Bad News From the Doctor, But I'm Not Panicked Yet. How Do You Handle Bad News?

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    Feb 15, 2010 8:22 PM GMT
    So all the news is bad today during my routine doctor's visit, except for my liver function. My partner wants a second opinion on that, he insists my liver must be pickled by now. LOL!

    So my cholesterol has climbed alarmingly high despite the stuff I'm taking, my blood pressure also too high despite meds, my acid reflux out of control again, another stomach perforation likely, my arthritis having a flare-up, and a ton of other minor complaints & discomforts I'll skip over.

    But the really bad news was my PSA, which skyrocketed in only 2 months. Most common reason for such a high reading in a man my age is prostate cancer. So now I'm getting a referral to a urologist, and we'll find out. But today's DRE did find indications of some kind of growth.

    Well, OK, caught early it's manageable, and it takes a lot to stampede me into panic. Hell, twice doctors have told me I was terminally ill, the first time when I was just 31. And I just laughed and brushed it off as a mistake, got a second opinion and here I am today. And this may be just a bad prostate infection with swelling.

    I'm more concerned for my partner, since I had to tell him, we don't keep these kind of secrets (well, mostly; I hid his own dire condition from him a few months ago during his medical emergency, until he was out of danger). He'll be more worried about this than me.

    So how do you handle bad medical news, if you've ever had any? I either put it out of my mind, or as in this case, talk about it as a way of dispelling any possible tension & concern. With every personal problem I face I take an attitude that is at once both realistic and positive. I assume I'll do the same again, even if the verdict is cancer.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Feb 15, 2010 8:26 PM GMT
    this wouldn't be the first time blood work got fouled up...time for more testing.
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    Feb 15, 2010 8:32 PM GMT
    I research medical bad news and see what my opinions are.

    For the possible prostate cancer and treatments, ask me anything! We can even chat on the phone if you want. There is a great gay prostate cancer support group on yahoo. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/prostatecancerandgaymen/

    I had acid reflux....the dr gave me pills, said I would be on them for life. My trainer got me off the pills...which with long term use destroy your bones! ... and cured me with diet. No more acid reflux...ever!

    I have mentioned the good effects of soluble fiber on cholesterol on RJ already.

    Well, here's hoping everything settles down for you.
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    Feb 15, 2010 8:34 PM GMT
    rnch saidthis wouldn't be the first time blood work got fouled up...time for more testing.

    Yep, during this visit they drew additional blood for a more comprehensive form of the PSA test, for the urologist to see. But the DRE (digital rectal exam) also presented some physical indications of a prostate problem, consistent with a high PSA reading. I think false PSA results are unlikely at this point, the question in my mind now being the cause.
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    Feb 15, 2010 8:49 PM GMT
    How do I handle bad news? I usually spend a few moments reflecting on it, then I tell my closest friends and family members. I want them to know why my behavior may change. Wishing you and your partner much strength as you deal with this. cj
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    Feb 15, 2010 8:53 PM GMT
    I've had high PSA results, turned out to be nothing, they just happened to spike for a short while and then dropped again (doctor doesn't have a clue why)

    if things are uncertain, I wouldn't panic, you just don't know yet what and why, once those things are sorted out then I'd move into concerned maybe.

    Your partner is going to worry whether you like it or not, thats there job, they are suppose to worry about you, so tell him, let him worry about it, but don't let him fret.

    I'm not much of a worrier though, it's a lot of energy to maintain a state of constant worry, just try to keep your man calm icon_smile.gif
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    Feb 15, 2010 8:56 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    rnch saidthis wouldn't be the first time blood work got fouled up...time for more testing.

    Yep, during this visit they drew additional blood for a more comprehensive form of the PSA test, for the urologist to see. But the DRE (digital rectal exam) also presented some physical indications of a prostate problem, consistent with a high PSA reading. I think false PSA results are unlikely at this point, the question in my mind now being the cause.

    Dont let them do a biopsy without anesthesia, the sonsabitches. ... yeah, they did it, yeah, it hurts...cutting live flesh...Hello! .. icon_eek.gif
  • calibro

