I started my zapping sessions a week ago today and wrapped up my sixth session this morning.
Practicing filling and holding my bladder the week before the zapping started has paid off. I’ve been successful at filling and keeping a full bladder for every session. Although, on Tuesday there was a delay with the machine of about twenty minutes and I nearly had a bladder explosion on the table. That was cutting it a bit too close.
Every week, usually on Thursdays, I meet with the radiation oncologist to review how I’m doing and to discuss any side effects and answer any questions. That’s good.
As far as side effects are concerned, there are a few already popping up.
I’m not sure that it’s actually from the radiation yet, or simply because of the need to keep a full bladder, I am finding that I’ve been emptying my bladder more frequently. I mentioned that to the nurse, and she asked how frequently. I pulled out my phone and opened my log, looked at the numbers, and told her.
“You’re keeping a log??? I wish more patients did that!” (It’s good to be a nerd at times.)
It’s taken me a few days to get in the habit of documenting every time I pee, so that’s why you see so many incomplete entries on the first few days.
I’m also beginning to sense some skin irritation (itching, mainly) at the zapping site. It’s very mild and intermittent right now, and may increase over time. The irritation seems to be most prevalent within the first few hours after zapping. I guess it’s like a sunburn—it compounds itself as you go along with little time to heal in between. The doctor said that I could apply a moisturizing lotion after being zapped, but definitely not before being zapped.
The final side effect that’s beginning to take root is fatigue. I’m not sure that it’s actually from the radiation yet, or the fact that I’m peeing frequently through the nights, interrupting my sleep, or a combination of both. A little nap in the afternoon works just fine.
The radiation oncologists and the technicians both confirmed that they check that my bladder is sufficiently full and my rectum sufficiently empty on their scan before they start zapping to minimize any collateral damage. They said that if I wasn’t properly prepared, they’d tell me to get off the table and drink more water or poop. That’s reassuring to me.
I have to admit that it’s a tad annoying to have my retirement non-schedule interrupted by having a structured routine again. I was really getting used to not having to commute or show up to the office at a certain time every day. 🙂 Of course, I shouldn’t complain much because the whole process—driving there, waiting, zapping, and driving back—takes less than 45 minutes. Heck, yesterday, I was through the whole thing in exactly 30 minutes.
I have to admit, too, that I’m being a bit more cautious when going out in public with BA.5 COVID cases on the rise. I continue to wear my mask and am a bit more judicious in determining whether I want to go out. I know that radiation doesn’t necessarily compromise your immune system, but the last thing I need is a week or two delay in zapping if I came down with the virus.
So that’s my first week/six sessions of zapping under the belt. Thirty-three more to go.
6 thoughts on “Zapping Session # 6”
Thanks for the update Dan, in a couple of hours I get my second shot of Firmagon (120 mg) and maybe see the results of bloods taken yesterday. Zapping doesn’t start until September.
You mentioned fatigue, mine is pretty chronic now (I’m 74 though) and mood gets persistently low.
Can I ask, when being zapped and needing bladder at a certain % capacity given that Imfind it very difficult (say, impossible) to hold back from urinating I have bought penile clamps which work brilliantly. But … not that this is a time for being self conscious, can you wear underpants / jocks during the zapping process which might afford a degree of privacy?
If it’s OK to go “off piste” a bit, really enjoyed your notes on recent travel and some reminiscences. But how do you cope with the loneliness factor when road touring? I find it quite a curse and added to the recurrence we also both share I’ve just about decided to dispose of my VW California Kampervan. Wonder if that’s the PCa influencing me?
All the best, thanks for the update.
For the zapping sessions, they encourage me to wear shorts with an elastic waist (no metal) and nothing in your pockets.
When I lie down on the table, I can keep my shirt on, but I am required to pull my shorts and underwear down to mid-thigh. They place a sheet over your bits (just barely) before you pull everything down as they align your tattoos with the machine. I suspect your clamp wouldn’t be allowed.
My facility keeps the temperature quite chilly, which increases the urge to pee. I started wearing a long-sleeved sweatshirt to keep warm. I look goofy outside because our summer temperatures are in the 25°-30° C range.
Hope that helps.
As far as the solo travel is concerned… There are times where sharing the experience with someone would be nice, but the solitude actually helps me recharge my introvert batteries.
All the best,
Thanks Dan, damn I’m gonna have to practice bladder control!
FWIW just back from hospital, 1 month after the giant twin needles of 240 mg of Firmagon my PSA has gone from .33 to <.01 and Testosterone from 12 to Zero. Had second jab (120 mg) of Firmagon an hour ago. Doc (Rad Onc) said reductions are “amazing”. We’ll see I guess.
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Sounds like your getting the habit. I was also adjusting to the schedule (just like going to work everyday). I think the fatigue your feeling might be the Ellegard your on instead of the zapping. I was on Lupron and was fatigued quite a bit after stopping the radiation. I have a two story townhouse and going up stairs would just wear me out, I would have to sit and just catch my breath. We all react differently I guess. Continue with the good work and it will be over before you know it!
Hi Charles. I tend to agree with you about it being the hormone shot that’s contributing most to my fatigue. I do think, though, that for my first sessions, I was pretty uptight and that can be exhausting. When I got home after the sessions those first few days, all I wanted to do was relax and let my body release all the tension that had built up.
The one thing I’m really grateful for is that I’m almost 11 weeks into the hormone therapy and not a single hot flash yet. (Fingers crossed it stays that way!)
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