Saturday, May 26, 2018

Prostate Cancer? What Do I Do Now?

It's been a while since I have talked here about Prostate Cancer.  I started this blog about 3.5 years ago when it was discovered I had Prostate Cancer.  I told my story and the things I was going through and urged other men to get checked and also appealed to their loved ones (wives).  I have no idea if any of that hit home with anyone but I felt like I should keep telling my story if it helped in saving someone's life.  I never once advised how they should decide to proceed if cancer was detected.  There are options and being informed is the only way to make a decision that will affect those that need to make this decision for the rest of their lives.  Each man has to make his own decision.  Make an informed one.

Over the last couple years there has arisen controversy among doctors about even testing PSA for cancer.  It is generally slow growing and many that get it will pass from something else before the cancer can get worse.  But there are those like me, I believe the choice I made saved my life.  The biopsy and PSA numbers didn't indicate that my cancer was all that bad.  I opted for surgery.  It saved my life due to it being more aggressive than the original biopsy revealed.  It also was not as big as the biopsy tended to indicate.  They thought that about 60-70% of my prostate was cancerous.  It was only 7%.  So biopsies don't reveal everything either.  Yet with the aggressive nature of mine, the doctors agreed I made the right decision.  Yes, there are issues I still deal with as a result of the surgery and I am resigned to the fact they will never be resolved.  The most common side effects are incontinence and sexual dysfunction.  Yes, those are not pleasant but there are workarounds available.  Your doctor can help with that.  For me, living longer with those I love,  even though it is not guaranteed, and peace of mind is motivation for me and I have no regrets at all.  I still get checked every 6 months with a PSA test and so far there has been no detectable cancer found.  I go again in July for another check.  I have been blessed so far.  If it returns, I still have no regrets.  

My Uncle by marriage has Prostate Cancer and at 75 is ten years older than me.  He and his doctor chose a different path.  No treatment at all.  They determined through a biopsy that his was the least aggressive form.  He would most certainly pass before it ever advanced to a life threatening stage.  His was detected at nearly the same time as mine.  Yet he still must get the biopsy ever so often to determine if it has gotten more aggressive or spread.  I don't know what he and his doctor talked about so can't agree or disagree with their decision.  It could be that the doctor's protocols did not call for any other option like surgery or even radiation.  For me, Peace of Mind is what I need.  I felt that surgery was my best option.  Taking the risk that it could all be removed by surgery and be cured completely is what I was praying for.  So far that is how it has turned out.  I am still 6.5 years away from being declared cancer free/cured.

Now to the reason I am posting about this again.  I read this article and it echoes some of the things I talk about with others and write here.  This man chose to not take ANY treatment at age 59.  Thirteen years later his cancer has spread and the outlook is grim, yet he seems happy.  But what do we really know what is going through his mind at night laying in bed or when he is alone.  

Please, go read his story here,  Prostate Cancer Info.  Get informed, talk to your doctor, talk to a couple doctors.  If you have to make this decision one day, make an informed decision, and pray about it if you are a praying person.  Prayer has helped me more than anything else.  I have the peace that passes understanding.  

Let me know your thoughts, experiences.  Free exchange of these things and open dialogue help others decide what to do.  I want to help anyone I can. If you don't feel comfortable expressing on this forum but still want to talk to me, my email is in my profile.  

I will most likely leave this post up for week in order to reach as many as I can.

Happy Trails

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Have They Come to Their Senses?

No, not by a long shot. It seems the 'nfl' has come to its senses in regard to the National Anthem and how the prima donnas that play the game now must stand like normal Americans.  My question is "what took so long?"  Why now?  Less publicity, since nothing is going on now with them as far as games and all the publicity they get during the season, that's my guess.  Not being on TV daily and the players are off somewhere doing whatever they do in the off season and aren't in front of the cameras for the media to ask them stupid questions.  Basically just less instances to get bad publicity.  I'm sure there may be other 'rationalizations' they use to justify themselves, but it comes down to money.  Unhappy fans means less money, less fans means less money.  They aren't fooling anyone.  If they really cared about patriotism and how their players acted they would have addressed the not standing immediately, after the very first instance, not after multiple copy cats.  The fans stopped going to games and viewers decreased.  That hit them in the pocketbook.  Did I quit them?  No, I wasn't watching them for years prior to this.  At least 10 years ago I quit them completely.  I had been watching less and less for a few years before that.  The product I saw was turning my stomach.  I just couldn't abide all the childish behavior of overpaid spoiled children acting like asses every time they were in front of the cameras.  I was a huge Cowboys fan all my life.  Jerry Jones and his antics and the publicity he sought by hiring the likes of Terrell Owens was the last straw.  I'm sure they miss me terribly.  I don't miss them at all.  They can take a flying leap at a rolling donut for all I care.

