I have been in the process of getting a definitive diagnoise for nearly a year now. I have my first biopsy in July 2011 with the results being "Inconclusive". I had to wait for 7 months before I could get a re-peat biopsy due to some family emergencies and a bladder infection. I don't know how I got a bladder infection but if someone could tell me I promise I will never do it again.
After the second biopsy came back positive for cancer (Gleason 3+3/6 and PSA 10.4) the urologst recommended I come in within the next couple weeks for surgery. I was rather surprised by his advice since I had heard and read that prostate cancer was slow growing and there generally wasn't a need to make a quick decision. Since my wife was having surgery that same week and would be recovering for several weeks, the thought of having surgery right away was out of the question.
While my wife was recovering I met with a Radiation Oncologist for his advice. He could not justify having surgery right away nor did he seem to be in a big hurry to start radiation. I ask and received authorization to be evaluated at Loma Linda Medical center for Proton beam treatment. I made arrangements to go to Loma Linda but received a call a few days before my appointment telling me that Proton radiation was not approved but IMRT was. I couldn't see any reason to go 120 miles each way when I could receive the same treatment just 5 minutes away.
I heard a radio ad about a treatment protocal called "Tomo-Therapy" that was being given at the closest hospital to me. I just dropped in and ask what the treatment was about, attended a seminar that same week and ask to be evaluated for treatment there.
My insurance approved treatment. I had my "Sim" treatment yesterday and will begin IMRT "Tomo-Therapy" in 2 weeks.
I rejected surgery because everytime I had a Urology appointment at the Naval Medical center I would see a different Doctor. I was reluctant to have surgery when I may not have any idea what the experience of the surgeon is.
I am optomistic for a full recovery and am looking forward to getting started.
WOW!!!! I can't believe it has already been a year since my treatment. I had good intentions of keeping a regular series of updates to this site but there just wasn't that much to report. When I began my treatments I had the same thought that I read here many times, was anything really happening???? After a few days I got my answer. After about 5 treatments I began having to get up several times a night to urinate and it quickly got more and more uncomfortable. My Doctor told me to take Advil twice a day to see it would provide any relief but she also gave me a perscription for Flowmax. I tried to Advil for a few days with no noticible relief. I began a self-perscribed protocol of two Advil and 2 Flowmax taken 6 hours apart (Advil/Flowmax/Advil/Flowmax). My problem of having to get up went away almost immediately, I eventually eliminated the Advil and cut back to 1 Flowmax a day for the duration of my treatment and for about 1 month following the end of my treatments.
That issue taken care of my treatment continued. After a few weeks I began having tremendous urgency to urinate when ever I put any weight on my feet (going from siting to standing). When I say "urgent" it doesn't really adaquately describe how "urgent" it really was. There was no waiting. Whenever I put any weight on my feet the first place I had to go was the closest bathroom. This caused some altering of lifestyle as you can imagine. I stayed pretty close to home for a while. This side effect continued for a few months following treatment and is still a minor problem but no where near the problem it was at its worst. I never experienced any incontenance with the occasional exception of some minor leakage (no more than a drop or two and usually while I was sleeping in a sitting position, never at night).
Speaking of sleeping..... near the end of my treatment I began having extreme fatigue that would usually hit me around 4 in the afternoon. If I was out doing something I could muscle my way through it but if I was at home I would sit down and fall asleep within seconds. This continued for several months. My energy level is still not back to where it was but continues to get better.
I am now a year out from my treatments and have no complaints.
To this day I have not talked to a PC paticent that was not convinced the treatment they choose was the best treatment for them. I am the same way. I am completely happy with the treatment protocal I choose, I am happy with the Doctor that administered my treatment plan, all the nurses, technicians and support staff were great to work with.
I am especially thankful for the support of my wife, who went with me to every treatment, and all my friends.
Had my two year post-treatment check-up a couple months ago. All continues to be about the same. My PSA was exactly the same as the previous year, side effects continue to be manageable.
I did have an interesting discussion with my Oncologist concerning post-treatment depression. She did tell me that it was not uncommon to have some level of depression after treatment mostly due to the fact that you are no longer actually doing anything about you desease.
She went on to explain that when you first receive your diagnoises you become a cancer paticent and you are actively engaged in selecting a treatment, gathering information, making decisions and being treated. After your treatment is completed, you are still a cancer paticent, but you are no longer really engaged in all of the things you were doing before treatment. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness in the continued treament of your/our disease which can lead to depression.
It doesn't affect everyone but it has had a significant effect on me. I'm confident I will snap out of it someday...... but at what point do you not consider yourself a cancer paticent any longer????? Your thoughts appreciated.
I am a bit late with this annual update due to my relocation preperations from Southern California to North West Arkansas. The reason for the move is due to the loss of my wife nearly a year ago from pancreatic cancer, and realizing I no longer have any reason to stay where I am. There are no words that can adaquately describe how much I miss her. My recovery continues to progress with no side effects other than the ones associated with aging and experiencing a loss.
Elton's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org