I'm pppppp ooo'd with dad's doctor

mikeandbarbApril 7, 2008

My dad's doctor's nurse called today telling me dad needed to come back in. She said his PSA test came back high and the doctor wants to start him on chemo.

Back in September of 2006 dad had surgery not for cancer but same area, the doctor told me that dad was clear of cancer and all of the test had come back ok till this week. I don't understand why he wouldn't want to do a biopsy or other test to see how far along it is.

Dad and I have been through so much with this prostate problem up and down being told he has cancer , he doesn't have cancer. I feel like an idiot with so many confusing stories.

This is not going to set well with dad and I know he will not go for chemo. Robert is coming over tomorrow so we can talk about it. I for one do not want to be the one to tell dad. I want his doctor to tell him and explain this to him. We also have to talk about getting him signed up with a nursing home for when the time comes and he can't live at home any longer. He knows of the one he want to go to, so that makes it easier but when he has to go I don't know if he will without a fight. I don't know. I've nerve had to handle something likes this and it scares me. I have power of medical and finances so I don't have to worry about getting him the care he needs it just getting the right care and good care that concerns me.

I'm not having much faith in doctor's right now.

This is not the first doctor that dad seen, the other one did the very same thing. Telling both of us that dad was fine and he did not have cancer. Then one day out of the blue he told us dad did have cancer. So I took dad to the one he's seeing now and now we're back where we were 2 years ago.

Barb

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agnespuffin

Ask about his expected life span if he doesn't get treatment. At his age, how much time is he looking at? Quite a few men would skip the chemo and just take a chance of dying of something else before the prostate cancer gets bad.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 11:47PM
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mikeandbarb

Dad is 76 and not in the best of health. He had a bypass over 10 years ago. He complains about chest pains but will not go to the hospital unless he just has to. He has nitro pills and will take up to 3 before the pain stops and I've told him he should go to the hospital if he has to take more than one.

I know he's tired and ready for it to end cause he talks about it a lot.
The hard part on me is the waiting, wondering, watching him go through it all. Sometimes when I'm sitting with him I have to wait for up to 2 hours before he can tell me what he needs. I run errands for him, he'll finally come around to tell me he needs bread, ice cream or whatever.
Wondering how he's really doing. He's good hiding thing's.
Watching him going through the confusion, he doesn't understand what the doctor is telling him and he doesn't hold on to what he's been told.
I have to go over it with him on a weekly bases.
I know I can't make him do the right thing, like live in an assisted living, not as long as he can say no he won't go.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 12:38AM
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agnespuffin

At his age and with his other health problems, I don't think that the prostate cancer would be a problem unless it has reached a point where he has a problem passing his urine. So, it may be pointless to try to get him to accept chemo except as a means of shrinking the tumor. Let him live as he wants to live. If that means going against what the doctor wants, so be it.

The obvious truth here is that he seems to have accepted that his time here on this earth is limited. How much time are we talking about, and does he "enjoy" life enough to accept a course of chemotherapy? He may understand the total situation better than you think he does.

It has been said that the estimated life expectancy AFTER the first dianogsis of prostate cancer is about 12-20 years. It usually is a slow growing condition.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:52AM
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mikeandbarb

My son came over this evening and as we were talking it dawned on me that dad started having back pain. I've read that prostate cancer moves into the back, colon, bladder?
He has had trouble for 5 years urinating. At one point the doctor said that the opening of his bladder was closed and he didn't know how he was even going. The doctor did doing surgery and said he opened the bladder up and after the surgery it was better but then came the leaking, where he had not had that problem before the surgery.
Two weeks ago dad went to the doctors office because he was not going at all and the nurse got him to go but only got half a medicine bottle out. That's only about an oz.
Tomorrow I'm calling the doctor's nurse to let her know that I well not tell my dad he has cancer, that I want the doctor to tell him and to talk to us both. I'm also going to let her know about dads back pain.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 9:56PM
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mariend

