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The Plague and I Redux, redux redux, redux, redux, redux

The Mountaineer of Big Sandy, Montana

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When last I wrote about my prostate cancer, it was at the beginning of the summer and was just starting with some chemo therapy. There were some medicines that my doctor thought would work better but Medicare insisted that I take this round of chemo before we got into anything else.

What had happened with my cancer, which I have had for 15 years, is that it has gradually been moving more quickly. This fall my PSA was up to 25 which does not seem like much but without treatment it would be triple that or more. It tends to take off without something harsh chasing it around in my body.

So, it was chemo which made me sick, lose what little hair I had left and feel very, very tired most all of the time. I was even having trouble driving back and forth to Big Sandy three days a week and when writing stories I would fall asleep at the keyboard.

Diarrhea is the plague of chemo therapy. It took me a couple of months just to get that worked out.

Meanwhile in Havre a new oncologist started working at the Sletten Cancer Institute. Not only was he an oncologist but he is an internal medicine doctor. I didn't know at the time how desperately I was going to need an internal medicine doctor. So, I had Dr. Harrer in Great Falls as my oncologist and the new doctor as my internist in Havre.

I kept getting more and more tired even though I slept very well at night. So, I was very glad when Dr. Harrer said that my chemo therapy would be over by the end of August or somewhere like that. Even though my PSA never got below 11, I thought it was a good treatment it would have been much higher without the chemo.

Then one day I was shopping in Albertsons in Great Falls, waiting for my appointment to see Dr. Harrer. I found I could not left up my feet to walk across the produce section of the store. I couldn't hope but make it to the bathroom without a lot of huffing and puffing. My breathing went south on me and it was just very difficult for me to move at all.

Dr. Harrer ordered some x-rays and tests and I went home. Two days later I saw the Havre doctor. He looked once at me and said I had congestive heart failure. He continued that five percent of the chemo patients would get congestive heart failure.

More and more tests and it became more and more difficult to walk. I could not walk from the "Mountaineer" to The Grocery Store!

Finally some really good pills to give me a good balance from my heart, my blood pressure and releasing the fluid on my legs.

That particular bunch of pills seemed to work some anyway. I was feeling a little better and my walking was a little better too. But not good, mind you.

Dr. Harrer saw me and said

I had way too much fluid on my legs and gave me a massive dose of pee pills to take each day. Did the fluid flow if you get my drift. I lost 8 pounds in 5 days and woke up one Sunday morning and felt like my old self again. It had been so long since I had felt like myself that I didn't know whether to dance a jig or get the brandy out quickly! I am still taking lots of pee pills and I am still losing weight and for the most part feeling so much better.

Now, I am not going to bore you with having two oncologists for doctors. Let's just say that sometimes what one said did not match what the other one said. Who cares! I am just happy to be feeling better. So, much so that we can begin cancer treatments again which have been on hold for two months.

There are several things I can do. I can take another chemo and have it monitored better than before or I can take a clinical trial for a new drug that is supposed to be helping prostate cancer or I can have my blood infused with chemicals to kill specifically my cancer.

Those are the choices I have to make in November. Suffice to say whatever choice I make, it is not going to drag me down like this last chemo did!

There is one thing strange about my prostate cancer. Even though it is in my bones pretty well, I have no pain or symptoms that there is anything wrong with my bones.

One of the official treatment is to do nothing or little to treat is to do nothing or little to treat the cancer until symptoms appear. That sounds like a pretty good treatment as well, right?

At least I am around to write you another Plague Redux. There was a time this summer, I didn't know if that was going to work or not!

Fifteen years of this crap! Praise the Lord I can still write about it!

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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