02.16.2006 A Good Update


I just wanted to pass along a few updates. I’m glad I wrote these experiences down. Every once in a while I go back and reread everything and it reminds me of some of the things I’ve forgotten.


The Lupron implant was replaced last month, January 23rd. That went very well. The doctor was able to remove the old one and put the new one in its place. This is in my left arm about half-way between my shoulder and elbow, on the inside of the arm. It was relatively painless. There was an intern in the room watching. I couldn’t watch the procedure so, I turned to her and asked her if she’d seen this procedure before. She said she hadn’t. I said, “Neither have I.” J


The nurse said I weighed 217 lbs. I asked for a recount. Didn’t get one.


I asked if this was going to cost $6,000 like last year. She said yes. Insurance will cover $5,000… I think. Thank goodness for Flex Spending.

(Update: 2/18/06. The EOB (Explanation of Benefits) just came in today. It says I don’t owe anything this year. Ok. Why did I pay $1000 last year? Gotta love insurance companies. I’ll withhold  judgment until they “don’t” send me another EOB saying I do owe $1000. They did charge $250 to remove the old one as well. Of course, if I don’t have to pay this then, I still have to have something done that costs $1000 so I can get my money back. Do you think a hair transplant would be covered? J )


As I was leaving I asked him if I could have the old implant. He said sure. I have Show and Tell… J


The following week I went to see Dr. McCarthy… my general practitioner. She’s really nice. She’s thorough like Dr. Kasraeian. If one of them misses something then, the other will catch it. She was concerned about the Lupron and bone density. So, she ordered a bone density scan. I had the bone density scan last week. They focused on just the lower half of my spine and my left hip. The scan I had 1.5 years ago was a full body scan. I got the bill for last weeks’ scan. It’s $676. We’ll see how much is covered.

I got the results of the scan today as well. Well, not really… the nurse said something about Osteopenia. You can look it up online. It’s like pre-Osteoporosis. The doctor prescribed Boniva. That’s one pill a month at $50 a pill. That is one pill for $50. Each month. For the rest of my life, I guess. That’s like a dinner at Ruth’s Chris each month, with tip. Wow. I’d rather go to Ruth’s Chris. Once a month, I will take one pill, in the morning. I’m not supposed to eat or drink anything but, water for an hour afterwards. Plus, I’m to not lie down, but rather, sit up for at least 2 hours. This is due to possible stomach and esophagus irritation. Plus, I’m going to start taking Calcium supplements.

I have decided that I am NOT going to get old. It’s just not for me.


I had to call Dr. Kaz’s office today as well. I had the blood work done for another PSA on January 23rd. LabCorp never forwarded the results and so, Dr. Kaz never forwarded them to Dr. McCarthy. His assistant was able to look that information up online. She said it was still less than 0.1 !!! Yay!!!


Several key words popped up today: Boniva, Osteopenia, Androgen, Lupron, Bone Mineral Density (BMD).


The Lupron, it turns out, is an Anti-Androgen. Androgen is the “sex steroids”, according to this web page: http://www.miamiferret.org/fhc/lupron.htm

Androgen is produced primarily by the gonads (testicles in the male, ovaries in the female). Lupron is a hormonal therapy used to treat Prostate Cancer by reducing the level of testosterone to levels typically found after surgical castration. This is from http://www.prostate-cancer.org/education/andeprv/Myers_AndrogenResistance1.html


Ok… I had prostate surgery… not surgical castration. Even though the Lupron has the same “affect”, the Prostate Surgery was like a vasectomy on steroids… so, it don’t matter to me.


The Bone Mineral Density (BMD) comes into play because Lupron tends to reduce BMD. I’m going to be taking Boniva and Calcium supplements to help counteract the affect of the Lupron… or to at least work on maintaining my BMD. That’s so the Osteopenia won’t develop into Osteoporosis.


Why am I telling you all of this? It’s because there were several “side affects” that were of a concern due to the medication and due to the surgery. The Lupron causes several things, hot flashes, mood swings and bone pain, among others. The problems related to the prostate surgery included incontinence and ED (impotence).


I’ve learned to dress accordingly to deal with the hot flashes. Plus, I keep a bottle of cold water around to help minimize the occurrence. The mood swings aren’t a big deal, “I think”. J The Boniva is to minimize bone loss. The incontinence was an issue for several months after the surgery. But, that’s not a problem anymore. The surgery was quite involved and lengthier than normal. So, it took longer to heal. As far as what’s left… well, that’s basically a worst case scenario. What they said could ‘possibly’ happen did happen. But, it’s like I said… some men would be devastated by this. I just made up my mind that I won’t be. I just don’t define myself by how I perform in that ‘area’. (I’ll update the Two Much Information web page later.)


