Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 72 Months Later

So it’s been 72 months since my radical prostatectomy. How am I doing?

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Graphic Biology Ahead

Status

Since my 66-month update in July, we learned that my PSA continued to play yo-yo by dropping from 0.08 ng/ml in April to 0.05 in August and 0.06 in November. So I’m still hovering well below the 0.2 ng/ml widely accepted recurrence threshold. That’s good.

Emotions

The emotional roller coaster that I was on at the beginning of my elevated PSA trip has really subsided into the kiddie version of the ride. Sure, there are things to be concerned about, but the initial panic and fear over the possibility of recurrence are gone.

Incontinence

My weight loss of 100 lbs. / 45 kg at its best point certainly helped reducing my incontinence. (I’ve sadly put about 8 lbs. / 3.6 kg back on thanks to the stress of our stupid election and the holiday feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas).

What I find is that when I’m physically active or when my body is tired is when I’m more inclined to have small episodes of incontinence. At the beginning of December, we had an event at work where I was on my feet for 12 hours and doing a lot of lifting at the end of the day cleaning up after the event. By the end of the night, my underwear were damp from seepage that I never really felt as it was happening. (I generally don’t wear pads because 99% of the time, I’m dry.)

Knowing that I already have some incontinence when active is a concern if we ever get to the point of salvage radiation therapy, as SRT tends to worsen incontinence.

Sexual Function

Really not much has changed in the sexual function department in the last year or so. With only one nerve bundle, I’m pretty pleased with the fact that I can achieve a decent erection 80-90% of the time, but it does require some effort. (And I’m not taking any ED drugs like Cialis or Viagra.)

Earlier I talked about penile shrinkage after the surgery, and I’m happy to say that things are back to where they were before the surgery. I’m not sure if that’s the norm, but I’ll take it (even though it took years to get back here).

Summary

As I was wheeled into the operating room six years ago today, I had to have a little fun with the surgical team. I stopped them and said, “I just need to know one thing before you start.” “What’s that?” my surgeon replied. “Are all of you over your New Year’s hangovers?” When they laughed and said, “Yes,” I said, “Good. Let’s do this.”

Here I am, six years out from the surgery, still kicking and getting along fine for the most part. Sure, this elevated PSA is a concern, but I’m not going to live my life from PSA test to PSA test. It’s just too draining to do that. As I said at the beginning of this journey, I’ll just do my best to take things one test result at a time and go from there.

I’ll continue to stay plugged into the prostate cancer community to keep abreast of the latest research so that, if and when my elevated PSA ever becomes more than a nuisance, I’m educated and ready to make decisions that are right for me and my desire for quality of life.

 

6 thoughts on “Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 72 Months Later

  1. You are doing great Dan. A bit of leakage after all that work could not be considered a problem. I still have an occasional dribble if I am not concentrating. Re erections, it looks like you are one of the lucky ones! Same thing with psa. Long may it continue! (Pun intended!!)

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  2. In regard to the incontinence I warned that was a possible side effect of the radiation, but interestingly when I had stomach/digestion problems, I was sent to a dietician and did Fodmap tests which showed that I am now glucose and fructose intolerant and am now trying a change of diet which is an absolute pain but seems to be helping a bit. I was talking to a friend who is in remission from a cancer where he was told he might not leave the hospital and he said that he went through the same thing. He said that he got over it using Betaine HCL for 2 months http://www.livestrong.com/article/287747-betaine-hcl-between-meals/.
    Personally given that I am now not producing enough cortisol on top of the fatigue I already suffer from and I’m likely to be referred to an endocrinologist in a couple of weeks, ‘m not prepared to start trying anything outside of what the specialists tell me. The expensive natural remedies haven’t helped me so far, nor have the medical professionals but I’d rather put my trust in them. You might want to try the Fodmap test though, it would be good to know.

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  3. Pingback: Month 74 – Living Life – Dan's Journey through Prostate Cancer

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