Posted 2/1/2013 12:31 PM (GMT -6)
You've gotten good advice so far. I would emphasize what has been said: every man is unique, and you need to tailor whatever advice you do get to your own situation.
Just a couple of other points from my own experience:
(1) I actually mastered the art of going into the mens' room adjacent to the radiation waiting room and letting out just a little while keeping the rest of it in, thus relieving pressure but still keeping my bladder pretty full. Yes, I know this is a challenge, as you say, but if you keep doing it session after session, as I did, you may wind up exercising the muscles involved to the point that they get built up to the point where, after a while, you can really do this kind of "partial unloading" without a huge amount of discomfort. At least that's what it felt like was happening with me, and it worked out for me. Worth trying, anyway.
(2) please remember this one: when you're laying on the table under the machine, that is, laying in the plastic body mold they made for you, do NOT worry if you just lose it once in a while, and a whole bunch of pee comes flowing out of you because you just couldn't hold it in any longer. This is exactly what happened to me four times out of the 45 sessions I had, early on, before I had mastered the technique described in (1). DON'T be embarrassed, because the techs have seen it all before, and it will be no big deal to them. In fact one of my techs, a delightful young woman named Marie, playfully yelled out "Clean up on aisle 1" one of the times I lost it. Your techs will be OK with it, believe me. The worst that can happen after losing it like this is you may need to go back out to the waiting room, drink some more water, fill up your bladder again, and then go back in later for a slightly delayed treatment.
Getting through radiation is largely, as has been said, a matter of patience, a sort of endurance contest. You can do it. Personally, I made up a treatment calender, and marked off each day as I competed a session. This gave me a sense of accomplishment.
One other thing comes to mind. You will probably discover that there will be a group of three, four, five or so other patients who will always be there in the waiting room at about the same time as you every day (assuming your place has its patients reporting for treatment at the same times every day, each for his own appointment). You will see then every day. Get to know them. Chat with them and be friendly. It will help pass the time in the waiting room, and you might even learn things from them. I know I did from my "waiting room colleagues." There were five of us in my similar-appointment-time "club": four PCa guys (including me) and a woman with BC. We had our own little group over in a corner of the waiting room, and getting with those folks every day and talking and laughing with them, and learning from each other, definitely made the waiting easier.
On a bit of a darker note, you may be aware that one of our list brothers here, Purgatory, had a terrible experience with getting radiation doses on an empty bladder. If you read some of his posts, you will understand how awful the outcome of that is. So whatever you do, never let them treat you while you have an empty bladder. If they're a competent group, this should never happen. But if as you're getting on to the table one day, if you just "feel" that your bladder isn't full enough, bring up the subject, and see what they say.
Once more, patience is really the best quality you can have for this. So, good luck with your treatments!