There was bad news in my e-mail this morning.
My urologist, Dr. Ronald Benoit of UPMC, alerted me today that my blood tests taken during my UPMC transplant evaluation Tuesday revealed a high prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, reading. PSA is a test, albeit a somewhat controversial one, that is used to indicate signs of prostate cancer .
My reading was a whopping 5.9, almost two points over the level of 4, which generally is considered the level of concern that requires further investigation for prostate cancer.
Because any organ transplant involves suppression of the immune system to prevent organ rejection, any cancer would pose extraordinary risk, even risk of death, because the cancer would flourish in a body whose immunity is suppressed.
I have an appointment scheduled next month with Dr. Benoit to determine what’s going on. This is particularly surprising, given the fact my PSA had been going down in recent years, and my most recent test on Sept.15 was a laudable 2.6 -- well below any level of concern.
Could it have more than doubled in a month?
I’m hoping there was a mistake in the test. But if the recent test is accurate, I’ll have to see how the prospects or threat of cancer factors in with my hopes for a kidney-pancreas transplant. Why such a high reading all of a sudden?
I fear no cancer. But I do worry that it could disqualify me for a transplant. I will have to discuss this with my UPMC contact, Amy Singh.
Things had been going well, but after 43 years with type 1 diabetes, I consider it just another health issue which I must address.
So I'll impatiently await results. If they’re bad, I’ll do what’s necessary to correct the problem and do my level best to return my PSA to a more normal reading. Easier said than done, but I'll give it my best.
The clock ticks.
In the meantime, I’m also awaiting prescriptions to undergo ultra-sounds to test a few key arteries important to the transplant, including the leg artery into which they will tap the new kidney.
The photo at left is NOT what I hope the artery looks like. I’m hoping mine is, well, a lot straighter (and connected to something at both ends).
But the sculpture along Liberty Avenue does reflect my state of mind right now. It’s going in all directions, what with the surprising PSA news. But after the unexpected twist and turn, as with the sculpture, I hope to get things headed in the right direction once again. The sculpture will be my inspiration.
Proof again that life involves loops, setbacks, twists and turns. The hope is that said loops don't become knots. Straightening any entanglement requires patience, positive thoughts, and a wise plan of action. I also will built my reserves of gumption, as I have done before, to deal with the problems, should they pan out.
That’s my goal: Get things headed forward once again. No one said this would be easy.
And the clock ticks.