There’s not a lot to talk to a doctor about when your already low PSA hardly moves and the latest appointment with my oncologist reflected that, turning out to be pretty much a non-event, apart from the fact that I didn’t see my usual oncologist this time.
The appointment didn’t last long. Most of it was taken up talking about the treatment side effects that I have rather than my PSA (which now stands at 0.492) or starting any new treatments, but the doc did chuck in a hint of how things might progress with an almost throwaway remark: “this is as good as it’s going to get”. Thanks doc. I sort of knew that I must be enjoying a lull before the expected storm but I guess it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that with everything I’ve had done I really shouldn’t have any PSA and that even a small increase should not be viewed lightly and that it should not be going up at all.
My next blood test and oncologist appointment are in 3 months’ time. Hopefully my next PSA result will show the cancer is having an extended break and I can again delay moving on to the next treatment. Imagine being able to say “I’m in remission“, that’d be nice. I’d be quite happy for that to be the case and long may it last if it is!
I think it’ll be especially useful for anyone about to have any prostate investigations done or who is currently having them, but it’ll be informative to anyone with an interest in prostate cancer for any reason.
The programme was first broadcast on 4th January 2017 and should be available for a while.
If you’re outside the UK and BBC iPlayer won’t let you access the programme, try the Apple Podcasts app or one of the many other radio or podcast apps.
The hormone pills I’ve been on for the last 7 months have now resulted in me feeling totally exhausted. Over the last 5 or 6 weeks I cannot believe how much of an effort everything has become. There are some days when I don’t feel too bad but for most of the time it’s an effort to move. I’ve been feeling a bit emotional, too, although I haven’t yet burst into tears. Both the exhaustion and the simmering emotional volcano are down to the lack of testosterone. The pills I take stop my body from producing it as the prostate cancer feeds off it in order to grow and spread. No testosterone = no spread, in the short to medium term anyway. No testosterone also means no energy, hot flushes and a short fuse (à la menopausal woman, so I’m told). At some point my body will realise what’s going on, then find a way round it. Not yet though as my latest PSA blood test shows a further drop to 0.222. Not quite the zero that I’d like, but at least it’s not going up.
I’ll see the oncologist this week when I’m hoping she’ll take me off the testosterone-killing pills so that we can all see if my latest 15 sessions of radiotherapy that finished a couple of months back have done what we hoped, which is permanently got rid of the cancer in my pelvic lymph nodes before it’s had a chance set up camp anywhere else in my lymphatic system. If I come off the pills my energy levels should rise, my mood should improve and I should get my body hair back. It’s not that I’m completely smooth, but lots has dropped out and I’ve noticed I’m a little rounder in places where men aren’t usually and I don’t like it. I’m geared up for the possibility that I might have to stay on them for a while longer and reminding myself that I would much rather be emotional, hairless and rounder instead of dead helps me to keep some perspective.
Feeling exhausted and drained did not prevent me from going to Spain for two weeks (not Llandudno as some believed!). While the change of scenery and the sunshine and warmth were very enjoyable and welcome it was also the quietest, most sedate, most uneventful holiday we’ve ever had. Not by choice but it’s hard to rock ‘n’ roll when you’re falling asleep all the time. To paraphrase Churchill I slept on the beaches, I slept in the fields, I slept in the streets and in the hotel room as well. Not even a continual procession of eye candy parading by on the naturist beach could keep me awake for long. I’ve been home about 10 days now and still I’m knackered.
As if things were not bad enough, a month before we went on holiday I announced we were getting a new car. OK, not so much announced as wore my partner down until he gave in and agreed. Our existing car is fine but I cannot get in and out of it easily anymore because it’s too low. I have to perform contortions in order to do so and it’s been getting steadily more difficult for a couple of years. Our existing car is also 12 years old and we’ve owned it for 10 years. Plus we’ve never had a new, new car, only second-hand ones. These are just some of the arguments I used to obtain consent for my latest obsession. Had he not agreed we would now not be awaiting the imminent arrival of our new Volkswagen, so I can firmly pin the blame on him. After all, I’m ill and am not thinking straight so it’s gotta be his fault. Hasn’t it? At least it’s not a diesel VWor he’d really be getting an ear bashing.