Some where near the end of July 2000 I had my normal physical. At that time my regular doctor said he would run a PSA test along with the rest of my blood tests. Within the next day or two I got a call from him, telling me that my PSA was high, and he felt I should see a Urologist, whom he recommended.
I explained to him, that I had pretty much had the same thing happen about 2 years ago, before I moved from Pittsburgh, PA. I explained to him that they had done a biopsy, and found nothing, and then my PSA went down. He asked what it was, and I told him that I was either not told, or I don't remember. I made an appointment to see the urologist, and at that appointment he scheduled a biopsy.
The biopsy was performed, and within a couple of days I started having some minor problems.
About 5 days after the biopsy we went to pick up the Grandchildren. We were to meet them about 8 hours from our house. After going half way we stopped, and I went to bed and slept! until the next morning. Still feeling bad we took my temperature and discovered I had a slight fever 100. We picked the grandkids up and headed for home, getting there about 9 days after the biopsy, and I was really feeling rough by then. I went to the emergency room and they gave me some form of antibiotic, which did not help much.
That was Saturday night, and I had appointment to see urologist the following Tuesday. That is when he told me I had prostate cancer. He felt we had caught it in time, and that I should have surgery.
As I had very little knowledge at that time I asked him what was best, and again he said surgery. Needless to say, myself and my wife who was with me, were in total shock, and nothing was really registering too good at this point. After getting home we discussed the whole thing at length, and both felt survival was the most important issue at this time. That evening I went on the internet for information, and I have been on there ever since.
Later that week I saw my regular Dr., who prescribed a special type of antibiotic for urinal tract infection. This seemed to clean my problem up, except I was have problems emptying my bladder, and had a very weak stream.
After learning a lot from WebMD and the great people who responded to my cry for help, I started looking at all of the other sights that were recommended to me, including YANA Prostate Cancer Support and USToo. I started changing my thoughts on a lot of things. On my next visit to the urologist I started getting all the facts and putting them together. My PSA was 21.5, the Gleason score was 6(3+3=6), that both lobes had cancer - one 40% the other 5%, and a staging of T2 later changed to T2c after MRI and bone scan, which were both negative.
At this time we tentatively set up an appointment for surgery in a little over 3 months. The urologist explained it would be best to take hormone treatment, this would shrink the prostate and make it easier to operate on. At this time he gave me a 4 month shoot of Lupron and prescribed Casodex. Within a couple of days I lost the ability to have an erection and lost most sexual desire, which I am told is normal (when on Hormone Therapy).
I then started reading books on the subject, and ran across the Partin tables, and discovered there is about an 80 to 85% chance the cancer is out of the prostate, and this means it could be missed in surgery, or they would open me up and turn right around and close.
Also I read a lot on the side effects and the quality of life after surgery. I contacted most of the major cancer centers that treat prostate cancer and have web sites. This was about the time I ran across the information on the Radiotherapy Clinics of Georgia (RCOG). I checked out their website, and sent for information. After going over this information, putting all the rest I have learned together, we cancelled the appointment for surgery, and pursued other treatment.
After weighing all the facts, we came to the conclusion that we would get the best in the field, with a proven peer reviewed track record. This is when I contacted the Clinic and set up the times for treatment. At this time because of urination problems and the fact I wasn't emptying my bladder completely, my Doctor prescribed Flomax. The Clinic being located in Decatur, Georgia about 2 ½ hours from my house, was a little to far to drive, so my wife and I went over in our motor home on the week of 11 December 2000. We had appointments to see the Urologist, the outpatient clinic, and the Doctor at the Clinic. On the 12th December 2000 they took blood for a PSA at the Urologists and at the Clinic.
On the 14th December 2000 the prostate implant was performed. I had a catheter in for one day, and because of convenience removed it myself on Friday, and we returned home on Saturday. While there we met a couple who recommended staying at a Lodge for cancer patients. So as my wife was not going to return with me we applied, and were accepted. The following week I got the results of the blood test, and my PSA was 0.1. At this point I am totally confused, and felt someone had made a gross error. I contacted the radiotherapy clinic, and my Dr. got back to me within about 30 minutes, and explained to me we were looking at the results of the hormones. I later learned that it will be about a year before we know what the true PSA is.
