A new perspective:
Many of you have been heroes to me both when I first came here and even new members since. On March 23, I went past 1 year with an undetectable PSA. Wow what a year! Staying positive is my motto, I preach it here. There were times it was difficult. I am now a moderator here, but I am also a patient, too. My signature tells a story that shows various levels of success. I also blog a site for friends and family, and for myself to vent or articulate a feeling about this experience. First off I am still positive, living a desert outdoors life, RVing, Dirt Biking, Ultraliting, Boating, much more, and a productive job. I wanted to post this at my blog, and may still, but it's probably more useful here. I started out well. I came here (good start) at the age of 44 and learned about the process of treating PC and about courage. You folks said I had courage but it was you all that showed me how to not be afraid. Fact is that I still have days I worry about the relapse that I was told is likely. It doesn't stop me from living though. I went back and read my posts from day one and am amazed I kept my sanity. (at least some of it). Here's how it all started:
On February 16, 2007, we accomplished removing the prostate while staying continent and having useful erections. But we still did not get good results that we had hoped for. I had a bad pathology and high probability of return. pT3b, bilateral seminals involved, extraprostatic extension to the bone, positive margins, and a 4+3 Gleason. I was told it may also still be stage IV but the lymphs were clean (10 removed). The surgeon said 60% chance of return.
My oncologist stated 90% chance or relapse and had the slides sent to Johns Hopkins. Epstein declined me for a clinical trial with false good news. There was a clerical error on my PSA and the time lapsed on entering the trial. No harm no foul. The trial was abandoned. (actually if I had started the trial I would have had free care for life after the program was stopped). My medical oncologist today still thinks radiation was not fruitful but he OK'd me for the procedure. I have a great oncologist and he has allowed me to do my own research and add my thoughts each step of the way. I optioned out of chemotherapy for now.
Angrogen Deprivation Therapy (ADT or also HT):
This started out well but did not continue to be without side effects. Hot flashes happen but have been tolerable. Headaches have increased, and are still increasing. Not too much to medicate, but enough to consider it. I have completely lost the libido and that has been the biggest psychological down turn. Using meds to get erections is fruitless if you are not sexually driven. Also my short term memory is not nearly as good. Also my short term memory is not nearly as good. Still I must remain on it at least another year or more. I take my bone meds, and also my supplements outlined in the Myers book. But I want my dang sex drive back.
Standard IMRT 38 sessions just over six months ago. I breezed through the treatment. Walked many miles through beautiful Utah, Arizona, and Nevada.Walked daily afetr treatments about 3 miles or more. No side effects. At First. If I drink a bunch of wine I am incontinent now. I am alcohol free pretty much these days. So its better. Occasional drips are not enough to wear pads. I hear this will get better in time. I can tolerate the side effects.
Additional side effects:
I have high blood pressure and have had to intervene with meds. (Not good for the libido or the erections, what ever those are). Stamina is lowered by the combination of all the above. But I am still quite active and working through light fatigue. (working very hard probably isn't helping the fatigue). I am doing OK with the weight, I was supposed to gain, but actually below the daVinci weight.
Because of a necessary job change, COBRA, travelling for treatment, I've blown over a 100k in savings over the last year and a half. I was very lucky to save that much but now it's gone. (lovely housing market crash doesn't help either). Still I will rebuid it. I don't fear the financials. If I have had to make changes they are not too over bearing.
I have decided to pursue a closer relationship with God and my religion. It was much improved ten years ago by the loss of our baby. But it is now my way of life. And this has made all the above meaningless. The biggest gain in getting cancer. Because of this I have no regrets and do not sweat the above small cancer stuff. By now you know I am a devout Christian. Sunday church, and Monday studies. And every day practice. It used to be my business that religion stopped at the doors of the church, but now I know that is where it begins. I can go on about it but just know that my cancer lost it's battle to Jesus.
One year Later:
I am still in remission. I could have been tested by the job, money, and losing my mother less than a month ago, but instead I am stronger. Better able to fight disease. Better able to Love the little things in life. Better Lover of my wife whom without I would only be half a man. Cancer has made me some very special friends that I have never shook hands with. Cancer has been a positive, not a negative. But cancer still sucks.
No one knows physically. But I will continue to thrive with my beautiful wife, Ruthie, my son, my friends. I am a skilled engineer and Account Executive. And when I see the desert, I ride, hike, and thrive. And when I come here, I have found a great place to be.
Thank you all! Thank you for letting me moderate and help this site thrive. I have to be up in six hours so I'm done for tonight. I hope this was useful to someone. It was for me. Overall, the price was affordable. God Bless you all.