Pappy's Prostate

Posted by David Pickard on

 I just had my prostate biopsied last week. I was going to put a  picture of a prostate with this post but didn't like the idea of showing  such a private part and thought this picture of a bottle of Saw  Palmetto was a better conversation piece. After my annual checkup,  my doctor recommended that I start taking Sal Palmetto along with  going to see a urologist. What's Saw Palmetto? According to Wiki,  "Saw palmetto extract is an extract of the fruit of Serenoa repens. It  is rich in fatty acids and phytosterols. It has been used in traditional,  eclectic, and alternative medicine for a variety of indications, most  notably benign prostatic hyperplasia". After reading that, I didn't  know any more about what it was than before I read it. In common folk language, all that I know is that it is supposed to help maintain a healthy prostate. By the way, if you think it is hard to say "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers....a peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked" fast 10 times, try saying "Sal Palmetto" fast 10 times. "Sal Palmetto....Sal Paneto.....Sla Paletto....Slaw Pimento....Ay Hah! Gotta! Wiki also reports that "The taste of saw palmetto fruit is reported to be repugnant". I haven't noticed any "repugnant" taste because of the blessing of have the repugnant extract of fruit of the Sereno repens (whew!) enclosed in a gel capsule. How do they make those gel capsules anyway? I'm going to ask Jim Carey from "The Truman Show". I'll bet he would know. What is repugnant, however, is having the doc biopsy your prostate. You wake up in a cold sweat at night thinking about this procedure. If I every meet God, I only have a few questions for Him. One question is why he put the prostate where he did. In any case, if you think worrying about going to the dentist is bad, you should have to worry about getting your prostate biopsied. What started this whole mess was going to my doctor for my annual checkup. He always checks my prostate and does a PSA test. You ask what is a PSA test? It's a blood test that applies only to the prostate. There are various ranges your PSA should be in depending on your age. My maximum range for my age was 4.0. Well, over the last four years of checkups, my PSA finally crept over 4.0 so my doc suggested I go see a urologist. I really think he was just trying to reduce the number of prostate exams he had to do in the know, it can't be a fun thing to do with the latex glove and all. I called a urologist who practiced in the same building as my doctor and got an appointment with his PA. Physicians Assistant?, this guy was a Prostate Attendant. You could definitely tell he had done this before. I'm all for second opinions, but not when it comes to checking your prostate. This PA proceeded to slick his latex glove up with this gel (lots of it) and was over before I knew it. He then proceeded into this long explanation about the fact that it was somewhat enlarged and my PSA was over the 4.0 mark along with a bunch of other stuff. He then explained that a PSA test was only 50% accurate but a biopsy was 96% accurate. He said the biopsy would only take about 15 minutes and that I probably should have it done. A few seconds is one thing but having a foreign object somewhere it wasn't meant to be for 15 minutes is another thing. After he told me that, I thought to myself....hey, 50% accuracy was exceptionally good. After all, if your batting average is 333 that means you hit the ball a little more than 3 out of 10 times and a player that can do that is considered a very good batter. When I returned to my senses, I had made an appointment to get the biopsy done. My brother came through a few days later on his way to see his son and their family. I told him I was going to have my prostate biopsied. He asked about my PSA and I told him it was a little over 4.0. He said his had been as high as 21.0 or so and with it being that low, he probably wouldn't have it done. I'll swear when he said that I looked in his eyes, he was saying "Don't do's not fun at all!" He then tried to console me by saying, "...but if you decide to do it, don't'll be able to get up and walk out of there." After all this, no wonder I was waking up in cold sweats thinking about the prostate biopsy. Well, the day came for my biopsy. I was taken back to the biopsy room by a little petite blonde headed nurse with a big smile. I'm convinced she was smiling to try to cheer me up knowing what was about to happen. She told me to undress from the waist down, put a paper blanket over me and sit on the examining table. Sitting there the only thing I noticed was a computer screen and a thumb-like apparatus. It looked like Goliath's thumb cover with a latex covering. Just as I was about to chicken out, the doctor came in and cheered me up. He asked me to rollover on my right side and before I knew it he was taking his biopsies...15 or 16 of them with little discomfort to me. Whew! Was I glad it was over! When I returned to the doctor the following week and got the results of the biopsy, I realized the anxiety, cold sweats, biopsy, etc. was a small price to pay for what I found out. I had prostate cancer in about 5% of my prostate. For you wondering what a prostate looks like, your prostate is shaped a little bit like a heart with the bigger portion at the top and smaller portion at the bottom. Your urethra tube runs right down the middle of your prostate. The doctor divided my prostate into six areas and said I had prostate cancer in one of the top areas a distance away from my urethra tube. After reviewing possible treatments with the doctor, I found out that certain treatments were 99% effective. The treatment part is a subject for another post which I know you will be thrilled to follow. Wow! Was I glad I caught this early. Later I was reviewing some of my genealogy and found out that my grandfather on my mom's side and his brother both died from prostate cancer. So, to all you macho men out there, if you want to enjoy "life in your woodshop" as well as life with your better-half, your children, and grandchildren, get your PSA checked. I believe you should start this once you turn 40. At 50 be sure and get a colonoscopy. If you don't and end up with cancer that has metastasized and have to go through chemotherapy, you will wish you had.


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