Elisabeth Kuber-Ross was a famous Swiss-American psychiatrist, specialising in working with terminally ill patients. Her most famous work was her book ‘on Death and Dying’. Within it she devised the Kubler-Ross model which was originally intended to describe the emotional states experienced by terminally ill patients. It is popularly known as the five stages of grief. The five stages are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. That has since been revised and Shock has been added as the first stage.
The Bucannon-Ellis model (have to make it sound scientific and posh) has eight stages. They however differ considerably from the Kuber-Ross model. They are: Shock, Cuss, Evaluation, Nothing, Lie and Believe, Binge, Plan & F-you
My fiftieth blog. What a milestone.
I had planned another blog for this but best laid plans and all that. It’s been an interesting week but not all for good.
Like I can have any other type.
I was contacted by Prostate Cancer UK and asked if I could deliver an Awareness talk for a local Methodist Church. I have not done a talk since the one at my surgery in early April. It feel’s long overdue. They tend to have many during the weekday’s but that means I would have to take annual leave from work. Of course, I run the potential risk of some church loon telling me about my supposed love pact with a certain Mr Lucifer but we live in hope – and pack some polite verbal ammunition just in case.
When I spoke to Olu, the guy who requested the talk, he was very excited. As excited as you can be not knowing that little old me is going to constructively scare the willies out of half of his flock. He had been trying to put this talk together for over a year but it had only all come together now. He was saying that his church is some sort of hub that looks after a number of smaller churches so he is expecting a good turnout. The last point Olu asked was did I have any ideas about how to promote the talk. I told him that he should promote it equally to women and the youth. Even though it’s a man’s disease women are very good at the no nonsense.
“I’m not asking you to get tested – I have already made the appointment for you!” That’s what one woman told me, at one of my talks, that she had said to her husband. I remember I laughed my head off. While the youth will be on the phone the next day asking their fathers, older brothers, Godfathers if they have been tested and not taking rubbish for an answer. It was something that he had not thought of. Once I had explained my statement about women and the youth he got it and was converted.
If you are interested to come along here is the address,
6.30 pm, Tuesday 11th June
Walworth Methodist Church
54 Camberwell Road
It would be great to see you there!
This week was the third PSA reading that prostate cancer patients have in the first year. The previous two were 0.03 or less which is called undetectable. I went along for my test last week. A very simple affair. I was in and out in fifteen minutes. I didn’t think twice about the upcoming PSA reading. It would be undetectable just like the previous ones.
Somehow my body didn’t get the message.
The urology nurse said that my reading was not undetectable.
It had actually doubled to 0.06. Come on Ellis, let’s not just increase the figure lets go and double the flipping thing!
I was absolutely knocked for six. There was only one other dark day, just over a year ago, when I felt like this.
It was a complete shocker. A bolt from no-where. I struggled to hear anything for a few moments.
As you know by now the PSA is a test for the specific protein found within the prostate gland. If you have had your prostate removed then in theory you should have no PSA reading. Best case scenario is that it is just a rouge reading. Worse case scenario is that the next PSA count is also higher meaning that a piece of the prostate was missed. That would probably be the nerves still having some of the prostate attached.
She said she knew that it would be easier said than done, but I shouldn’t worry about this result at this stage. If it had been above 0.1 she would have been more concerned. It could be that I am a ‘fluctuater’ a person that has PSA readings that go up and down. It felt like an out of body experience as I mumbled and stumbled through the rest of the appointment. I even forgot to mention that I had now been pad free for nearly three weeks. Appointment wise she was severely booked up so my next appointment would be at the end of November. Just under seven months away.
The shock floored me hard. The duration at least was not that long. The cussing jumped right into the passenger side and buckled up with shock that was on its way out.
The Evaluation stage was the hardest. I spent a couple of hours doing this. I went through all the scenarios and combinations. I have been talking long enough about this condition to know what they all are. I never said why me or anything but it did get dark at times. I welled up a bit in the car with the sprogs but they were rapping along (even Joel was doing his bit) to some silly song so that kept me from the edge.
Me and flipping cars!
