Friday, March 10, 2017

More Good News

I have more good news to report. I wasn't expecting to get my PSA result so soon, but it came in this morning. My PSA, which was already low, at .16, is now even lower. It's .06. It's not quite what they would call undetectable, though I was really hoping that would be the title of this post. And I don't think I can say I'm in remission, as the definition of that seems to be that you can go off treatment, at least somewhat. I doubt that will ever be true for me. But it's great news, just the same.

It means that the trend is still down, which means my cancer is still shrinking. As I said in my post, Melanie And Me, my oncologist says that, at this point, it's more about the trend than the actual numbers. The trend is still in the right direction.

It's odd the way this test was carried out. For some reason, my next Lupron shot and PSA was scheduled for next month, which is too early for Lupron. It's been two months since my last test, and my oncologist thought a two month interval was a good time to test. Normally, the blood draw happens a few days before, so I have a chance to talk with him about what it means. But this time, it didn't happen that way.

So when I got my result from the My Centura Health account I've set up with them, I had trouble reaching my oncologist to ask about it. As much as I've bragged on My Team, my one real complaint is that the doctor is hard to reach. Even his assistant takes a while to return a message. I left a voice mail this morning to ask specifically if my new number was considered "undetectable" or if it meant I was in remission, but when someone called back, I was in a meeting, and couldn't take the call.

All the assistant said in her voice mail was that my PSA was "slightly lower" at .06, and all of my other numbers are normal. So while I may not be in remission, since I have to stay on treatment, a number that low for a Stage 4 cancer patient with bone mets and who still has his prostate is an amazing number.

As I've said before, my PSA will never be zero, because of the fact that I still have my prostate. I thought .16 was as far down as it could go, but I was wrong. I've never been so glad to be wrong about anything.

Since I couldn't reach my doctor or his assistant - she doesn't work on Fridays, nor does my favorite nurse Melanie - I asked in a support group what number was considered undetectable, and got varying answers. Google was no help either. Every result assumed a low number after surgery. I couldn't find an article that showed what number would be considered undetectable, or "no evidence of disease" in a Stage 4 patient who still had their prostate. But it's hard for me to imagine that my number go any lower than this, barring a miracle.

The tone of the assistant who left a voice mail on my phone was not celebratory. It was very matter-of-fact, and it doesn't seem that my doctor is overly excited about it either. I'm sure if I saw him, or if we'd had this result yesterday, he would have said I'm doing really well and let's keep going, but probably not much more than that. So I probably shouldn't use the R word or the U word. I'll just take this number at face value. I'll take it for the rest of my life! But I probably won't get that option.

I know Xtandi gets a lot of the credit, but I think the cannabis oil program I've been on gets some of the credit too. I'm now on a lower "maintenance" dose that I hope to stay on long term. It's just a matter of paying for it. Insurance doesn't cover that.

And of course, the prayers of so many get credit for this too. Ultimately, God gets the credit for all of it. It's been a while since I've thanked you all for your prayers, so I have to do so now. Thank you for your prayers. I feel them. They sustain me. Please keep it up.

The last time I had a really good report like this, some people had the impression that I was cured. That I was cancer-free. I'm not. I never will be, unless cannabis oil does everything they say it does, or unless God miraculously heals me. Maybe that's what he's doing right now. If so, all the glory belongs to him. If not, I'll keep being a witness to his goodness to me during this time for as long as I can. #waroncancer

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