This is my fourth cancer. The first was around forty years ago, when I was living in the States. My third was a melanoma, diagnosed in Tokyo in 2008 and removed surgically. In December 2013, I completed five years without any detectable spread and celebrated with my family. The next day, the doctors told me I had prostate cancer, confined within the gland.
After three previous cancers and considering my age, I can't say I was surprised. But in December I had been looking forward to spending at least a few years without cancer. However, I'm blessed with good health; only ailment is one ankle wobbly from something unrelated. Still, I average about 4 miles of walking per day.
Started treatment with ADT plus Casodex. After about six weeks on Casodex, its side-effects kicked in. The worst was arrythmia. The docs stopped it and its effects wore off, taking about six weeks to disappear. The only side-effects after 2-1/2 months of ADT are occasional dizziness, spells of feeling too cold or too hot, and less muscle strength.
Current schedule sees radiation starting in June. It'll be my third time to get radiation and I'm not looking forward to it. But I'm doing what I can to prepare for it. Luckily, in Tokyo I have access to excellent acupuncturists.
I had two months of EBRT in the summer of 2014. The worst side-effect was the need for intermittent catheterization afterwards. The doc gave me a simple tube (don't know whether it was latex or silicone) and gel, and I got several UTIs before I discovered hydrophilic catheters. Since then, no problems. I've been reducing my need for catheterization, and I hope to be able to urinate normally in the future.
Other than catheterization, no current side-effects worth mentioning. 4-5 months of ADT are left. My PSA dropped to 0.119 at the most recent exam, I feel good, and I'm looking forward to life without ADT.
Treatment had completed, and my PSA level had been around 0.130 throughout 2015, under control in other words. I was looking forward to a quiet, post-prostate cancer life. However, a CT scan (under Japanese rules, you can not have an MRI scan if you have a pacemaker) in November 2015 showed that the melanoma that had been quiet since 2008 had roared to life, spreading melanomas to four locations in my body, two of which were in my brain.
They radiated my head in December 2015, and I started immunotherapy in January 2016. It took 2 months for the immunotherapy to start taking effect. Immunotherapy is wonderful. The only side-effects I experienced were minimal: itchy skin, for example. I've been feeling better and better, get exercise. Back to prostate cancer, my PSA in April 2016 was 0.161 and declining. I've been able to continue my research and a paper I've co-authored was accepted and will be published, probably this year.
Robert's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org