Judgment Day, again! - March 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day is Judgment Day for me.  It was supposed to be next week, but my doc decided to take some time off.  Best solution for scheduling scope and BCGs is to start a week early.  Wind is whipping up and loud this morning.  A storm is brewing and sky is dark early in the day.  I am not going to let the weather affect my attitude.  Instead I will do stretches and light exercise (my normal routine) and add some deep breathing exercises throughout the day.  Keeping busy with work and email and stuff helps me not to dwell on the upcoming cysto.  

I was able to focus for a couple of hours on getting my blood work results.  For this cysto, I had blood work (PSA mostly) and a full CT scan with and without contrast 10 days ago.  I went on my primary doctor's website and no results posted there.  He is a new doc for me, since my former one moved to California.  I called his office, four different numbers for the lab (which is independent from his office), and my urologist, asking them to call the lab.  Surprisingly I got a call back from the new doctor himself.  Since my appointment with him was still 3 weeks away, he had not reviewed the lab results or released them for me to see.  Apparently US procedure is that patients cannot see lab results (or anything else we have done) until AFTER a physician reviews them, goes over it with you, and approves them for release to you.  The new doc assured me he would pass the results on the the urologist.

The Urology appointment was set for 3PM.  No way this would be the time, but it would start the process.  Sure enough they were way behind, due to doubling up on patients and procedures to accommodate the doc's upcoming week off.  We got to the exam room by 3:30PM, and watched as the staff made preparations.  No video on the scope this time - disappointing, but I had been lucky for 3-4 in a row.  Doctor Hopkins came in about 3:50PM, and quickly verified the blood work and radiology reports were in their system.  He quickly reviewed the blood work, all normal, and the PSA of 0.6, which is good.   The radiology (CT scan) reported nothing new or of interest, also good.  Then the procedure.  We had made sure that a Xylocaine prep was present, and it was, and he used it.  This makes SO much difference.  Always do cystos with Xylocaine prep.  Not necessary for BCGs, but just makes a big mess.  Without the video, the procedure seemed to me to take a bit longer.   My wife actually thought it was faster.  In any case the result was good:

ALL CLEAR!  God is good, ALL the time!

This makes six years cancer-free, or close enough.  We are about 10 weeks short of 6 years, but I'm calling that six.  BCG to follow...

I am still employed (as opposed to being retired or laid off), and have good insurance.  Later this year (and next year) will be VERY different (and unknown at this point), so the doc and I decided to do a BCG maintenance series while the insurance is alive and in force.  This may be the last one.  Dr. Lamm is insistent that maintenance should continue at increasingly lower doses fo BCG (to improve patient tolerance for the treatments).  For me his schedule goes out to 2020.  Will figure out how far beyond 2014 I go with it later - probably next year.  This year's schedule is early in the day (9AM or so) on this coming Friday, after recovering from the scope.  Then same time again the following Thursday, then skip a week (the doc's time off) and again 2 weeks later on Thursday.  I would prefer Fridays, but the doc only works on alternate Fridays.  There is no alternate except the evil and completely incompetent Physician's Assistant, so that is NOT going to work.  So  the BCG process will take 4 weeks.  While it's nice to have a week off, I'd really rather have it over with sooner.  

I will provide the BCG details in the next post after a month or so, when they are complete.

1 comment:

Jennifer Clark said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. One of my friend is also fighting with cancer and i am sure this will surely help her.