Yikes! My PSA is UP?

June 1, 2007

It’s now June 1st, 2007, only two weeks after finishing radiation treatments and I have another horror story worthy of a post. The scary part of having a prostatectomy is your next blood test.

I finished my last radiation dose on May 18th and started to get my system back into shape. I scheduled a general Dr’s appointment on May 28th so I can get my next prescription for Sinvistatin. This is a generic for Lipitor. Naturally I had to get a blood test to see where my Lipids were sitting. I was kind of hopeful that the numbers were lower since I had been taking Red Rice Yeast, recommend by my wife’s PA to bring down Cholesterol naturally. I went to get blood drawn on May 22, remember, this is only 4 days after my last dose or radiation.

I get into see my GP and he says, “Hey, your numbers look terrific. Your total number is 187. That’s great!” I told him I was taking the Red Rice Yeast and he said everyone has told him that this works great. He was going to get some for himself. He said everything else looked find and oh yeah your PSA is 7 but that’s not bad following a prostatectomy.

I was stunned. I said “What? That can’t be! That’s the same number it was before the operation! I was less than .1 following the prostatectomy, how could it have spiked that high!” I said why did they check it? Isn’t it too early? He apologized for getting me upset and said that it was probably done as a matter of course since it was a year since they had last checked. He would fax over the results to my oncologists.

Needless to say, I was devastated. I went home and told Betsy. She become very upset as well. I placed a call to Dr. Laudone’s office and the on call physician called back and said that he thought it was very early to be doing PSA testing following radiation. He asked me to send over the report. I then emailed my radiation oncologist and he replied back almost right away asking me to double check that perhaps it was .7 and not 7? Obviously he couldn’t believe it as well. He did say later that it was possible that we had killed a lot of tissue and the area was quite disturbed. He also said he also thought it was way too early to be checking PSA levels. This was a clue for me so off i went to the web to try to find out any evidence to support this. All I could find was one or two articles relating to early testing following radiation. The article said that it was normal for PSA to go up 1 or 2 points as dying cancer cells give up their PSA into the blood. Other articles talked about morbidity when PSA doubled and how that was an indicator of recourrance. I read about further hormone treatments and chemo that provided poor QOL (quality of life), life style deterioration and just about everything negative. After a day or so, the word leaked out to the kids, family and friends and everyone was miserable for me. I started thinking of things in terms of 5 years or less. To get my mind off of it, Betsy said I should go look for prices on new cars. I started thinking of getting a red Mustang GT convertible as soon as possible.

The next day or so, I kept hounding my oncologists to see if they had received the test results. I recalled my GP’s office and a new assistant said she would get to it before the end of the day. Later that afternoon, I received a call from Dr. Laudone’s assistant questioning the report she received since it had a date of 2006! I said that the new assistant at my doctor’s office probably faxed over the wrong one. Dr. Laudone’s assistant asked if I would give her permission to call my general practitioner’s office. I said certainly. After an hour or so, I received a call from the assistant at my doctor’s office. She apologized profusely saying that the report truly was from last year when they first recommended a biopsy! I said I wanted to make absolutely sure and asked her if my lab work done just the previous week included a PSA test. She said no and again apologized. I told her that I had been up on the ceiling about this ever since hearing it from the doctor. Obviously, someone goofed and gave the Doctor the wrong report? Hmm?

From now on, I will make sure to receive copies of all my bloodwork or any tests that are done.

I am now reconsidering my previous decision to purchase that new red Mustang convertible. After all, it was to be my last car.