My Experience With Chemotherapy and ADT for Prostate Cancer
Last updated: April 2023
It has been 15 years since I was diagnosed with stage T3c prostate cancer. Gleason score of seven and PSA near 90 ng/ml. I had DiVinci robotic surgery completed by a urologist. It failed to contain the cancer, and then I had to progress to chemo (Taxotere – six cycles, and several sessions of Lupron and Casodex) to knock it back down over the years.
I’ve had a couple of relapses. The last one started in 2018, and my PSA is still rising. Going from .008 to .332 last check. I did a PSMA scan last year, and it showed nothing. So I'm pretty lucky I guess (the doctor says I’m blessed since most time this cancer is a little more aggressive). No treatments at all since 2015 for the prostate cancer.
I’d like talk a little bit about the effects of my initial heavy chemo treatment. The chemotherapy (Taxotere) kicked my tail. I'd also like to talk about undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT), which I tolerated well with a few side effects.
It had a cumulative effect to me – the more you take the more you feel. I was working at the time of the bad chemo, and I would go in the doctor on Thursday to get my infusion so that I could go through my cycle. First I would feel strong from the steroids added to the mix, then an okay day Friday at work, then sick on Saturday, and I'd recover in time for Monday to return to work. I did that for six cycles.
I used to plan on Thursday so I could get through all that crap by Monday. The treatments over a period of time would just drag me down. I got more and more tired and more physically weak, as well as more and more in a bad spot mentally. It was not good stuff.
Androgen deprivation therapy
ADT didn't really tear me up as much as the Taxotere did. I did get hot flashes, gained some man boobs, and some surface fat.
Hot flashes started, and I had to learn how to deal with that. I always chuckled about it, but my wife got the biggest charge out of the fact that I was getting them. She loved seeing me go through hot flashes, because I had teased her for years when she went through the change about all her hot flashing.
Now I'm the one throwing blankets off and throwing them on, and at times we were doing it in unison. That was kind of funny, and I told her at least finally now after so many years of marriage I could begin to understand her.
Looking back on the treatments
As I look back, the treatments were successful in stopping the rapid progression of my cancer. But like I said, my PSA is crawling up. I don’t think I will die of this, though.
I did have some lasting negative effects from treatment. My cardio system took a beating. Heart attack as I finished chemo, A-fib, aflutter, PAD, and many ablations and stents. I fought depression, had to regain my love of life, and get back into physical shape.
I have to say it’s worth the pain. I’m 70 now and probably in better shape than when it all began at age 55.
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