” He Said My PSA WAS UP,” by Ira Smolin

I was in the hospital for 4 days. I left with this rubber thing coming out of my penis, a catheter with a tube that went to a bag strapped to my leg. If you want to know more about this, call me. It’s not too uncomfortable and does have an amusing side. To pee, I place my foot on the toilet seat and opened a pinch valve to empty the bag.
always do my blood workup before going to the doctor so I don’t have to wait for results. I can get the results and bring them with me to my appointment.

Dr P. is my pal. He boxes for exercise and perhaps to be able to defend himself from his patients if they become overly aggressive after hearing whatever he has to say. After having taken my temp and blood pressure, he looked at my report and I felt my anxiety going up. Why is he studying it for so long a time?

Then in his usual gentle manner he said, “your PSA is elevated from last year.”

I thought so it’s up, so what? I can’t have prostate cancer, can I? My sweat began to drip down my neck. Not an unusual occurrence.

“Did you see the urologist I suggested you see last year?” He asked.

“No.” I answered sheepishly. Not a usual way for me to answer anyone. Dr P. shook his head and said he would set an appointment up for me. What was happening? Dr. P. sail he wasn’t a urologist and wouldn’t be helpful enough.

A week later, I was in Dr. Bs’ office. He looked like a nice guy. Not the white coat type who was curt and unapproachable, I thought. And he’s in NY Magazines Best Doctors list. I was then told that I had to have a biopsy. He told me what a biopsy would be like. The sweat flowed like a river soaking my arm pits.

A biopsy involves taking several samples from my prostate with a long needle and no anesthesia. Just a little stick he said as he put on his gloves and grabbed some instruments. He was right. It didn’t hurt that much. Still but I was very happy when it was over. I was already anxious and the thought that I might have cancer didn’t lessen the feeling.

Now I had to wait for the results which would take about a week. It was some week of anxiety waiting to see if I had cancer The call finally came inviting me to come to the office. I had what’s called a Gleason score of 5/6. I had prostate cancer. The sweat returned like a waterfall.


Because I am, by training, a medical chemist, even in my dazed nervous and very confused state, I started asking quest