So. Saw Dr. Gilroy, the radiation oncologist. His office, appropriately, is close to Skyridge Hospital where I left my prostate 4 years ago. Gilroy is a man in his 50’s, a friendly broad face, short cut but curly hair, a thick, but not fat body, and a kind demeanor.
All the folks at Anova have been kind. Which helps. Kate was there, sitting second chair this time, as I’ve done for her appointments over the last year. These patient rooms are the same. An exam table, two chairs for the patient and support person, a stool and a small desk projecting from the wall, a computer. Sometimes drug company posters on the wall: Pulmonary Hypertension and You, How to rate your bowel movements, Glaucoma and the eye. Bland wall colors. Sensible carpet. A sense of depersonalization. The focus is on you, the sick one. Or, the maybe sick one.
The news so far is sobering. The rise from .1 in January of 2018 to 1.3 in February of this year is rapid according to Gilroy. The velocity of the rise can be an indicator of the severity of the reemergence.
“Have you had a digital exam since your prostatectomy?” In this case of course digital means, with a digit. “No.” “I need to do one.” “Oh.” “Drop your trousers and bend over the exam table.” And so I did.
He could find no nodules. Had he found one he said it would have indicated the likelihood of a localized reemergence. Rapid velocity. No digitally findable nodules. Could mean metastases.
Next up are the traditional imaging techniques. CT and MRI. The MRI scans bones for mets and the CT looks for what I’m not sure. Next week sometime.
I’m not afraid to die. But. I’m not eager either. The gap between those two does produce a quickening, a stomach drop, but I’m not experiencing, nor do I expect to experience, dread. Into each life a little death must fall.