Saturday, January 23, 2010

I have some news, not the best but something we believe we will work through successfully, and Fritz has given the go-ahead to blog about it.

At his annual physical, Fritz's PSA numbers were higher than usual when the blood work was analyzed. His doctor said he should have a prostate biopsy and the results showed prostate cancer.

As you may know, this is the least aggressive cancer and patients are frequently told they will die of something else long before prostate cancer becomes a problem. But of the six samples taken throughout the prostate for biopsy, five were cancerous and their PSA numbers, while not in the "critical" range, were higher than in the "too low to worry about" range.

We sat with the oncologist earlier this week and learned all the options. Doing nothing and monitoring further biopsy results in future was one of the options, which Fritz rejected because of a history of cancer in his family (mother, older sister, younger brother). Other courses of treatment available: surgery to remove the prostate, freeze the prostate to kill it and the cancer in it, hormone treatment, low dose radiation. The first three, while effective, can have serious side effects, including incapacities of one kind or another.

The last one would work this way: a single hormone shot to shrink the prostate over a three month period (which will also "soften up" the cancer and make it more vulnerable to radiation) followed by six weeks of pinpoint accurate radiation to destroy the cancer, and perhaps a final hormone shot IF the oncologist feels it's absolutely necessary. Fritz, with the doctor's and my agreement, has chosen this course of treatment (statistically extremely effective with the fewest side effects) and felt there was no sense delaying it. He had the hormone shot right there and then; we will be seeing the radiologist on the 4th of February to discuss radiation procedure, schedule, etc. The oncologist is very positive about this course of treatment for a man in such strong health.

Fritz told me he may be up and down emotionally for a while and I told him that's just fine--we'll adjust and make it all work and we feel pretty confident we'll come out the other side OK.

I'm so sorry to hear about this. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Fritz and whatever good feelings and energy that I can muster up, I will send your way. Take care, and please keep us abreast of the situation.

Hugs, JP
how brave to share your news... my best wishes and prayers are with you both as you fight onward!
Dear Will I do this silly thing when I pass a church here - and there are 900 or more in Rome so it happens frequently. I go in a light a candle remembering maybe someone specific or more often just to remember everyone I know - myself included - who are in need of remembering. I am not sure if it does anything other than for a moment or two lighting a corner of the world that otherwise would be dark but I suppose that in itself is enough. Know that Fritz and you will be in my remembrance when I perform this little ritual.

Auguri di Roma

Bad news indeed, but lucky for you both you were able to find it early enough so that hopefully with treatment, you will come out the other end OK. Cancer used to be the most frightening word, but how fortunate we are that much of it is now survivable. Good luck to you and to Fritz.
I am very sorry to hear the news. Please give my best to Fritz. Our thoughts and positive energies will be with both of you as you work through this.
All the best.
This must be a shock for you both. I know that you have the strength to see it through, because you have each other. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I look forward to reading more about your progress.

All the best to you and Fritz.
I too am sorry to hear this.
I come from a family with history of such. So I know what you two are doing through.
After the emotions settle down, please get all the options - there are so many these days.

Whatever the options and way keep us informed.
Life is full of many trials... Stay strong and positive! Please keep us posted. ((((Fritz))))
My heart goes out to both of you & you are in my thoughts & prayers. I went through this a year ago, including a biopsy, but was finally diagonsed with BPH. Give all my warmth to Fritz. I care about both of you. I look forward to years ahead of visiting, getting together & being friends.
well, damn....
i know you're both strong enough to beat this.

know you'll both be in our thoughts & prayers. sending love to you...
Oh boys, I'm so so very sorry to hear of your news. I can't say any more than anyone else here has already said. I send you as much comfort and peace as you need -- at just the right times -- and in just the right amounts. May the dark quiet nights present themselves with some amount of positive spirit. I'm thinking of you. A lot. xoxoxoxo
So sorry to read about this. Sending good thoughts and prayers.

Thank you all so much for your kindness and support (and, outre mesure, for commenting for what I believe is the first time--Welcome!).
We're just beginning this process with as positive an attitude as we can. Yes, there will be updates as we go through all the steps. Your concern means a great deal.
I'd like to add my voice to the chorus of support and good wishes to you both. Not an easy thing, this, but you both sound like you're ready and able to face it and tackle it.

All the best.
I'm sure that you will be both support and comfort for each other while you work through this.
Best wishes to you both.
I've read and enjoyed your comments many times on WCS blogs.

I can't find anything original to say so I will concur with all the preceding comments.

I send a little sun and warmth from SoCal. Bon courage to you both.
Will, i haven't been around much lately; very sorry to hear of this. I hope all the treatments come out the best for Fritz. Well, he's lucky to have you around too. Best wishes to you both.
Thinking of you both and sending you the strength and courage to get through this together.

Warm hugs from Oregon!
I'm sorry to hear this, Will, but it sounds like the treatment route that Fritz chose is a very promising one. Please give him my best!
Hugs to both you and Fritz. You both seem to have good attitude and approach toward it. As you say it's not an aggressive cancer and you're taking the right precautions.

All best!

A friend of mine has just finished the course of treatment you describe. He would go in the morning for his radiation, and then go to work for the rest of the day. Side effects were minimal in his case, and he's apparently clear now. Here's hoping Fritz will do just as well...
I'm very sorry to hear of this news. My father had prostate cancer and had similar treatment to what Fritz is doing. At least it is a less aggressive cancer. Best of luck to both of you.
My best to you both.
Well, Will, I only know you through our exchanges and of Fritz through you, but I salute your plainspeaking about it and wish you both the very best.

Sincerely, David
Will and Fritz: Thank you for sharing the news. The prostate is another one of those organs that prove that the "Divine Design" people are nuts. Nearly every male gets prostate cancer if they live long enough so the design is clearly faulty.
I wish you the best and send you both all my love.

Thank you for letting us know. I'm glad that there are some options. I hope that soon this will all be a distant, increasingly foggy, memory. My thoughts are with you both.
Oh no, that's not good news. But it is good to have identified the trouble and chosen a course of action. I hope that it works well and I'll keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.
I hope things are going well. I know the prognosis for this is generally quite good, but it has to be unnerving nonetheless. Please know that you're in our thoughts. *hug*
My thoughts, prayers and support are with you. *hugs*
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