On Twitter Winter asked for prostate cancer stories and posted a link to the prostate website which looks pretty comprehensive upon first glance. Unfortunately, all I did was glance at the website because I got a dreadful feeling of 'don't jinx it."
Its amazing that a part of your body that you can't see and that is the subject of proctalogical jokes can cause so much pain and distress. Prostate cancer runs in my family and recently I had an 8 month bout of bacterial/abacterial prostatitis. For two weeks I was miserable, and treated for STD's that I never had and have never tested positive for. For a week I was in excrutiating pain followed by 4 months of miserable hell taking Ciprofloxacin which cured the bacterial part but played hell with everything else due to being allergic to the antibiotic. The symptoms of the allergic reaction were chalked up to prostatis symptoms. I was taking 2400mg of ibuprofen daily and an occasional hydrocodone to cope with the pain.
Everything finally came to a head around Christmas 2009. I was miserable, my abdomen hurt, my fingers were purple and tingling. I was 240lbs, morbidly obese because I couldn't jog across the street without falling down in excrutiating pain, and to top it all off I was harboring suicidal thoughts as a side effect of the antibiotic allergy. I would wake up screaming at myself in the mirror that I wanted to die because I was miserable and I hurt. However, the logical side of my brain told me: " You've been in more pain, acutely, running the 800 in under 2 minutes and having fun. Something isn't right, you shouldn't be doing this."
Christmas day I laid in bed shaking after my part-time job. My legs were trembling, my plumbing was on fire, my abdomen hurt and I still harbored alot of self-pity and suicidal ideology despite counseling through my employer's EAP. I kept looking at and toying with the semi-automatic pistol on the nightstand next to my bed knowing that my fixation with it was a symptom. Thoughts of my dad who has battled (and still is) prostate cancer preoccupied my thoughts and filled me with dread about the future possibility of my prostate health. How could I handle prostate cancer if prostatitis is kicking my butt this hard?
"Enough!" I mentally screamed at myself. I decided that if nothing else I could go for some positive imagery via YouTube so I typed in Lance Armstrong. I thank God everyday that I did because the commercial that set me on my road to recovery was soon playing:
Piano hum, alternating pics of cancer patients and Lance riding, "The critics say Im arrogant...a doper...washed up...a fraud...that I couldnt let it go. They can say whatever they want I'm not back on my bike for them."
I cried. I cried alot. I cried about this whole miserable thing I'd been suffering with for 4.5 months and I cried for almost losing my Dad to cancer of the same body part that was causing me so much misery. I vowed to emulate my Dad and to emulate Lance. I vowed to be like my Dad whose method of making a square peg fit in a round hole is to keep pounding on it until it does fit. My Dad who would just haul himself out an easy chair to get on his turbo-trainer if only for 5 minutes after his chemo treatment.
I had no clue how I was going to do that, I couldn't jog 10 yards or sit on a bicycle seat. Just the pedestrian existence of a tax auditor was taxing enough physically. Only time off the antibiotic, weaning myself off the pain meds and cleaning up my diet got me going in the right direction. My own bloodwork came back normal on PSA counts and my urological health continued to improve the more time went by from when I quit taking the Cipro. In June the state agency that employed me as a tax auditor laid me off so I had the summer to swim, lose weight (from 232 to 218) and look for a job. In September the prison where I used to work took me back on which allowed me more time to train in my off hours away from work.
I still have urological twinges. I try not to think about them and focus on what I can do. My weight is down to 198 and the more I lose the better things get. My Dad still has prostate cancer that could easily come out of remission if he goes off his testosterone blocker. Its interesting to sit around a camp at the end of a rare vacation day and laugh with your dad about your respective prostates. How yours is a pain in the butt and surrounding areas and how his flipped out the doctors with how high his PSA count was and that it didn't metastisize to his brain and kill him years before he found out about it. It is morbid humor but it is how you cope.
This isn't ancient Greece or Sparta, there aren't any Persians to hold off at the pass. Looking at a prostate website makes me squemish so I run, swim or ride away in my own way to say "rejoice I'm victorious" if even only for today. When I twinge urologically from time to time I keep going if only to say "give it nothing but take from it everything." My next PSA is soon but I'd rather focus on the next race or workout instead of looking back or revisiting the past. That is why I clicked off the hyperlinked prostate website so quickly.
Would rather stay anonymous....
PS Keep up your training.