I will try to be brief as there is a lot to read and research if you are new to prostate cancer (PC).
I retired from the military after 27 in the military back in 2016 and saw a civilian doctor for the first time in a long time. She did a blood work up on me and said I was as healthy as an ox.
Two months later I received my military disability rating and because of that I'm now authorized to use the Veterans Affairs (VA) medical system and have full access to their doctors for free. Now I was a little nervous because of all the stories I heard about how veterans would die waiting for an appointment but I was in great health and didn't have to worry about that or so I thought.
Called and made the appointment and bam…3 months later they got me in. Anyway, they ran all the same blood work with the addition of a PSA test. I had no Idea what that was until the nurse was looking at my results said "whoa!" which peaked my interest. I said "whoa!, what?" and he played it off saying oh it is nothing your PSA is just a little higher than I'm used to seeing it but the Doctor will go over everything with you. At that time my PSA was 3.49 on 26 Sep 2016. The Doctor reassured me that it was nothing to worry about until it reached 4 or above. Knowing what I know now I would have asked for a PSA test every 3 months.
Fast forward to 21 Jun 2017, I asked for my annual checkup early because the "whoa!" stuck with me. My PSA came back at a 4.31 this time, time to get a biopsy. After mucking around the VA system with referrals and telephone appointment ("telephone appointments" is how the VA show they are helping veterans within the required one month time frame without actually seeing them, brilliant on their part) anyway bam…3 months later I was schedule for a biopsy on 8 Sep 2017. I got the much anticipated call 6 days later on 14 Sep 2017 saying I have cancer. "Whoa!" I was not expecting that at all.
Over the phone the Doctor started to explain treatment options and was talking surgery right away because of my age and because I have a Gleason score of 7b because I had 2 samples out of 12 at a 4+3 etc…etc… I was in shock really not hearing or understanding anything at that point, I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. I made a follow-up appointment to sit down and talk treatment options. On a good note I had a couple of week until the next appoint so I hit the internet to find everything I could find about PC. I also found this web page which has probably helped me more than any of my other page I visited.
Man, there are a ton of treatment options out there. For those of you who are new like me; study, study and then study some more. You really do have to pick what works best for you based on your diagnosis, your lifestyle and what is important to you.
I finally decided on External Beam Radiation or External Beam Therapy (EBT) (I guess they call it therapy to make it less scary). Oh and the Doctor put me on androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) as well. The reason I picked this is because I like the fact that there "may" be less side effects (no option is perfect). Now, I'm just beginning this journey to a cancer free life. I have been asked several times are you comfortable with your decision. The answer is: absolutely, if I'm cancer free in 5 years…otherwise I would have to say "I should have gone with the surgery". Regardless I will keep you up to date.
Oh I have also changed my diet to a Vegan style + fish and chicken with no skin. You will find all kinds of stuff on diet on the internet, friends and family. My advice: study, study, study and make the best decision you can for you. I will also say this as you look at my PSA scores below. There are 268 days between the first test and the second test and my PSA went up by .82. There were 118 days between my second test and my most current test and it went up .22. If you do the math it would appear I cut the grow rate by about half and that was from only changing my diet on 14 Sep 2017. Only 33 days of eating differently. I hope others start posting this info as well.
I wish you all the best!!
26 Sep 2016 3.49
21 June 2017 4.31
17 Oct 2017 4.53 (one hour before I took the ADT shot
Bob's e-mail address is: bob_49er AT hotmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")