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by Vic Lombardi   |   March 11, 2019

Sportsman Vic Lombardi’s Take on Prostate Cancer and the “Waiting Game”

Jan 5, 2019 – “The prostate is obviously what holds the knee cap in place. In fact, the prostate ligament runs parallel to the anterior cruciate ligament.”

That, sports fans, is how I would best describe the prostate a mere two months before I would undergo prostate surgery. Yup. I’m dumb.

The truth is, most men under 50 are fairly dumb when it comes to understanding men’s health. We simply assume we’re going to be healthy. Don’t assume.

For some strange reason only the fates can explain, I decided to schedule a physical in late December of 2018. Been there, done that. But this one came with a blood test. And an elevated PSA score. And a visit to the urologist. And a biopsy. And a phone call:

“You have cancer. And it’s a mean one.”

Great. Knee cancer (sorry).

Needless to say, I’ve done enough keyboard pounding over the last six weeks to earn an honorary doctorate in urological oncology. They found two cores of Gleason-9 (4+5) prostatic adenocarcinoma. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and bilateral pelvic lymph node dissection scheduled for February 27th.

Surgery. Catheter. Diapers. Mommy.

The surgery was the easy part. The waiting – that sucked! We had to wait eight excruciating days for the pathology report, which would reveal whether or not the cancer spread. Thankfully, on the morning of March 7, my surgeon called with the results:

“The cancer was more aggressive than we thought. A gleason 5+4. But the margins were clean. The lymph nodes were clean, which is great. Let’s wait for that next PSA score in April.”

So the waiting game continues. It never really ends. My cancer is officially Stage 3 now. Not sure what stage 3 actually means. If it means obsessing about whether cancer cells are sneaking their way into other parts of my body, I’m definitely stage 3.  If it means feverishly researching the benefits of plant-based diets, PET scans, genetic testing and genome sequencing, I’m stage 3. If it means diaper-shopping (big fan of the slim-fit velour version with the model who looks like Thor), I’m totally stage 3.

You know what stage 3 really means? I’m the lucky one. I caught it. I can see it. I can feel it. I can fight it. And I can’t help but wondering how many thousands of unsuspecting men are thinking what I was thinking:

“Man, my knee hurts. Wonder if it’s my prostate?”