News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9, 2005
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TOM WRIGHT

What it means to hit the big four-ohg

Guys my age discover their prostate.

It's not by accident that the chestnut-sized gland comes creeping into men's lives about the time they spot a few gray hairs on their head.

"It's a little boggy," a doctor said to me nearly a quarter-century ago.

"Why?" I asked, having until that time not realized it had gone about its duties all those years without complaint.

"You're almost 40, aren't you?" he replied.

With that, I became aware of both age and prostate and now ride that bumpy road of PSA testing.

I've learned that if your PSA is 3 or lower you are in good shape, prostate-wise. If it bounces outside 4, you may or may not be in a bit of trouble, but the doctor needs to do more tests, one of which might be a biopsy.

Ouch!

I've been down that road a couple of times, too.

Regina says I need to move my annual physical from November to mid summer or to after Christmas because my PSA level travels outside the normal range every couple of years.

It did that in November and the doctors and I agreed to wait until January to retest.

That sort of messed up Thanksgiving and Christmas for Regina and me.

Her way to deal with stressful events is to talk about them. Rehash them. Chew them to a bloody pulp.

Mine is to not talk about them any more than is necessary, because talk doesn't cure.

The results came in the other day from my recent test and my PSA level has decided to be normal again. For how long I don't know, so I'm going to have it checked every three months from now on, even if it's supposed to be an annual thing.

And to you guys over 40 who have never had a PSA, which stands for prostate specific antigen, schedule one.

Even if mine had gone higher and another biopsy brought bad news, prostate cancer caught that early is usually curable.

A lot of guys are walking around today because they got checked.

Tom Wright Tom Wright
DAILY Executive Editor

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