I say that simply because I want people to know that there is life after prostate surgery… that God will see them through the procedure and a process like this.


Uhm… if you’ve noticed… I’m on a roll here. I woke up at 1:30 am last night and couldn’t get this out of my head. I have to write it down tonight so I can get to sleep tonight.


I want to recap the last 2 years.


February 2004

 Mother took Grandma to the doctor’s office. The doctor looked at MY mother and said… you’re Jaundiced.

March 2004

 Mother had a stint put in. They suspected a tumor of some sort was causing the problem. Her vital signs dropped on the operating table. They had to put a smaller stint in, instead.

May 2004

 We went to Tampa for Mother’s cancer surgery at the Moffitt Center. They removed a common bile duct tumor.

June 2004

 I had another PSA test. It was a 10… or so.

August 2004

 I had a bone density scan, an MRI and a biopsy. The diagnosis came back Prostate Cancer.

September 2004

 My father announced that he would like to have his cataracts operated on. He was nuts. His diaphragm is partially paralyzed. He can’t lie down and sleep. The doctor sent my father to an anesthesiologist who just ‘happened’ to be a very good friend and my ex-rowing partner. He said he could put my father to sleep for the operation.

October 2004

 My father had 2 surgeries, one on each eye. I raced in the First Coast Head Race with Janet.

November 2004

 I had my Prostate surgery. The doctor found spots on Mother’s liver.

December 2004

 Grandma fell down and broke her hip. She had to go to rehab. This was a blessing for my mother. She could do chemo now.

January 2005

 I got my 1st Lupron implant. Mother started chemo. The doctor said it wouldn’t cure her. She didn’t want to go through that. Mother quit chemo.

February 3, 2005

 Mother passed away.

April 2005

 Grandma passed away on Good Friday.

May/June 2005

 I started rowing again. I rowed my butt off with Stef and Janet’s help.

July 2005

Ian moved in

January 2006

Ian moved out


Ever since that time life has pretty much been normal… with the exception of having to adjust to my mother and grandmother’s deaths and helping my father through this time.


I tell people all of this because it sounds sad… really, really, sad. But, there’s a lot of ‘good’ in every step along the way… or I should say there’s a lot of God in every step along the way…


That’s it for now. I’m on-call and need to get to sleep. J



Dog gone… my head hit the pillow and I remembered a few more things I wanted to say.


The week before the Pastor’s Conference I had a ‘scare’. I was feeling things down in the groin area. I didn’t mention it to the Urologist. But, I did mention it to Dr. McCarthy. She asked me where… and, I told her. She said, “Lymph nodes”. Oh, that was NOT a good answer. They did not remove the lymph nodes during the surgery because it went over 4 hours long.


I just ‘knew’ it was the cancer growing in my lymph nodes. I didn’t want to believe that but, deep down, I knew. I fretted about it for 2-3 days. I mean… I fretted. I started thinking that I really needed to get the paperwork completed for the beneficiary information for my BCBSFL insurance and BCBSFL pension plan. Gotta be prepared, you know… I figured, the way it was going that I could make it through the Pastor’s Conference and that would be it.


Finally, I had to call Dr. Kaz and ask him. He wasn’t in that morning. I had to wait until he went in that afternoon. He didn’t go in … that afternoon. I think the nurse knew what my concern was so, she called him and he finally returned my call as I was heading to the car at the end of the day. I told him what I was experiencing and he said it couldn’t be the lymph nodes… they aren’t that far down ‘there’.


Oh??? All that fretting for nothing? Grr… I could go to the Pastor’s Conference in peace now. Whew.


It turns out that I also told Dr. McCarthy about jogging and this special ‘pain’ I had when I stood up once or twice. It was at the top of my right leg… right where it met my hip. She said… you’re getting old… stop jogging. Uh. I could’ve thought of that. She said it was a touch of tendonitis… and that’s probably what contributed to the pain I was feeling in my groin.


The other thing I wanted to point out in the time line above was this… the group of guys that I got to work with during this time period was very special to me. It was amazing to watch this group come together out of no where. I wondered just what was going on. It really was the best bunch of guys I’ve had the pleasure of working with. They offered me so much support and I really appreciated it. It was obvious that God put the group together just for me… just for that time period… because they were all Christians and were all so encouraging and supportive of me. I’m talking about Demetrius, Trent, Doug, Doug, Richard, and Debbie… as I look back during that time I think… there’s no way that just ‘happened’.


And, now there’s just two… me and Doug.


Wonder what God has in store next.




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