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

Four Monthly Prostate Cancer Review Negatives and Positives

with 2 comments

Christmases past

Negativity takes over

I have just attended my urologists practice last friday afternoon on a scheduled review appointment and I was in a foul negative mood. My mood must have affected both my doctor and my wife as it was as if a dark cloud had descended on the meeting and I suddenly became a target for both of them.

It has been almost four months since my diagnosis and I am due for my next hormone implant injection come the 17th July. So with nothing better to offer as a post I decided to allow these two themes to guide me through and weigh up the negatives and the positives as they have happened to me over these past four months and throw them out there and see what comments I might stir up.

To be fair to my wife and urologist and to explain to everyone up front, I felt so bad after fridays meeting with my doctor that I emailed him an extended apology that evening and spent the next couple of days trying to make it up to my wife. To my urologists credit the apology was accepted without any problems and my dark mood on the day was mellowed by the doctors explanations to my problems and the ghost of Andy Ripley looking over my shoulder and whispering in my ear “Read my poem again you idiot.”

As a lead up into my dark mood on the friday I had spent the last eight weeks since my TURP procedure with  typical symptoms that had not fully resolved since the procedure. In fact I was collecting more symptoms along the way. The bleeding and purging of prostate material had continued and I was still experiencing pain on urination particularly throughout the daylight hours. I had developed stiffness and pain within the pelvic region and thighs. I had developed off and on chills and fever and an inability to stabilise my body temperature from time to time. My main ADT side affects of tiredness and heavy breathing were still with me. So I was getting a little worried. I had dark thoughts that these symptoms were possibly a result of the cancer extending itself subtly throughout.

As I began to unveil my diagnosis of my fears my doctor told me to drop anchor for a minute and presented me with the medical facts of my rotten position and the deepening symptoms I was experiencing. He explained with diagrams what he had done to the prostate during the TURP procedure and the fact that most of the tumour had been removed leaving behind an empty prostate sac that has two saggy edges near the bladder. My problem with pain and shut off while urinating throughout the day was because the bladder was not filling to acceptable levels and when trying to urinate the two edges of the prostate sac would flap together causing a shut down with associated pain. During the hours of darkness the bladder would fill sufficiently for the pressure to be such that this would not occur hence no pain throughout the evening. In time the remains of the prostate sac will shrivel and will not cause any problems. My other worsening symptoms are being caused by bacterial prostatitis which is being treated by ongoing antibiotics. He showed me in my pathology results with my urine samples that my leukocytes had risen from less than 10 to over 1000. This indicates a massive lot of crud still to be expelled from my urinary system.

My doctor then went on to advise that my latest PSA test was 0.01 so my prostate cancer at the moment wherever it happens to be within or without the remains of my prostate gland was not going anywhere for the moment. He reminded me that we have one shot at stopping this thing and it is with ADT combined with HDR Brachytherapy and External Beam Radiology. But I have to become symptom free before I start further treatment. At this stage it could be late August/September before we continue.

My other negative views which I have expressed in the past and did again at this meeting upset my doctor and my wife to the point where they were challenging my logic. I will explain these here as I said at the begining I would look at both the negatives and the positives according to my understanding.

Balancing the prospects

Proper Balance Needed

In the case for the negatives. I have almost reached the age of 65 years and have led a great life. No one lives for ever, we all have to head off this planet sometime. I don’t fear death but I do fear a long prolonged down hill slide to death. I do not wish to prolong this type of degredation for my family. So for me 65 is a pretty good innings, a lot of my friends and family were not so fortunate. So in good faith I am ready to declare my innings but not so my urologist and my good wife and I might add  bloody Andy Ripley.

For the positives and to be fair here it could be said (and was actually stated by the urologist) that from my initial diagnosis and cancer grading of gleason 9 that this prostate cancer had most likely started within me some 10 years or more before it became symptomatic. That would mean that with proper screening I could have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 54. Now if that had of happened through early screening I may not have been writing this post as this thing may have been nipped in the bud way back then when it was less agressive and easily cured. There was no way I would have been happy to leave this planet then. I was still a young and vibrant man of 54 with the world at my feet at the time.

