Friday, February 18, 2011


For over a week I've been what my grandmother would call "do-less". I've written almost nothing, besides the out line of the first meeting of my Mary of Magdala class that begins in March--that was good--but no prose or poetry. "Do-less" is when you can't 'do' anything. It was a common ailment among the way-faring youth of southern West Virginia.

I've tried to blame it on the milder weather. Something like a preemptive Spring Fever. But that isn't true. I know myself from years of Jungian analysis and what myself is trying to do is avoid 'what is'. I play Hearts on my computer for a couple of hours a day. I spent an hour in Stop and Shop today when what I needed would have taken 15 minutes tops. I found myself, a day or so ago, driving about a dozen miles to get home from a 5 minute trip. I go look at things that don't interest me in the least. I spent an hour in Bob's Store and didn't buy anything.

I know the symptoms of 'do-less-ness'. I'm frightened, fearful, a tad depressed.

The only way I know to deal with that is to talk about it. Since my blog is easier and cheaper than therapy, I'm going to try this first.

About 6 months ago, my urologist in Greenwich suggested I might need another therapy for the cancer that started 6 years ago and for which I had surgery and radiation and then lived 6 years thinking I was a 'survivor'.

What's wrong is my PSA. Most men over 45 know what that means. I have no idea what PSA stands for, what the real words are. But PSA shows up in blood tests for it. The gland that produces the PSA is the Prostate. Mine started producing too much 6 years ago and I had a biopsy and had Prostate Cancer. (I capitalize Cancer because where I come from, when I was a kid, before treatments became more sophisticated, people I knew called cancer, 'the Big C'. Like a capital letter and because they thought it would be a hex or something to say the word outloud....)

The prostate gland produces PSA. So when it is gone, there should be no PSA. Right? I had none right after the surgery. And for a couple of years I had PSA readings like 0.003 and 0.01. But in the past year (nine months actually) my PSA has doubled to something like 1.4 from 0.7. Minuscule if you're a healthy male under 50. (My PSA was 14.0 when I had the biopsy.) But when you don't have a prostate gland, 1.4 means there are prostate cancer cells living inside you and floating around.

Six months ago Dr. Stombakis, who did my surgery, suggested I might begin some what is called "hormone therapy". It is, in fact, "Anti-hormore therapy". You are given a drug that prevents the production of testosterone. I'd had bone scans and cat scans that showed nothing. He even said, 'the problem is, you have no cancer." I said, "whose problem is that?" His of course, since he didn't know what to do except start hormone treatment, which is what they do for the 1/3 of prostate cancer survivors whose PSA continues to rise when it shouldn't. I talked him into putting it off until my next blood test. Then Dr. Stombakis wasn't included in my insurance (though, God Bless them, the Episcopal Health people made my company pay him for almost a year. Being an Episcopalian has some perks!)

Plus I had a terrible urinary tract infection about 4 months ago and went to a hospital near me and was treated by a urologist who fixed the problem and looked like Kurt Vonnegut and WAS covered by my insurance. Well, after he got my many records and gave me a blood test, he said I needed to start the therapy.

Two doctors I trust profoundly said the same thing. Dr. Kurz said he'd not suggest it if I were 75. But I'm not 75 and would like to be some day 12 years from now. Prostate Cancer goes to the bone, not a cancer anyone wants.

So, a week from today, I'm starting the therapy and I am freaked out and 'do-less' because of it.

I just want to ask for your good thoughts and prayers, however you pray, that I'll be fine and the side-effects won't be too extreme and that I'll move through d0-less-ness and my fear and my depression and be ok until 75 and beyond.

Thank you in advance for that.

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.