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Monday, March 9, 2015

Prostate Followup

As you know, I had an elevated PSA (prostate specific antigen) test result of 10.5 last November.  That's above the normal range of 6.5-7.5 for someone my age, and well above the 2.0 result of my last test back in 2009.  We decided then to wait a couple of months and retest to see if that result was an anomaly or indicative of a possible problem (i.e., prostate cancer).

Last week I had my blood drawn for the PSA test again, and today I followed up with my PA, Susan Palmer to get the results.  She burst into the exam room and blurted out, "Don't you just love good news"?  I responded, "Does that mean that you bring me good tidings of great joy?", or something to that effect.  We sat down at her computer and she showed me the latest results.  My PSA level has dropped nearly in half to 5.3!  Wow!  That is the kind of tiding I like to get. She didn't have an explanation for why there was such a dramatic difference, but she did say that if prostate cancer was present, the numbers would keep going up, not drop like that. 

We then had a discussion about what to do next, if anything.  They typically advise that men aged 75 or older stop taking the PSA test, because even if prostate cancer is diagnosed, life expectancy is not necessarily increased by undergoing treatment, which has its own risks and side effects.  Their recommended cutoff age for PSA testing is even younger for men with "comorbidities".  That's a fancy medical term for a concomitant but unrelated pathology or disease that may shorten life expectancy.  In my case, the elephant comorbidity in the room rhymes with Multiple Myeloma.  Based on that, I would have a good reason at the age of 72 to say "Sayonara, Susan", and forget about ever getting my PSA tested again in the future.  After all, look at the much ado about nothing that all this botheration came to.  If I hadn't had that test done in November, I would still be fat, dumb, and happy.

However, I'm optimistic, and I'm not ready to treat my MM comorbidity as an early death sentence.  At least not yet.  Considering that I am still in stringent complete response and with all the recent progress in developing new drugs and treatment options, I'm planning on giving Methuselah a run for his money.  Therefore, I have opted to get my PSA tested again a year from now.  If it's OK then, I may do it again one more time and then fuggedaboutit!

We are slowly moving into our new house.  We are still surrounded by random unmarked boxes and of course, I can't find anything.  Today the house cleaners came to Old Wharf Road for the final cleaning, and we had a new granite kitchen installed at the new house.  However, the plumber still has to come to hook up the fixtures.  Tomorrow the lawnmower guy will pick up my riding mower from the old house to do a spring service and then deliver it back to the new house sometime.  Wednesday, we do the final walk through with the new owner, Nancy, and turn over the keys.  We still have to pack, as we are leaving for a Hawaiia vacation with the family on Thursday.  I have to say that we are both in a bit of a tizzy right now.  We haven't yet had a chance to look forward to our vacation, but I think that it is going to feel really good to leave this winter from Hell behind us and sink our toes into the soft warm sandy beaches of Maui.  Aaaah.  Aloha!


  1. I also have ignored the "You don't need to get a PSA test at your age" advice. In my case that is because my Dad and a first cousin died of prostate cancer. That advice also ignores the fact that prostate cancer is sometimes aggressive and kills quickly, so "wait and see" is not always good advice. BTW, my cousin died at age 65.

  2. No course of action is 100% guaranteed to be right. If I had a family history of prostate cancer as you have, I would be inclined to be more proactive about the PSA test.

  3. Bill, glad to hear about your good PSA reading. I still get a test every year even though I am almost 81 because of my surgery over 10 years ago. A PSA cannot measure how aggressive a cancer is, I agree with comments by Steve R. My last reading was 0.08 so doctor says nothing further to do at this point,other than my annual test and checkup.. Have a great vacation in Hawaii. Had a nice visit with Gretchen a few days ago and sounds as if you will really enjoy your now home. Uncle Steve

  4. Enjoy your much earned "warm" vacation - been following your winter up there, no fun... have a great vacation Bill :) mb