It’s that time again. Time to prepare for the month of November which, according to a number of the world’s prostate cancer agencies, has been renamed MOVEMBER. A time for all good men (and women, due to a bizarre genetic anomaly or Eastern European performance enhancing drug) to begin growing a moustache and collecting contributions in support of the efforts to eradicate this nasty scourge and help those suffering from the disease.
Prostate Canada picked up the considerable tab (in excess of $1200) for my single hormone therapy injection prior to surgery and, without them, would have borne the cost myself. And for that I’m indebted to them, but that’s not why I’m participating in this year’s event. I’m participating because it’s something that needs to be done. It’s a disease that more men need to be aware of and take steps, whether they like a finger in the butthole or not, earlier rather than later in life.
The various symptoms of prostate cancer usually reveal themselves too late in advancement of the disease. It’s said that if you have symptoms, it may be too late to do anything so early detection, as in most cancers, is important.
Which is why Movember exists. To ensure males are aware they own a prostate and how to keep it in top running condition or what to do if cancer drops by.
So if you’re reading this, which you obviously are, take a moment and drop a few dollars into my Movember bucket. You can make a quick donation on my Personal Movember Page or contribute to My Movember Team, The Amber Alerts. Either way, you’re doing a good thing and may be helping someone you know or love.
In the second half of 2009 I discoverd I had prostate cancer and outlined the situation within this blog. I had surgery, endured some of the bad bits, healed and moved on. I even raised a bit of cash for the cause. And that, I thought, was that.
Until last month.
I’ve had regular PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) tests to ensure the nasty stuff isn’t still lurking inside my body and, until the end of last year, all was good. But then the tests began showing a slow increase in the amount of PSA in my blood which meant that some cancer cells remain even after the host prostate was yanked out and dropped in the trash.
To say I was bummed out is an understatement as I figured the battle had been fought and won years ago. So now it’s time for radiation therapy. Yay.
The radiation therapy process consists of five steps:
Radiation therapy works by bombarding my late prostate’s neighbourhood with ionizing radiation which fatally damages the DNA of cancerous cells. (Die you little bastards, DIE!!) I began therapy June 21 and will continue 5 days a week for 32 treatments (6 1/2 weeks), consulting with a radiation oncologist every week to evaluate my progress and have my PSA levels checked. Treatment side effects include skin irritation (probably minor as the radiation is targeted deep within my body rather than my dainty and delicate surface area) and possible incontinence and bowel irregularity. Fatigue is the major side effect of this treatment and I’ve been advised to ‘relax’. I’m all over that one.
So what am I doing to help this process succeed?
1) I’ve increased the level of my cardio and weight workouts, which will help with my physical and mental state during the treatment. And make me all buff for summer.
2) I’m consuming absolutely no alcohol however my addiction to sesame snaps will continue unabated.
3) I’m staying positive. I’ve found it’s much better than staying negative.
For those looking forward to an early inheritance, my prognosis is very good and I’m optimistic that this is the final round of my 4 year battle against this annoying little bastard. Though it may well be pugnacious, I have my general good health, age, optimisim and the use of a large machine to blast cancer cells to hell and back. Love that machine.
Finally, for those that enjoy watching a man lay on a table, have a look at the video of my June 27, 2013 TrueBeam Linear Accelerator treatment, administered by the excellent radiation therapists at The BC Cancer Agency in beautiful Surrey. (It’s not really beautiful, I’m just being kind.)