For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, you can skip this first paragraph.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 51 years old and in October 2011 I had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gives me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I'm now on a program of active monitoring. In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9, in 2013 my test was 4.0. My latest PSA test in January was a slight improvement, down to 3.8, in other words the downward trend has stopped. I've no symptoms and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?
Today is the big day! Today is the day when I have my latest PSA test. Woo Hoo. It is a day of all round fun in our house. I have a daughter getting A Level results, A daughter getting A/S level results and me going to find out if I'm going to be croaking imminently! Well actually, if you know anything about PSA tests, that really isn't a very likely option given the last PSA test and biopsy results. Nope, it has been stable since 2011. I am on a schedule of "active surveillance" where I just get regular PSA tests and biopsies to see how the cancer is behaving.
Never the less I find it stressful and depressing time. Last night I had three beers and half a bottle of wine to take my mind off the whole bloody thing. The raised stress levels in the house don't help. I had a fitful nights sleep and a particularly unpleasant nightmare. I dreamed that I was dying and that I'd released a blog containing all the allegations people had told me about all our local political characters, detailing the stories of spousal abuse, peadophilia, drug taking, criminal activities and other misdemeanours that various souls (some clearly simply malicious) have sent me over the years about the great and good in Barnet. There was a media storm in my front garden as I was about to pass away. My logic in the dream had been that as I was about to die, there was no point them suing me. Given that one particularly nasty local politician has glorified in taking the piss out of my cancer, it has crossed my mind that in the event of his wish coming true, it would be quite ironic to remind him of the adage "careful what you wish for". Now of course, apart from his well known criminal conviction for assaulting a woman, all of the nasty things people have told me about him are purely tittle tattle and I am sure that most, if not all of it, is made up. To be honest I couldn't care less what people do in their private lives. I don't want my blog to be remembered simply for being a source of nasty rumours in a bitchy parting shot at those I dislike, so I think on balance it is actually the last thing I'd do.
I sort of feel that I should use my situation for positive reasons, persuading others to get checked and helping those in my situation to deal with it. I believe that our dreams are our psyche dealing with issues and showing us that what may seem like a good idea can be a very bad one. I woke up feeling rather bad with myself and was glad that it was a dream. It arms me to deal with the situation if and when it should arise. Often we simply ignore the messages that our dreams tell us, forgetting the lessons straight away. I believe that the human mind is far more powerful than we realise, but we spend most of our lives suppressing it. So if you are going through a stressful time and you have a vivid nightmare as I did. Spend some time and analyse it. Think about your feelings and whether you actually felt better for the course of action you took in your dream scenario. See if there are any lessons to be drawn. Don't underestimate the power of your mind or the tools it gives you to deal with the problems in your life.
I hope that by the end of the day my daughters have had positive results and in ten days or so I do as well. If we don't, I just hope that as a family we have the love and strength to cope with it.