It is there by the grace of God go I.
Just a couple of weeks ago there was a light knock on the door as the Doctor entered the examination room. As he closed the door, he said the obligatory “How are you this morning?” My reply was, “I am doing great as long as you tell me the result was negative.”
Considering my medical history, I was not too concerned. A few years ago they thought I had a major medical problem like ALS or a similar neurological issue. After six months of numerous tests and doctors’ visits, it turned out my symptoms were caused by reflux. Whew, I could not ask for a better outcome. Especially considering what they originally suspected. For me, this was a big wakeup call and reminder. We only get one body in this lifetime, I better take care of it.
As you may have read previously, during this time my job required lots of travel. As a result, I fell off the wagon with exercise and gained weight and was out of shape. Even though it was unrelated, I immediately jumped into numerous exercise programs. As a result, I lost weight and my blood work returned to normal. My sleep apnea and allergies also disappeared.
Then a couple of years later, without notice, one evening I started having severe abdominal pains. I was rolled up on the floor and felt like a spear was impaled in me, just above my solar plexus. This resulted in a trip to the ER and several tests. Nothing was found but they knocked out the pain with strong meds. A few weeks later it happened again which resulted in my first hospital stay since childhood. During this time, they ran multiple tests and again could not find anything. Before my discharge the doctors recommended one last test. Right before putting me under, the Doctor leaned over me and said, “If I find something; it won’t be good”. Gads, this was a great last thought as I went under the anesthesia. They were looking for issues such as pancreatic cancer. Again, I dodged the bullet, when the final diagnosis was reflux. “Reflux?” I blurted out. My wife immediately turned to me and said, “Hush, this is the best diagnosis you could ask for”. I stopped in my tracks and had to agree.
A few weeks ago, the Doctors office contacted me. They did not like one of the readings on my blood work. Considering my family history, they recommended a biopsy. I thought sure, I am healthy and on a roll with good outcomes.
Back to the beginning of this story while waiting in the examination room for the results; After he entered the room he paused and looked at me. “Unfortunately, the result is not negative, you have cancer”. Yikes! The world was spinning and it was like being on another planet. This can’t be happening to me. He was quite comforting and explained that if I am going to have Cancer, this is one of the better types. My initial thoughts were; Me? , Cancer ? This is something other people get, not me.
I must give the doctor credit, he spent an hour with me explaining all the treatment options. I still walked out the office numb and oblivious to the world.
As it turns out, of all the people that have Prostate Cancer, I am one of the 20% who have a slow growing disease. It is also in a very small area of my prostate. With these circumstances, of all the treatment options, my choice is to actively monitor. This means in a year there will be another round of tests. They also advised me that there is a 30% chance I will have to have treatment in the next few years. I interpret this as there is a 70% chance of no treatment.
There are reports that medical knowledge is doubling every two years, so if I can buy a few years, a new innovative treatment could cure this problem. With this in mind, waiting is a much preferable option to the current treatment alternatives. This rapid progress with medical knowledge gives hope to many people struggling with medical issues.
I must admit this is a club I never aspired to join. It does make you face your mortality. But now, I am very thankful. During my life, parents, family members and friends have faced this challenge; some survived and some did not. With the battles others have faced with this disease, I consider myself very, very fortunate.
I never thought there would be a day that I would be grateful after being diagnosed with Cancer. For all the others in this club, my prayers are with you. We all march together.
It is there by the grace of God, go you and I.
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