“See you all in six months !!!”
So said I, five years ago. A lot has happened in those five years although not a lot in the land of the prostate. Or perhaps I should say, not a lot, to my knowledge.
In 2015 we retired, and since then, we rebuilt our conservatory, holidayed in France – 2months and Italy – 8 days. We have spent 3 stints in Australia. Those 3 Ozzie visits totalled 12 months in all with the last trip stretching into 7 months, in part due to the pandemic.
And so to my prostate …
After our return from the latest Ozzie adventure, I was scheduled for a Urology Consult (telephone) 28th July. As is the norm, these are preceded by the taking of blood samples. As my GP had requested a blood sample to check my blood sugar levels, it seemed appropriate to combine them. So on Wednesday 22nd July, at eight in the morning, I presented myself at my local surgery and provided the necessary samples. I then sat back to await the consult scheduled for the following Tuesday. The next day, Thursday 23rd, I received a call from the GP surgery, could I come in and give another sample.
Apparently they wanted to rule out any potential issues with the analysis of the previous sample. As you can imagine my brain went into hyperdrive, what had the blood sample shown. I duly presented myself at the surgery and gave up some more of my blood. Although the person on the call didn’t know why I needed to give another sample, the nurse taking my blood was a little more forthcoming.
It appears the first sample showed my PSA level was up. This second sample was to determine if there had been a balls up in the lab or if something more sinister was happening.
Friday I received call from the surgery asking if I woud be prepared to have a telephone consult, with my GP Dr Mannings, on Tuesday evening. I pointed out that I also had a telephone consult with the Urologist on Tuesday morning. That’s great quipped the receptionist, you’ll be able to tell the doctor what the results are and what your urologists plans are.
With all this interest in my blood and doctors left, right and centre wanting to speak to me my curiosity was definitely peaked.
So Tuesday 28th duly arrives and I have my telephone consult with the Urologist, Mr Hodgson. Yes, he confirmed, my PSA has risen.
Apparently last June my PSA was 3.6 but these latest blood tests show my PSA at 7.9 and 8.9. A sure indicator that something is going on down in the nether regions although still lower than the 13.3 which was where I was at before having the Brachytherapy
Because of this my consultant wants me to have a series of scans. CT, MRI and full body bone scan. The call is ended with the promise that I will be contacted with appointment details.
Sure enough, later in the day I receive a call from the Scanning Dept., would I be available on the morning of Saturday 1st August, for a CT scan ? Yes of course, and so I am duly booked in for 09:00.
Later the same day I have my consult with my GP. He already knew about the consultants plans but is like a child being handed a bag of sweets, so excited, when I tell him that already have the first of my scans booked.
The NHS is actually working very swiftly and efficiently. Obviously I have Covid-19 to thank for this, the hospitals are operating in a very stripped back mode. All to my advantage.
Over the next few days I receive calls and set up the remaining appointments. Monday 3rd August @ 19:00 for the MRI and Tuesday 11th August for Full Body Bone Scan. The bone scan is in two parts. I have to turn to at 11:15 for a radioactive injection. Go away for a while, then return at 14:30 for the actual scan. Apparently, after the injection, due to its radioactive nature, I have to steer clear of any pregnant women and young children Same advice I was given after I had my Brachytherapy.
I duly attended the three scans. One thing I noted is that I am able to lay completely still during these scanning sessions. They each have taken anything between twenty minutes and forty five minute. At home I find it just about impossible to keep my legs still, whether I am sitting watching TV or laid in bed. Maybe I need to get a huge doughnut installed at home.
For each of the scans I also had an injection. The one administered during the CT, I was warned, would trigger a warm sensation in my nether regions. Something akin to wetting oneself. Not something you want to consider when typically any sensation in the bladder region typically turns into a pee panic. As it happens, the sensation I felt was around the neck and up around my ear. Something like I used to feel when my Mum had caught me out in a lie. For the MRI I was given an injection of Buscopan. When I mentioned that my wife takes Buscopan for her IBS te doctor said it’s the same stuff but won’t hang around as long but that it might affect my eye sight i.e. blur my vision. He assured me it would have cleared my system before I got back to my car for the drive home. As for the bone scan and the radioactive injection I was informed that, other than having to stay away from pregnant ladies and young children, there were no side effects, that I wouldn’t be aware of it in my bod.
All that remained was for me to await the results. I assumed that I would receive a phone call from my consultant, Mr Hodgson.
I did receive a phone call, but not from Mr Hodgson. It was from a yong lady, I assume from the Urology Department reception.
She informed me that she was calling to book me in for a Pre-op Assessment !!!
My heart dropped, my stomach did a flip. “Pre-op ?” I said, “pre-op for what ?” “Well, you came into Urology yesterday” says the young lady. “Nope” says I, “I didn’t, I haven’t had any contact with Urology since the 28th July”. “Oh !” she says “And you haven’t seen the letter ?” Again “Nope” says I, “In fact I would have expected a phone call from Mr Hodgson, not a bloody letter”. She is really apologetic and puts me on hold briefly. When she comes back on line she asks me if I want to wait for the letter, or she could read it out to me. I take the latter option. So, she reads the letter to me. My heart and stomach resume a more calm state.
None of the three scans suggest any spread of the disease.
Needless to say, this news was not what I was expecting. Nevertheless, it was encouraging. The letter, from Mr Hodgson, set out the next steps to be taken to determine if in fact my cancer has recurred.
Those steps are
- A PET CT
- Template Biopsy (to be carried ot under GA and the reason for the Pre-Op)
The PET CT has been scheduled for Tuesday 25th August @ 15:00 and I have had the Pre-Op. This was in two parts. Part 1 was on Tuesday 18th, a telephone assessment which was then followed up with a hospital visit on Thursday 20th, where they carried out an ECG, swabs for MRSA and took a urine sample.
So there we are, all up to speed. I’ll post my next episode after the PET CT and when I know the date for the biopsy.