Two bursts of good news

Today brings two pieces of good news, one provisional, the other of great relief, both truly welcome.

No. 1: That premature PSA blood test that I forced earlier this week came back this morning just where we were hoping. The rapid ascent has been reversed, and the PSA blood marker is heading down. As a reminder, PSA – prostate specific antigen – can be a leading indicator of prostate cancer and/or a way to track its progress or decline.

My PSA went (after two years of drug therapy and radiation) from undetectable a year ago to 0.3 in September, 0.7 in November and – boom! – 6.5 in March and – double boom! holy bagel what is going on here? – 11.6 in April.

Now, ta-dah: The PSA came in at 4.6, and hopefully will continue heading down.

This shows that the triple-barreled chemo blasts are working to suppress the cancer’s growth and/or spread. More to the point, it demonstrates that my disagreeable cells remain responsive to these treatments.

In oncological terms, my cancer is classified as mHSPC – metastatic hormone sensitive prostate cancer. That doesn’t sound good, but it is, in relative terms. Translated, it means that the withholding through chemo of the cells’ nutritional hormone – testosterone – can make these cells suffer, which they so obviously deserve. If you’re dealing with metastatic prostate cancer, you want to stay mHSPC for as long as possible.

Because, over time, these pranksters tend to figure out how to survive and thrive without testosterone. Then, the patient is classified as mHRPC – metastatic hormone resistant prostate cancer, also known as metastatic castrate resistant prostate cancer. Now, you’re in deeper trouble, and more powerful therapies are required to keep the monster at bay.

So, we’re moving in the right direction for now and we shall stay the course, for as long as possible. It’s welcome good news.

No. 2: Even more-better good news came yesterday from that close, dear friend I mentioned about 10 days ago. His PSA had been rising quickly and suspiciously, and he had no sensible option other than to submit to an MRI-guided saturation biopsy.

That’s the procedure that employs a scan to highlight suspicious regions of the prostate, followed by an extensive biopsy of the organ. The wait for the pathology report can be nerve-racking, but he and his wife finally visited the urologist and heard the verdict:

It’s not cancer. It’s a serious infection of that prostate that can and will be resolved through a sustained course of antibiotics.

“To tell you the truth,” the urologist told them, “when I was performing the biopsy, I was sure I was looking at cancer. I’m glad it’s not. And this is why we never guess about these things.”

And this is why men need to have their PSA checked often, and they need to follow the advice of physicians who earn their trust.

10 thoughts on “Two bursts of good news

  1. So happy to hear this good news … and for it to come so soon.
    And thank you, Marty, for the information and the further Merzerized explanation and translation, that will help your male readers and the people in their lives who love them.
    Lee Ann

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Lee Ann. The trend upon presentation was viewed as sufficiently dramatic for them to immediately roll out the quickest-acting heavy artillery so as to retard the enemy’s advance. It has worked as desired, so far. Wouldn’t want to jinx anything. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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