- Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:46 pm
Private Mayle, Daley, second class, reporting for duty Sarge!
Older readers with elephantine brains might remember my mum lives with us. She's 92 and now has a touch of vascular dementia and Parkinson's so she's taking up a lot of me and Mrs Mayle jnr's time. So that's my excuse for AWOL.
Some good news to report however...
When I finished my four week course of radiotherapy for prostate cancer in mid-February I had a meeting with a MacMillan nurse who said I would be contacted by my urologist in 8 -12 weeks and I should arrange a PSA blood test at my surgery a week prior to that appointment and gave me an envelope with all my details/bar code etc to give to the nurse taking an armful of blood.
Just to explain, a normal reading for a middle-aged bloke with no cancer is less than 4 PSA, it does rise slowly as a chap gets older but does not necessarily mean cancer. The PSA blood test is a crude measure that's used as an indicator only. I was diagnosed with cancer six years ago following a series of biopsies over the previous 4 years. This is where the urologist plays battleships on your prostate, he is essentially firing blind using guesswork following a digital exam. Eventually after four years he got a hit. Because it was slow growing and localised I took the decision to go on 'active surveillance'. Last year my PSA was 14.5 and rising by about 10% a year so the radiotherapy was organised.
So, the 8-12 weeks passed where there was always the nagging worry about whether the treatment was successful, I was still getting side effects from the treatment (I won't go into those) and also the hormone treatment where I had full blown menopause symptoms. In mid-May I received a letter from my local hospital with an appointment in, wait for it... mid-August. Bugger, blast and, indeed, bollocks, another 12 weeks wait.
Two weeks ago I had a letter saying the August appointment was cancelled and they would 'be in touch' and not to phone them 'cos they're busy with Covid. Never mind your bugger, blast and, indeed, bollocks, oooh, I was feckin' cross.
Anywhichwayup, cut to the chase and I made an appointment for a PSA blood test off my own bat last Monday and had the blood specimen envelope from the cancer centre to justify me asking for an appointment. One of the GPs phoned me on Tuesday on an unrelated reason (problems with my mother) and I asked the GP whether they could write to the the urologist to try and speed up finding out my result. I mentioned that I had organised my own PSA test the day before and the GP said she would see if any results had come back, and it had.
An indicator of success would be a PSA test of 1, mine was 0.2.
There was much relief for a while involving the merest tremor of the upper lip and possibly some eye grit.
I still don't have an appointment, I know the cancer can return and will continue to have regular PSA tests for life but at least I know the radiotherapy was successful.
BTW, the menopause symptoms have worn off apart from the moobs and pot belly. Mrs Mayle (jnr) reckons I was getting them anyway as I have put on weight but it's nice to have an excuse.