Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Prostate cancer in a time of COVID–19

OK, let me vent, as I am wont to do! This is our life. Last month JB had a COVID–19 test. It was quite the deal. (BTW – I worked 20 minutes on this post at 6 a.m., and 'New Blogger' wouldn't save it. Ticked me off, I tell you.) This month he needed a PSA test.

This has been our quarterly adventure, for several years:

a) book a PSA test (mid-June)
b) check the PSA test results online (a day or so later)
c) if all is well: order the injection from our pharmacy (10 days before the injection date)
c) arrange for the injection either at the GPs office or our local ER (July).

It has to be this order of operations. If anything has changed, indicated by the PSA test results, then it is possibly an appointment in Ottawa, and an examination of the treatment plan. These are the test results so far. I graphed them. It begins at 0 where JB had surgery. His PSA should have been zero, but they didn't get it all with the robotic surgery. After his PSA tests rose enough, we began a course of quarterly Lupron injections. His PSA tests dropped dramatically to >0.008.

The Winter injection was done in the GP's parking lot, full PPE gear, in a snowstorm. This one won't be so bad!

PSA Test

The spring project is to get hubby's quarterly PSA test, prior to his quarterly injection/cancer treatment, an injection. I tried online. It did NOT go well. I tried 5 times. I could not book an appointment online.

JB phoned, and there was a message, "Due to extreme volumes we are not answering phones at this time."  He decided to just show up and hope for the best.

PSA Test June 16 

Now, we don't pay anything for tests that are on the OHIP list. Yet, LifeLabs is a for-profit company, collecting our tax dollars, to provide these services. They were woefully understaffed, with only two women. They said it was due to COVID–19. Presumably, staff have it, as well. 

9:15 a.m. – He left to try a line up. There were about 6 people inside the Lab with 9:30 appointments. The process is slow. Most of the customers had masks on, and were seniors. There was a 45 min wait, with 10 people outside lined up in the sun. JB made the suggestion to move the line up to shade! All followed. (He used to be a manager!)
What irks us is that they haven't even hired a receptionist, to relieve the pressure on the two nurses. Only two of them dealing with 15 - 20 patients an hour.
They closed up at 11 a.m. for lunch, taking in the one person left who'd had an appointment. By then, there were more people in line. 

In the meantime, I managed two phone calls demanding I pay up, or I will be prosecuted. Thankfully, we pay all our charge cards every month. I knew it was a scam. The second robo call voice finished with, "Have a blessed day." I sat and snorted, while Josee sniggered, as well. 

[spam call #1 if you are curious!]

By 11:15 the test was done and he was home. Both arms, he has small veins.

Phase one is complete. We now wait to see the results online. In the meantime, we put it out of our minds until the next step.

UPDATE: This morning we checked online, and his PSA is stable at >0.008. This means that the Lupron is still working, keeping the prostate cancer at bay. We are good.
Next stage: Lupron injection.


Tom said...

...I'm do for a PSA test in October.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
It's an extra level of trauma, all this managing health on top of Covid worries, he nah? glad the levels are stable. Any positive news is worth its weight in gold!!! YAM xx

Anvilcloud said...

Glad you got that sorted. We also have another lab in CP -- Dynacare.

Saw this on FB and thought of you. You might like to try some of these with or without the grands.

eileeninmd said...


I do not understand why don't they spread out the appointments. They are too close together and end up being behind. I am glad JB's numbers are stable! Good news! Wishing you a happy day!

Gaelyn said...

A pain in the ass but seems worth it. Glad all is holding.

Jeanna said...

It's a great thing that the Lupron is still working, but what an ordeal. I've been overdue for a physical since March and new glasses since April. And now my GP is retiring so I can't schedule an appt. until July.
I feel sorry for all the health car workers and only went to hospice to visit my Godmother last week, other than that, haven't had any contact with health care facilities. There was a very upset older gentleman who couldn't see his loved one due to rules and I can't see my Godmother today because only so many people can go in each day. Some of the people there seemed overwhelmed too. It was strange to see the old masks, new masks, washed masks and entry procedure.
The best of luck and prayers for you both. I hate "New Blogger" and found if you use the New Post and Edit tools directly from your page/post you can use old Blogger.

Nancy J said...

Hang in there dear Jenn, sometime things will be back to normal. 7a.m. Here, I will know by 8 a.m.mid I fly today, I,looked out the window and it is raining , no wind, so that is a bonus I guess. JB, well done with the. Tests, you are a trooper.xxxx

Kay said...

I had to order medications and our doctor wanted us to go in for a blood test. We were trying to avoid going to the clinic, but luckily we were he only ones there. We’ll see how Art’s test is. I’m holding my breath about my A1c. It’s not going to be good. I’m hearing a lot of people upset with the new blogger. That’s good warning for me. I’m sticking with the old version.

Angie said...

Jenn - venting is good for the soul. You will see some of it in my next post, also having to do with health care! I just started trying new Blogger today, with mixed results. Sometimes change is NOT good.

carol l mckenna said...

Oh so happy for you both that his numbers are stable ~ he must have the 'patience of job' and you too ~ Sending lots of distance reiki healing energy hugs to you both ~ Xxxxxxxxx

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