One PSA Test and Tomorrow's Funeral
As regular readers .. all two of you .. probably recall, I had prostate cancer, and subsequent surgery, in 2008. However, the PSA didn't reduce much post-surgery, and the ensuing scans revealed a greatly enlarged lymph node in the same area. I went on Lupron right then, and also began 39 Tomography X-Ray treatments, concluding in January 2009.
My PSA has been generally zero since then. However, in December of 2010, I spent a few days in the hospital owing to a severe bladder infection, coupled with bigtime dehydration. At that time, they did every kind of blood test imaginable .. all of which results were abnormal (owing to the infection).
Sepsis does that, apparently.
When they found lots of things in the abdomen to be enlarged, I pointed out the details of the prostate adventure, so they immediately ran a PSA test. At that time, it was 0.01. So something was producing an infinitesimal amount of the antigen. My urologist-surgeon consequently began regular PSA monitoring, after that.
It's been 0.01 until mid 2012, when it elevated to 0.15. Then this past November, it showed up at 0.2. This week's test returned 0.3.
For those who aren't familiar with this, PSA is a prostate-specific antigen, produced by abnormally growing prostate cells. 0.3 would be a wonderful number for a guy that still had a prostate gland. Since I ain't got one no more, it's indicative of something going on. There are some other rare things that could cause it, but there's a good chance there are still some of the cells lurking out there in the lymph systems, cranking out the antigen. Hence there's no prediction possible as to where it might go. But the doctor said the increase wasn't even enough to indicate I should start hormone treatments.
By way of information, my PSA pre-surgery was 5.0, and 4.1 after the surgery. So the level is really really low at this time.
So here's the deal: Matt Chandler did some posts about his episode with a brain tumor. In one of them, he commented on the support from some of his members, who'd experienced cancer. And, in an unexpected (for him) development, some of the folks that had experienced a cure of their cancer had said they felt they'd "lost something" when told they no longer had cancer. That its presence had led them to count every day precious, and when that factor was removed, it was all too easy to forget that preciousness.
Matt said it was a real-life reflection on the truth of Psalm 90:12, which says, in the NIV: