Monday, October 19, 2015

An Interesting and Very Scary Thing Happened on the way to 65 - Part 1

I'm baaaaaack...

In nutshell (a darn big one), here is the primary reason that I haven't posted anything for several months. I don't usually publish personal stuff about myself here, but because of my long and unexplained absence, I feel compelled to do so.
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After battling lung cancer, breast cancer, and finally terminal brain cancer, my mom died in the 64th year of her life. 

My father had a couple of different cancers and ultimately died of throat cancer, this also occurred during his 64th year. 

I recently completed my 64th year and have to admit that I was a bit worried going into it. Being a proactive sort of person, I embarked on a grand tour of all the "specialists" I could think of. What follows is a list of them and what they found (also some conditions that I already knew about).

Rheumatologist (ongoing) - I've had a ton of injures and several broken bones in my life, so it's no surprise that I have arthritis in several places. I've yet to enter into any treatment yet.

Neurologist (ongoing and recent) - I have a herniated disc in my lower back at L5-S1. An update revealed that it has been made worse by the addition of several bone spurs in the area. Surgeries at L5/S1 are difficult, recovery is very painful, and they are usually at least partially, if not fully unsuccessful. In fact, sometimes the condition is worse afterwards. My surgeon (that did my earlier spinal surgery), is a great one, and he advises against having it. I agree. I have a pretty strong disposition and can tolerate and/or ignore a lot of pain. So far, I've pretty much learned to live with it (with no pain killers). 

Orthopedist (ongoing) - I've had a ruptured ACL in my right knee for a long time. I've just lived with it, but once again, I've grown some bone spurs in the area. As you know, I hike a lot and don't really allow it to slow me down much. 

Dermatologist (recent) - A top of head to tip of toe examination, resulted in him freezing 12 precancerous things off of me. 

Gastroenterologist (recent) - As recommended, I get a colonoscopy every 5 years. It has only been three years since my last one, but hey, it's my 64th year and my insurance will pay for it. He has found and snipped out a couple of polyps every time he's been "in there." The polyps have always been benign. NOT this time though. I had three of them and one was precancerous. 

Endocrinologist (ongoing) - As many of you know, I had thyroid cancer several years ago. Two surgeries later and my thyroid and related cancer was removed. The endocrinologist now monitors my blood and prescribes medication to keep me alive and functioning. A lab does a complete workup on my blood and this time it came up with an abnormally high PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) reading. He strongly advised that I immediately contact a urologist. If you are so inclined, here is a link to post 1 of 4 relating to my thyroid cancer.

Urologist (recent) - My first visit to this specialist made the danger of my 64th year a reality. 

  
To be continued....

Don't worry, I'll be back to my regular posting afterwards!


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25 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Prayers nothing turn up! Sounds like enough. Will be thinking of you, Pat.

Should Fish More said...

Nice to see you back, pal. You caught me just heading out, literally. Going to the airport in a couple hours, ending up in Rome in around 18 hours. I'll be back in a couple weeks, unsure if I'll have a lot of internet time before.
Again, glad you're back.
Mike

trav4adventures said...

I fell off a good friends' old gray mare and injured L4 and L5. I now have permanent sciatic nerve damage and my feet tingle 24/7...this is something I can live with, although on humid days, I REALLY feel the pain in my knees. I've never had back pain, however, and wouldn't do the surgery either.

Good for you! Sounds like you are taking care of things the natural way! That's what I plan on doing and I'm 63...

Take care and keep up the good spirit!
Cheryl Ann

Wayne said...

I think it's very kind of you to share this with us, it might just be the wakeup call someone needs. I need to schedule 2 from your list (Gastro and Dermo). I've avoided a Rheumatologist because I prefer not to know the specifics (I know there' a problem). I'm convinced having the right attitude in these situations is a significant part of the cure. Good luck and please keep us posted.

Bouncin Barb said...

Seeing a blog post from you has made my day! I had 6 benign polyps removed in 2013 and he said 5 years for the next but you've made me wonder if I shouldn't go in 3. Food for thought. So glad you're back. BB

Sylvia K said...

I am glad that you're taking good care of yourself and you do indeed have a good spirit, Pat!! You made me more aware of how fortunate I am to have the good health that I do -- particularly since I'm old enough to be your mother at 85!! Enjoy and make the most of every day!!

Brian said...

Hugs and love from all of us Pat, we're sure glad to see you back here!!!

TheChieftess said...

I so relate to that gee...I'm getting up there and I want to keep going feeling... Good for you for being proactive. I'm going in for a Lifeline screening of multiple things soon too. as for that darned S1/L5 lumbar pain...I can also relate, having had back problems from a very young age. Three significant rear end collisions have screwed with my neck and a fall on cement caused jamming of my sacrum...and I can't forget all those years I wore high heels, day in and day out! At any rate...that particular area of my back has been helped by hanging upside down! I have a small unit where I hang by my knees because we don't have room for the big hang by your ankles unit. Docs don't like it much, but I have friends who swear by it too...the only issue for me is making sure to maintain the lumbar curve, which can be done through exercise. Also Pilates has helped immensely...oh...and of course...regular massage!!! And stay away from the surgery if at all possible!!!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

My husband was like this when he approached 62 since none of the men in his family lived past 62 for like 5 generations back. He just turned 67 so thankfully has broken the family curse. He had a lot of tests done too and recently both knees replaced and now feels better than ever.

