It's exciting to be planning a trip and I really appreciate all the suggestions everyone has about what to see, where to go, how to get around, where to eat, in DC. If anyone else has anything to suggest, I'd appreciate it. I think you get the best ideas from people who have been there already! That is my UP!
My DOWN, is reading stats on websites. I have been hearing an ad on TV from Cancer Centers of America. A guy talks about how his prostate cancer was treated successfully there. So of course that peaked my interest. I had already been thinking about getting a second opinion, perhaps even contacting Mayo Clinic, so I went to Cancercenter.com. There is lots of information there and success stories. Unfortunately no success stories about men whose cancer has spread to their bones. In fact, I found this very depressing graph:
As you see, ONLY 38% of advanced prostate cancer patients survive even four years. How scary is that? VERY! Of course they have another table comparing the survival rate of Cancer Center patients with those who do not go there:
I will be checking into this place Monday. You can enter your info on-line and they will give you a call, and even check to see if your insurance will cover treatment there. They arrange plane tickets and it says they take care of your caregiver too. When you consider 29% survival rate for 4 years compared to 49% survival rate for Cancer Center patients, it seems like the only thing to do. However, my husband is very resistant to seek medical treatment. He always has been. Perhaps if he wasn't so reluctant to go see a doctor, we'd have caught this cancer in time? But he has been seeing a urologist for benign prostate enlargement for several years, and as I have stated, last year at his check-up appointment, his PSA level was low. Although, since he started having severe urination and swelling problems in January, I'm guessing the cancer had already spread by then, anyhow. So depressing.
When he had melanoma, it was very serious. Melanoma is the BAD skin cancer, the one that KILLS if it isn't caught in time. We were lucky, although the large and deep spot on his leg (and some more minor spots on his back) had not spread to the lymph nodes and the cancer could be removed entirely, when I would tell people he had melanoma/skin cancer, I think they thought it was just a minor deal. Some skin cancers are minor, but NOT MELANOMA! We beat that battle, but this one is insurmountable. I feel like the same is true of prostate cancer. Usually prostate cancer is slow-growing, can be contained. slowed, or even cured, and I think people don't consider it as serious as they should. So when and IF I tell people hubby has prostate cancer they probably think, "Big deal!" But hubby's prostate cancer is advanced and aggressive and DEADLY.
I have actually told very few people. I have one brother, and I didn't directly tell him, but I did tell my niece, who does my hair. I made an appt. with her for next week, and it's so hard to be around someone and not talk about IT, or have to act happy all the time, so I decided to level with her. Her husband is dealing with chronic Hepatitis, he almost died a year or so ago from the chemo treatment he was taking for it, and has various other medical problems. He is 20 years older than she is, actually he is my husband's age. He is on disability, but was in the military and can use Vet's Hospitals and medical services. My niece also works for the Railroad and they have very good insurance. At the survival rate I am reading in these charts, I worry even more about our health insurance. Hubby won't be 65 for 4 1/2 more years, so Medicare will probably never kick in for him. And if he loses his job.....we're out of insurance. I did find out yesterday, after doing some checking, we do not have the LOW option coverage that I had requested when we had to change our insurance after I retired. They messed up and signed us up for the BASIC option, which will save us almost $1,000 in out of pocket expenses. That is one good thing out of all of this. So my brother called this morning to talk. Since I was still in bed, hubby took the call. I apologized. I know how hard that kind of thing is. Of course my brother is concerned and offered to help us in anyway he can. Can he pay our medical bills if we lose our insurance? Can we move in with them if we lose our house? Oh I'm being facetious--I think!
I didn't tell hubby's brother and sister-in-law in D.C. (the ones we will be staying with when we visit next month) about his cancer, and I haven't shared the news with his Dad and step mother either. I did mention it to one sister, who I used to be very close with, in a Facebook message. She never responded. That was before we had the awful news that it has spread to his bones, but you think she would say something to me, upon learning her big brother has cancer? Guess not. I have not told his youngest sister either. I know she will be very concerned, she is quite emotional, and I don't know that we need that right now. I worry that his dad will want to come and visit when he finds out, and we don't need visitors right now. So I will wait a while to tell them. I hope I have a while....