The plumber came and went in about 30 minutes and 120$ later.  He will come back next week and install a pressure regulator.  We have 100# of pressure in our lines when he tested it.  Should be 70 or less.  We have had various numbers of leaks on water lines to faucets over the years with most of them being replaced a couple times.  Hopefully this will fix some of that.  I decide not to get the water cutoff valve replaced.  I can still shut it off at the meter.  It's not as convenient but I can still do it and it won't cost me a few hundred dollars.  I'm just glad things aren't leaking anymore.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Quiet But Busy

After a very emotional weekend we don't really have time to relax.  I won't go into the emotional part, it's just part of life that happens when you love others.  

K is down at the Army hospital (SAMMC) sitting with a friend while they wait for surgery to be completed on a young mother whose husband is deployed.  It is very possible the results if negative could be life threatening.  They have 4 very young children and this is a very trying time.  They don't need this after nearly losing the two youngest, one to near drowning and the other to meningitis right after birth.  I will be heading over to the Grandpa's house to visit with him while he watches two of the smallest kids.  We have another friend that will head home today after 28 days in the hospital and nearly losing his life.  Prayers have certainly been answered.

Various other errands kept us busy yesterday.  Tomorrow the plumber is supposed to call me and hopefully will be able to come out soon and fix our leak and the other things I have put off.  It appears that the final billing from my visit to the ER back in November has come in and we paid that yesterday.  There should be one final bill for K's stay and we expect that any day now.  It also appears we were overcharged for one of K's visit and we will see about a refund after an appropriate amount of time.  We want to give the wheels time to turn.  

I have things I am working on for our congregation that is a bit tedious but I volunteered and hopefully can get this finished this week.  I have to wrap up some loose ends.  

Happy Trails

Saturday, May 19, 2018

I Don't Get It

This fascination with the royal wedding.  Seriously, what is the deal here?  For weeks we have been bombarded about guest lists, who is invited, who isn't and who is angry about it, who is walking the bride down the aisle.  I just don't understand why America is so caught up in this.  Today already TV is being inundated with videos and photos of the wedding and even Elton John frowning at the wedding.  SMH.  Who gives a flying flip?  I suspect we will have videos and photos of the honeymoon for the next week or two.  These are people that don't really even like Americans if the truth be told.  I'll be glad when it's over.

We are going to cut the cable.  I got a digital antenna and it does a surprisingly good job.  There are about 30 over the air channels now.  There were 5 when we started with cable so many years ago.  However almost half are Spanish speaking channels here.  A lot of the other channels show very old TV shows and the resolution is just horrible on these bigger screens.  They are really bad, in fact so much they make watching unpleasant.  The exorbitant price increases every year has pushed us over the edge.  Every year in the past they would offer a new promotion to get the price to a more manageable level.  Not this year.  A price increase of 30$ and rude treatment has done it for us.  WE already have Netflix, which is OK but doesn't seem to be everything we thought it was.  So we will most likely try Amazon Prime and hope it is good enough to drop Netflix.  There also a ton other TV apps like these that have different offerings.  We will need to be careful what we add or we will be right back in the same price range of cable.  I will miss the DVR though.  I use that quite a bit to watch shows the wife doesn't care for when she is not around, history or military type shows.  Bet you thought it was porn.  Not me.

Happy Trails

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Did I tell you I hate plumbing?  I surrender.  Called a plumber Wednesday morning when I discovered that all my labors have failed.  Leaks.  I can't get them stopped.  Then the cut off valves under the bathroom sinks started leaking.  ARGH!  Nothing I tried made it stop.  Called a plumber.  He can't make it until next Wednesday.  He is a one man operation and comes highly recommended.  After I described my situation he says he thinks the lines should be replaced along with the cut off valves, the rubber seals do go bad.  That just didn't occur to me.  However I don't want to tackle the cut off valves.  I have issues getting the water cut off to the house and that is what this will require.

While he is here I will have him look at two other issues I have been putting off.  We have extremely high water pressure, so I will most likely have pressure relief valve installed.  We also have extremely hard water and lime build up is a problem.  We don't have a water softener.  The main cut off valve to the house won't do it's job anymore.  It won't cut off.  I assume the lime has built up so much it keeps it from closing all the way.  I will have him replace that also.  Just get it all addressed at one time.  One simple job has turned into something other than that.  May not be that big of deal but my patience is at an end and I want it done right.  SMH.