Pat Tillett said...

Alex J. Cavanaugh - Thanks Alex! I'n spite of what I said in this post and will say in the next one, I'm doing pretty darn good.

Should Fish More - Thanks Mike! Maybe it's a good thing to NOT have internet time. Enjoy your trip!

trav4adventures - Those old gray mares can be dangerous. Oh yeah, that sciatica is a pain. My doctor taught me a kind of drastic stretch that really helps. It forces the fronts of L5 and S1 apart and takes the pressure of the nerve. Thanks Cheryl Ann, you also take care.

Wayne - Thanks! Amazingly, despite all those things and what is coming in my next post, I'm really healthy! HA!!!!

Bouncin Barb - Why thank you! If you can do it early, I agree. If people knew how easy a colonoscopy is, a lot less of them wouldn't die from colon cancer.

Pat Tillett said...

Sylvia K - Thanks Sylvia! I really do try to do take care of myself. I'm really happy to hear that your health is good! I'll be over soon...

Brian - Thanks so much Brian! It's good to be back.

TheChieftess - OUCH! Don't back problems suck? I'm totally with you on the surgery (at least on the lower back). I had surgery on my neck and it totally fixed my problems up there. I forgot to mention that I also had two full body scans, one for soft tissue and one for bones. Thanks Katherine!

Karen Jones Gowen - Yikes! That is not a family history that would fill a person with confidence. I'm glad he is now okay.

Pam Tucker said...

Hi Pat. So glad you're back! Please continue to take care of yourself and keep us updated. You are in my thoughts and prayers!

sage said...

Wow, you have been around the medical block. I bet the specialist are toasting you in the evening on their yachts and wish you good health and many many more years. Hey, at 65, at least the government picks up some of the tab!

Ms. A said...

I know how this is going/went, but I'm glad to see you back!

William Kendall said...

Good to see you again, Pat. Hopefully all works out.

I was hit by a car several years ago, did some damage to my knee. The doctors assume someday I may have problems with arthritis there.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I saw a post on FB so I think I might have an inkling that things are going to turn out OK. I don't have time to follow everybody on there (unless they are my granddaughter ;>)) but when I saw notifications with your name on it recently I followed the link since I had wondered about your absence.

That's rough dealing with when you reach the age with that kind of history in your family.

I hope I'm right that everything is fine after all the trauma and Dr visits.

Pat Tillett said...

Pam Tucker - Hi Pam! Thanks so much. I'll tie it all up in my next post.

sage - That I have! I didn't even include the more mundane doctors I saw, like a podiatrist, GP (for physical), etc. I wish gov. was picking up part of the tab. I still have pretty good insurance.

Ms. A - Thanks so much! I know one thing for sure, I have cabin fever...

William Kendall - Thank you! So far so good. Getting hit by a car must have hurt...

Sallie (FullTime-Life) - Thanks Sallie! I have to admit that I've been a bit worried about it all.

Marguerite said...

Wow Pat!!! You've really been through so much, and your positive attitude is amazing! My thoughts and prayers are with you, cher. Hugs!

robin andrea said...

Really glad to see a post here, and now wondering about your health and of course waiting to read the follow-ups and worried for you. Ah, we do get this age in life when our bodies start to change in interesting and challenging ways. Take care there and thank you for keeping us posted.

Carmi Levy said...

Thank you for sharing this, Pat, and please know we're all sending you every good-health vibe we can muster.

You've reminded us on so many occasions just how precious life is, and how we need to stop and enjoy the little moments, because we never know what might happen next.

Ever since my freak-accident-stroke two years ago, I've come to appreciate just how fragile this life thing is. I'm so glad to be a part of this remarkable community of caring people, and wish you a long, healthy life so that we can all continue to share.

Liz said...

You sound very much like me in being very proactive! I have far too many serious conditions that could potentially take my life. I do hope I can be as active as you when I'm 64 (only 14 more years to go!!)
I'm glad to hear you got a relatively clean bill of health!

visualnorway said...

It is nice to see you back in blog-land! And I have no trouble to see why you have been busy "doing other things". And one don't really need excuses for not blogging for a while. Though you seem to have enough of them.

And that's life - I have beaten you with one year - so
far :-)

Take care

Pat Tillett said...

Marguerite - Hey there! It's been a while...
Thanks so much for the nice words. I was out hiking around today and although it was clear that I'm not all the way back yet, I will be.

Robin Andrea - Worry no more my friend. Everything went well, the margins biopsied negative, and I'm actually out and about right now. Thanks so much Robin.

Carmi Levy - Thanks Carmi! Always nice to see you here and I appreciate the words and thoughts. Life is fragile and that is kind of scary. Ten years ago, I'd have bet the farm that I wouldn't have even one cancer by now, but TWO? I also wish you a long and healthy life...

Liz - Proactive is the way to be! If things still happen, a positive attitude helps a ton. It seems to me, that if I keep moving, I have the advantage.

Baby Sister said...

Oh boy. I'm sorry, Pat! Live seems to be stacked against you. I hope it doesn't slow you down too much, I'm sure that would be difficult for you, since you like to be out moving and exploring. Good for you for being proactive about it! I hope that pays off in the end.

Welcome back!

Pat Tillett said...

Baby Sister - Thank you so much Amanda! As you already now know, I'm doing well.