My Cancer Voyage……How’s it Going?????
I have deliberately delayed updating my health condition for the past few months due to conflicting symptoms I have experienced and the tests needed to resolve the reasons for these symptoms. I needed truthful answers to present here in this post rather than jumping to conclusions
What follows here is not a self-pitying diatribe but an example of what a cancer patient might experience following diagnosis, then primary treatment followed by regular monitoring. Every cancer patient has a heightened awareness of any changes that may indicate a return, or an advancement of the cancer. A cancer patient has a mental fear of any advancement of their disease and it is easy for their mind to go to dark places with every increase of side effects or any new symptoms that appear.
The mental stress that is felt must be dealt with in a positive way and answers to any new health aspects must be dealt with in a practical and sensible fashion. This will involve visits to the doctor and/or specialists followed by any blood tests and scans that may be indicated. It is only when these have been completed that true answers may become available.
I have been experiencing periods of extreme fatigue for a couple of weeks followed by a period of a few days of feeling normal and reasonably energetic. I have been having real problems stabilising my body temperature over the past five weeks with numerous hot and cold flushes throughout the day and night. However the real worry for me during this time has been the increasing pains and stiffness I am experiencing from the upper leg area through to the pelvic area and the lower back.
The past five weeks has seen me with unsettled sleep as I fight imaginary demons and temperature inversions.Some nights insomnia due to the aches and pains drives me out of bed in the wee small hours. My nightly visits to the loo have increased over this time and I am now up and down about four times a night attending to urination duties.
Soooo…. Off to the doctors and specialists I went, time and again during the past month. I have had a multitude of blood tests and scans. The results of all this investigation is as follows.
Since completion of my radiation treatment I have remained on ADT medication and my PSA has stabilised at 0.03, the latest result was in July so this indicates the cancer is under control (Good news).
I have been diagnosed as having another mild attack of prostatitis and I have been prescribed antibiotics for this (Crappy news).
I have now been diagnosed as a type II diabetic and I am now on medication for this, plus modifying my diet and daily monitoring of my blood sugar levels. I have also been prescribed a statin for lowering my cholesterol which is high ( Crappy crappy news).
Bone density scans have confirmed I now have a condition known as osteopenia a prelude to osteoporosis. This is a known side effect from the ADT treatment and I have to up my calcium intake and monitor my density more closely (More crappy news).
My liver function tests were through the roof (this was a real worry as I was thinking mets.) However further blood tests and scans revealed a diagnosis of an enlarged fatty liver. Now this problem can be serious and is mostly caused by the chronic use of alcohol. It can also be caused by a genetic condition known as haemochromatosis, which is an excess of iron in the body. As it happened my iron levels are very high and may indicate this condition, however the genetic test for haemochromatosis is only available through Medibank after two consecutive high iron readings (Crappy, crappy, crappy news).
I have been known to enjoy an alcoholic drink from time to time and so the doctor has advised me to abstain from drinking alcohol to rescue my liver. This advice was given because even if Haemochromatosis is evident the alcohol combined with this condition is not a good habit to continue with.
Right now I feel like I am sitting on the dock of the bay……..watching the tide roll away. Eighteen months ago I was a happy-go-lucky beer drinking reasonably healthy human being with no prescription drugs.
Today eighteen months down the track my cancer journey has caused me to retire from my profession and become a pensioner. It has taken away my ability and desire for a satisfying sexual life. It has given me fatigue that comes and goes, a muddled brain from time to time, aches and pains along with stiffness. It has given me temperature inversions that drive me insane at all hours of the day and night. I now have to adjust my diet leaving behind some of the foods I have enjoyed all my life and to cease enjoying a beer or glass of wine. I am now required to prick my fingers several times a day to monitor my sugar levels and record them in a diary. I have some minor incontinence and an intimate knowledge of toiletry requirements and hygiene. I now have a handful of medication pills to administer daily and four monthly injections of my ADT medication to look forward to. I now have the risk of bone breakage without warning and finally, I also live in dread of the cancer returning to finish what it started.
Now it would be easy for me to get lost in a pessimistic haze over all this, rant, rave and shake my fists at the heavens for sending me this plague of locusts and boils. However I think of those wonderful inspirational people I have found who have given me new insights that enable me to be optimistic and give me hope. Andy Ripley was one who I wrote about some time back and my previous post introduced Harry Pinchot to you all who has shown me that having cancer can offer many opportunities.
Adversities like cancer, the other mixed bag stuff I am dealing with plus many other dire plagues of boils and locusts I have yet to experience have strengthened my character and soul. These things have allowed me to re-evaluate my self, my loved ones, my spirituality, the world in which I live and the rest of humanity. In summary, I am finding out much more about me as a person and where I fit in the scheme of things called life than I would have otherwise.
Such is life said Ned Kelly…………..and so it is………….I can still manage a smile………just takes a while……….just takes a while……and I still choose life over the alternative………….what an adventure.
Lee aka Popeye
Written by Lee
4 August 2013 at 12:11 am
Posted in erectile dysfunction, external beam, Health, Health, hormone therapy, incontinence, information, Lee's Page, MEDICAL, MEDICATION, Metastasis, my fight, oncology, PERSONAL, PROSTATE CANCER, psa, quality of life, radiation, TREATMENTS, Urology
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