Saturday, March 15, 2014

Three and a Half Years

Entry for 13 March 2014:

It’s been a bit more than 3½ years since my prostate cancer surgery (a radical prostatectomy).  You’re supposed to have your PSA (prostate serum antigen) checked once a year for at least 5 years post-surgery.  However, the NHS doesn’t remind you; you have to take responsibility for yourself, so it took me a while to organize myself to get it done.  I kept putting it off: there was my passport to get renewed, then I needed to organize myself with a dentist, EFT training in Belgium and the Netherlands, that sort of thing. 

Last week, I finally got around to getting a blood sample drawn for this.  I think it was the hip pain I’d been having.  There is a hypochondriac part of me that worries about worst case medical scenarios:  What if the cancer has come back and gotten in my bones, as it can do?  Ironically, I was busy ignoring the most likely explanation of the hip pain: an incipient running injury from over-exercise (possibly exacerbated by old/flat shoes, hard interval training, and hard running surfaces).  This week the running injury came to a head in the form of a painful episode of what is most likely bursitis, and as a result I’m taking an enforced holiday from running.

Finally, yesterday, I was able to finally get the results from my GP. The first time I phoned, the receptionist told me the results were “satisfactory”.  I phoned back, and eventually the GP told me the PSA level was “less than 0.01” ie, undetectable.  This was the “satisfactory” result I was hoping for:  Any evidence of PSA after a radical prostatectomy means that the cancer has come back.

After getting this news, as I walked back to the train station from my office, I reflected on the 3½ years since my surgery:  Almost half the time we’ve been in Scotland.  Since then, my mom has died at the end of the 2 months I spent in California helping care for her; my old dear friend Margaret has died of cancer; my youngest son Kenneth has moved from Ohio to Iowa; my grandson Yuki has been born; and Diane and I have celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary.  The Counselling Unit has moved from Jordanhill to the Glasgow city centre; I’ve published two dozen articles or book chapters; and regular EFT training has started in Belgium and the Netherlands.  In the meantime, I’ve tried to lead a less stressful life, continued regular adventures with Diane, and watched my granddaughter Muziki grow.  I feel profoundly grateful for these and many more experiences and gifts.  I feel more deeply connected to others and more genuinely happy than ever in my work as a trainer and therapist.  

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