The Scare

I was recently laid off after 30 years on the job. It was kinda an unsettling experience. As I coped with my job loss, I took solace in the fact that I had picked up a second job, both to supplement my income, and preparing for the pending layoff. When the day actually came, I went from processing out that morning to working the night shift at my second job. My schedule has since increased and finances were not an imediate concern.

It was time to think about the other losses I had incurred: a lack of medical insurance and a lack of life insurance (both employer provided. Well, I decided to tackle the mole hill first rather than the mountain. I sat down with an agent to apply for life insurance. I wanted to protect my family. I went through the application process, paid the first months payment and low and behold: I'm covered ( or so I thought). Three weeks pass and I get a call from the agent: "You've been rejected. A letter will be forth coming with an explaination." A week passes and I get a certified letter from the insurance company. The reason for my rejection was contained in my doctors records: a very high PSA count. I called my doctors office and scheduled a test. A week later I received a call from the doctors office: he wanted to see me right away. Scared but not wanting to scare others I went to see the doc a day later. As I sat in the exam room I thought about what might be around the corner, accepting the inevitable. Doc was running late and I waited 1 1/2 hours before he came in. He said he took a double take when he saw the results. He explained that anything under PSA of 4.0. I had a 14.0 on mine (oh shite!). He went on to explain that he had misread the lab results, just as the insurance company doctors had. The lab form was a very bad format. 14.0 was an entirely different category. My actual # was 2.4, well within the safety margin for a 58yo man. I have never been so relieved in all my life. I'm counting my blessings. How many people reach the same point and hear the worst. Someone was watching over me. In truth, don't have cancer.
Dave002 Dave002
56-60, M
1 Response Jan 5, 2013

The PSA test is totally bogus. It misses more actual cancer than it finds. And it reports more false positives than real results. The only way to actually determine if a man has prostate cancer is to do a microscopic autopsy. Even the invasive surgical sample and biopsy misses more cancer than it finds because the cancer is (usually) on the other part of the man's prostate. The good news is that while most older men have prostate cancer, it usually just sits there until he eventually dies form something else. The bad news is that there is NO effective treatment that raises his 5 year survival chances. So even if a man knows he has prostate cancer there is nothing he can do about it. The brutal surgery always messes up his remaining life, but does not increase the 5 year survival rate.

So good that you can probably get life insurance, and good that you aren't scared by a false positive test. Keep cool, and enjoy every day as if its your last. Carpe Diem!