What can we say, living on the road does have it’s advantages and disadvantages. But one major advantage is for specialty medical services as you can go to where you would be best suited. In my case, I, David, was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer last July at the age of 53. (This post made 11/25/2020…F*** You 2020!!!)
Now the good news is, if you had to pick a cancer, Prostate cancer is the one to pick as it can be cured. However the cure of course comes with a price. A mental one that goes along with a sexual one that not a lot of people talk about. For those that know me, I already suffer from depression and high anxiety so this has not helped. Add in the Covid issues that are blowing up and well, it is amazing I function at all. Though I really will not get into all of that as that is not the point of this post.
What is the point of this post is that seeing we live full-time in our motor coach, we could go to where we thought we could be best served. After a lot researching and even seeing doctors in upstate NY, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, who happens to be #1 in the country dealing with cancer for 31 years, is where we wanted to go. So this winter season, it was off to Houston TX.
So the first thing we needed to do was to find a place to stay in Houston that was by the MD Anderson Center. We came upon Southlake RV Resort who had 90 foot pull thru’s which was great as it allows for us to keep our trailer connected to the coach! What else is great about Southlake RV Resort, is that they cater to people like us. (Click images to expand.) Side Note…I did all the Google Street Views images of the park for fun. You can find our coach and covered Tesla X on the corner. :)
By that I mean people coming in for treatment at MD Anderson. How do they cater to us for that? One of the most amazing things was that once we were in a site, that site is ours for as long as we need it. We just keep rebooking it monthly and we won’t lose it for as long as we need it. They won’t book the site out from under us two months out from now where we then have to move the coach.
This is important, very important. Why? Because depending on the type of treatment you may choose as a path, you may end up having to move your coach if they had booked the site to someone else. Who would want to go through that? Not me, not Brenda, and Loki can’t drive yet so not him. So because of this, it takes that worry away and you know you are set with a place to stay. “Major Kudos” to SouthLake RV Resort and there other area RV Parks that do this. (They are corporate owned with a number of parks but it does not give you that feel. You feel more at home based on the kind and understanding staff.)
So now let’s get to me. And I say that because I did mention we were coming here and the reason we were during a YouTube “Live Drive”. Little did I expect the amount of comments and emails that have come in based on me mentioning it. I am very humbled by this to say the least. Seeing I am still getting such emails and comments, I thought I would bring you all up to date as of 11/25/2020.
First off…MD Anderson Cancer Center has been AMAZING to work with to say the least. We had reached out to them back in July and they hit the ground running! Before we knew it they had all my records from the University of Rochester and even my biopsy slides that were done after my PSA levels came back as 4.7. Before you ask why we didn’t just have something done in Rochester at the time, well it’s because they could not fit us in until November. By that time we will be out of the area based on the cold coming. And then again, because we live in a motor coach and travel, we wanted to find the best place to go for this. And it seems we did! (Thank goodness it was south and out of the cold!)
So one of the MAJOR pluses of living in a motor coach or RV full-time is that you can make such choices and be able to go to where you may need to. Not only for medical reasons mind you, but also family reasons if the need arises. This is one of the great things about living this lifestyle. But also, on that same note, it can also be a pain if you need emergency care and are in an area you really do not know much about. Then it is all up to quick research. But in this case, we had time to look into things, and time to set things up all thanks to knowing we could arrive into the area we needed to be without issue.
So my journey…MD Anderson has been just OUTSTANDING at every level thus far. From my team that is led by surgeon Dr. John F Ward, all the way down to the discharge nurse who took me all the way to the car inside the parking garage! A nurse! Not a transport person, but the nurse that was caring for me when I was in recovery! Unheard of where we are from! Total Kudos!
Yes, I mentioned having a second biopsy…but this one was different as it was a “Fusion Targeted Biopsy” where they actually can 3D model your prostate and then take samples from exactly where they need to. The not so good news is that they found more cancer in me than the University of Rochester medical center found in their non-targeted biopsy where they just did it right in the doctor’s office. The Fusion Targeted Biopsy requires a special MRI and a special procedure where I needed to be actually sedated with an anesthesiologist. It took just about an hour to complete versus 10 minutes for a normal biopsy. However the results are much more precise seeing they can target exactly where to take samples from the prostate. Because of this, as mentioned, they found more cancer than expected that was throughout the entire gland. Oh well, life goes on and it’s time to make life changing choices.
How amazing is MD Anderson team? So amazing that they allowed Loki to be with me throughout the entire process. From each of the doctors appointments, to the MRI, to the Fusion Biopsy, Loki was with me all the way. Now let’s make that clear, he was not in the MRI machine with me as that would make for some really strange images. Nor was he allowed in the biopsy operating room. For after all, he would want to know I was alright and would keep bugging the doc to how I was or at worst, keep nudging me to wake up thus messing up their biopsy.