I returned on 8 January 2001 for my 7 weeks of external beam radiation, which was completed 23rd February 2001. This time I stayed in the Lodge, which was far better than any motel. You have your own private quarters, a large dining area and kitchens where you fix your own meals. Then in the evening you can sit around and visit or play games with people who are going through the same treatment you are, or worse. There were both men and women patients and their families, and a special area for the transplant patients, so when you got down and felt bad, you just had to look around and you would see people in a lot worse condition than you were. This is one part that turned a nightmare into a rather pleasant experience.
I went to the local hospital on 14 March 2001 for a PSA test, and it came back a zero reading. I feel I need more accurate readings than that, so for my next PSA I will return to the Radiotherapy Clinic, or find a more accurate lab. Over all I am very happy with the treatment, as they did a lot more than just treat you. They had open meetings in the evening with the Doctors. They had weekly support meetings in the Clinic, training meetings on diet, and breakfast and supper meetings separate but close by, conducted by a local minister who had gone through the treatment quite a few years ago. They also had Doctors and other people to answer any questions you may have. At present I am on Cardura and Flomax for urinary problems. Have a very weak stream, virtually no leakage, and no night-time problems. Have not regained the ability to maintain an erection, since the hormone shoot.
One year after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, with a PSA of 20.5 and a Gleason score of 6, my PSA is now at 0.2. The last 2 readings I had was 0.0 in April and 0.2 in August of 2001. The first one was done locally, and I was not happy with not being able to detect it under zero. So I had the next test done at RCOG, and it was 0.2. Still taking Cardura, but not a problem, have weak urinary stream, and have to get up once a night most nights. Still having some erectile problems, but at present having unrelated heart rhythm problems. To be treated for this in the immediate future then I will deal with the erectile problem.
Two years after completing my treatment, my PSA was 0.3, and everything else is fine. I believe I made the right choice for treatment for myself. Two of our friends chose to go for different treatments, both decided on treatment at local hospitals so they could be closer to home. One of them died a year later, and the other one is starting with additional treatment just six months after his first treatment. Both had about same PSA as me. Neither appeared to have a PSA that went up as fast as mine.
Last PSA done in December of 2003 was 0.1. Having slight problem with urinating. Will go back on Flowmax as soon as prescription received.
I have a check up every 6 months to monitor my PSA and any other problems that me be occurring do to my cancer, or the treatment I received. Last exam was conducted in December of 2004. At that time my PSA was 0.1.
Had PSA done in December 2006. Still having problem with erection, and emptying my bladder. Take Flowmax on a regular basis, and seems to work fine.
Get my PSA taken twice a year, and so far everything is okay. I still have to take Flomax to assist with urinary problems.
At the last report my PSA was 0.1, I am due to go in for another check, this coming week. All other things have pretty well stayed the same.
Richard has posted an update showing no change since his last posting.
Out side of the two side effects mentioned have not had any problems. PSA stays around 0.1 to 0.3.
At this time I have not had any additional problems. My last PSA in August of 2012 was 0. I am do to get another test in August of this year, and I will ask for more specific readings this time.
Every thing is going real good 14-1/2 years after my treatment, all except for the erection problem, and considering my age that isn't to bad.
Had test done and it showed my PSA was 0.0. I had asked for it to be shown in hundreds, but it was not done that way. I will get another test next year and insist they give me the results in hundreds. At
Due to the effects of my Radiation treatments I started having problems urinating. I had to use catheters for a couple of monts, and then I went in and they went in to my prostate gland twice. After the second time in I started have incontinence, and I haven't been able to control my urinating naturally since. I have to wear special underwear or a clamp, to prevent the flow. It gets a little tiresome at times, but it's better than some of the effects could have been.
Richard's e-mail address is: hawdun AT charter.net (replace "AT" with "@")