A few days ago I went in for my latest PSA readout. Starting about two weeks prior I was a mess. The scanxiety was terrible. Panic attacks every other day. It got worse the closer I got to the appointment. The day before the appointment I went in for the blood draw to measure my PSA. Oddly enough, that calmed me down considerably. I guess I felt as if it was done. No chance to alter my PSA. The mind is a funny thing.
The next morning I was totally calm and focused. All the anxiety was gone. My wife and I went to the appointment and I found out my PSA was about 18, up from 13. The oncologist said he wasn’t sure what to make of the increase, but in his opinion the Xtandi was still working. That meant I had another four months on the drug. Four months more, at least, before I had to admit that hormone therapy was failing.
We celebrated with friends that night. Many drinks were consumed, lots of great food, and a good time was had by all.
I woke up the next morning crying. Not tears of joy or relief, but tears of sadness. At my appointment we also talked about what my options would be after the Xtandi failed. Slim pickings was the answer. About six months of life extension on average from other treatments, if I didn’t go the chemo route. I know from other readings that the chemo route only provides three more months life extension on average and you have all the side effects of chemo. I don’t expect to sign up for chemo. There is an autoimmune drug Keytruda that’s a possibility, but there’s less than a 5% chance it will work on me. All of this hit home as I was waking up. I was so sad. All of my experience, all I’ve learned, so many years – it was all going away and relatively soon. I wasn’t depressed. Depressed is about hopelessness and feeling things will never get better. This was sadness. It was so sad that all this was going to be lost. That I would no longer be around to share and grow.
Over the years I have come to view sadness as a friend. I think it heralds acceptance of change, in this case death. I embraced the sadness and let it flow through me. Usually my sadness doesn’t last very long, but this time it lasted nearly all day. I felt significantly closer to death and was sad for all the ramifications that entailed. But there was also a sense of a new time coming, for people around me, mostly my wife, being freed of having to take care of me, and for me in whatever afterlife there is.
I woke up the next day with a tinge of sadness, but overall quite content.