I do Love Spreadsheets

My prostate surgery was almost seven years ago.  We’ve continued regular PSA testing since then and the results have always been, “undetectable.”  In reality, undetectable is actually detectable, but if the number is less than 0.1 ng/ml, it is considered undetectable. The voicemail with my December test results relayed a 0.15 score and a, “please call to make an appointment.”

I made the appointment and saw my Urologist.  He seemed quite concerned and commented a couple times that this never happens this far out from the surgery (almost 7 years).  He’d reviewed my file and seemed pleased that I already had a radiologist, because if today’s blood test verifies the last one, radiation may be prescribed.  Where to radiate would be the question (since there is no cancerous prostate).  He told me about a new technique that has just arrived in Portland, and is promising for that very issue.

 

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I asked him; wouldn’t it be funny if the prostate cancer was positioning to play a big joke on the Multiple Myeloma cancer?  I wondered if they would ever fight it out to claim my demise.

 

IN THIS CORNER: Prostate cancer – off to a good start, but seemingly eradicated with surgery.  AND IN THE OTHER CORNER: THE INCURABLE Multiple Myeloma cancer – starting out determined, but then punched repeatedly with radiation, chemo, a stem cell transplant, and more chemo – it’s on the ropes, but still breathing.  Prostate cancer crawls by the fingernails, back to the center of the ring with just a spark of life and says to Myeloma, “Incurable?  I’ll show you incurable!”

A young lady who’s had two babies since she started taking my blood, took it once again.  It was tested and the results relayed by voicemail: 0.15 confirmed, please call and make an appointment for two months from now.

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A Beautiful Sunrise tempting me to be late for work recently

I can’t remember when I started daily, sometimes it seems constantly – clearing my throat.  It has to be a year, maybe two or three, but it is everyday.  I thought an allergist might identify the cause, so I made an appointment.  His assistant took a felt marker and produced a spreadsheet on both of my forearms, complete with columns and headers.  With a tray of pokers, she poked my skin in each cell with the corresponding poker and said she’d be back in 30 minutes.  I sat in that quiet place, with a pillow in my lap and my arms steady on the pillow, it was a perfect time to catch up on prayers.

The spreadsheet reported zero allergies, next stop – another blood test.

I really felt fortunate to catch this action shot – my immediate supervisor at work – going off the rock pile jump on his bicycle, sailing over the mote and fence (in his Grinch pajamas).  It’s a Public Works thing.

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TRADITION!

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The Grudge Race

I took my Radio Controlled car, a Losi Short Course Buggy, when I visited my brother at the coast.  He has a Traxxas four wheel drive R/C gas truck.  I love the big fat tires on it.  At the beach, I was quickly putting parking lot dirt and debris in the air with the wheels of my little car while my brother was working at getting his gas motor started.  When he got it running, we had a lot of fun speeding and skidding out on the sand.  I challenged him to a straight line race from way over here to way over there.  It was a clean start, neck and neck as I slowly began pulling ahead, but by the ¾ mark, he caught and passed me.  I could feel it in my battery, I should have recharged between the parking lot and the beach.

I suggested a rematch, but he would savor his win for a year.  When I got home, I ordered another battery, one with extra punch.  Next year I would be ready…..   And there would be no burning up half the pack before the race!

With my next annual visit, the grudge race was on.  I had a C100 fully charged, and I resisted (most of) the temptation to speed up and down the sand until after my impending victory.  My brother had his truck making smoke in his garage before we headed out, and shortly it was running again at the beach.  Soon we were back on our imaginary starting line and he yelled Go!  With the kindness and humility of a loving big-brother, I won’t go on about how badly I beat him.  We’ll just say that it was my turn to savor the win.

RC Cars on the Beach

The race was over and I still had a couple battery packs to burn up, and that wide open sand was enticing.  We were Cat & Mouse chasing, drifting, fishtailing, and purely enjoying radio controlled fun.

Before long, I packed some sand against a baseball bat sized piece of driftwood for a jump.  My brother had to restart his truck several times, and ended up replacing three glow plugs that day.  Finally, it would not start, so I invited him to drive my SCB while I took pictures of it flying off the jump.  He liked it enough to consider going electric.  I can’t wait for the race next year!

 

This month I had my follow up appointment with my heart doctor’s associate.  Going in, my question and reason for seeing the doctor was, “Why do I get so easily out of breath?”  Does it have to do with the cancers, the treatments, or am I just getting old and out of shape?  The diagnosis and official answer: My stress test showed the possibility of a minor abnormality, but before further investigation, they suggest I lose weight, exercise more (get into better shape), and come back in three months for more tests.

I also had my three month appointment with my oncologist.  She used my favorite medical term (concerning the protein they test for because it’s a real good indicator of what the cancer is doing), “undetectable.”  I can live with that.