Prostate Cancer Journal: My Friend Peter


I made a new friend last week. You don’t always get to pick your friends ahead of time, and such is the case with Peter. He showed up during the course of my prostate surgery. I was totally unaware of his arrival, but he was greeted by everybody in attendance as one uniquely qualified for his task. By the time I regained my senses after the surgery, Peter had obviously become a fast friend. He cared for me deeply and touched me in ways I had never experienced before. And I found I couldn’t leave him behind. Upon my release from the hospital, my wife and I made a place for this new friend in my life.

bestest buds

Peter has been faithful; despite my outbursts and even wishing him harm, he as stuck by me without question or recrimination. Peter is giving; he retains nothing for himself but passes on all that he has every minute of every day.

These hot, fast friendships have their challenges. We found that Peter was a bit demanding and a bit clingy. And while his friendship tapped an inner well I rarely thought about, having him around each minute of each day is wearisome. Peter is an “up front” sort of friend, but admittedly very private. So, getting ready to leave the house with Peter is stressful and frankly exhausting.

My friendship with Peter is as close a relationship as I have ever experienced. It is also an ill-fated relationship, for today Peter and I must be parted. The reality is that I must move on in my recovery, and I have to go, alone. Peter cannot go for me. The absence of his indwelling presence will be a void in my life.

Farewell, my friend, Peter.

[During a radical prostatectomy, a foley catheter is inserted into the urethra. The catheter assists the surgeon during the transection and resection of the urethra and then supports the urethra as it heals. The patient keeps the foley catheter in place from 7 days to 3 weeks depending on the procedure and the surgeon involved. I named my catheter “Peter.”]

Other  posts in the Prostate Cancer Journal can be found under Categories in the sidebar of this blog.

Prostate Cancer Journal: The Choices We Make


With treatment, I am not very likely going to die as a result of my prostate cancer, as my father before me did. The scoring and grading complete, I am among those with a 90%  chance of being prostate-cancer-free through at least the next ten years (10 years is pretty much the extent of the data), and can look forward to being a cancer survivor. Thanks be to God that such mercy has been given to me.

While my prognosis is just about the best that one could hope for, I am at somewhat of a loss before a buffet of good treatment options. Advancements in medicine offer those with prostate cancer a plethora of choices of excellent treatments:  da Vince, brachytherapy, IMRT, IGRT, clinical trials, active surveillance, proton beams, HIFU, laparoscopic robotic radical prostatectomy, cryotherapy. While the biopsy was certainly uncomfortable and nerve-wracking, and the news that I had cancer invoked rage and fear, having to pick my own treatment may yet be the most agonizing part of this journey through prostate cancer so far. Continue reading

Prostate Cancer Journal: Positive for Cancer


Ever since hearing that my elevated PSA might be a cause for concern, I had been preparing myself for the news, preparing myself to hear that I had prostate cancer. Dad had it, why shouldn’t I? I’ve been steeling myself so that I wouldn’t scream, or yell, or, God forbid, cry when I heard the news.

“Mr. Kinnaman, your results came back positive…” That really is the only thing I heard in our brief conversation. As Dr. de la Paz continued to speak I looked at the pictures on my desk, pictures of my wife and I on a cruise, pictures of our four grandchildren. I ask a few questions, write a couple of notes that mostly make sense later, but while hearing, I really am not listening. I have cancer.

The Roller coaster of Rage and Fear

boulder-dashRage is what fuels all the reading, it is the cranking up of the roller coaster, “clack, clack, clack,” as I am taken higher, the rage that this should happen to me “clack, clack, clack,” higher and higher; rage, being pushed on by the idea that if I read enough I can find a solution, rage that compels me to exhaustion to find the next website, the next procedure, the next presentation on YouTube. And then just as I reach the pinnacle and seemingly have nowhere else to go, I overtop and begin the free fall into fear: fear of loosing my health, fear of the surgery, fear of radiation therapy, fear of incontinence, fear of impotence, fear that I’ve let you down, fear that dying will hurt, fear of leaving my wife alone. While on the way up it felt like rage would leave me with no place to go, fear seems like it could go on forever. And along the way fear throws me into switchbacks of loathing and pity and ultimately into the 360° of doubt: did I do enough, should I’ve been more vigilant, can I make a treatment decision that will make a difference? Continue reading