Part 11

The lessons

At present, I am taking over 30 pills a day; I stopped counting at 30. The monthly pharmacy bill, if I had to pay it, approximates $2500. I hit my insurance deductible for the year in January, so prescriptions are free. The largest portion of this theoretical “bill” is for Casodex—3 pills once a day (cost: over $800 per month). Casodex is necessary to form another part of what is called a “triple hormone blockade or androgen blockade” because Lupron—by itself—will not stop all testosterone production. My plan A is to do this for 2 years and then switch to a pharmaceutical regimen that will keep the prostate cancer in remission.

Skip the costs for surgery and hospitalization. Understand that I can work from home part time and that insurance pays the balance of my income. Aside from all that, annual costs for pharmaceuticals (shots and pills), if I had to pay them, are around $30,000. Even if you have not been somewhat affected by the tales of surgery, hormone therapy, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, that number should provide some motivation to see your doctor now. My insurance plan is exceptional, as is my work arrangement. Think of the damage that you may do to your family’s financial security . . . enough said? Drugs range from the esoteric—to repair capillaries damaged from radiation—to the mundane, like lycopene (extracted from tomatoes and other food sources).

Testosterone will, I hope, resume production; and I will be back to normal. I will continue to be obsessed with my PSA and have regular testing.

My final Lupron shot is scheduled for September 13 of this year. In December I hope to begin the regimen to put the prostate cancer in remission. The number of pharmaceuticals will drop from ~30 to a handful a day.

So here I am. On August 9, I will find out how I am. Six days ago, I began to feel like myself once again. I have been very fortunate. I can walk a half-mile to a mile at a time, and my mind is clear once again.

And I do have a plan B. And also a plan C. I’m serious.

Rule number 8: Get checkups regularly.

The most important rule of all. It’s the reason for this post.

Again, please, no sympathy. It’s not useful and I hate it. Also, please don’t think I’m courageous. I am not. I’m just stubborn and curious. And occasionally stupid.

I will not permit these diseases to end my life. I have a wonderful wife who continues to amaze me and who has always been my best friend, a grown family—from whom I now learn and of whom I am so very proud, and two grandchildren whom I would like to get to know so much better.

And I want to retire in 6 years!

I suppose I could have continued to keep all of this to myself, but I would like to give more meaning to what has happened.

I can’t give medical advice; but I can point you to resources and suggest emotional and mental attitudes that may serve you best. If you want to get in touch, feel free to email me. Start to protect yourself now.

Thanks for listening.

Rule number 9: Learn to be patient while awaiting test results.

I will let you know how things turn out.

Postscript follows.