Saturday, 29 June 2013

I am wide awake unfortunately

It's a nightmare. It must be. An evil witch has cast a spell.
John was planning his next landscaping project one day, then the next day he said he had some aches and pains, then the day after that he was a frail old man. He shuffled around bent over like a 90 year old. He had trouble dressing himself and he was in constant pain - in his shoulders, arms and hands and in his hips and lower back. He couldn't lift his arms. His fingers were swollen and sore. All he wanted to do was to stay in bed. It happened so quickly.  It had to be a bad dream.
The doctor prescribed pain medication and took blood tests.
The tests for arthritis gave no clue to cause of his pain but the PSA test the doctor added in to the list of tests to be carried out did show  the possibility of prostate cancer - so more investigation was needed.
The biopsy confirmed there was cancer and it was classified as high risk - so the specialist suspected the cancer may have already spread to his bones and that may be what was causing the pain. A bone scan was needed.
Thankfully the bone scan was clear (big relief) but surgery is needed as soon as possible to have the prostate and lymph nodes removed..... and there was still the disabling pain.

Then the doctor prescribed a course of prednisone and within a couple of days he was feeling better.... or was I was waking up from this bad dream... he was back to normal ....almost.

 As soon as the course of prednisone was finished however,  the symptoms all returned.
Another referral. This time to a rheumatologist...and in the meantime back onto the prednisone.

I did my own research and it's my educated guess John has Polymyalgia Rheumatica. The symptoms and the rapid onset match and PMR (as it's called) is responsive to prednisone. The sort of good news is that it will eventually resolve if he stays on the medication but could take between 1 & 3 years.
The rheumatologist appointment is 11 July so we'll know for sure then.
Of course, after that, there's the surgery for the prostate cancer - that's happening 31 July.
Again, although this has all been horrible, if the doctor hadn't ordered the PSA test when he did, it would have been a lot worse (if the cancer hadn't been detected before it spread too far to stop).

I've had to keep working, but will take time off after the surgery. Meanwhile we've had some help.
Missy has taken on the role of nursemaid and curls up with John to keep him company during the day.
My wonderful son has been here every weekend lately working in the garden - weeding and mulching, pruning and whatever else has needed doing. The garden is looking even better than it did before John got sick. I don't know what we would have done without his help.

There's a way to go yet but I think we are both happier now that we know what we're dealing with (or more accurately, what John is dealing with) and there's perhaps a light at the end of the tunnel.






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