    Posts: 8888

    Feb 15, 2010 9:25 PM GMT
    When I went through my first cancer I actually didn't (and still haven't) told my family. My mother has a serious heart condition and I couldn't aggravate it. I did confide in a few close friends and that really helped. What I did learn though is that you gotta fight for your life. Some days you'll just be miserable: that's fine. You take a day or two to let it out, but then you have to stop... you don't have the time not to. I had to go to four different hospitals and saw dozens of doctors over the course of six months, had them repeat tests and kept prodding them. You sometimes have to research aggressive treatments and seek them out yourself. That's your call. I just know that no one will care more about your life than you will, so never ever settle or accept anything unless that's what you've decided.
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 15, 2010 9:25 PM GMT
    I've had two friends with prostate cancer.
    They both had their prostates removed, and they're back to living normal lives.
    Your other medical issues are probably very treatable with a change in your medication, since sometimes, medications which once worked well, no longer work, and you need to take something different.
    Expect the best.
    Hugs.
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    Feb 15, 2010 9:31 PM GMT
    calibro saidWhen I went through my first cancer I actually didn't (and still haven't) told my family. My mother has a serious heart condition and I couldn't aggravate it. I did confide in a few close friends and that really helped. What I did learn though is that you gotta fight for your life. Some days you'll just be miserable: that's fine. You take a day or two to let it out, but then you have to stop... you don't have the time not to. I had to go to four different hospitals and saw dozens of doctors over the course of six months, had them repeat tests and kept prodding them. You sometimes have to research aggressive treatments and seek them out yourself. That's you're call. I just know that no one will care more about your life than you will, so never ever settle or accept anything unless that's what you've decided.

    Hear! Hear!

    If you are in the early stages of PC, you will prolly just need radiation. Beware of urologist who want to operate. That's what they do, so that's what they recommend.

    I guess if you havent had a biopsy yet, then you dont have a Gleason score. Mine was 9 (5 + 4) out of 10. PSA was 19.3
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    Feb 15, 2010 9:39 PM GMT
    Caslon13000 saidDont let them do a biopsy without anesthesia, the sonsabitches. ... yeah, they did it, yeah, it hurts...cutting live flesh...Hello! .. icon_eek.gif

    Oh, believe me, I've been scoped down there a few times, and they couldn't even give me Valium, because they needed to see the natural muscle function of the bladder sphincter (I was experiencing urinary blockage due to nerve damage to my lower spine, eventually requiring corrective surgery).

    The pain of having a scope the diameter of a small pencil shoved up your dick without any relief is horrible. They told me to pant and breath heavily, but I was already doing that on my own! LOL! If they do a biopsy I expect to be knocked out totally.
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    Feb 15, 2010 9:49 PM GMT
    Caslon13000 saidIf you are in the early stages of PC, you will prolly just need radiation. Beware of urologist who want to operate. That's what they do, so that's what they recommend.

    I guess if you havent had a biopsy yet, then you dont have a Gleason score. Mine was 9 (5 + 4) out of 10. PSA was 19.3

    A number of guys I know had radioactive seed implants in their prostate, which worked great, even several years later, with PSAs well below 1. But another friend had his prostate totally removed, and he became 100% impotent, with incontinence for a year afterwards. Even my Hoover mouth couldn't make him hard, much less get him to cum, poor guy. icon_sad.gif

    But the method employed depends on the amount of cancer, and even the patient's age. They're now advising much older men to do virtually nothing, if the cancer is slow-growing, just monitor it closely until it reaches a critical point. At 61 myself, my doctor told me today the strategy would likely be somewhat more aggressive, if cancer is found to any degree.
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    Feb 15, 2010 9:59 PM GMT
    I found out I had testicular cancer several years ago. I faced the bad news by continuing with my daily routine as normal. Keeping busy and not changing my normal routine helped me from thinking negative thoughts about my situation. When I would lay in bed at night worrying about things, I would say to myself: "How is panicking going to help me." I realized that it does not. Then, I began thinking positively and faced my situation in a calm, cool, and collected manner. I think my parents were more scared than I was.
  • bobntpa

    Posts: 27

    Feb 15, 2010 10:06 PM GMT
    a high PSA number doesn't necessarily mean Prostate cancer. my numbers were discovered high a few years ago, and biopsies were benign. the doc put me on medication for an enlarged prostate, very common for us mature men.

    It's too early to panic!
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:07 PM GMT
    Omg Red Vespa.."The pain of having a scope the diameter of a small pencil shoved up your dick without any relief is horrible."

    They didn't jet lidocaine up the penis ahead of the scope? Good gosh.

    I had a cystoscopy done last year. They had the scope hooked up to a monitor so I could watch and learn. Amazing when they went through the prostate into the bladder. The bladder looked like a white rippled beach in there from the constant flow of water through the scope. They found something called a submucosal hemangioma. So far so good. The urologist doesn't like gays, so the next time will be a different Doc.

    Lol, being mixed race didn't save me from skin cancer - third operation on my face in January.

    I just tell people because I found they get pissed later that I would think them too weak to handle the news. It made it a little easier to bear as well.

    -Doug

    PS My aren't we all just a host of problems!
  • metta

    Posts: 39099

    Feb 15, 2010 10:09 PM GMT
    When things get too stressful, the best thing to do is take it a moment at a time (live in the moment, don't think ahead until you feel you are ready to), breathe deeply, and when you get more information, do all you can to find the best solution possible.

