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09 November 2016 @ 11:18 am
In August I developed a sore back while running to work. Over a few weeks it gradually got better and I started running to work again. After about a week of running the same thing happened again.

Suspecting something significant I visited my GP. She did a bunch of tests and now I can summarise:

  • I probably fractured two or three thoracic vertebrae

  • I have osteoporosis in my spine

  • I've got coronary artery disease and have probably had a heart attack

  • I have prostate cancer, detected by:

    • high Prostate Specific Antigen levels in my blood

    • a specialised prostate MRI scan indicated likely cancer

    • a trans-perineal prostate biopsy found a "punchy" form of cancer

    • a bone scan and CT scan showed strong evidence that the thoracic vertebral fractures were in fact due to prostate metastases, and I have "advanced" prostate cancer

[minimal blood loss immediately after 29 needles were inserted through my perineum into my prostate]

[minimal blood loss immediately after 29 needles were inserted through my perineum into my prostate]

It hasn't been too physically traumatic so far. The prostate biopsy was my first ever hospital admission & anaesthetic, so I was a little anxious about it beforehand. But it turned out to be not too painful, with little blood loss on the day and rosé-coloured urine for a week afterwards.

Despite the evidence collected so far, my urological surgeon, Dr Kris, is not quite totally convinced that the prostate cancer has developed beyond redemption. There's one last test that can determine the state of the cancer and hence my likely future options. It's 68Ga-PSMA (prostate specific membrane antigene) ligand positron emission tomography (PET). It's expensive and not widely available, and so I'm travelling a long way and paying a lot of money to have one done the day after tomorrow. There's an unlikely but important (to me) possibility that the bone & CT scan reports are wrong and in fact my prostate cancer is still confined to the gland itself, which would make it potentially treatable with surgical removal. On the other hand, if the PET scan confirms the current diagnosis of bony metastases, there's very little that can be done, and certainly nothing that carries that hope of a cure. In that case Dr Kris will put away his gadget arms and refer me for palliative treatment.

I won't get the PET scan results on Friday so I'll inevitably spend the weekend contemplating the possible directions and duration of my future life. As I reflect, I will be very aware that my experience of the past few months has taught me how wonderful my family is and how lucky I have been to share my life with such loving and caring people. On Monday I should find out the PET scan results. In the short term that information is sure to have a big emotional impact on us all. But we will move on from there, and I am confident we'll face this uncertain future together and make the best of my (indeed our) remaining life time, whatever that turns out to be.

[Copy of my post on WordPress]