Well, it’s been a very busy three weeks since the last blog post. And although the work and health care regimen has been busy, I did get to escape to Belize with a group of my dearest people to celebrate my 60th birthday. Despite the title of this blog entry, I am happy to say that I had a very happy, restful time discovering a new country in Central America. Belize is still a decidedly third-world country that, coincidentally enough, is celebrating their 41st year of independence today (they used to be called “British Honduras”). The people were some of the warmest I have ever met. We felt welcomed and appreciated and we all had a great time.
It's been a whirlwind since we returned to the country on September 18th. On Monday, September 19th, I had a consultation with my radiation oncologist and also received an injection of Eligard, a hormone therapy drug that clamps down on the production of testosterone in the testes (circulating testosterone generally feeds the growth of cancer cells so this is designed to starve the cancer cells of that fuel).
Tuesday, September 20th brought the PSMA PET scan, a test I have had run three times before – twice in Michigan and once at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. It is fantastic that the PSMA PET scan can now be run in the Greater Cincinnati area, as it eliminates the additional travel time and cost. What is a PSMA PET scan, you ask?
The PSMA PET scan is still a relatively new tool in the cancer imaging toolkit. Oftentimes, prostate cancer cells have a “membrane” on their surface that is unique to prostate cancer cells. The PSMA PET scan relies on the “uptake” of a radioactive tracer by those prostate cancer cells, which causes them to light up, revealing their location. This type of precision in detecting prostate cancer was not readily available until recently, so it’s kind of a big deal.
Today I got my PSMA PET scan results. Meh. They could have been much better, but they also could have been much worse. The cancerous spots that were noted on my PSMA PET scan in April are still there, but most of those are smaller in size. There were a few new spots noted, but the hope is that maybe those are a false positive that do not truly represent new areas of disease.
The bottom line is that the level of improvement is substandard after four cycles of Taxotere so on the advice of my medical oncologist, I have already scheduled an appointment at MD Anderson in Houston on November 15th following my final chemo treatment in mid-October. The goal of that visit is to figure out next treatment steps since the small improvement from the chemo is not expected to last very long, if at all. So as a line from one of my favorite Cage the Elephant songs goes, ain’t no rest for the wicked!
Until next time,