The Bounce

Beltane and the Moon of Mourning

Sunday gratefuls: Kate watching television. Kate sleeping beside me. Kate coming back from the grocery store. Tara. Rides to and from the airport: done. Blue Sky. Sun. Joe and Seoah’s call last night. Their safe arrival back home in Hawai’i.

Sparks of Joy: Rest. First night alone.

She had a wonderful silly side.

Forgot to mention the bounce. I was wrong. The rising PSA does not necessarily mean a recurrence.

Joe and I went into see Dr. Eigner, oncologist, on Friday. Joe and Seoah stayed an extra day so he could go with me. We learned together about the bounce. In radiation therapy cancer cells can be killed outright by exposure to the radiation beam or they can have their DNA damaged.

Six to twenty-four months after the end of radiation, those damaged cells, often put into a state of suspended animation by the trauma, awake. They attempt cell division, but the damaged DNA prevents them and they die. As they try to divide and then die, they send off a wave of prostate specific antigens (PSA), temporarily raising the PSA results.

Could be the bounce. Could be a recurrence. No way to know except to do another PSA in three months. If it’s down again, it might mean a cure. If it’s the same or rising, a recurrence.

Not outright good news though better than I had thought. More waiting. Cancer treatment involves drugs or surgery, then waiting. Even with the side effects of chemo or recovery from surgery, it’s the waiting that’s hardest. I’ve become better at it, but not good.

Bounce or recurrence. Dr. Eigner reassured me, as he has done before, that even if it is a recurrence, there are more things to do. He’s going, he says, to get me to 88 and a death from stroke or heart attack. Recurrence or not. No guarantees of course, but he believes that’s what ahead for me in the worst case with prostate cancer.

Joe felt reassured, too. What I wanted for him.

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