A chocolate milk shake! Never thought it would taste so good, but it's the first somewhat substantial thing I've been allowed to take-in the last 24-hours. This is going to be a process, and not day to day at that. Not weeks, but months and months. I will have to learn a whole new level of patience. As a triathlete, I trained for months almost daily with specific workouts. My body responded to the moment. These are going to be much smaller steps.
This journey started with a diagnosis, which led to shock and disbelief, and then to research. A second and third opinion followed. Next came a decision on treatment, where, and who, and when. Surgery day arrived, and the operation went well. But that is far from a finish line. In fact, this is the beginning. I am going to be blunt here so if you don't want or need to read the reality of having a prostate removed and beating a cancer...then stop here.
I am learning how to use a catheter bag attached to a very personal place. That stays connected for the next 10-days. My routine during that time will be drink plenty of fluids, walk, walk some more, rest, and walk some more. No lifting of anything heavier than a gallon of milk. For the next month, no swimming, biking, running, raking, shoveling, digging, taking out the garbage...you get the idea. A month. Remember as a triathlete I am used to training 1-3 hours a day, six-days a week.
Next week my surgeon will call me with the results of a pathology report. Has the cancer spread? He'll be able to tell me, but it won't be a 100% deal. Six-weeks from now he will get my PSA number. It should be at a tiny fraction of a number. It won't be zero, but it should be close to that. Then for the next two-years,every six-months I will have my PSA taken. If the number remains extremely low, then we go to yearly PSA tests. As you can see, with this cancer there is no absolute, 100%, we never have to worry about it again. There will always be a thought in my head for years go come that it could be there...lingering. This does not mean I will worry about it constantly. It does not mean it will keep me from doing all the things I've enjoyed in life. It will not define me, but cancer has changed my life.
In one very important way it has changed my life for the better. My relationship with my wife, Noelle, has never been stronger or closer. We have a bond from the last 48-hours that can never be taken away or lost. We stared down cancer, endured surgery, and face new realities of coping with it all.
It's time now to be released from the hospital...one more small step in a journey that I hope has years left.