Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Prostatitis Setback, But Progress

I had quite a prostatitis shock when I got back from a trip early this month and went through my dirty laundry: blood in a very undesired place. You never expect to find blood anywhere, but when you've had prostatitis, you know what it is and you're not spooked by it, you're just annoyed. That is, unless it's a lot, and that's what I found, a 1 inch diameter of dried blood. I had felt some discomfort on my plane ride back home, but it was nowhere near what I experienced before my karate adventure. And the stain was in clothes worn the day before, so I was asleep or otherwise did not know when it was happening.

Thankfully it was bacterial this time, but with prostatitis one is never certain. Let's just say that the conclusion of three weeks of antibiotics and absence of pain coincided. Whether or not the relationship was causal, we'll let time decide. Most prostatitis is viral or chronic pelvic pain syndrome, but if you ever get bacterial, you should consider yourself fortunate. Strong antibiotics can work on it, eventually.

Luckily, I was due for a physical and blood tests showed my PSA reading was very low; sometimes prostatitis can throw the PSA into higher territory which initiates an investigation for prostate cancer. It is claimed that the medical literature indicates that having recurrent prostatitis virtually insulates you against ever having prostate cancer (80% of men get it, and it's usually at the end of life but it moves so slowly you end up dying of something else; it's when you're in your 40s or 50s or 60s that you need to act quickly; I'd rather be in the 20%, but there are times when I'd love to have it yanked out like a bad tooth and take my chances, but they don't do surgery for prostatitis, and prostate surgery is loaded with possible downside issues in and of itself, so it's not even a remote option). I've asked doctors and researchers what the literature indicates what the prostate cancer risk is if you have chronic pelvic pain syndrome and not true prostatitis. They just shrug. The topic is so understudied that no one really knows for certain, and the people who had been diagnosed with prostatitis in the studies may have had CPPS all along.

December has been a strange month for karate because class schedules were affected by Christmas, business, and family schedules. After November's changed schedule and December's lighter one, it's pretty clear that karate's might be contributing to my esophagus irritation, but not so much I should consider stopping class. I told Sensei that I would be popping some antacid during class (various generic versions of Tums, which is basically just calcium), and he said to do whatever I needed to do. Some students have wondered what I was doing during our minute-long breaks but no one has asked or commented about it. I'd much prefer to be eating chocolate throughout the class, of course, and if I was, I'm sure they'd ask for some. The regimen has helped quite a bit. So if this condition was caused by or aggravated by karate movements scrambling my stomach contents, this seems to have helped deal with it. I am hoping to attempt stopping my daily medication in a few months and just use antacids in class or as otherwise needed. Last time I tried to discontinue it, before I had my detailed diagnosis, within two weeks it was overwhelmingly clear that I still needed it. It's been ten months since I was diagnosed, and five months since my endoscopy, and this is the first month that I feel that things are subsiding.

A new issue emerged that affects my study, but it's a good one. Five years ago I sold a business and my non-compete agreement with the buyer expired. Five years went quickly (I'm reminded of the old saying "the days are long and the years fly by"). With two business partners I'm starting a new business again, and I'll start traveling once more, usually no more than overnights. I've learned to do kata in hotel rooms (it's strange having a coffee table or lamp in the way as your opponent), by hotel pools, and in fitness centers. On some occasions, it's even outside. For the past couple of years I've avoided fitness room equipment, realizing that kata and other exercises give me a far better workout. I almost get on treadmills to rest, it seems. I now know that after years of treadmilling, I never really got any benefits until I started working on karate.

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