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or "what's an antigen?"   Show this Post

so, we pick up our story the next morning or maybe it was two days later  – off to the local lab for a PSA test…  I brought a cheat sheet with all the answers and was pretty sure I would ace the test – until they stuck the needle in my arm.
 
unlike today in Ontario – all PSA tests were still free then, but even now the test is covered if it's as a result of a suspicious DRE or a follow-up after treatment for formally diagnosed prostate cancer.  The casual "I wonder what my PSA level is today" sort of test can cost anywhere from $30-$50 depending on the lab – but only in 2 provinces (Ontario being one of them)… in all the rest any PSA testing is still covered under the provincial medicare programs.
 
another change – from then (more than 12 years ago) to now, is the speed to turn around lab results.  Today, I can expect the results to be faxed or emailed to my oncologist within 24-36 hours of having my blood drawn – sometimes even faster.  Back then… well, it took about 2 weeks until I got the call from my GP to let me know that my levels were "high" and she had already booked me an appointment with a urologist within the next couple of weeks.
 
When that call came, my anchor wasn't home at the time, being away for the day and not reachable.  And I guess it would be a good time to share the fact that that anchor – my dear wife – is an oncology nurse with more than 30 years of experience in the field covering every aspect of cancer nursing, from visiting to bedside, from corporate to self-employed, patient education to nursing education including advanced practice program development while employed by the most recognized cancer centres in the GTA as well as by numerous reps from big pharma – especially when self-employed.
 
So… you would think – with that sort of extremely educated, experienced, knowledgeable and caring support system right at home – that I'd be more than ready for anything like this – what was still only a possible cancer diagnosis – with nothing yet confirmed.  So you would think – and you'd be so very wrong.  
 
That call was quite literally like a kick in the groin – it took the wind right out of me.  I was a basket case!