Almost Zero

I was going to wait to post again until after my appointment with the oncologist tomorrow, but I got the results of my last PSA test, and I couldn’t wait to share it. It’s .16! That’s as close to zero as I ever expect my number to get, since I still have my prostate. It’s a very good day today. We might have to break open the half bottle of champagne that we didn’t use on New Year’s Eve.

I’m sure my oncologist will give the credit to Xtandi, now that I’ve been on it for three months, especially after my number dropped from 4.77 to 1.3 in only two weeks after I started taking it. But I think the Rick Simpson Oil suppositories have a lot to do with it too. See my post Tiny Popsicles if you don’t know what those are.

My head told me I might get a number below one for the first time in, like, ever, but my heart didn’t believe it. For some reason, I was really nervous about this result. So this is a huge weight off of my shoulders.

What does this number mean, in layman’s terms? It means my cancer is growing at a negligible rate. Less than two tenths of a percent. After 4.77 percent, I’ll take that! It means my cancer is under control, more so than at any time since I was diagnosed. It’s very good news.

My PSA will never be zero, because I still have my prostate gland. In spite of the fact that it’s riddled with cancer, it continues to produce PSA. Only those who’ve had surgery to remove their prostate, or had radiation treatment to kill it, can hope to have a PSA score of zero. But .16 is pretty darn close.

I’m sure this means I won’t have to get another test until April or May, when my next Lupron shot is due. That will probably remain true until my number starts to rise again. Which, hopefully, won’t be for a while.

After much consideration, and a lot of support and feedback from many of you, I’ve decided to go ahead with the Xgeva shots to strengthen my bones. In all of my inquiries, I wasn’t able to find one person who had dental x-rays and was cleared by a dentist, but still suffered from osteonecrosis of the jaw, a.k.a. ONJ, a.k.a. jawbone death from it. As you probably know, I had a dental x-ray done, and was cleared for Xgeva. That’s one factor.

The comment that more or less clinched it for me was from a friend whose husband is a physician. He said the chances of my experiencing jaw problems from Xgeva are two percent, but my chances of having spinal problems if I don’t are one hundred percent. If that’s true, it pretty much makes this decision a no brainer.

I’ll still collect all of the suggestions I got from many of you, write them down, and ask my oncologist about each of them. One suggested I ask if I can get the shot every three months instead of every month. Xgeva stays in your system for a long time, so that may be an option for me. Another wondered if, since I have no symptoms now, can I wait until I start having symptoms? Others suggested different drugs I might try instead. I will ask him about all of it.

I can’t express how grateful I am for your response to my last post, My Next Big Decision. Over 200 responses of support, love, prayers, and valuable input on Facebook and in the comments of this blog have been very helpful. I’ll never be able to thank you enough. You helped me gain some clarity in this very difficult decision. I feel very loved.

One last story before I close this post. When I was at the oncologist’s office the morning of my blood draw, I stopped at the front desk to make sure my favorite shot giver, Melanie, would be there to give me my shots on Friday. I found out she doesn’t work on Fridays. I stood there while one of the receptionists talked with Melanie on the phone, hearing one side of the conversation. She tried to reschedule my consultation with my oncologist to a day when Melanie was in. As I listened, it became clear that both of these women knew exactly who I was, in spite of the fact that they treat hundreds of patients, and I only see Melanie every four months.

After a couple of minutes, Melanie said she’d come in on Friday morning just for me. Just so I’ll feel better about getting my shots. I think I need to take her something to thank her. This is a lady who treats cancer patients all day, every day. I think she might need a cross pendant.

I’ll post again tomorrow about my appointment, and let you know how all of that went. I rarely post on back-to-back days anymore, but I thought this news called for it. Thanks again to each of you for all your support, and to the God from whom all good things come. #waroncancer

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