    Wishing you and your partner good health!

    metta8



    ....my neighbor told me to take saw palmetto to reduce the risk of prostate enlargement/cancer. She told me that most men have prostate enlargement issues that can affect urination as they get older. I have not been doing it but I did buy a bottle of it. icon_redface.gif
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:14 PM GMT
    My dad's brother died from colon cancer. My dad is on therapy now for a high PSA. There are several schools of thought related to both treatment, and to cause. They used to say the high PSA happened from testosterone, but, now they're talking that it's more that your testosterone / estrogen ratios change in a non-favorable way. Removing androgens will generally lower your PSA, but, you'll run into other problems like poor cognitive function, and osteoporosis. You'll want to get a second opinion, at a minimum, before blazing ahead.

    My dad is on an anti-androgen. $6000 for each shot, of which he takes four a year. It's causing all sorts of problems (osteoporosis, lethargy, decreased cognition). Medicare has spent $10,000s for these shots for my dad.

    I know more than a few folks who have taken AAS for thirty years that have very low PSA scores, so, I don't believe in the androgen theory as a cause, at all.

    I want my dad to get off the anti-androgen. It's destroying his life. My dad is 85, and,personally, I think he'd be better off without the treatment.

    I'd do the blood work again. I'd talk with a second doctor.
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Feb 15, 2010 10:14 PM GMT
    Sorry to hear about this Bob, we'll certainly be thinking about you and wish you the best. I hope it turns out to be nothing.....

    The closest thing I ever had to this was my Dad in 1996. He had developed
    flu like symptioms and was doing alot of coughing. Didn't seem to be improving so he was checked out and one of his lungs seemed to show alot of white (meaning lung cancer). I remember his long term girlfriend didn't want to really say much and finally I demanded to know specifically what the doctor had said... she said about 90% chance it was cancer. My comment was... I want to know for sure.

    It turned out he has liquid in the lung, it was drained and 3 months later my Dad was back to his old self. Just remember, you never know....and always get more than one opinion. I'll never forget how I felt walking across the corral out back at home thinking my Dad might die.
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:16 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    Caslon13000 saidIf you are in the early stages of PC, you will prolly just need radiation. Beware of urologist who want to operate. That's what they do, so that's what they recommend.

    I guess if you havent had a biopsy yet, then you dont have a Gleason score. Mine was 9 (5 + 4) out of 10. PSA was 19.3

    A number of guys I know had radioactive seed implants in their prostate, which worked great, even several years later, with PSAs well below 1. But another friend had his prostate totally removed, and he became 100% impotent, with incontinence for a year afterwards. Even my Hoover mouth couldn't make him hard, much less get him to cum, poor guy. icon_sad.gif

    But the method employed depends on the amount of cancer, and even the patient's age. They're now advising much older men to do virtually nothing, if the cancer is slow-growing, just monitor it closely until it reaches a critical point. At 61 myself, my doctor told me today the strategy would likely be somewhat more aggressive, if cancer is found to any degree.

    If the cancer is definitely well inside the capsule (thickness of an apple skin) of the prostate, consider radiation/radioactive seed implants. I had both. Both a walk in the park.

    The nerve bundles that control making Mr Happy hard pass right over the prostate. The surgery can go from just annoying the nerves temporarily to damaging them. In any event, the nerves are hanging loose over the space where the prostate used to be.

    Also surgery causes incontinence from a few weeks to years, depending on the guy. Surgery also shortens your dick by at least a couple of inches when they sew all the pieces together again.

    Viagra etc may help ED. Also there are injections that work very well, I understand from the guys on the support group....trimix is one. My rad/seed/hormone therapy didnt leave me with any incontinence or major ED problems. So I dont have to deal with all that and am just going by what I have heard. The hormone therapy was cuz mine was so advanced they werent sure if it had spread. It's the homone therapy that is the rough part.

    If you can postpone your treatment, do so. There is nothing to recommend it, if you arent in danger of it spreading or death! ... icon_rolleyes.gif ... PC is slow growing and varies greatly in aggressiveness. Wait for the biopsy to see how it is. You are still young, so there is time for it to kill you if not treated. But your life wont be the same after treatment.
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:26 PM GMT
    Red_Vespa said
    Caslon13000 saidDont let them do a biopsy without anesthesia, the sonsabitches. ... yeah, they did it, yeah, it hurts...cutting live flesh...Hello! .. icon_eek.gif

    Oh, believe me, I've been scoped down there a few times, and they couldn't even give me Valium, because they needed to see the natural muscle function of the bladder sphincter (I was experiencing urinary blockage due to nerve damage to my lower spine, eventually requiring corrective surgery).

