September 28, 2008
My Uncle Has Prostate Cancer
Filed under: Personal Stories
Grant sent us this personal story about his uncle's recent diagnosis of prostate cancer.
My family just found out that my uncle has prostate cancer (age 78). That's probably not grandiose news in this blog, but in our family no one goes to the doctor and you just tough it out, and you certainly don't tell other family members about it.
A brief background. My mom and dad are the first in our lineage to come to America (1952), and only ones. All my relatives live in Norway. No major health concerns, though now that my folks and their siblings are all in their 70-80's all kinds of stuff is popping up. My dad had two heart-attacks last year. Only went to the doctor for his second, didn't even know about the first. Thought he had heartburn, though he's never had heartburn. Six months later, number two almost took him down, but to EVERYone's surprise he's doing pretty damn good (still smokes a pack a month and drinks nightly). My mom, 76, just had a hysterectomy cause she was so stressed last year about my dad that she started spotting. After removal they found cancer in the uterine walls, so she's doing 5 weeks of radiation therepy just incase. Found out one uncle had some skin cancer a few years ago. Then this uncle pops up with full blown prostate cancer.
What's weird is, in March, when he was here for my dad's 80th, he looked great, felt great (for all we know), and seemed fine. Now 6 months later, he looks SO OLD, and looks pale and worn out. Norway's not back-water hillbilly when it comes to medicine, but apparently they say he's pretty much beyond treatment. It's progressed into his bones. His blood values are too low to do radiation or chemo.
What I'm trying to find out is, about how much real time does he have left. I received some pics via email from a visit my uncles all had that I'm printing to take to my folks, so I know they'll see his condition (a smile doesn't hide much). When my folks talk to them on the phone, no one says anything about the big, white, elephant in the room. I believe it's better to have eyes open than getting that surprising phone call.
Anyone care to throw out some estimates? I'll temper the news for my mom, but I really think its more fair. In a nutshell: Rapid degradation, moved into the bones, values too low to treat.
p.s. I think I'll start going for an annual soon. I'm 39 and have been dreading the '40' annual, but I'll take a finger over a tumor any day.