Get Your “Oil Checked” Yearly! (Johnny’s terminology)

I just wrote the following to a friend and realized there are many of our friends who do not know the journey we are walking, so I am copying this note here to encourage all men to neglect not that vital, yearly physical.

Johnny and I spent last year fighting prostate cancer. Our fight continues as, short of a miracle from God, there is no cure and he will, from now on, be on meds to keep the cancer at bay.

Johnny had the highest PSA any of his doctors have ever seen: >10,000 (normal is 1-4: no zeroes behind that). His last PSA was under 300. WooHoo! We are watching to see that it continues to drop while he continues to heal.

The only symptom Johnny had was lymphedema in his left leg. It was believed to be related to his hip replacement done numerous years ago. For numerous months, they treated the lymphedema as normal for the suspected cause. Only when a lymph node swelled up in his neck during a sinus infection, being unaffected by antibiotics, did reason to think different rise up. The doctor suspected a lymphoma, but a biopsy of the lymph node revealed the cancer to be prostatic in origin. That led to the oil and PSA check. If it were not for the biopsy and his PSA count, they still would have missed it as his prostate felt normal, except for a small knot that was there in past exams that included a normal PSA. Scans of the area also revealed a normal looking prostate gland.

While waiting on the biopsy and results, scans of his torso were ordered to see what was going on between Johnny’s leg and the node in his neck. That revealed a huge lymph node pressing on the vessels of the hip and causing sluggish emptying of fluids on that leg, thus causing the lymphedema. In fact, the torso scan revealed that he had lymph nodes greatly engorged all the way up to the one in his neck. These engorged nodes were pushing vital organs out of place and one had one of his kidneys nearly plugged off as it kinked up the “hose”. Johnny was a walking miracle, and until about a month before the node in the neck, he felt great.

We are sharing Johnny’s journey with all who will listen, encouraging all men to not neglect to get the oil checked and your PSA done yearly. One of Johnny’s friends just had his done because of Johnny’s warning. His PSA came back at a whopping 8 (no zeroes behind that). They sent him immediately to a specialist who ordered a biopsy and other tests as they decide on a treatment plan for his prostate cancer. His prognosis is great, expecting an easy treatment and full recovery because they caught it early.

Johnny neglected that vital test for five years and it almost cost him his life. Having none of the typical symptoms to warn him, it grabbed him unawares and he was at stage 4(+) when he started his treatment. It made for a challenging, but very greatly blessed year as we drew nearer to God and each other. He’s considered in partial remission right now: cancer still evident and on a stabilized treatment regimen. We remain in the Father’s hands, as he uses the hands of the oncology staff at Texas Oncology in Amarillo. They have encouraged our hope every step of the way.

Will Johnny be with us long. We hope so, but only God knows. However long he has, we will be a voice crying out to men, “Get your oil checked!”

Everyone, please share our experience with your friends. Make sure they are aware and encouraged to take care of themselves while it’s early (better an 8 that is manageable). Ladies, if there are men in your life, share this now and encourage them to get the oil checked yearly. While we’re at it, ladies, have you been to your OB-GYN lately?

Love to all!

Johnny and Darlene


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