I switched a couple of times between Lie and Believe and Nothing. Nothing could also be described as numb. I had shared the news with about four people before this blog and that was the only way I could describe what and how I was feeling when they asked. The conversations that I had were short and sweet, I was still processing and talking about it was not really helping. The Lie and believe part were the first breaking of the clouds. I made a joke of becoming Brixton prisons poster b***h for 2019 when I start to grow moobs because of the hormone treatment that I may have to take. I started to lie to everyone around me who either knew or didn’t know that I was OK. Other than being a bit quiet you might not have known something was up. If you lie long and hard enough you can believe it. On the scale of lies this was a necessity as opposed to a harmful one.
I started to believe it.
I decided part of my therapy was junk food. I had some fast food and I had two small bottles of Malibu and Diet Coke – I was really going off the wagon. I told the half tub of Häagen-Dazs to make peace and say goodbye to his full tub mate because he was not returning. Anything that was sweet or tasty was fair game and gobbled up like a brown packman had been let loose from prison day release. With my work leaving do on Wednesday I will be having a few more of the ‘girly’ drinks then I can give up the food and drink contraband binge.
I went to bed that night in a better place and probably a couple of pounds heavier, then where I was a few hours earlier.
The next day the planning went into overdrive. What can I do rather than just sit and wait for things to happen around me? The first was exercise. Not that I am un-fit or lardy but I keep saying that I need to lose a stone and I now need to make that a reality. I will be having just had my first run in a while and I will be keeping that up again. The swimming is going well and I am still loving every minute of it.
Food was the next area that I had a look at. Even though no particular food has been definitively proven to be a cause or aggravating factor for prostate cancer there was one obvious fact that I had mulled over previously, from what I have read. A number of roads seem to point to meat, chicken and dairy. I have already cut down my red meat levels but not my chicken. Nothing to lose but cutting back on that too. It’s something I can do without any hardship.
The final part of the plan was that there is no way I can wait until the end of November before I have another PSA test. I can pop along to the hospital anytime and have my blood taken for a PSA test. That’s only a ten minute job. I know that I am unlikely to get an appointment earlier but it’s a lot easier to just get the result over the phone if they have already taken the blood. My plan is then to go for a PSA test at the end of August.
The final stage of the Bucannon-Ellis plan is self-explanatory.
F-you prostate cancer, I have a lot of work to do 😊
6 thoughts on “50. If You’re Lying, I’ll Be Back”
Sorry that you’ve had to go through this experience, Peter. That first, unexpected detectable PSA after surgery really knocks the crap out of you. I agree with your desire to do the PSA test in a few months rather than November. It will give you a better sense of whether this was just an anomaly or the begining of a trend.
Wishing you all the best.
Hi Dan. Thanks for your message, much appreciated. When I had my first PSA test in my early forties it was high, the second test weeks afterwards was normal. I am hoping that means I am one of life’s ‘fluctuaters’. In the meantime I just have to keep up the fight and get the word out there. Take care matey 😁
Hi Peter. One thing you may ask your team is if they changed labs or tests. In my case, I had my last undetectable PSA in January and when I had my next test in September, that’s when the PSA became detectable at 0.05. Come to find out that the facility I was using changed to the more sensitive PSA test in March, between the two tests. That threw a new variable into the equation.
Unfortunately, subsequent tests every three months continued to increase for the most part. There were, however, inexplicable fluctuations in my numbers, too (check out the graph on my blog).
Even though I don’t have a prostate, one of my doctors suggested not long after the detectable PSA to avoid orgasms for at least 3 days before the blood draw to eliminate that as a potential variable that could affect the results. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but ever since, I’ve abstained from having an orgasm for a week before a scheduled test. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, and if it eliminates a variable, all the better.
Hi Dan. Thanks for your message, much appreciated. When I had my first PSA test in my early forties it was high, the second test weeks afterwards was normal. I am hoping that means I am one of life’s ‘fluctuaters’.
I won’t hit “like” on this post because there’s nothing to like about getting this kind of news. I had my second test results last week since surgery six months ago, and I’m still at 0, but I live in fear of what you’re undergoing. I too hope this is just a blip in your progress. Re diet: doctor told me eat a tomato a day, tomato sauce, tomato juice – all that lycopene. (I’ve cut back on my red meat, but reducing dairy has been harder.)
Thanks Ross, that I will definitely add to the smoothie 🙂
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