The next positive I confronted was the ghost I uncovered in my last post and was really the reason I apologised to my urologist. I couldnt get the spirit of the poem written by Andy Ripley out of my head and it is worth repeating here.

Dare We Hope? We Dare

Can We Hope? We Can

Should We Hope? We Must.

We must, because to do otherwise is to waste the most

precious of gifts, given so freely by God to all of us.

So when we do die,it will be with hope and it will be

easy and our hearts will not be broken.

Andy Ripley 2007

So here I am feeling pretty ordinary. My life since late January this year has gone down the drain. My expectations of any real future are on hold. I now need a pad in my jocks to contain small accidents. It looks like any hope for a continuation of a satisfying sex life has long since gone out the window. How my wife really feels about this is really unknown to me although she has stated that it is not a real issue for her ( I am not sure how to really take that). My best mate and spouse for forty years now has to share, care and continue to love this poor old sod for better or for worse. A real positive for us is the fact that at the moment and for the past four months our relationship has expanded considerably. Being straight up with each other and being satisfied with a hug and holding hands is sustaining us through this time. I pray this will continue. My mental and physical abilities seem to have flown out the window in the case of ever being able to return to any previous work positions and responsibilities that I once took pride in. These abilities are now gone from my reach.

So here I am stuck with a bloody great spiritual poem, an inspirational story about a man who wrote it. A urologist who will not let go and refuses to concede defeat. This man is almost spiritually revered in my home town of Mackay and whose reputation is beyond repute. I am also stuck with a family including my wife who I know loves me and wants our life to continue together. My son does not want to lose me nor does my daughter. The grandkids mostly the young ones are not really sure what is going on. My special grandson Jesse who is seventeen is a different matter. His medical condition and history is a complete unknown story on its own to the world and a modern miracle that he has survived. He and I have a special bond and I am priviliged to have been his friend and mentor throughout a huge part of our lives together.

So, as from this day I have committed to a positive attitude for the next few months. I will turn up with a smile and a shes right mate attitude for the next few months. I will commit to the HDR Brachytherapy and External beam radiology when it is deemed that I am fit enough to endure the treatment. However I reserve the right to make new decisions after these events depending on how it all turns out.

Positives and negatives

Positives and Negatives


Lee aka Popeye

I must submit some popeye photos of me taken some years ago. Please remind me sometime?

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2 Responses

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  1. You sure have a few complications, both medically and psychological, in your recovery from the TURP. I was fortunate that I did not have any medical complications although I too was robbed of any further sex life. Although, with the difficulty of recovery, you don’t even consider that as a problem.

    Isn’t it sad that it takes a shock like this to strengthen the relationship with your wife and family. As time goes by and the need for her ongoing care deepens, make sure that relationship is never tested. As to your extended family … its great to see they are all on the same page with you and you can better appreciate one another.

    Your dark thoughts that these symptoms were possibly a result of the cancer extending itself are probably wrong. I suspect they are negative side effects of the hormone therapy. The implant takes 21 days to exhibit the side effects you are having. You didn’t have any of them before that implant, did you?

    Good to see you have tossed work. That gives you more time to live the rest of your life the way you want to rather than what you are expected to do. Enjoy it!

    I wish you well with the treatment. HDR Brachytherapy and External beam radiology seems to be the way to go to get that beastie out of your body.

    Greg Naylor

    10 July 2012 at 10:51 am

    • Greg: Thanks for your kind words and support. I guess the article throws light on the fact that cancer is just not a physical medical problem but a mental one as well. I was pretty down at the time but logic has me looking forward again. This bloody thing brings out the best and worst in us all, however it will be interesting how we both fare over time and to look back on some of our posts. Heres to our future mate!!!!

      Lee Gallagher

      10 July 2012 at 10:49 pm

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