There really hasn’t been much to say.
Every four months, I take the shot of poison. Every night, I take the poison pills. Though I’ve been feeling a little worse, there hasn’t been any real medical news to share.
Until today, and it’s good news. We learned that the tell-tale PSA blood marker is still going down, which is the objective. If you’re keeping score at home:
- August 20, 2019 (after 15 months of radiation and chemo-like substances) – less than 0.1, undetectable. (This is where it should be for someone in my situation).
- October 22, 2019 – Less than 0.1, undetectable.
- March 2020 – less than 0.1, undetectable. Released from treatment, pending frequent reviews.
- Sept. 15, 2020 – 0.3 Oh.
- Nov. 5, 2020 – 0.7 Oh-oh.
- March 11, 2021 – 6.5 What the what???
- March 16, 2021 (repeat) – 6.4 Damn it.
- April 15, 2021 – 11.6 Holy crap. What’s going on here? (Turns out the cancer escaped big time, spread throughout the lymphatic system, rendering me stage four metastatic and requiring urgent treatment with a variety of strong chemo-like substances,
- May 21, 2021 – 4.6 OK, here we go.
- June 25, 2021 – 2.9 Nice.
- Aug. 2, 2021 – 1.5 Nicer.
- Oct. 15, 2021 – 0.7 The latest, taken just yesterday. Now, we’re talking.
So, that’s what the docs call the nadir, the lowest point thus far. It means that the cancer is being suppressed, though it’s still there and lurking – and always will be. Sooner or later, the nadir will become….the nadir as the cancer figures out how to thrive despite the stuff I’m taking. Then, the PSA will start rising again, there will be more scans, and I’ll be moved to stronger meds, with more troublesome side effects.
Right now, the fatigue, hot flashes, swollen and sensitive lymph nodes, muscle and joint aches, and other expected side effects are all growing a little worse each week. These drugs are poison – you can’t take them and not expect to pay a price. Most noticeably, I’m losing weight – nearly 20 pounds since the beginning of the year. I had some to spare, but still…it’s a little worrisome, though probably caused by one of the meds, which is known to suppress appetite.
More importantly, life goes on.
Yesterday, we went with our friends Larry and Joanne to the Greek Food Festival, an annual event here in Tallahassee, that – like so many events – could not be held last year. Last night, we went with Larry, Joanne, Frank, Kate and others to a terrific, first-since-Covid student performance at Florida State University’s School of Theatre (did I mention the my wife, Marion, is on the board of that artistic operation?). Today, we went with our friends Betty and Ken to an FSU exhibition baseball game and…back to the Greek Food Festival. Tomorrow, on tap is a drive to the Gulf Coast to help honor a friend who passed away last year.
Professionally, I just successfully wrapped up the next-to-last contract writing job I’ll ever take. The final contract writing job also is ending, though not pleasantly. No need to get into the somewhat shameful details here, but – at this point – I’m glad to be essentially done with them. I have more consequential things on which to devote energy.
Now, I plan to spend even more time with the family and with friends and with a growing list of good books that need to be read.
Winter, a real thing here in North Florida, is approaching. This is not a problem. Great warmth is being generated day after day, hour after after, moment after moment by family and friends.
I am blessed, and I am in a good place.