    The pain of having a scope the diameter of a small pencil shoved up your dick without any relief is horrible. They told me to pant and breath heavily, but I was already doing that on my own! LOL! If they do a biopsy I expect to be knocked out totally.

    They prolly wont knock you out entirely...hahahaha. But they can inject a local anesthetic...it may sting a bit. And they go in thru your ass, not your dick. For the MRI, they literally shoved a cylinder the size of a turkey baster up my ass....way up my ass! ... icon_eek.gif ... and then said "lie still"
  • thatonedude21

    Posts: 223

    Feb 15, 2010 10:33 PM GMT
    Caslon13000 saidI research medical bad news and see what my opinions are.

    For the possible prostate cancer and treatments, ask me anything! We can even chat on the phone if you want. There is a great gay prostate cancer support group on yahoo. http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/prostatecancerandgaymen/

    I had acid reflux....the dr gave me pills, said I would be on them for life. My trainer got me off the pills...which with long term use destroy your bones! ... and cured me with diet. No more acid reflux...ever!

    I have mentioned the good effects of soluble fiber on cholesterol on RJ already.

    Well, here's hoping everything settles down for you.


    Not to de-rail.. but how did you fix the Acid Reflux? I started getting it after I began working out seriously.. it gave me pneumonia in fact (acid got into lungs)
    I am on pills for it too.. any suggestions?
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:34 PM GMT
    Skip all the preliminary steps: Fear, Uncertainty, Grief and Hope.

    In your mind, go directly to fully accepting that "YES, I MAY SUFFER AND I MAY DIE."

    Follow that with an affirmation of "I can handle Life as it comes, with the Joy and the Suffering. I will LOVE more fully than ever before and I will be grateful for every moment ahead."

    And may you ignore the experts. My grandfather was given a year to live, at most, when he was 62. He did indeed pass last year, at age 93.

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    Feb 15, 2010 10:43 PM GMT
    meninlove said Omg Red Vespa.."The pain of having a scope the diameter of a small pencil shoved up your dick without any relief is horrible."

    They didn't jet lidocaine up the penis ahead of the scope? Good gosh.

    No, they told me that any kind of local pain killer, or the use of Valium, which acts as a muscle relaxer, could interfere with the sphincter muscle whose function they were trying to evaluate. I did wonder whether such awful pain didn't also have an effect on the sphincter, making it more tense, but this is what they wanted.

    I did get a nice compliment of sorts out of it, though, during one of the several studies. I was already exposed naked below the waist on the table, and told the urologist I had not tolerated this procedure well previously. And he said:

    "Well, with that thing YOU'VE got, I can understand why!"

    The 2 female nurses assisting giggled, and I blushed. icon_redface.gif
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:48 PM GMT
    thatonedude21 saidNot to de-rail.. but how did you fix the Acid Reflux? I started getting it after I began working out seriously.. it gave me pneumonia in fact (acid got into lungs)
    I am on pills for it too.. any suggestions?

    I just take omeprazole 20mg tablets, which is what the VA proscribed for me when they first diagnosed me with acid reflux 5 years ago, and found the perforations during a scope. You can get the same thing from Target on the shelf, and relatively cheap, no prescription needed. I think it's similar to the trade name Prilosec, which costs a lot more.

    I take it for a few weeks, and the symptoms go away for about a month or 2, then I resume it if they return. Continuous use has some controversy over heart and other issues, I understand, so I only take it for short periods.
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    Feb 15, 2010 10:52 PM GMT
    thatonedude21 saidNot to de-rail.. but how did you fix the Acid Reflux? I started getting it after I began working out seriously.. it gave me pneumonia in fact (acid got into lungs)
    I am on pills for it too.. any suggestions?

    Well since RV has posted on this topic, I will answer you here.

    First, at your young age, I hope you have had a thorough examination by a doctor. What was his diagnosis?

    For an old guy like me, the cause was just due to the natural decrease in acid production in the stomach. Comes with age. So the cure was not to take acid blockers, but to increase the acid in the stomach. With low acid, the food doesnt get digested properly. It sits in the stomach and churns, as well as grows undesireable bacteria. Evidently, that churning pops up thru the spincter at the end of th esophagus and acid gets into the esophagus causing the heartburn.

    The cure for me was to drink vinegar or include it in my diet. Let me tell you, it doesnt take very long for the vinegar to get the digestion back on track and clear out the stomach.

    Then I ate yogurt with live cultures to repopulate the digestive tract with healthy bacteria.

    Problem gone for 2 years now... and I dont have to do anything...no vinegar or pills.

    So much for taking pills for the rest of my life. I was on Aciphex (Rabeprazole) ....long term use interfers with the osteoblasts that rebuild bone. ... icon_eek.gif