Specialising in the human experience of Living with prostate cancer – warts and all

The End Game – 3 June 2008

with 6 comments

Back from the brink …

It has been the best part of a month since I last posted and that is because I have been in ‘medical purgatory’ over that period.

Back then, I was on my ‘girly pills’ targeting the production of testosterone that the prostate cancer feeds on and that aggravated the bone cancer.

To manage the pain, I was prescribed morphine based tablets. Whilst they sort of removed me from the pain, the side effects were horrendous. They made me sleep throughout the day and destroyed my concentration – I couldn’t even take in a news headline – and they clogged me up with constipation.

My pain management was out of control so I pulled the plug on all medication to try and identify what was happening. I was prepared to accept some pain and feel alive rather than mask it and feel the way I did under the morphine.

The immediate reaction was withdrawal symptoms of waking up with the trembles and being a teary, emotional wreck. I soon found out that I was having two serious pain events each day – around 4 am and 4 pm. The medication was changed and things began to improve.

Three weeks ago, I rocked up to the doctor to have a hormone implant to replace the girly pills. This is actually a chemical castration. The doctor said that she hadn’t been there before and I duly informed her that I hadn’t either. So I told her we were going nowhere until she had read the instructions and understood what she was doing.

After doing her homework, she unpacked the implant to expose a 17 gauge hypodermic needle – that is as thick as a kebab wooden skewer and bigger than we use on the cattle. After insisting on a local anesthetic, and checking that she felt up to speed on the procedure, I told her to pretend she was the doctor and I was the patient and then we went for it.

That implant hit in last Monday night when, for a couple of days I lost control of my body temperature and my appetite dramatically improved.

With the pain management now happening and the hormone implant shrinking up the gonads, I am starting to believe that remission from the cancer might be just possible.

The fact is I have been able to write this post and, let me tell you, I have not been in a position to do that before.

Written by Greg Naylor

2 June 2008 at 7:37 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Good to hear about the pain management improvement Greg, but it’s sad to hear about the gonads! Oh well, who needs ’em anyway?


    3 June 2008 at 12:19 am

  2. I think the “chemical castration” thing is a slow release hrmone treatmeent.
    You still get to keep your beans.

    Anyway it’s great that you were feeling well enough to log on and tell us how you are going Greg, even if it hasn’t been all plain sailing.

    I have been checking in to see if you had updated the site.

    It sounds like you are being very pro active about your own treatment Greg, that’s important I think.
    A lot of people kind of resign “ownership” of their bodies when they get sick and I think there’s a danger in that.
    It’s great that you are able to say what you do and don’t want in terms of your treatment options.
    And of course, as you rightly say, remission is always a possibility.
    I think everything we now know about cancer treatment indicates that a positive outlook is one of the most essential factors in most aspects of treatment.


    3 June 2008 at 3:36 pm

  3. Thanks for the encouragement AWOL. It all helps – it really does!

    The chemical castration is reversible after you stop the treatment. The beans drop back in their pod, the A cup breasts disappear and the old feller makes his presence felt. The catch there is that you only stop the treatment when the cancer builds an immunity to the hormone … and, I guess by then, the ratiation and other forms of radical treatment will keep ones mind off ones sexuality.

    I insist on being pro-active about the treatment. I have to listen to my body. The palliative care pain management doctor wants to try a range of more radical processes but I am not interested until the hormone treatment fails and analgesics no longer help.

    Typically, radiation relieves pain for up to 50 days and if you can manage a second go, it is only effective for a shorter period. The fact is the cancer is too far advanced to be beaten and I see these treatments as back-end options only. Fortunately, none of my medical team are arguing with me. I will welcome such treatment at the appropriate time. Until then, I am prepared to accept some pain as long as I still feel alive.

    I am in awe of the knowledge they have and the number of prostate cancers that have gone before me to give them that knowledge.

    Greg Naylor

    3 June 2008 at 6:01 pm

  4. Listen, Greg, it’s OK to feel a bit knackered, just stay away from the bloody knackery.

    Best wishes, JR


    4 June 2008 at 11:54 am

  5. Who “gets it” over age 50 anyway Greg? My sexuality is still “on my mind” and that’s where it tends to stay … bugger it! Great chronicling of your journey though and please keep it up. Honestly, it’s bookworthy stuff you’re writing here mate.


    4 June 2008 at 11:35 pm

  6. Thanks for the encouragement Ray. I have been a bit concerned that it might be a bit morbid for some – but what the hell – I can only tell it as I see it. Pity I won’t be around to collect the royalties!

    Greg Naylor

    5 June 2008 at 12:44 am

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