News (If It’s Real)

Last Monday was my quarterly check-in with the oncologist, and I had hoped that my PSA test results would come back “undetectable” — no evidence of disease. Not so. The oncologist conditioned the results with (a totally appropriate) “if it’s real.” One data point does not a trend make, especially when this particular data point […]

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Diagnosis + 5

The diagnosis that transformed my life came five years ago today. I was vacationing, driving east on I-10, toward Tucson, when my cell phone broke the monotony of interstate pavement. It was the urologist who had done my prostate biopsy; we had played phone tag for several days, the apparent lack of urgency giving me […]

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The New Normal

Today marked three months since my completion of salvage radiation. “Has it been three months already?” they asked me at the check-in desk in Radiation Oncology at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.  I was reporting for a routine, follow-up visit with my radiation oncologist to attend to any lingering side effects since radiation’s end (none […]

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A Stalking, Circling Menace

I’m on my own now. On Oct 17, I had my final three-month injection of hormone suppressant. So any day now, the side effects (hot flashes, chemo-brain and fatigue) should start ebbing, and testosterone should start flooding. The problem is, testosterone fuels the growth of prostate cancer, so now also begins the big wait-and-see, the […]

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Boys of Summer

It may be the sole summer of my youth that I recall with any real clarity: the summer of ’61, that listless season after high school graduation, when Al Mosher, Bill Salzer and I spent many humid nights at Crosley Field, watching the Cincinnati Reds, under manager Fred Hutchinson, win their way to a National […]

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The Radiation Arrow

My 36 radiation treatments ended today, and we marked the occasion at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance with thank-yous, good-lucks, handshakes, a hug and a team photo of patient and therapists. In the cheer of it all, I felt the sadness of separation. I was the teammate who got traded. They stay together, and I move […]

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The Writing on the Wall

I went to my first prostate cancer gathering four years ago, in Portland, Oregon, when I was fresh off surgery and unexpected news from pathology was still ringing in my ears: cancer in two lymph nodes. Entering the building, registering, and being handed my conference materials — I felt like a draftee reporting for induction […]

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This Afternoon in Cancer

A full afternoon at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance today: the daily radiation treatment, the weekly visit with the radiation oncologist, the quarterly check-in with my oncologist. PSA test results came in at “undetectable,” which you’d largely expect, given my hormone-suppression therapy. Prior reading, in July, which was pre-hormone therapy, was 0.11. So that means […]

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