Yep, I got cancer

Last week I got my biopsy results back and yep, I got prostate cancer. I know — “the good cancer” or “the one cancer to get” or “very slow moving and curable cancer.” 

But it still is cancer. Or CANCER, which is how I and many of us think about it. It is larger than life itself. Here is a brief introduction to my journey.I was going to say that it all began last May, when I got my PSA results that “something was wrong.” Actually, that timeline isn’t completely true. I should go back further in time, when I wasn’t able to control my urine one night. I will spare you the details for now. I was so ashamed of myself. What is happening to me? Did I have too much to drink? Was I losing control over my bladder? Was I becoming an “old man?”

Well, yes to all above. But it turns out that my prostate is ginormous. I didn’t know that at the time, at least not until last May, when I got my PSA and got checked physically. I will spare you those details here. But that just meant more tests, starting with more PSAs.
These were high but not consistently higher and certainly not as high as I have seen elsewhere in conversations with friends and associates. That meant another blood test called 4K, which also confirmed that I had a higher-than-normal result. Next stop on the diagnostic train: a MRI. That happened in January. The scan didn’t find any cancerous lesions, which meant that if I had cancer it was going to be hard to find.That meant my next step was a biopsy. My doctor took ten samples, four came back with cancer. It turns out that have a little bit of it, I can wait a few months to figure out what I need to do, but I definitely need to do something. That officially began the “end of denial” period for me.

Denial is a great management tool: I see this all the time in the IT world where managers deny that they will be a hacking target, or that their aging Windows 7 infrastructure will be the digital equivalent of a welcome mat and punching bag. But when it comes to cancer, you have to make the move at some point from denial to action. Writing this blog officially marks my transition.

Why I am I telling you this? When I wrote a few years ago about my first hearing aid, I got a lot of feedback and encouragement about sharing my story. So it seems like here we go again, into the medical/industrial complex.
I have come to realize that my newly minted membership into Cancer Fight Club means that I have to operate with different rules than regular Fight Club. If you haven’t seen the movie you probably still know the first (and second) rule of Fight Club is not to tell anyone about the club’s existence. Well, Cancer Fight Club turns this (and some of the other rules) on their head: tell everyone you know you have cancer. Don’t keep it to yourself. So here we are.
I have already written a bunch of posts on a CaringBridge journal and you are welcome to send me a request for access, or to share your own cancer journey here (in public) or via a private email if you’d like. And thanks for your support.

5 thoughts on “Yep, I got cancer

  1. David,
    1. Keep in mind (or believe) that the cancer is not too far advanced. Why? They had a difficult time finding evidence of it. Were it more widespread, it would have been detected far sooner.
    2. So it is treatable, and the long-term prognosis is for remission.
    3. Keep the faith, baby!

  2. It sounds like they caught it early, which is good. I know many men who have survived this, and not one single man who died from it. That said, I know it’s not fun, so I’m sorry to hear this news.

  3. Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of love and encouragement and support — you are all awesome, and I appreciate the willingness to share information. One reader who is an MD writes in:
    You have already discovered the 4K – our best tool yet for testing out the fast vs slow spreading version but if you want more info on the background you can get it here
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4444768/
    Most men die with prostate cancer, few die >of< prostate cancer. We don’t quite get the difference between those that have it and it's just an incidental finding and those that have it and it progresses. The 4K score is the best effort so far to get to the bottom of that If you want a deep dive - I recommend this (long) podcast https://peterattiamd.com/tedschaeffer/

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