However they did allow him to come into my recovery room and was there as I was awakening. Amazing to say the least to open your eyes and see your companion, who helps you through so much, waiting for you. He jumped up on the bed laid by my side for the entire time I was coming out of recovery. Thank you MD Anderson, and more importantly to the nurses who put this together that was able to make that moment happen. They actually thought about it before I came out into recovery and put me in a special room so Loki could be with me. Again…Amazing and we are so very grateful. This is how much they also treat the patient and not just the disease. Oh yeah, Brenda was there too. :)
Here are some photos of Loki in action. Never took his eye off the door I went into. (Click to expand)
So now what, where are we with all this as of 11/25/2020? Well of course like anything else there were several choices as to treatment we could go with and we believe we made the right choice at this time. Not that we can second-guess it mind you because once it’s done, it’s done and there can be no second-guessing. I’ve chosen to have a Radical Prostatectomy set for January 11th, 2021. That is a full removal of my prostate at 54 years old. This is a 4 1/2 to 5 hour surgery via a robot! (How cool is that? It is totally me!). However, I also have a consult set with the MD Anderson Radiation Oncologist team on Thursday December 3rd just to get all the facts on that route just in case.
Will I be the same afterwards, No. That’s part of the issue as none of this comes without a cost and in this particular case, it comes at the cost of what you can live with mentally as a man. I could have chosen Radiology as a solution, however at 54 years old, we, Brenda and I, both were fearful of the damage the radiation could cause later in life as I age. This also would afford us the opportunity to know if this cancer has spread outside the prostate, as you really don’t know that unless you remove the prostate and look at the edges of it and also the lymph nodes next to it.
So that’s where I’m at this point and you have been brought up to date. I am currently waiting on an appointment for a surgery that I really don’t want to have because I have a disease that I really didn’t think I would have at this age. Again, F*** Cancer!
PSA Time: Get this, come to find out, every male over the age of 30 probably has some form of Prostate Cancer to one degree or another. It’s just the facts. Most people don’t know this unless they have their PSA tested (Prostate Specific Antigen). It is a simple part of a normal blood test. An elevated PSA reading is indicative of some form of Prostate Cancer and you will want to have it checked. If you’re white, you should have this tested after you reach the age of 50 and every year after that. However if you’re black, you’re going to want to have that checked at the age of 40 and every year after that. That’s just genetics and unfortunately it sucks. Cancer Sucks. Also gets this…most males die “with prostate cancer”, not “from it”, but without ever knowing they had it. It normally is a slow-growing cancer, so don’t be that worried except if it becomes aggressive, and, well, you know…. (And that is where I am. Apx 6 months was the estimate before it MAY go outside the prostate.)
But all in all, this is one great reason to be able to travel or live in a Motorcoach or RV, in your own home, especially in this day in age of Covid. We’re not staying in hotels, we’re staying in our own house no matter where we go. Even when we’re travelling we’re in our own house. It’s one of the benefits of living on the road full-time in a motor coach or RV. With the major benefit of being able to go seek out the best care you can when and if that time may come.
So yeah, this is another reason I really haven’t been making many posts videos lately. Not only is my depression and anxiety worsened over the past few years, I now have this to deal with. So I haven’t really been making many videos at all this past year. Heck, I’ve done over 350 videos so how much more can I talk about? :)
All in all, I, we, are here. I am still around, and I am looking forward to doing more in the future. So if you are a full-time RV’er, consider yourself somewhat lucky! I know we do as we get to stay in our own home all the time even if we need to go to another state to obtain the best treatment!
I wish to thank all of those that sent me notes and even their stories over the past month. I also wish to thank my “Virtual Techie Friend” (as I never really get to see him in person) Michael Kidd (Also a Full-Timer) who has “forced me” (I say in jest) to do some RV/Coach videos with him remotely as that helped distract me. Also my family and friends who also have stood behind us every step of the way.
But most of all I thank and so love, my wife of 26 years Brenda, who has not only been by my side and has dealt with my highs and lows from when I had my stroke at the age of 40, but also says it does not matter what I do, as long as I make the choice that I, humm we, feel keeps me around the longest. But let’s also not forget Loki who has helped me along the way having been able to help remove me from meds that “really messed me up” by allowing me to get off them as he alerts me to me starting to have panic attacks before it happens! (Thanks DogWorxs Academy for making him who he is today.)
Here is a video talk we did about the journey we are currently on and are thankful we live the life we do in a motor coach.