Saturday, June 18, 2016

Medical matters

About two years ago, my annual blood and urine analysis showed there was sediment in my urine so the doctor prescribed a short course of medication. He also sent me for an ultrasound scan.

The scan showed that I have indeed got stones in my left kidney but also indicated my prostate was enlarged. A quick PSA test came back with a level of 8 which, whilst not off the scale, was too high to ignore. Two further PSA tests showed levels of 6 and 8, so I visited the clinic in Orihuela where I was given a digital rectal exam. Although the prostate was not lumpy, I was directed to a urologist at Vega Baja hospital just in case.

A man of few words and none in English, Dr Cruces determined that I should have a prostate biopsy. The result was that I have prostate cancer with a level of 3 + 3 on the Gleeson scale. His reassuring words were that it was not "mal". Still I went for an MRI scan to determine the size and location of the tumour(s). Strangely, there was no evidence of the cancer on the scan which indicated it was small and well contained. It turns out there may be two tumours, both on the left side one in the upper lobe and the other in the lower - neither are particularly large nor are they aggressive.

Dr Cruces first offer was surgery but since that can have serious consequences I asked if there was an alternative and yes, I could have radiotherapy. That would be at a private hospital near Elche which specialises in this type of treatment.

Unfortunately, there was a breakdown in communication between Vega Baja and IMED and so a few months later I had heard nothing. I returned to Dr Cruces who apologised and gave me a course of hormone tablets along with a very expensive injection costing over 543 Euros would you believe.

Then,whilst I was in England, I got a phone call from the hospital for my first consultation. That nearly didn't happen though because they had been given the wrong phone numbers and had to get back to Vega Baja to find the correct ones.

Anyway, I had my consultation and have now started a course of radiotherapy which consists of 28 sessions - five per week Mondays to Fridays.

However, in between the consultation and the therapy, I spotted an inflammation on my chest which was quickly followed by a red rash. By last Saturday I was running a temperature of 38.4 C which meant I had fever. A quick trip to "Urgencias" in Bigastro resulted in an injection and a course of antibiotics. A further visit to my doctor showed that, apart from the infection I also had shingles. Both seem to be clearing up nicely but of course it is something I could have done without.

I have been pleased by the number of people who have heard about my condition and have taken the trouble to enquire. I thank them for their kindness and concern.

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