Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 84 Months Later

So it’s been 84 months since my radical prostatectomy. How am I doing?

Status

With my PSA increasing steadily over the last two years to the point where it’s now at 0.10 ng/ml, it appears that I’m on the path to recurrence. Needless to say, that’s not the outcome that I had in mind when I started this journey, but my surgeon did warn that approximately 20% of prostatectomy patients have the cancer return.

Emotions

My visit to the doctor in December went just as I expected it would, with one exception. I left the office feeling as though the wind had been knocked out of me. This whole notion of recurrence took on a whole new meaning when the doctor suggested that we’re going to have to start thinking about radiation in the future. It’s becoming real again. Since then, I’ve been doing okay. Not great. Not horrible. Okay.

Incontinence

I remain “dry” 98% of the time. There have been a few very long days at work where my body tired and, combined with the physical exertion at the end of the day, I was a bit more prone to leak. Rarely do I need to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night—I can last 6-7 hours most nights.

Sexual Function

I continue to do so-so in the ED department. Remember, I have only one nerve bundle remaining, but I can get an 80%–90% erection most of the time. Some days are better; others are worse.

I do find that my libido is still there, and there are times through the day where I can feel things stirring down below. Not enough to obtain a natural erection—those days are gone—but enough that with a little stimulation, it would be much easier to achieve an erection.

Summary

Recurrence is the fear of every cancer patient because now your options become more limited and the costs of dealing with it—emotional, physical, and financial—begin to increase significantly. It’s time that I start seriously preparing for the trip down this fork in the road. The good news is that I have time with my PSA doubling time as long as it is.

9 thoughts on “Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 84 Months Later

  1. Thanks once again, for keeping this blog going. It has been informative for me and I’m sure for anyone who reads your journey.
    It is sad and a little distressing to hear of the dread return and I wish you a very long, slow rise in the PSA, so that the effects are lessened. I know how I’d feel if I was at that stage. Let’s hope there’s a breakthrough in medical science!
    Best wishes for the new year, Dan.

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    1. Thanks, Al. Yes, this rising PSA certainly has been a bit of a buzz-kill, that’s for sure. We’ll see what the next test in April brings. Happy 2018!

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    1. Thanks, Jim. That’s the one thing that I’m really thankful for at the moment, and I plan on doing just that. At my doctor appointment in December, I told him I’m in no rush to start anything at the moment. Still, it’s impossible not to think about what’s ahead.

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  2. Hi Dan,
    Fiest time in your interesting blog and learning of it. I had surgery, radiation, and ADT. My last PSA was less than 0.008 with testosterone less than 0.1. I had prostatectomy in June 2016. Since I am new in this business, what do you think of these numbers? Thanks.
    Javier

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    1. Hi Javier. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, but after all that you’ve been through, I would say that a PSA that low is pretty good. I have to admit that I know very little about testosterone levels, so I can’t comment on the meaning of your number. Just out of curiosity, what was your pathological Gleason score? Did you have positive margins? Seminal vesicle or lymph node involvement? What was your post-surgery PSA?

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