been writing this column for over twenty years. It currently goes
out to over eighty newspapers and about ten e-zines around the country.
In addition to these publications, a number of folks log onto my web
site each week and download my column to send to other people around
the world. I have no idea how many people actually read what I have
to say each week.
I do know that about the time I get ready to hang it up, Iíll get
a letter from someone who has read my post of the week and just wanted
to tell me how much they enjoyed it or offer some other viewpoint
to be considered. These mean a lot to me and I thank you for them.
In addition to these columns I try and send out a personal note every
few days with a quotation of the day, a new recipe and some lyrics
to songs weíve all heard at one time or another. Itís always amazing
to me to see the actual words in printÖ.what Iím singing is often
no even close to how the real words are written.
Anyway, last week those people on my recipe, quote, lyric blurb got
a message from me saying something like Ö Ďgood news, my PSA went
down from a 4.3 to a 3.5í.
I was surprised as to how many e-mails I received wanting to know
exactly what a PSA was. It is not a college score.
I thought I would take a moment to explain to both the ladies who
read my stuff as well as to any men who are unaware of what a PSA
score is and why it is important. PSA stands for prostate-specific-antigen
test. To understand exactly what the test is and why it is important
go to http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Detection/PSA for
I can tell you that if you are a male and over 50 years old, you should
know what your PSA score is and if it is rising or not. I am not a
doctor so I wonít try to tell you what your individual number should
be or should not be. I will tell you that the numbers as well as the
time for those numbers to increase is important to your health. Three
years ago, my PSA was at a 2.8 and in a little over twenty four months
(about this time last year) it went to a 4.3. Some said this wasnít
bad and others said it was. My doctor started talking about biopsies
and methods of treatment if it turned out to be cancer.
I didnít want the biopsies and I didnít want cancer. So, I started
reading books on ways to get this under control, if at all possible.
My wife and I must have bought six or seven books and read them all
trying to find something that might give us some instructions on what
to do. Friends of mine who had cancer offered various suggestions,
none of which in my opinion were of much help. It seemed to me that
the treatments for prostate cancer were all over the board and there
were success stories and failures with each one. My wife was taken
with one book which specified a specific regime of vitamins and supplements.
In September I took another PSA test and it had remained a 4.3. At
least it wasnít increasing, but were the vitamins and stuff having
any real effect?
I waited six more months and then went back for another blood test
and agonized over the week between the test and my visit to the doctor.
Last week, when I went in to see him, he told me that the test score
had decreased to a 3.5. I cannot tell you what a relief that was to
me. I donít have to go back for another year.
So, the point of all of this is, this stuff is scary and you should
not mess around with it. You need to know what your score is and keep
an eye on it to make certain it is not rising. I have too much to
get done and too many things I want to see before I check out of this
Besides, what would you have to read if I wasnít here?