Are you near a big hospital/medical center like the Mayo Clinic? Maybe a different dr would help. Is the Dr. a Urologist? In order to be certain, did he do biopsies? If not why? My BIL went thru this but he had biopsy, mri etc by a specialist.It is hard on the family with these medical condiditons.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 10:51PM
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mikeandbarb

mariend, this is why I'm upset cause there has been not biopsies done and the doctor he is seeing is a Urologist. Coming from what is supposed to be the best in north texas. He is part of the Urology Associates of North Texas. Of course I have not talked with the doctor yet, only his nurse on the phone, with her telling me dad's PSA test was high and that the doctor wants my dad to come in and start chemo right away.
Maybe there's more to it than she's telling? Maybe she put it wrong?
I'm going to calm myself down and wait to see what the doctor tells us on dad's visit next week.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 8:25AM
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agnespuffin

It's time for a long talk with the doctor. A high PSA does not neccessarily mean cancer. It could be a benign condition. A cancer will spread to other organs. A benign tumor growth will affect the prostate, bladder, etc. the same way, by restricting the bladder, but will not spread. It could be that he has a pre-cancerous condition and the doctor wants to do something about it now, and not at a later date if it does eventually become cancerous.

I think, but I am not entirely sure, that the diagnosis of cancer is given only after a biopsy. If he hasn't had one, I would ask the doctor why he is saying "cancer."

Now, one thing could be causing the backache is the poor bladder function is causing low-grade kidney infections. That's a possibility. Ask the doctor about that too.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:54AM
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mikeandbarb

Thank you agenspuffin, You are 100% right cancer cannot be diagnosed without a biopsy and there are stages. With a biopsy it would tell them what stage the cancer is at.
Good news, at least what I hope is good news. My son works for a hospital and he's talked to nurses and they've told him the very same as I , we already know. Son told me that one nurse told him of a very good
Urologist. Only thing is getting dad to change doctors once again if need be.
I fear that if dad's currant doctor say's he wants to do chemo without the proper steps and I ask him about doing a biopsy and he say's it's not need I'm liable to come undone and tell him off.
I had not thought about a kidney infection, he's never had one in the passed but he had just seen the doctor and thought that surely they'd check for that but then I don't know if they check for thing's like that every time he goes in.
I went over to dad's today and he was having a bad day as for not being clear headed. When I told him that he had to go back to see his doctor he asked why and I told him that they'd said his PSA was high and the doctor wanted to see him again. Dad doesn't hold on to thing's he's told and asked what that meant, so I told him when the PSA is high is can mean cancer. He took it better than I though he would.
Thank you all for your support it really helps to talk to others about family health problems.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:47PM
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mikeandbarb

Well, I took dad to his appointment this week and feel some what better. It's still a little up setting. The new doctor is going by dad's other doctor's diagnose's and the biopsy he'd done in 2005. They did not explain this to me, just kept telling both dad and I that he does not have cancer. Then turn around and say he does have cancer. It's still not really clear to me, here's why.
It's been nearly two years that dad changed doctor's and the other doctor had told him that he had cancer.
Now what none of them said to us was that he's in the waiting, test and see how he's doing game. They talked as if he never had cancer.
Do doctor's not know how to talk to people anymore?

These two are not the only doctor's I've come across having poor communication. My own doctor told me something just before having my risotomy done and the next time I went in to have the other side done I asked him about what he'd said about having seizures with this surgery and he said that he didn't say it. Sometimes it makes me feels as if I'm crazy and I'd love to carry and mini recorder around just so I know what they told me and I can replay it back from them.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 8:34AM
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agnespuffin

Remember that prostate cancer is usually a very slow growing one. A few cells from the biopsy could merely mean that, yes, he does have cancer, but the chances are that it may never be a problem.

Or the doctor could have meant that he has a pre-cancerous type of growth which might or might not become true cancer. Chemo would make sure that it didn't. Again, you need to find out the time line for possible development.

Doctors will often place possible prostate cancer men in a wait-and-see position. If it is growing very, very slowly, he will probably pass on from something else before it gets to be a true cancer problem.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 11:00AM
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