Month 143 – Much Improved

I don’t know where the time has gone. It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching two months since ending the salvage radiation therapy.

On the whole, things have improved significantly for me since then. My energy level has returned to pre-zapping levels, except when I’m stupid and stay up way too late at night (that’s something I can control). That’s been a good thing because I’ve been able to get out and enjoy the world again.

As far as the urinary control issues are concerned, they’re much improved, too. I opted to stop the Tamsulosin (Flomax) near the end of September, and that seems to have helped. My frequency is greatly improved. During the day, I can go several hours between runs to the toilet, and at night, I’m only have to empty my bladder one to three times a night. That’s a godsend.

The urgency still can be a bit of an issue. There are times where I don’t have much time to get to the toilet if I let things go a little too long. On a related note, since stopping the Tamsulosin, my leakage / incontinence has improved as well, even with the urgency. That’s a positive, too.

I had a video appointment with my primary care physician about the pain I’ve been experiencing in my back. In short, even though things seems to be slowly improving (even after the call with him on 26 September), he still wants me to have an MRI to see what may be going on. That’s scheduled for this Friday.

I’m not exactly sure how the hormone therapy works as you approach the end of the six month dosage period, but I’m guessing its effects may linger another few months beyond the end of the dosage. Again, I’ve been blessed in that my only real side effect has been the mild fatigue—no weight gain and no hot flashes. (Even though all three of my doctors say my back pain is unrelated to the hormone therapy, I’m still not convinced. There’s a first for everything, right???)

The radiation oncologist’s office wouldn’t schedule my three-month follow-up appointment until the end of October when they had a better handle on the doctor’s November schedule. I’ll get my PSA checked again in November in advance of that appointment, and I have a follow-up with the urologist on 13 December.

It’s good to be back into a more normal state after all of that. Let’s hope that there are no long-term radiation side effects that start popping up two to five years down the road.

Header Image: Autumn leaves, Santa Fe, New Mexico

7 thoughts on “Month 143 – Much Improved

  1. peter

    That’s all good news Dan and pleasing to see. Fingers toes and eyes crossed for a zero detectable PSA when the time for that arrives. Terrific that the RT hasn’t left you with issues you feared and that we all acknowledge can be collateral to the main aim . Illness (the usual cold & flu) delayed my being measured up finally prior to the commencement of RT but this week should mean we get going soon! I’ll follow your guidance and try to keep,you posted on how the Southern Hemisphere experience of RT goes.’
    I guess you have arrived at the conclusion of the treatment road, I look forward to keeping in touch and emerging in two months as well.
    Cheers
    Peter

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  2. Charles McGill

    Hi Dan, thanks for the update and I am glad it is all positive with you. The hormone therapy will take some months to allow the testosterone level to recover to the previous figure I believe. Assuming it is Lupron injections yu have had. Relugolix which works differently – agonist versus antagonist – brings testosterone down quicker and let’s it recover quicker -I have read. I suspect Relugolix is more expensive (oral) and has been around only recently. When you get your PSA tested again perhaps you can get your testosterone measured at the same time? Might as well fill two tubes with finest Burgundy as one! Based on my experience with Flomax – which is not the same necessarily as your experience – if you still have some Flomax capsules kicking around I would suggest you could experiment with it. Flomax gave me instant- well 12 hours – relief after the end of my radiotherapy. I then stopped after 3 weeks as it no longer seemed beneficial. However I find that by using it once a week or twice a week – Wednesday and Saturday – I take it about lunch time – it does have a discernible effect on my urine flow and my urgency – which is interesting and can give me a less disturbed sleep for one or two nights. I’d be interested if you found something similar or not.

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    1. Hey Charles,

      Thanks for the input and suggestions. I do have some Flomax around and I may try your idea and see if that makes a difference on the frequency.

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    2. Peter

      Hi Charles, Interested in your comment on Lupron and Relugolix on Dan’s site. Here in Australia my RO used Firmagon (Degarelix) on me with immediate results to zero PSA and Testosterone. Do we know why quite different drugs are used to achieve similar results but in a completely different way?

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  3. Gary McDonnell

    Glad to see that things are progressing in a positive direction. With regards to incontinence I would highly recommend a book by Craig Allingham titled “Prostate Recovery Map-Men’s Action Plan”. He is an Australian physiotherapist and the cost is about $30 and you can order from his website. I found the 64 page was filled with useful tips and exercise routines. If you drop me an email I can provide a bit more personal information.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Gary. I’ll check it out. The incontinence is pretty much back to my pre-radiation normal at this point. You can always share more privately by using the “Contact” link on the menu at the top of my page.

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