K's replacement phone arrived yesterday and seems to be working just fine with no issues like the last one.  So far.  

We will head over to my Mother and Dad's today.  We will take them some leftover BBQ and beans and try to stop obsessing about plumbing.  I hate plumbing.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Did I tell you I Hate Plumbing?

Well I do.  The contorting and lying awkwardly while you try to disconnect and reconnect lines.  And then they leak.  Every stinking time.  No, I won't call a plumber for anything this minor.  Yes, it takes me longer to find my tools than it should, if I find all of the right ones.  Yes, I have to try reconnecting when it leaks because the teflon tape forgot to put itself on one of the connections.  Stupid tape.  

It all started with a leaky bathroom faucet handle.  I had a replacement cartridge that should be a simple fix.  Should have been.  This cartridge was sent by the manufacturer as a replacement and I had it on hand for several years.  Evidently it was the wrong one and they no longer make the one I needed.  SMH.  This meant having to replace the faucet completely along with another so they would match as we have two sinks in the bathroom.  I waited until Monday to go to Home Depot to get the one I found online to replace the current.  They went up 30$ apiece by Monday morning.  I didn't know they were on sale at the time I found them.  So my procrastination due to my hating plumbing cost me an extra 60$.  Still cheaper than a plumber is what I tell myself so I don't feel too bad.

Worked on the leaks I found after letting it sit overnight.  That was another struggle.  That's when I found where that teflon tape forgot to do its job.  I hate plumbing and love having Motrin.

K's replacement phone we got her a few months ago has been giving her fits.  It would freeze up at the most inopportune time and often.  Since she has insurance on it she is getting a replacement today.  It won't be new, the send 'rebuilt' models.  So we aren't doing any errands and I still haven't seen my Mother for Mother's Day as we await the arrival of this phone.  With all the package theft in our neighborhood, we don't want to miss the phone and have it laying on the porch.  We will shoot for tomorrow and take them some BBQ and beans.

Happy Trails

Monday, May 14, 2018

Mother's Day Sunday

It actually turned out pretty well.  At least K seemed to think so.  The best thing she liked was our boys showed up at church Sunday morning.  This was the first time our new Daughter-in-Law (I call her the Amazon since she is taller than me) had been there so K could introduce her to those there hadn't met her.  She seemed very happy.  

How did the brisket turn out?  Not like I prefered.  I tried a new cut, one that had the fat cap trimmed off.  No, not market trimmed, a little less than that.  I had never done that myself even though everything I read says to do that.  When I saw these at the store I decided to give them a try.  In a word, 'dry.'  At least compared to my usual and also not near as tender, but still had great flavor.  You usually don't even need a knife with the way I cook mine.  For those that like a little bit of chewiness with your brisket, this would have been great.  There are those that like it that way and those that like it falling apart and very moist.  Mine usually falls in the second.  I also tried a new rub I bought when we visited Cooper's BBQ in Llano since I liked the taste so well.  It is saltier than my regular.  I also rubbed it in a let it sit much longer than usual, 24 hours.  That resulted in the rub permeating the meat better, yet since it is salt based, it may have had something to do with the dryness.  That experiment over, I will most certainly go back to the usual untrimmed brisket.  I bought two of the trimmed so I will have to try cooking it just a bit different, probably nest month.  Maybe a little lower heat.  The grill worked fine, I think I was cooking a little hotter than usual also, but maybe not.  I never had thermometers on my old grill, this one has two.  Sticking to tried and true methods seems to work best IMO but I am always willing to try something new to improve even more.  

I also cooked a rack of Baby Back Ribs for the Amazon since she is broken and doesn't' like beef.  They were falling off the bone tender.  When my Son tried to pick them up the bone slipped out of the meat, with no meat on it.  I would say that is pretty tender.  At least the ribs turned out like they usually do.  In fact both boys seemed to have wanted ribs instead of brisket.  I have tons of compliments on my ribs but I don't cook then very often.  Why? Yes, I think they are pretty good too but I get my fill of pork pretty quick.  I just prefer beef.  

