Thursday, January 27, 2011


Prostate Cancer update:  Charley's back at school and doing okay.  It turns out that the biopsy of his prostate showed a tiny bit of much more aggressive cancer than the original biopsy showed.  It was very localized and the blood test at one month showed he had no cancer in his body.  So that means he was probably right to have his entire prostate removed.

On the other hand, recovery is a lot worse than we had been told by the doctor and his nurse.  It's a lot worse than most of our well-wishers predicted.  "Oh my uncle, brother, neighbor had that done and it was no problem at all."  I think that uncles, brothers and neighbors don't like to complain to people outside their immediate family.  That is understandable.  But what I don't understand is why the hospital educational system was so misleading.  For example, they told us many times that it would be 3 to 6 weeks before he was back at work.  He was in no condition to go back to work at 3 weeks.  He's a teacher, not a brick layer or something.  He does have to stand all day, but he doesn't have to pick up heavy things.  Even so there was no way he could go back at 3 weeks.  

Even at 4 weeks, it was difficult, but he went back.  This was partly because he was worried about work and partly because he was spurred on by the "3-6 weeks" prediction.  He figured that he was still at the young end of people who have prostate cancer, so he "should" be on the short end of the recovery spectrum.  When he went back to the hospital on Wednesday of week 4, the nurse asked him when he thought he'd be ready to return to work.  She was surprised to learn that he was already back.  None of the other guys who had the surgery the week he did had returned to work yet.  So he IS at the short end of the recovery spectrum, but why in the world did they say 3 - 6 weeks if it's really 4-8 or even 6-10?  That's just one example of their overly optimistic predictions.  The entire process of recovery has been much more difficult and painful than predicted.  Post-surgical catheter care is a whole other story and not a pretty one!

It was actually quite nice to have him home.  I wonder how much of this was due to having 3 weeks away from school and how much of it was the shock of facing his own mortality.  Whatever the reason, we had a chance to notice that we still really like each other!  We spend so much time getting through life that it's hard to take time to notice why we are doing it and with whom we are traveling.

I've known Charley since I was 15 and we've been a couple pretty much since we met.  I'm going to be 60 in August, so that's 45 years!  He really is my "Life Partner."  It was lovely to have the time to talk about that and talk about plans for the future without him jumping up to go to work or to work downstairs on lesson plans and IEPs.  

Life is really hard and unpredictable.  It's that way for everyone of us.  It's easier if you go through it with a friend.

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