Don’t crack the Easter eggs yet

Following my last scans last Friday, we saw Dr P on Wednesday. The news was much the same as previously. The PSA has crept up again, 16.3 (from 14.7). In his words, this is “neither here nor there”. The good news was

  • the CT scan looks normal — everything the same as last time.
  • ditto for the bone scan. The scan folk mistakenly wrote on my report that there were no prior scan results with which to compare these ones. Of course I have been having these scans every three months for the last few years. Dr P rang them during the consult to query this. Whoever he spoke to found the previous results and said “nothing’s changed”.
  • Dr P is going away in April, and happy to kick my next consult with him forward to May, i.e. in eight weeks.
  • At the last consult we had asked him about going away for a holiday. He said he would be guided by the next scan results. So the uneventfulness of these scans led him to give us a leave pass until my next appointment with him.

I have been taking prednisolone over the last few weeks for the sciatica — see below. My GP wanted me to have a DEXA scan to establish baseline bone density data. (The scans I have with Dr P don’t give the right data for this.) So recently I had a BD scan, followed by a consult with the GP to discuss these results. As above, everything looks normal. The BD scan surveyed in particular the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and hip areas. (The thigh bone’s probably connected to the hip bone, or however the song goes. So sue me.) The lumbar spine is “in the normal range”. The left femoral neck is technically in the mild osteopenic range, but only just. (The osteopenia T-score range is between -1 and – 2.5; I scored -1.1, so only just within the range.) I eat plenty of calcium, and exercise quite regularly, so wasn’t expecting to have low BD. Nevertheless, it’s always good to have these things confirmed.

(We all know prednisolone reduces bone density. So in order that the DEXA scan would give me a proper set of baseline results, I held off on taking it until after the scan.)

The consult with the GP explored whether I could have something other than prednisolone. I said I had tried stretches, analgesics and anti-inflammatories, none of which worked satisfactorily, whereas the prednisolone does. (The effect of one 25 mg tablet each morning, followed by a coffee, is quite magical.) The GP ended up giving me a script for another medication, tapentadol, which should have a similar effect to the prednisolone, but without its side effects. I am yet to try this one; I have first to taper down the prednisolone over a week or so.

When too many Beethoven concerto cycles are never enough — I am just listening to the recent recording on ABC Classics with Jayson Gillham, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and Nicholas Carter. I had heard most of this when first broadcast on ABC Classic (to whom a shout-out for promoting Australian musicians is due). Gilham has plays with neatness, clarity, and spontaneity, and gets up quite a head of steam with Carter. All beautifully recorded at live concerts in the Elder Conservatorium. I actually like it even better on CD. Who else have I got? Stephen Kovacevich/Colin Davis, and Maurizio Pollini/Claudio Abbado are the only complete cycles on modern instruments. (I also have several of the Christian Bezuidenhout/Pablo Heras-Cassado cycle on original instruments, which are quite fabulous.)

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