side of the pond make sure you pay us a visit. Until then we’ll be thinking of you.
    Matti, T-R and da boyz.

  23. Linda Hellmann   •  

    Hey Adam,

    Glad you are on the mend and glad you dodged that nasty bullet. I wish you a full and speedy recovery and I hope to continue to amuse you by periodically asking you idiotic computer questions. That German family renting out your office is very nice – my uncle Fritz says Danke Shoen und Oktoberfest is next wochen-ende – Brosit ! Insert “Roll out the barrel” here …… Uh….do I need to go to Itunes to do that? Can I download that on a blog?…. Yeah yeah, I know, super-easy, very straighforward …….

    Take care,
    A fellow Port Moodian

  24. Josee & Don   •  

    Mr. Adam,
    You are such a trooper and an inspiration for everyone to go get checked out. Don & I wish you a speedy recovery. Take it easy, work can wait for however long it takes! I’m sure Sharon & Ben are taking very good care of you. We hope to see you soon so we can pop open a very good bottle of vino with you.

  25. Suzanne Darnell   •  

    Hi Adam,
    My thoughts will be with you and Sharon. I’m sure you both realize more than ever how precious life and loved ones are. Your positive attitude will only speed your recovery. Thank you for sharing. I will send Brian for the PSA test as I can see how important that is!
    Suzanne

  26. Lee Smith   •  

    Hi Adam: I’m glad things have gone well, all things considered, and wish you a speedy recovery. I had a prostatectomy about 13 years ago and still no noticeable PSA, thank God and my urologist. I am curious about what your opinion is of the large number of articles coming out claiming PSA testing leads to “too much” overtreatment. Could I ask, what were your biopsy results. How did you “know” that you had a life threatening prostate cancer that needed to be treated. I looked at my gleason score, the Partin tables, and decided the risk of dying from cancer was worse than the risk of overtreatment, and wanted it out. But some are claiming I didn’t have to do that. I don’t buy that and think all men should be getting PSA measurements routinely.

    • R&O   •     Author

      I read a few articles regarding over-treatment of low-risk prostate cancer and discussed it with my urologist before deciding which of the three options to pursue. My biopsy results showed cancer on one side of my prostate and was deemed stage 2 (an evident tumor during digital examination but not spread to neighbouring tissue). My concern was the spread of microscopic cells from the prostate to my bones which, in my understanding, can happen at any time even if the gland isn’t completely encompassed. I requested a hormone shot (at $1400.00 per shot paid for by Prostate Cancer Canada) to begin killing cancer cells until the prostatectomy but the interesting thing is that this isn’t part of a standard treatment. The hormone shot can kill up to 95% of cancer cells and is an effective treatment unto itself but my urologist told me that it isn’t always used prior to a prostatectomy. He felt it could kill rogue cells until the prostate was removed and no longer spread cells to other parts of my body.
      The PSA test should be a regular part of any 40+ man’s medical health regime along with the dreaded digital exam. It just makes good sense and if anything is detected it can be followed up by a bladder exam, bone scan etc.

  27. Da Boyz   •  

    Did you do this just so you wouldn ‘t have to buy coffee? ‘Cause it’s your turn . . .

  28. Reg & Jo-Anne   •  

    Thanks for sharing your story. The info you’ve given will definitely make me ask the Doc for the extra test at my next physical.

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. You know you can always call a neighbor if there is anything we can help with. Have a speedy 100% recovery.

    Reg & Jo-Anne

  29. Keith Brown   •  

    Hi Adam,

    Glad you caught this early and it was / is treatable. We still need you to say and do outrageous things so that all of us keep on our toes. I sure hope to see you soon and offer you some harassment and laughs… Until then, Take care bud.

  30. Janet   •  

    Adam, sorry to hear what you have been going through. Good for you for being proactive and sharing with others. Believe me I know first hand our health care system is broken. Janet

  31. Aisling Chapman   •  

    Hiya Adam,

    I am so glad your prognosis is positive and that you are on the mend!

    This weekend we have yet another thing to be thankful for!

    I know Sharon & Benny will look after you and have you on the Pt Moody trails again soon getting pinecomb bombed by Squirrels on crack!

    Take care you!

    Slainte! Ash

  32. Marie Warder   •  

    What I meant by “awful news”…
    I was referring to the pain and the anxiety you must have been going through. The fact that your bones are not affected is GOOD news! The prayers for complete recovery continue.

  33. Doug Bower   •  

    Hi Adam,
    I get updates from Sharon on your progress. Best of luck for continuing to be on the mend!

    Regards,
    Doug

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