Day 4,178 – PSA Results & Stuff

I went for my pre-physical appointment blood work yesterday and was surprised to have the results back today. It used to take the VA two or three days to post them online.

In any case, my PSA climbed once again from 0.33 ng/mL on 11 March to 0.36 ng/mL yesterday, 18 April. PSA doubling time dropped from 14.4 months to 12.7 months, indicating a continued acceleration which makes sense.

I did schedule my mapping with the radiation oncologist and, in my discussions with the urologist about the PSA test, we agreed to reschedule my 10 May appointment into September after the salvage radiation therapy was completed. My schedule now looks like:

  • 21 April – Appointment with PCP for a lube, oil, and filter change.
  • 3 May – Eligard injection.
  • 16 June – Body mapping with radiation oncologist.
  • 13 September – Urology appointment

We didn’t set an actual start date for the zapping, but I suspect it would be a week or two after the mapping and it would last through July and into August.

My emotions in the last week or so have run the gamut.

I can’t seem to get it out of my head that, once I start down this path, my life as I currently know it will be gone. Much of that is probably unfounded and a gross exaggeration, as the rational part of me knows that the chances for long-term, quality of life-impacting side effects are minimal. Yet the emotional side of my pea-sized brain is dwelling on that and I can’t seem to shake it.

Of course, that leads me to anger over this insidious disease and the impact it has on your life. Aside from the aches and pains associated with my vintage, high mileage body, it’s difficult to reconcile that within me there’s the army of cells wanting to kill me even though I’m feeling generally well. The fact that you have to take drastic action to fight off those cells—again—makes the situation even more aggravating.

Part of this, too, stems from the timing. I retired at the end of October, and there are things I want to do and places I want to go. The uncertainty of not knowing how my body will react to the hormone therapy and salvage radiation makes me hesitant to plunk down $10,000+ for a bucket-list trip to New Zealand now that its borders are beginning to slowly open. Maybe by October (New Zealand’s spring), I’ll know whether I can endure a fourteen-hour flight.

I know that, like the countless men before me, I’ll get past this and adapt accordingly whatever the outcome. What choice do we have? In the interim, I’ll continue to play as my body under treatment allows me to play.

Venting session over. Thanks for listening, and be well.

9 thoughts on “Day 4,178 – PSA Results & Stuff

  1. Abhishek

    Dear Dan,

    Please check with the doctor on realistic recovery times after radiotherapy. I don’t fully remember, but I think it took more than 6 months for my father to recover after radiotherapy was finished (more like a year). He used to get very tired. I would think you should go to New Zealand next year, or make flexible booking for as late as possible this year.

    Wishing you speedy recovery from radiotherapy.


    1. Adrian Brough

      Hi Dan, if it’s any comfort I recovered from my RT pretty quickly. As you know my psa returned after a year and I am thinking now that maybe I should have accepted the HT to run alongside the RT. Having said that, my RT was four years ago and I have enjoyed four years of flat out, full blown activity including surfing and kayaking, the trade off was worth it with hindsight. My psa is currently the same as yours….my Onco has said when it reaches 0.5 it’ll be back in the psma scanner to see if they can track the recurrence down. When I spoke to him recently and asked why it’s recurred his opinion was that although the RT had obviously hit my first recurrence (my psa went undetectable for a year) the focal nature of the zap meant that some cells around the prostate bed didn’t get a full enough dose to knock them out completely. Maybe if I had had the HT alongside those cells would have been knocked out completely, who knows.
      I’ve decided to keep living flat out and face the next stage when it comes, I can’t waste good healthy time worrying about what’s next. The emotions/feelings you express in your latest post are very familiar to me, but I am having to get used to living with the bastard.
      Say well Dan, you’re an inspiration to us all and you have been a huge help in learning about this disease


      1. Thanks, Adrian. Your words of encouragement help. I know that sometimes I get into this weird headspace and it’s a challenge to shake it off.

        I hope that your oncologist can get to the bottom of what’s happening with you and you can map out a plan of attack. My RO has done a good job of lowering my expectations by being realistic about the possible outcomes. I don’t view this as being curative—although that would be great—but rather as being a life-extending treatment. That’s all we can ask for.

        All the best,



  2. Adrian Brough

    Yes agreed on that Dan. I have my black moments also, it’s impossible not to. It all feels so unfair after the sacrifices we have already made. I think your treatment will hold it at bay for many years, I’ve already gained four years of good quality and hope that once my consultant has a target that more can be done.
    We’re living with a chronic illness, many people do with the likes of heart disease, diabetes etc ours just has the awful cancer word attached.
    My Dad died at 88 with PCa not from, his twin died at 65 from PCa. The major difference? My uncle ignored symptoms and presented with stage 4, not from ignorance but stoicism (war generation) My dad presented early and had early intervention and long term management.
    The toughest thing about RT in my opinion is learning to have a full bladder at exactly the right time! You’ll probably find many veterans in the waiting room who will give you great tips..
    Stay strong.


  3. Jack Milo

    We have similar biopsy reports had a reccurant psa did radiation, I had know adt the radiation was not bad at all, only holding in the water you must drink about 1 hour before, had no side effects after radiation unfortunately my psa is up to 0.10 after 21/2 years, going to oncologist at Sloan-Kettering next step ….


  4. Jack Milo

    We have similar biopsy reports had a reccurant psa did radiation, I had know adt the radiation was not bad at all, only holding in the water you must drink about 1 hour before, had no side effects after radiation unfortunately my psa is up to 0.10 after 21/2 years, going to oncologist at Sloan-Kettering next step ….


  5. cdcfbw

    Hello Dan, well it looks like you have your plan in place. Just a matter of moving forward now and best wishes to you. You should be ok with the radiation and hopefully you will not suffer to many of the side effects of ADT. I did 6mo of Lupron and it was not fun but Elegard may have less SE than Lupron. I am feeling much better now and feeling better everyday with my 1 yr. anniversary coming up (except sexually). Some things may never return and we just have to accept that and move on. Good luck and keep all of us informed of your progress. I really enjoy reading your post.


    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for checking in. It was a rough morning for me emotionally, but it’s behind me and I’m doing fine physically so far. I’m sure more will be happening soon.



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