Happy Trails

Friday, May 11, 2018

I Know

Yes, I know, I have been slacking posting recently.  We have been pretty busy with just life things, nothing unusual.  That has caused me to fall down on the job of posting here.  We are currently in the middle of a Spring Cleaning type of effort that includes some yard work also.  We are having most of the family over for BBQ on Mother's Day and this seemed like a good time to get things cleaned up.  Since we have been battling health issues the past few months we have gotten way behind in keeping things in order around here.  No, we won't finish everything this week, we don't have to, but we have made a big dent in it.  I still have some shrubs that have died from a fungus I found out about.  So I will have to remove four large shrubs and one that has grown to tree size.  Red Tip Photinias are susceptible to a certain fungus and it devastated ours.  I have three left that don't look so good but I am holding out hope they will survive.  I am not sure when this removal will take place.  I don't have a place to dispose of the cut wood.  There will be quite a bit from the tree size one.  Our neighborhood usually has a once a year brush pick up/drop off.  It is this Saturday.  I will have my hands full cooking the BBQ for Sunday.  I just don't have enough time to do both.  I can see the shrub removal taking a couple days.  

I also tried to fix a faucet that was leaking.  It's old enough that they don't make parts for it anymore.  I need to replace it now.  We have two sinks in the bathroom where it is so I will have to replace both faucets so they match.  It turned into a bigger job than I expected.  I can't even get the one back together as the 'part' is so corroded from our hard water.  Not sure when I will get to this, maybe today, maybe not.

Yes, I can be a slacker at times when the energy levels just don't get high enough.  I am blaming that on my recent surgery and illnesses.  I am just not bouncing back like I hoped.  Well that's my story anyway and I'm sticking to it.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Lost it

I had a long post about things I encountered and discussed with the wife this past weekend.  Somehow I hit something on my keyboard and it was all gone.  No idea what I did.  Frustrating to say the least.  Maybe good for you as I was moralizing a bit.  Either way I couldn't bring it back.  I don't have to the patience to sit here and put that together again.

So I will head out to do a bit of yard work to get it in shape for the BBQ we will have Mother's' Day.

Happy Trails

Thursday, May 3, 2018


This Friday is hopefully the last doctor appointment either of us has for awhile.  I actually have another in July with the Urologist as I do every 6 months to verify there is no return of my prostate cancer.  The one Friday is with a GI, one that comes every 5 years so he can look around inside me and make sure there is no colon cancer.  Yes, that's right, I am prepping today for that.  Not leaving the house and trying to keep from starving on a clear liquid diet.  K had the same thing om Wednesday.  So we have been a bit occupied.  

Since the two smoker/pits I had been using were pretty much useless, I will have them hauled off.  Found guy that will do it for free.  He scraps the iron, that is how he makes money on that deal.  I am expecting his call any moment.  I had to get the heaviest one off the patio.  In doing so it has to come down three wooden steps I built.  The thing is so heavy and the wood so old, it broke two steps.  That was what I did the other day, replace the steps completely.  

I had to get that done pretty quick since Buster uses them all the time to get in and out of the house.  he could have easily hurt himself.  

I will put the new pit to use the day before Mother's day.  We will have the family over for brisket etc.  I am anxious to see how this new one works.  Only draw back is the Grandkids will not be here.  They will be on their way back from visiting Great Grandparents in Arizona.

The garden is lush.  Plenty of bloome and even several tomatoes have appeared.  I don't see any of the stink bugs we had last year and am hoping we won't.  Not sure if it's the Marigolds or something else.

Yes, I need to weed and weedeat around the border.  It will have to wait until next week....or so.  Don't judge me.

Happy Trails

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Gators and Whataburger

Only in Texas.  A massive gator was trying to cross the road near Cleveland, Texas.  They had to get someone to move him.  Every time a vehicle would pass he would raise up and hiss at them, impeding traffic instead of moving on his way.  I can see a new special on the Whataburger menu now.

A gator and Whataburger in the same photo, nowhere else but Texas.

All 11' 6" inches of a possible gatorburger with cheese.  You want fries with that?  That's a big boy.  He was safely removed, only his dignity was hurt.

It reminds me of the time my Grandfather and his brother-in-law, my Uncle Billy, caught one while running trotlines South of town.  They hauled him up to the house and got some photos and then someone called the newspaper and they came out.  I have a photo and a copy of the article somewhere, but unfortunately it's one of those things you never see until you run across it again.  I have no idea where it is.  It was a big boy too.  9' long.  Not as big as this one but still pretty big for two old men to haul home in the back of their Ford pickup just because they could.  No idea what became of it.  No, I am sure it lived on, I know they didn't kill it.  It was illegal to do so then, there were no seasons for hunting them as now.  Funny how some things can spur your memories.

Happy Trails