OK...here's the skinny. Brian went to the hospital Tuesday morning and met with our GP and the urologist ($25 each). He spent about 20 minutes in the waiting room with the urologist waiting for the GP to be available. They used that time very productively, not talking about Brian's condition, but practicing English & Spanish with each other. Note: The GP speaks English perfectly. The urologist only haltingly. Most of the people in the hospital, radiologist, nurses, etc. have only a minimum of English. Fortunately, these days, Brian's Spanish is up to the challenge. It is however, important to have the GP with them when discussing the nitty gritty of the situation.
"They are both such very nice men!" Brian told Shelley talking about the urologist & GP.
The biopsy strongly indicates that the cancer is localized in the prostate. The urologist said that there are 4 different international protocol indicators which confirm this. He also said that the gland is not malformed which would indicate a more serious condition. There are two nodules deep within the gland that are malignant, but the surrounding tissue shows no sign of it metastasizing. Wednesday morning Brian has to go back to the hospital for another CT scan of the lower abdomen ($230 this time as they're covering more acreage) as the one he had done for the lungs doesn't go far enough down his abdomen. This is a due diligence procedure and unless he has an unrelated cancer, should confirm the lack of migration. He has yet another consultation Wednesday evening.
Brian will probably go for the operation next week which is going to put a serious crimp in our plans to go to Peru as he'll be in the hospital for 4 days and then has to take it easy for 2 weeks. After that hopefully he'll be as good as new.
We emailed to our friend who we were going to meet in Peru and emailed to our children and told them what was happening but encouraged them not to fret.
"The whole thing will be very rough on Fredi" Shelley pointed out to Brian. "She'll miss you terribly and she'll have to be alone when I come to visit you in the hospital."
Brian pretended to have his nose out of joint: "You love Fredi more than me!" he exclaimed.
We want all the people who read this blog to know our intention when writing about Brian's health problems certainly has nothing to do with eliciting sympathy. The essence of our blog is our life in retirement in Ecuador, with all the good and the bad. Also we are very aware that a lot of folks who are considering moving down here have serious concerns about the quality of health care. We feel that this experience speaks very highly of the excellence of health care here.
On Wednesday adventures with power outages made Brian's CT scan somewhat rushed but he did manage to have it first thing in the morning.
"You have to drink 3 glasses of this chalky stuff with 10 minutes walking around between each glass and the power was due to go out at 10 a.m." Brian told Shelley.
The scan was done but the urologist advised Brian he did not want to do the operation until after Christmas. This is because everything is still traumatized by the biopsy and it is better if there is no swelling for the operation. Brian was of course a bit disappointed as right now all we want to do is get everything done and over with but, following the correct procedure is of course the only right thing to do.
"What's Shelley doing while Brian's at the hospital getting poked and scanned?" You ask.
What every red-blooded female in the world does when she's got something she doesn't want to think about; she & Fredi have been shopping! She tried several places over several different days and finally found a nice blouse in a little shop at Larga 8-78 y Benigno Malo that specializes in East Indian type clothing. The fellow in the store only spoke Spanish except for the prices and those he could blurt out in English. Shelley asked him to show her all the clothes that were "mas grande" and out of several choices he presented to her, she picked a very nice, very breezy blouse. Fredi thought it was great!
Wednesday our power at home was out 4 - 7 pm and Thursday it's due to be out 7 - 10 pm. This is the first time we've had two evening outages in the same week. We're feeling kind of hard done by, especially since a number of our friends have not experienced evening outages. On Monday, when it was out in the evening, after playing 2 hands of crib (Shelley beat Brian both hands!), we lay on our bed in the candle light and took comfort in discussing our old boat Dowager. We felt that she probably had been in better hands with us than her new owner, but hoped that they were managing her just the same. It was like fondly talking about a Grandparent that had passed away some time ago. To be fair to them, however, you must remember that we actually lived on the boat so maintenance was just part of our daily lives, whereas they have to do it all when they visit the boat on weekends & holidays.
Brian came home from the CT scan in an excellent mood. The cancer has not spread and all of his other organs are in very good condition. They've tentatively scheduled his operation for January 6th or 7th and he should be in the hospital for 3 or 4 days. Total cost for the hospital stay & a team of 5 surgeons will be $4,000. Of course, no surgery is without some risk of complication, but the specialist was very emphatic that he expected all to go well. We're feeling very good about the whole thing at this point and can now relax over the Christmas season and enjoy the company of friends & all the warmth of the festivities.