I have been a member of HW's prostate cancer group for 3 years now, but have been lurking in your group for about a year.
I am a 59 year old male living in SC. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 56, and had open Surgery to remove my prostate. There were lots of complications and had constant trouble with bladder neck strictures. I had 6 additional surgeries to deal with the strictures, but all in vain. During that time, I was on catheters for 1 1/2 years total. The surgery failed and t he cancer returned in 9 months with a vengence.
Then I underwent salvage radiation treatments, a total of 39 treatments for 72 gys of radiation. It was administered incorrectly and I was getting burned by the 4th treatment. In the end, my bladder and bladder neck was destroyed as the result of the radiation, and I had to have a suprapubic catheter in place for 51 weeks straight, right in the middle of a very inflamed bladder, unable to urinate in the natural way.
A year ago, had to undergo my 8th operation, had an Urostomy operation, where my damaged bladder was by-passed and ended up with a permament stoma, so now I have to urinate via the stoma into a bag.
After all the trouble that the radiation caused, it too failed to stop the agressiveness of the cancer, and now its back, and there is no longer any curative hope of stopping the cancer.
I have been suffering severe chronic pain now for 3 years as the results of all of this. Most of my pain is in my right hip, but covers my entire lower back, right leg, etc.
Fortunately I have a very good oncologist, and while he says he can't do anything about slowing the cancer progression, there is no reason for me to be in such severe pain.
Currently, I wear a fentanyl patch which I change every 72 hours, and he put me back on Loratab 10/500. I am allowed to take up to 8 in a 24 hour period, but so far, have never had to take more than 5 in a day. This combination of pain meds gets rid of 80% of the pain most days.
I was already on Loratabs for the past 2 years. My original doctor switched me for a month to Oxycotin, but it was not very effective for me. I am fortunate, that I have no problems with the meds. I do not get nauseated, have never had constipation problems, and believe it or not, they rarely make me drowsy.
I was put on SS disability as of this summer, after a 2 year fight. It was interesting that SS wouldn't put me on it for having Advanced Prostate Cancer, but they did because of the chronic pain and fatigue I have as the results of treatments for the cancer. My oncologist has the pain diagnosed officially as "Cancer Pain" as the result of severe nerve damage because of the blotched radiation treatments.
I find it so important to have a good and caring doctor. He calls me at home on his own initiative about every 10 days to check up on me, I think that is a rare doctor to do that.
So far, living here in SC, I have no problem getting my meds filled, typically at CVS drug stores. You should see what the bottle looks like that contains 160 Loratabs at a time comes in. Makes me feel self concious, but so far, no strange looks or rude remarks from the druggists.
I have read your stories here, and empathize with each of you. No one should have to suffer in chronic pain in this day and age, and I feel for those of you, that have trouble getting the meds that you desperately need, or made to feel like you are a druggie or drug seeking for trying to do so. Its just not right.
Sorry this is so long, but decided it was time for me to come forward in your group, as I have learned a bunch from lurking here.
My best to each of you.
David in SC