Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Story So Far

Thanks for visiting my cancer blog. I'll do my best to keep you informed of what's going on with my prostate cancer treatment, and how life is changing for my wife and me in fundamental ways. It's a great blessing to live in the 21st Century when tools like this are available.

On August 7th, 2015, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It runs in my family; both my dad and his dad had it. My grandfather's cancer was discovered after his death, and my dad's cancer was diagnosed 17 years ago at an early stage. He had surgery and has been cancer free since then. My case turned out a little different. Mine was not caught until it was too late for surgery. I have a high Gleason score, which indicates a very aggressive cancer. I've been told I'm not a candidate for what they call "seed implants" either. My cancer is too advanced for that. The doctors suspect metastasis, but have not been able to prove it so far.

I haven't been given a prognosis, but we are taking all of this in stride, and trying to have a positive attitude. As I say to many people, we have faith in God and modern technology! Since they can't operate, my only treatment right now is Lupron shots, which are supposed to suppress testosterone. Apparently prostate cancer feeds on testosterone rather than sugar, like most cancers. I had my first shot on Thursday, September 24th. The shots themselves are no fun. The place where they stick the needle (NOT the arm!) hurt for 3 days afterwards. It also causes an extreme sensitivity to cold, at least for me. I've had a couple of uncontrollable shivering fits after catching what I used to consider a pleasant cool breeze. But I have no room to complain. I'm getting off easy compared to a lot of guys with this disease. No chemo for me, no surgery, and no hospitalization, at least yet. Just shots. I can live with that. I get one shot every 6 months for two years, then they think Lupron will no longer be effective, and they'll try something else.

For cancer fighting supplements, I take Vitamin D, aspirin (adult, not baby aspirin - I'm not a baby), and Zinc, which are all supposed to have good cancer fighting properties. I also take calcium because Lupron causes osteoporosis. I added those to what I already had been taking; local bee pollen for allergies, and glucosamine for my old creaky joints. Geez, I'm gonna have to get one of those geezer pill dispensers!

Please pray for us, and for the rest of my family. This is hard on my immediate family, who all live in Illinois, and we live in Denver, Colorado. It's tough being far away when a loved one is going through something like this.

Since my treatment consists of one shot every six months, there won't be a lot of treatment news, but I'll also be talking about other aspects of this transition time for us.

We are so grateful for the thoughts, prayers, and support we've received so far! It's at times like this you find out who your friends are.

I'll close with one thought that I've been repeating to people since all of this happened. I have been very blessed in many ways throughout my life, and one of those ways has been good health. I turned 60 this past May, and when I went to the hospital to get my MRI and bone scan last month, that was the first time I had ever put a hospital bracelet on. My mom says I wore one when I got my tonsils out when I was 5, but I don't count that. I've never been hospitalized, never even had a broken bone. No major surgeries, nothing. My most serious health issue until now has been pollen allergies. If someone had said to me when I was young that I could choose to either have 60 years of perfect health followed by a steep decline, or a lifetime of health problems, surgeries, and hospital stays, and live into my 90's, I would choose the 60 years of good health every time. And that is what I've had. If the price for that is I get to go to Heaven early, I'll take that deal!

But I'm NOT giving up. I'm looking into alternative therapies in addition to what modern medicine has to offer. Stay tuned... and get your PSA checked!

1 comment:

  1. You are in our prayers Mark. We serve a big mighty God and as I read this God brought a song to my mind by Steven Curtis Chapman

    Lay your head down tonight
    Take a rest from the fight
    Don’t try to figure it out
    Just listen to what I’m whispering to your heart
    ‘Cause I know this is not
    Anything like you thought
    The story of your life was gonna be
    And it feels like the end has started closing in on you
    But it’s just not true
    There’s so much of the story that’s still yet to unfold

    And this is going to be a glorious unfolding
    Just you wait and see and you will be amazed
    You’ve just got to believe the story is so far from over
    So hold on to every promise God has made to us
    And watch this glorious unfolding.

    God has a plan. We will keep lifting you up in prayer before God.

    Bill and Lyn Albright