Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Doc Visit And Pesticides

So my Doc visit two days ago was a non-event.

Quick physical check, a few questions about side-effects, and I was given two thumbs up and a 'right on schedule'.

That's good news. No, that's great news!

Doc was also ecstatic that the placement of the seeds were "spot on", and he estimated target coverage at 98%. That's also great news.

But it still astounds me that something that looms so large in my life is, in reality, just a blip in the machinery of modern medicine. Day procedures and follow-up visits. Honestly, when I had my gall bladder out back in the early '90s, (and yes, this was RIGHT before the laparoscopic procedure was developed), it was a much larger event than this prostate cancer.

It's not that I want to be in the hospital, or undergo a series of procedures or radiation - I am very, very fortunate on that front, but I don't know how to explain it - it all seems sort of anti-climactic.

Now we follow with blood tests every 3 months and watch the PSA levels.

The radiation will peak in another month and a half, then start a slow decline as the radiation from the seeds begin to diminish. So a few more weeks of intense side-effects and then a gradual decline.

That will be nice.

Of course I also understand that I'm not out of the woods just yet. That story will be told over the next 18 to 24 months as we watch the PSA. I'm not really concerned - I'm just going to assume that the radiation did the trick.

That's kind of the way I approach most things anymore: I can either dream and fantasize failure or victory. Cure or curse. Whatever I spend my time contemplating isn't going to change the outcome one iota, so why not think positively? Otherwise I'm thinking of all the horrible things that could happen, and doing that - and you'll have to trust me on this - robs you of today. That's no way to live.

So, now you are all caught up.

As I've said before there are a slew of reports that come out everyday concerning prostate cancer. My inbox is stuffed every morning with articles and new drug therapies and all the latest advances. Some are encouraging, some are not.

One that caught my attention is this one:

Pesticide - Prostate Cancer Link

Well pugnuts. Yes, I said pugnuts.

I grew up in a small town in eastern Washington until I was 9 years old. My family then moved to 'the coast'. Which, for anyone living in eastern WA meant everything west of the Cascades. Like most of the people I knew, our house was surrounded by apple orchards. And I mean surrounded. Huge orchards that stretched forever. The apple trees bordered my backyard - and continued across the dirt road in front of my house for another good stretch. Other huge tracts of fruit trees lined the two-lane highway that bisected our small town. I could almost chuck an apple from my front yard across the blacktop into the other orchard.

I guess looking back it was one huge orchard with a few houses clustered here and there.

I also remember the tractors pulling the big tanks with the huge fans on the back that drove between the trees flooding the orchard with pesticides. Sometimes it was my Dad driving. He would come home for lunch - his clothes literally dripping with the stuff - and the house would fill with the peppery/chemical/acrid odor of the spray.

But my family followed safety precautions. I wasn't allowed to go outside to play until the fog had settled, and I had to stay at least two orchard-rows away from where they were spraying. Then I had to be careful not to walk under the trees while they were wet and dripping but we were kids and didn't listen as we should.

I won't even get into how they kept the frost off the trees back then. Let me say that it involved hundreds of 'smudge-pots' lining the rows, filled with oil - coal oil I think - and set afire to keep the frost away. I always knew when the mornings were cold because the thick smokey fog permeated everything, seeping into the house like an unwelcome guest.

Now I realize just how horrible all of this sounds. But it really was a different time. My family had been working in and around orchards for years. It was just part of the job and not a big deal.

Now you tell me times haven't changed.

And for the better.

But still, I think back and wonder how many of my health problems originated in those orchards.

Probably more than I would ever want to know.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My First Doc Visit

Today I get to go see my Doc.

This will be the first post-procedure visit.

I hardly know what to expect. Oh, I know I'll be poked and prodded - that's a given - but beyond that what will transpire will be a mystery.

There will be a lot of talking, of that I'm sure.

I'm doing better than I was last week. And certainly better than the week before, so there is progress. Just not fast enough for me. :)

And I probably won't mention all of the stupid stuff I did at my daughter's wedding last week. I'll just skirt that issue thank you.

But for some reason I'm a little nervous.

I'll let you know what happens.