I went in for a physical in March 2014, the first one in two years, and had a PSA as part of the routine check. My PSA had gone from 2.8 to 4.0, but because of the time lapse, we did not know if it had been a gradual or a steep climb. The doctor scheduled another PSA for October 2014, at which time my PSA had risen to 4.8. I scheduled a visit to an urologist who did a digital exam and noticed a firm area on the prostate, and he recommended a biopsy, which was done the end of Oct. 2014. Cancer came back in 5 of the 12 samples, and I had a Gleason score of 8 (5 + 3). We had a CT scan to find out if the cancer had spread to either the bones or lymph nodes, and it had not. I was told we could watch and wait if I wanted to, but I had found out in the mean time that there was quite bit of prostate cancer in my biological family, and I did not want to have that residing in the back of my mind. I opted for HDR brachytherapy. My first two treatments were on Dec. 3, 2014, and aside from some discomfort urinating, no major side effects. Second round of treatments took place on Dec. 10, and after this treatment, I was quite uncomfortable. Very frequent urination, usually only a dribble, and up at least once an hour during the night. I asked the pharmacist about Flowmax, but he said I would have to go back to my doctor for a prescription, which I did not want to bother with. Only later did I find out that a prescription had already been sent in!!! I had my 3rd, and final, round of treatments on New Years Eve 2014. I was expecting the third round to be the roughest as far as side effects, but I was wrong. I have been taking the Flowmax and things are MUCH better. Initially my bowel movements were frequent and irregular, but 2 weeks after treatment, things returned to normal. Urination was also quite frequent, although very much improved with the Flowmax. Still waiting for the erections to return. I talked to the nurse yesterday who said it usually takes a couple of months. The only other side effect is a slight numbness to the penis, and my energy levels seem to be down a bit. I do not regret one iota for going down the path that my wife and I chose, as opposed to having the big "C" word on my mind.
I just had my 4 month follow-up. I'm happy to report that my PSA has gone from 4.8 to 0.46. I am still having some minor dribbling when I feel the urge to urinate and my penis still has some numbing, which, according to my doctor, contributes to my lack of erections. Other than these (hopefully) temporary side effects life is good!
I just received my 6 month post procedure check up and my PSA is down to 0.15. Aside from bladder control / urgency issues, I have no other side effects.
Three months ago my PSA was slightly elevated from the previous exam, up to 0.30. My urologist explained that sometimes there is an anomaly known as PSA spike, and it turns out that is what had occurred. My exam from a week ago yielded a PSA of 0.09. Almost everything has returned to pre-treatment levels. I am very satisfied with the treatment and results.
Things are really looking good. PSA are at a very acceptable level and ALL side effects are gone. I would very much recommend brachytherapy to anyone in a situation similar to mine. (In contrast, a neighbor of mine had his prostate removed, or as he termed it "butchered out", and he is still having major issues 3 years later.)
Don's e-mail address is: d_bruce_0509 AT q.com (replace "AT" with "@")