Journal Entry #14
August 22, 2003
(NOTE: Click here for the Open Golf Tournaments article!)
I'm back and ready to make SeniorFriendlyGolf.com more interesting and up to date. The hiatus was due to trips to Hawaii, California, Montana, Arizona and prostrate cancer.
You will be hearing more about Hawaii and the courses I SFG rated there as well as places to go and see when you make your trip to Maui. You have already heard about Rancho Mirage, California (if not check the archives) so we'll take a break on that destination until November when I am likely to give the Pete Dye course another try. I just bought a new Nike driver, for better or worse, and I hope it will help. I'll be giving it a try today at the MOSAIC scrambler. And then there was Montana and that was pure family fun tubing, rafting and getting to know my webmaster and middle son's dog, Ruger, who is a charming Weimeraner.
MY FAMILY IN MONTANA
RUGER AND THOSE FEET
About Arizona. I just got back following hopefully successful brachytherapy. I have prostate cancer. I had an elevated PSA score, which was noticed by my primary care physician, Dr. Jay Adler. He ordered a biopsy on June 17th just prior to my trip to Hawaii. Upon my return the urologist informed me that I had prostate cancer. My first reaction was to just about pass out. Me? Prostate cancer? Preposterous! Well it's wasn't and is not. So this article will be concerned with the subject. While in Arizona I was hosted by my niece and nephew and Bailey, their Rhodesian Ridgeback.
MY FAMILY IN ARIZONA
For men over 40 there is a one in eight chance of an elevated PSA score. An elevated PSA score can indicate that prostate cancer may be present. As a man gets older those odds do not get any better, and if there is a family history of prostate cancer, before age 40 may not be too soon to start annual PSA tests.
With early diagnoses, the earlier the better, prostate cancer is not life threatening. To let it continue without therapy can be. I met a young man recently, age 33 is young to me now days, whose father died from prostate cancer. His dad was a macho retired military guy and he said he "could stand the pain." He's dead. Funny thing, prostate cancer is not painful until it is probably too late to do anything about it. I never had any pain or discomfort…even after the therapy I chose.
It is said that if a man lives long enough he will have prostate cancer. In fact one mode of treatment is just to "wait and see" if the patient's life expectancy is less than ten years.
How does a man know if he is a candidate for early stage prostate cancer? This is very simple and any man, or men who are over 40 having a lady concerned and reading this article, can track his PSA. This is a simple blood test that can be done the same time as annual cholesterol screenings. Of course these tests need to be ordered by a physician along with annual digital examinations and then discussed with him/her following. Need I explain what a digital exam is? Email me if you don't know what a digital prostate exam is: john@SeniorFriendlyGolf.com. PSA tests have found universal approval in the 1990s yet still today many physicians may not be as tuned in as they could be. So you might have to take the initiative to request one.
The urologist who did my biopsy discussed four or five alternative treatments. The surgeon I chose for therapy went over fifteen possible procedures. I drove down to Phoenix to the Southwest Oncology Center for an appointment on August 8th. The surgeon, Dr. Gordon L. Grado, had served many years at the Phoenix Mayo Clinic and has been in the forefront of developing brachytherapy techniques for prostate cancer. A close friend of mine, ten years younger than I who underwent the procedure several months ago, referred me to him.
The best thing about brachytherapy is that you can play golf (this is the tie-in to SeniorFriendlyGolf.com) the day after the procedure. Only problem I had in Phoenix was that it was over 115 degrees every day. I started my drive home the day after surgery on August 13th.
Prayer. I believe in prayer and am very thankful for the many people and prayer groups who prayed me through this ordeal. This includes people I know beyond my church, Grace and St. Stevens Episcopal Church in Colorado Springs. Of course the Episcopal Church sure has its problems now days too. As an Ambassador with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce I thank all of those people too. It touched me deeply and how sincerely concerned many were on my behalf.
There are many sources of information about Prostate Cancer worth considering. There is a web site: www.prostatecancer.com that is useful and a book given to me by the Colorado Springs urologist was extremely helpful. I read it cover to cover on my vacation to Montana to help my wife and me make the right decision for treatment. "Prostate & Cancer A Family Guide to Diagnosis, Treatment & Survival" by Sheldon Marks, MD Prostate Cancer Specialist. FISHER BOOKS.
September is Prostate Health Month, which includes prostrate screening events at many hospitals. Give your hospital a call and see what's up there that may benefit you or yours.
I am eternally grateful.
John K. Darling john@SeniorFriendlyGolf.com