******** UPDATE ********
Three years since my diagnosis. It seems like so much longer.
In March 2014, six months after I started hormone therapy, my PSA began to rise again and a lymph node enlarged in my pelvis on CT scans. At that point my doctor immediately scheduled me for Provenge immunotherapy. When I started Provenge my PSA had already risen to 1.0 from 0.75 two months prior. I did the three rounds of Provenge and at the end my PSA had dropped back down to 0.73, which was a good sign - typically Provenge doesn't result in a PSA drop like that. I then started Zytiga w/prednisone and also stayed on Lupron and X-Geva. I've been on Zytiga w/prednisone for 26 months now.
Since May 2014, PSA has been in decline and since Feb 2015 PSA has been undetectable (<0.10) and testosterone is also virtually undetectable (<15).
I get Lupron, bone-scans and chest/abdomen CT scans every 4 months, X-Geva and blood tests every two months. I tolerated Provenge pretty well, and am doing fine on Zytiga. I don't get hot-flashes anymore but the fatigue is significant as well as loss of muscle mass, strength and endurance. Skin is thinner, bruising easier, and I have that mental "fog" that many folks report with HT. I also gained about
I went out LA for several consults with Dr. Scholz and Dr. Lam as well as several phone consultations with them. I highly recommend this for anyone regardless of where they're treated. Scholz & Lam are the tops.
Currently I still go to my main oncologist at Mayo regularly.
So, three years after diagnosis, I'm doing about
as good as could possibly be expected with no sign of any activity for over two years now.
That's the medical update. Things are good.
Now for the personal update and comments -
Four months after diagnosis I ran a half-marathon with my son (it was his first time, my third time). It was hard, much harder than before diagnosis, but I did it. Three months later (right after my 1st Provenge treatment) I did a 20-mile grand canyon hike from rim-to-river and back in a day with my son. It was my first time hiking in the canyon. It was hard but I did it. I'm hoping to do a half-marathon again next year (but we'll see). I run regularly and do light weight training (but I should do more weight-training I know). I try to stay active but this HT and lack of measurable testosterone really takes its toll on my strength and endurance.
My wife has been my solid rock of support - I could have NEVER gotten to where I am without her. I am SO thankful that she was with me every step of the way. My wife and my son is my purpose in life - to be a good father and good husband and enjoy every day with my family.
Following my diagnosis I took a 30% cut in pay to reduce my stress at work and that has also been so important - stress-reduction is important allowing me to focus on my family and stay healthy and balanced. I've also taken on more relaxing hobbies, gardening and even comic-book collecting!
I've also become so much more spiritually-focused. I KNOW that the power of prayer is real, and I know that so much of the good outcomes I've been getting are operating through prayer. I can't explain it here, but I have experienced spiritual "signs" that have helped me along this journey. God has blessed me in more ways than I could imagine!
Through all this, I am so greatly blessed. I hesitate to say I've been blessed by stage-4 metastatic cancer - but almost immediately upon diagnosis, my life became so much clearer, focused, purposeful and intentioned. I know 100% that "all things work for good to those that love the Lord", and yes even cancer can be used by God to do good in my life and for others. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, but I know God is using everything that happens for his purpose if I let him. Though I continue to pray for life, I know he has already answered those prayers with more life than I was expecting. Fear gripped my when I was diagnosed, but it also galvanized me to fight.
So... I still fight, and I still keep my mind/body/spirit nourished and balanced and would recommend the same for anyone in this situation.
Spend time with your family.
Reduce your stress.
Exercise and stay active.
Remain hopeful about
Don't give up.
I started with PSA of 56, 11 of 12 biopsy cores positive with Gleason scores from 7-9 and metastatic cancer spread to bones including spine, pelvis, humerus and skull.
Three years later, PSA has been undetectable for the past 18 months and no activity on any scans in 29 months.
Life is good
Post Edited (jcjames) : 9/9/2016 8:57:39 PM (GMT-6)