I’ve been back in the States since Sunday and it’s been quite a ride. The Westward bound jet lag produced the same depression problems as the Eastward bound lag. Tuesday was especially bad. It wasn’t just the jet lag this time, though. Monday afternoon I read an MSNBC.com article on the ongoing controversy over PSA tests to detect early prostate cancer. Normally, this would be no big deal. I’m so far past the early detection phase. But the article had a one line entry stating the average survival rates for advanced prostate cancer patients (like me) is from one year to two and a half years after diagnosis. That would be about 22 months left for me, best case on average. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I know there’s a reasonable case to be made that my average survival rate should be at least a year and a half more than that, but 22 months is also well within the realm of possibility. Seeing it in print made it feel so real and inviolate. I felt my prior 3-5 year estimate suddenly get cut in half. I was overwhelmed by fear.
I’m still totally asymptomatic. It seems impossible that I could die so quickly. But of course that’s the way it is. Once the cancer reaches critical mass, it spreads and grows like wildfire, until it kills its host. When the Casodex stops working, my cancer is one huge step closer to critical mass. For me that should occur, on average, in 16 months. When that happens we see what treatments are available at the time. The current standard of care is to go onto chemotherapy. In practical terms that would mean my quality of life and choices degrade significantly for the rest of my life, probably 3-12 months.
Prior to reading that article, I did a good job of not thinking about how much time I have left and how much would be “good” time. The article, combined with the jet lag and loss of sleep, shot that to hell.
Monday night we went out to dinner with friends and I was mostly able to set it aside.
Tuesday morning I was hit with depression from the article and a Casodex induced depression at the same time. A fatal heart attack would have been welcome. I was supposed to pick up a fabulous new car I ordered months ago (that had just been delivered to the dealership), but I couldn’t have cared less. I stayed in bed for five hours until the Adderall finally got me to the point I could get up. I did pick up the car, but missed out on most of the joy and excitement, due to the lingering effects of the depressions. We didn’t even take it out for a ride after we got home. It’s hard to believe depression can have so much power.
On average, today has been better than Tuesday, but it’s been a roller coaster. At least the lows haven’t been near as bad. I did have some fun in the car today. Just hope the worst of this is over.