DEALING WITH ONGOING CANCER

Cartoon by Narvie

Those who have read some of this site know that I have been dealing with advanced prostate cancer for a long time, 19 years in fact! (see this post My Cancer Story Summarized).

My prostate cancer is termed ‘advanced’ because from when I was diagnosed it was outside the prostate capsule, therefore it had metastasized somewhere else in the body.

For quite a few years now I have been on X-Tandi (Enzalutamide), but 8 months ago the prostate cancer biomarker, the PSA blood test, began to rise again.  This meant that the cancer was again growing somewhere in my body.

My oncologist recommended a PSMA-PET (Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen – Positron Emission Tomography) scan.  This can be a useful tool for diagnosing the stage of some men’s prostate cancer.  It does this using a radioactive dye injection which lights up specific regions in the body where the PSMA protein is found, showing the presence of prostate cancer cells. The radioactivity of the dye dissipates from the body in one or two days.

By combining the results from a CT and PET scans into one image, the location of prostate tumors in the body can be seen.

PET MRI Scanner
PSMA-PET/CT scan (colored images) compared to conventional imaging (right-hand side). In this case the PSMA-PET demonstrated a small lymph node metastasis in the pelvis (bottom middle panel) and bone metastasis (upper middle panel). (Image Prof Michael Hofman, reproduced from Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia website).

“Two weeks ago, I had a PSMA-PET scan which showed metastasis in one of my lymph nodes in the center of my chest.

Even though there must be micro-metastasis elsewhere in my body, those areas are not big enough to show up on the scan.  But it was good news that there is this concentration in this one lymph node because a small area can to be targeted with radiation therapy, and it is in an area that has not been radiated previously.

So, I will have five radiation treatments to this lymph node starting in about 10 days.

When people talk about their ‘battle’ with cancer, or their ‘fight’ with cancer what they are really doing is fighting against death.  I prefer to say I am dealing with cancer.

“….as far as disease and old age is concerned, everyone gets practical experience. No one wants to be diseased, and no one wants to become old, but there is no avoiding these. Unless we have a pessimistic view of this material life, considering the distresses of birth, death, old age and disease, there is no impetus for our making advancement in spiritual life”. (Bhagavad-Gita As It Is. 13:8-12, purport by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami).

There are 2 ways I can live my life.  I can live as an enjoyer of the perishable material world or I can live with God as the center and I endeavour to serve Him.

When I live in a world where I’m the center and I try to be the enjoyer, I get a certain amount of happiness from it.  I get a certain amount of pleasure from it and to enjoy life this way I need a solid platform.  That platform is a husband or wife, a house, a healthy body etc. And in order to enjoy it all, my senses must be very healthy.

“But always lurking underneath this shaky platform is the fear of death – the knowledge that it all can be taken away from me at any moment.

We are encouraged by family and society to set up these foundations – education, job, house, etc., but no one ever tells us that the whole thing is going to fall apart. Most of us don’t want to know that either.  This is why we fear death.

The only real way not to be fearful of death, not to battle and fight ageing, the natural breakdown of our bodies, is to realize we are not these bodies.  This realization is the only thing that can alleviate fear of death.

Thank you and Namaste

Charles aka Chaitanya das

7 thoughts on “DEALING WITH ONGOING CANCER

  1. “There are 2 ways I can live my life. I can live as an enjoyer of the perishable material world or I can live with God as the center and I endeavour to serve Him.”

    I consider myself a student of many religions, raised as Christian but life has taught me the value and respect for all the worlds great beliefs, and consider myself a blend of many today. They all teach the basic truth of the value of the golden rule, which teaches us, it is really not all about ourselves, but rather others. Thanks for sharing your story, which is a vaulable example of putting others first.

    Matthew 22:37-39 KJV
    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    Namasta

    1. Hi David. Yes, ones religion can change, one day we can call ourselves a Christian and another day something else. What does not change is our essence, i.e. we are a spirit soul and we have a relationship with God that we can develop no matter what ‘religion’ we call ourselves. But revealed scriptures in different religions can provide the foundation to build that relationship of love with God. Sometimes that first commandment is overlooked and people just concentrate on the second. All the best Charles, aka Chaitanya das

  2. I mentioned some time ago on this blog that I have had cancer, diagnosed in early spring 2019. Lumpectomy in June, it had metastasied outside the duct, was in the two sentinal lymph nodes and outside of them too. Other than the surgery, I did not use any other treatments other than large quantities of herbs, as I am extremely chemically sensitive and react badly to almost every drug I’ve ever had. It took me many months to recuperate from the general anasthesia and it is still affecting the nervous system. My path may not be the best one for others, of course.

    I made the choice not to immerse myself in the world of cancer and cancer surivors, but to focus on other things. In fact, when I got the diagnosis, I felt as though I was in a steel lockbox of fear, which I could not shake for four days, despite my prayers and bhajan chanting. On the fourth day I prayed yet again, and the answer was instantL “Stop thinking of yourself and think instead of what you can do for others”. That key unlocked the box of fear.

    Life is short in this world of birth and death, and what will come will come. Naturally we have to make choices daily about our earthly lives, and try to be rational and reasonable, with the foundation of the understanding of our eternal spiritual existence. Living to try to be of help and service to others, in line with the will of the Supreme and the teachings in the Vedic scriptures, is the safest path, and the happiest.

    I came to view the cancer experience as a great blessing in my life; so many lessons so far, and more to come. It has helped me tremendously see the reality of material attachments, how they bring nothing but pain, and the vital importance of shastra chaksus – “Seeing through the scriptures”.

    Thank you for your blog and your thoughts, I hope many are reading this.

    Namaste
    Pramada dasi

    1. Hi Pramada dasi, very much I relate to what you are saying. I am fortunate to have a strong constitution and have had very few side effects from the different drugs I have taken over many years. Every body is different and we have to find what works for us. I also have come to view cancer as one of the best things that has happened in my life and I would not want to change contracting it as it has bought so many positives to my life, especially spiritually. Selflessness is sometimes hard to practice but when I do it has great rewards. Good luck with your journey dear sister. Chaitanya das

  3. A remarkable post 🤜🏻🤛🏻. I knew I was going to love it from get go – that cartoon is so cool!
    Thank you for sharing your experiences ….I can tell thru the reading – you do this in hope it may help others to hear of it . Your website is awesome . Keep on sharing – it’s heartwarmingly good .

    Jane .

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