4 Dec 2005

I Hate This

Back in 2001, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He had an aggressive surgery to take care of it - and for the most part, it worked. He did have some PSA levels show up in his post-op screening, but they were very, very low. Early this summer, his PSA levels began to increase and his doctor suggested that they get nabbed with radiation treatment.

A couple days ago my dad got his latest PSA screening results back. The hope was that the PSA levels would be down, or better yet - at zero. Instead, the numbers are up. And somewhat steeply up. This means that the area they were radiating (the prostate bed) isn't the culprit. The cancer is now somewhere else - and unfortunately, they don't know where and they don't know how to eliminate it.

He now basically has to wait it out until things get "bad" at which point he'll take on some rather quality-of-life depleting hormone therapies to keep it at bay.

My parents are trying to take it in stride. They're making plans for all sorts of trips and experiences in the coming while so that they can "enjoy it while they can." But the very thought of them living with this awful looming reality that 'things are going to get worse' floods me with every awful, sinking, gutted emotion out there.

I am not a pretty crier. My nose somehow expands and turns red, my eyes puff up, my skin gets blotchy. I gurgle and choke and snot up. So when I'm on the verge of bawling, I jump in the shower so that I at least have some privacy while looking and sounding gross. To put it mildly, I've taken a couple extra showers these last few days.

I am trying to see the good in this. My dad is not 'sick' or in any pain. He actually has no symptoms of cancer. He IS able to enjoy today. With continued research, they may be able to screen and treat what he's facing. Should you be inclined, a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society would be of enormous help - if not to my dad, but to anyone that has to deal with this fuckface of a disease (and I would literally have to sprint for the shower again if I were to find out that this dumb little post actually got someone to do such a generous thing).

Thanks for listening.

9 comments:

Pam,  1:37 pm, December 04, 2005  

Jen, I am so sorry. :( My thoughts are with you. My family has been touched by this bastard of a disease on too many occassions; although none as close as what you are going through. We donate to the Canadian Cancer Society every year because we hope to help make positive changes. Our 2006 donation will have "Jen's dad" written on the corner of the cheque.

Vally,  2:45 pm, December 04, 2005  

I am so sorry, Jen. I had no idea he was getting sick again.

Cancer sucks it. It's not fair.

Jenger,  7:30 pm, December 04, 2005  

sorry Jen. . .

we too had to fight the prostate cancer monster. . .

I will keep your family in my thoughts. . .

looking forward to future posts about your Dad kicking cancer's ass.

Chris 7:59 pm, December 04, 2005  

That's not cool :(

I know the watch 'n' wait feeling. My mom had non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and waiting for something to happen is half the battle.

Did your dad's oncologist mention all of the possible reasons why his PSA levels are elevated? Since the talk is still of PSA, that should be a sign that it's still within the realm of the prostate, right? Elevated PSA levels can also be caused by other less-ominous ailments. Hopefully that's the case.

Along with contributing to the Cancer Society, there's also the Nanotechnology Department at UW who are doing some amazing research on the use of nanobots to battle cancer. There's even the Folding@Home project, in which you donate your computer's idle time to crunching protien-folding research data in the form of a screen saver. It's similar to the Seti@Home project except that Folding@Home is actually useful. I mean c'mon. Aliens? What have they ever done for us? Nothing, that's what!

Either way, I hope your dad has a healthy lifestyle and that everything turns out ok.

PS: Hopefully that last bit about the aliens at least made you chuckle just a little bit.

Nessa24,  12:16 pm, December 05, 2005  

I'm so sorry. I know how hard it is to watch family members deal with this horrible disease. I wish you and your family all the best and hope that your dad pulls through with flying colours.

Jen 3:00 pm, December 05, 2005  

Thanks everyone. I really do appreciate the comments. They're more helpful than you know.

Pam - That's so sweet of you!

Thanks for the link, Chris. I might share it with my dad. I don't totally understand how he can have a PSA and it not be prostate-related either ... they weren't all that clear ...?

Anyway - thanks again. :)

mernbyck 5:48 pm, December 05, 2005  

Hey Jen, It's Mern, I wanted to share my Dad's experience with prostate C.A.
He was diagnosed 14 years ago.Shortly after losing my Mom to ovarian cancer. PSA. through the roof. There were a few options at that time, but he decided to have an orchadectomy, which means, removing the testicles.Reason being the testosterone fuels the Cancer. He would not be able to climax anymore,and for a lot of men, they do not like the sounds of that. BUT if it saves his life!!! Anyway, My Dad is soon to be 86, He lost his brother to this, but he did not have this procedure........hope this helps........Love Mern

Foxy 11:26 pm, December 05, 2005  

Aw, Jen, I am so sorry. No family should have to deal with this jackassed disease, it just plain stinks. I have my fingers crossed for him.

Couz 1:31 pm, December 06, 2005  

I'm sorry Jen. I hope they find out what is causing his PSA to rise soon so your family doesn't have to deal with waiting on top of everything else.

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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