After two months, time (actually past time) for another update.
The good news: The tell-tale PSA blood test is remaining stable and low at 0.2. The most recent result arrived today. It hasn’t gone up or down over the course of four tests since April 14. Not going up is a very good thing, for now; not going down…a little less good. I guess that’s why they call it “stage four.”
Ideally, with all the chemo in me over the last 15 months, we’d like to see the PSA reported as “undetectable,” as it was in 2018 during Season One of this long-running medical cliffhanger. Basically, with trace amounts of PSA still floating around, this means that my merry prankster prostate-cancer cells are chilling, just hanging out in my lymphatic system as they work on a way to prosper and grow without testosterone, which is their breakfast, lunch and dinner of choice. When that happens, we leave Season Two and debut a rather more dramatic Season Three.
So, not being greedy, we’ll take this as good news. And, for the most part, life goes on. We just spent a terrific week in St. Augustine Beach with Allie, Sophie, the Petleys and, for one glorious dinner, Neil and Chelsea Garfield. (I turned 75 last week. Grandson Sol was at sleepover Boy Scout camp.)
Returning to things medical, what is undetectable is my testosterone. Reminder: The chemo is intended to block nearly all production of testosterone, as that is the primary fuel for prostate cancer cells. (The PSA test measures apparent activity of the cancer cells.)
Alas, the lack of testosterone produces many, many consequences, none of them good. And the longer that persists, the worse the consequences.
Among them: My leg and arm muscles, and probably other muscles, are slowly melting away. Likewise, my joints and other connective tissue. I’m not falling down or anything like that, but my gait has changed a bit and I’m not as steady on my feet or as steady of hand as I had been.
Marion and I are still walking as much as we can during North Florida’s swampy summer, and I still do as much yard work as I can. But…consequences, and they spin off other consequences.
One of them: I have to get rid of my beloved red Lexus LC500 sports car/convertible. I just can’t get in the damn thing comfortably and move around in it. You should see me try to spirit a Tic-Tac out of the front-door pocket. As you probably know, due to supply-chain issues, this is a great time to sell a used car (and mine is barely used) and a lousy time to buy a new car.
Fortunately, we have a terrific and well-experienced sales associate at a Lexus dealership in Jacksonville. Also a cancer patient, Don conjured and hid from other sales associates an incoming fully loaded NX350 Luxury mid-size SUV, with all of the whiz-bang technical bling that I like. It’s white over black, not my first choice, but one really can’t be too choosy these days. Literally every car is sold before it’s even built. Mine was built on July 8 (my birthday) and should be delivered in about two weeks.
I’m actually looking forward to it. The convertible was swell but it just wasn’t much fun anymore. I guess it’s time to grow up, car-wise, and the new one should be far more appropriate. And the deal…holy bottom line, Batman. Due to a disparity in value, I end up getting a fully loaded new vehicle and a healthy check from the dealership. Hard to beat that.
Meanwhile, because I’m an idiot, I’ve taken on another ambitious ghost-writing assignment, despite recent vows not to do so. It does keep my brain and fingers relatively sharp, so that’s good. But it also weighs on my mind a bit, which probably is not good. Overall, though, it’s interesting and challenging, and I think it was a reasonably wise thing to do.
So, that’s the update from Prostate Cancer Central. Steady, low PSA. No testosterone. Out with the fancy sports car. In with the new SUV. Same terrific family and friends.
Oob-la-dee, oob-la-dah. Life goes on.