After the biopsy

Introduction-Now you know and the process begins

You’ve just experienced the anxiety, humiliation and pain of having your prostate biopsied. Since the biopsy you have endured the sight of blood in your urine and bowel movements, blood in your semen, and burning when you void. You have been told that the bleeding is to be expected, but to notify the doctor if you have fever or difficulty voiding. If you have been sexually active, the blood that you and your wife saw was much more than you expected when the doctor warned you of this possibility. You wonder if you have hurt something or if somehow the blood in your semen could transfer anything to your wife. You wished you had asked that question. Now you begin to ponder the possible outcome of the biopsy and whether it will be positive, and you feel a wave of intense anxiety churn across your chest. Although your wife loves you and wants to help, you suffer this “waiting time” silently and alone. Thoughts of the negative possibilities and how each could impact the people you love, your work, and your longevity run rampant in your mind throughout the day and week. In an odd way you feel as though you have let your family down just by being in this situation. Your anxiety increases as the day approaches for the follow-up office visit to learn of the biopsy results; the butterflies return and become more frequent and intense. You begin to think, “The doctor would have called by now if the results were good,” and this suspicion adds to the tension. Your normal daily activities, work, going to church, playing tennis, whatever, feel surreal with the result of the biopsy and its attendant ramifications looming over you. The days pass with the incessant mental examination of all the potential possibilities. Thoughts like “what will I do if it’s positive” abound, but life goes on. You pay bills, deal with your children, and handle other problems as if nothing else were going on with your health.  That is all you can do.  You now glaringly understand the truism that life does indeed go on, and finally you transition into an attitude of acceptance: “what will be, will be.” This newfound attitude of relinquishing control over life and the results of your biopsy is, in a sense, a resignation, but it is comforting. Your preacher’s admonitions to “Give it over to God” ring clear to you now and have relevance to you as never before. On the day of the doctor’s appointment to receive the results, you leave work early, and the butterflies reappear yet again. They multiply in waves in the waiting room, reaching an uninterrupted crescendo as your name is called and you are escorted to your chair in the exam room. There you wait; your heart pounding so loudly you feel those outside the room must hear it. Your thoughts turn again to the what-ifs: to your children, your wife, or someone you know who died of prostate cancer. You wonder if your affairs are in order and how your parents would feel about having a son with cancer. The doorknob turns, startling you, and the door opens. You attempt in vain to read the expression on the doctor’s face, looking for signs of good news, but you realize that the doctor’s face portends the news you hoped you would not hear: “I am sorry; I have bad news for you. Your prostate biopsy shows cancer.”

8 Replies to “After the biopsy”

  1. Dr. John– I am Hal Davidson’s wife. We live in Lagrange and I believe he is your 2nd cousin. We learned just last week that he has prostate cancer. Yesterday we got the results from bone scan–negative. We have just begun our journey involving decisions. Someone today sent me your website and within an hour I called and made an appointment for Wednesday, Oct. 13, to talk with you. I feel you might be our answer to some difficult questions. Thanking you in advance. Cindy and Hal


    1. I look forward to meeting yall and helping make sense of what you are facing. I lived in my grandmother’s house on N. Lewis and whenever we needed electrical work grandmother would call, I believe Guy Davidson, who owned an electrical company. Grandmother would say, ” He’s a millionaire, but you’d never know it. John, he has never charged us a dime for all the work he’s done.”
      Be sure to bring the PSA and the path report. I am honored to be part of Hal’s care. John


  2. This reminds me of when I was notified of the biopsy results. Traveling to a First Robotics event in NYC. Three very long days with thousands of brilliant young High School students. I got a call while driving, it was legal then, and informed that “sorry you have cancer”.Wow, what a strange set up for a weekend away from Home. It can definitely tests your mettle.


  3. I have had a third biopsy, this last one was a saturated biopsy with 24 samples. This was about a week ago. I had no bllod noticable in my urine, my urine was normal in color. It was difficult to urine first thing in the morning, but as the day progressed, urinating became easier. I do have a concern, when I deficate, I have drainage through my penis which is a thin liquid that is brown.


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