Another good thing from all this, is how much I appreciate the wonderful man I married 42 years ago. When I think about those 30+ years he stuck with me when I was morbidly obese, it brings tears to my eyes. That really is true love. He told me once, "I see beyond the fat." That was one of the rare times he even used that "FAT" word. He never made me feel fat, he made me feel sexy and desirable....ALWAYS. How special is that? And what will I do without him??? I am trying to appreciate every moment I have with him, because he really is the best guy in the whole world.
I'm growing frustrated with my sons. They were having a little minor squabble via text messaging about WHAT TIME we are going to lunch today to celebrate my daughter-in-law's birthday. So even though I didn't share these very scary statistical tables with hubby, I shared them with my two oldest sons via e-mail. I wanted them to see the seriousness of this situation and to realize what time we go to lunch is petty and unimportant. Sometimes I think they squabble (and it's always just minor squabbles, no major arguments) because the daughter-in-laws, as well as my sons, are just irritated by each other and although my sons love each other, they don't really LIKE each other and I think the daughter-in-laws actively dislike each other. It's like our government, the Democrats and Republicans. They don't disagree for any reason other than they don't like the other party, it's so silly. I wanted them to understand that they're being petty and what I really need right now is for them all to just get along. Middle son apologized, I never heard a word from my oldest son.
I took 3 walks yesterday with Lola. In the morning, youngest son and I went 2.4 miles with her. He always takes the leash when he goes along. He is very very strong (he takes after hubby much more than the other two boys), and can control Lola. We went to lunch with hubby, and after lunch, son left for the weekend. He is traveling 200 miles to the Irish Capital of Nebraska to spend it with his cousins and aunt and uncle who live there, and participate in the drunken crazy festivities of St. Patty's Day. I took Lola for another walk, since it was a beautiful day and I knew it was to be cold here today. We went to the end of the road and back, 1.2 miles. After supper, and after I had seen these disturbing stats, I needed a break, so I took another walk with Lola, we went 1.4 miles so I could get 5 miles in for the day. That last walk was a disaster. Traffic was crazy out here in the country just before it got dark, and Lola lunges at every single car, human, horse, motorcycle and other dog that we see. And we saw them all! I literally have to grab the leash with both hands, wrap it around one of my hands so she has little room to run, plant my feet and hold on for dear life until the temptation passes. We have never had a dog who chases cars before, but Lola has that urge. She sees few cars, as we live on a dead-end road, so her walks are about the only time she encounters them. Hubby thinks a choke chain will help. I'm thinking a spray bottle to spray water in her face when she tries to chase cars. I've heard spraying water in a cat's face will train them, never heard if it works on a dog or not. Any suggestions would be appreciated. She is slowly turning into a great little dog, is completely house-broken and the biting when playing is getting better. She is 10 months old, and we're hoping she calms down even more as she hits a year old. We had her spayed two weeks go, and that hasn't done much to settle her down! But I just love her to pieces and she is a great companion, when I'm alone...
Although hubby acts upbeat when I talk to him, he does very little. Yesterday I had laid out steaks to thaw, since it was a beautiful day, and he does the grilling. But he made no movement to start the grill last night, so I made something else and put the steaks back in the fridge. I don't want him to give up yet. I asked him both times I walked alone yesterday, if he wanted to go along (he was still at work when son and I went out walking in the morning). I think if he would work at being healthy, he would enjoy life more and stay strong longer, as he fights this awful cancer. I also know he has to fight the affect of those hormone drugs, which cause lethargy and depression. Cancer diagnoses alone cause depression. We bought an iPad a month or so ago, and he likes to play solitaire, so he spends much time doing that. He has started reading, and I bought him some new Dean Koontz paperbacks. He watches TV, and mostly lays on the couch or in his recliner. He gets up very early, he always has. Then he naps on and off all day long. I know his work is very physical, he does a lot of lifting and bending and is on his feet all day. His lower back hurts, and that is caused by the prostate cancer, so the lifting and bending is especially hard. So I don't push him to be as active as I know he should be, once he gets home, thinking he got lots of activity time in at work.
Time to wrap birthday presents and head out for lunch with the family. I hope they all show up and can just get along....I try to think of how I re-acted when my dad's cancer spread was eventually detected. I don't think I took it all that seriously either. Of course he was in his 80's. I fear hubby will never see his 80's.