Heart racing, stomach flip-flopping, and palms sweating, he sat and waited, barely able to breathe. He had thought that the ten-day period between biopsy and doctor's appointment was the most unbearable wait of his lifetime, but these final twenty minutes sitting in his specialist's office would prove to be even more tortuous.
Jim's journey to this moment began with rising PSA levels. A prostate biopsy confirmed the presence of cancer, moderately aggressive, but thankfully not widespread. Because success and survival rates for men of Jim's age and excellent health are high if this cancer is detected and treated early, we were disappointed with the diagnosis, but not panicked.
When prostate cancer cells metastasize, they generally spread to the bones. An MRI was ordered by Jim's cautious urologist to ensure that his prostate cancer was indeed localized. To Jim's great relief the MRI showed that his bones were clear. BUT! Why is there always a 'but'? I hate 'but's' in a doctor's office. BUT the MRI revealed a lump on a lymph node in Jim's groin. "99% chance that it is cancer" were the words that sent Jim's initial elation into a tailspin. If it was cancer, it would have to be dealt with first. Shelve the prostate surgery. Now we panicked!
Feeling like a human pin cushion, it was back to the hospital again for a second biospsy, this time under CT scan and of a lymph node. A stressful ten days later found Jim sitting, awaiting the results. "Mr. Lockett". The nurse's call broke his frantic musings. No BUT'S, though, this time. "Mr. Lockett, the 1% chance that the lymph node would not be cancerous is you!" Elation! Joy! Relief!
Late in October, Jim will undergo a radical prostatectomy. Not something he is looking forward to, especially after his hip revision surgery in March, but with the spectre of a cancerous lymph node negated and the high success rate of such surgery, Jim is now more philosophical than worried.
I have a very dear friend in Uxbridge, who in her life has experienced more than any human being ever should, but remains beautifully upbeat about life. She is my hero and my inspiration. Her mantra and what she frequently professes to me is, "Do what makes you happy." How wise.
Jim's health scare brought home to both of us what is most important in life. Why do we need close calls to remind us that our lives are not dress rehearsals? Live, live, live every day doing what you enjoy most. From hence forth we will make an even more concerted effort to do what makes us happy!!