Movember Community Spotlight: Larry
For Movember, ProstateCancer.net is highlighting community perspectives on men’s health awareness. In Part I of this interview, we talked with community member Larry about his diagnosis story and experience starting treatment for prostate cancer.
Back and forth before a diagnosis
I had been complaining to a urologist about pain in my side for some time. He found a small kidney stone and took it out, but the problem just got worse. I was sent to a pain specialist and they couldn’t find much other than old back issues. They ordered a CT scan w/o contrast and didn’t find anything. The urologist decided to then order a blood test -- I think it was a 3T. It came back with a 4 percent chance of aggressive cancer, even though my PSA had started up slightly 3.6. I might comment that I was on Avodart at the time and it kept my PSA down.
I finally went to my doctor, a nice young man who thought I was imagining all my issues. I developed a swelling in lymph nodes in my groin which he wanted to wait and see how it changed with more time. Two weeks later I went back and met with an older doctor I knew. I told him what was going on and he ordered my well-care blood tests. The test showed my alkaline phosphate level was 900. When he saw that he ordered a CT with contrast and an MRI. When those results came back the young doctor was back on duty. He had me come in and requested that my wife come with me.
My wife and I were in shock
The doctor showed us the pictures that day and explained that I had cancer but was not sure what type. My wife and I were in shock. He sent us to see an oncologist that I had met once. He ordered a round of tests including a bone biopsy. I had been planning a trip to a bike rally in South Dakota so I had the bike loaded in the pickup. Sher and I went in to meet him and discuss what he found. He told us it was indeed prostate cancer. We discussed what was available and gave me the option of pills first until they didn’t work. Or I could try chemotherapy. We decided to go with chemo. He gave me a script for Casodex and pain medication.
We were still in shock. My wife sent me on my trip and she went home. Sounds simple but we have been partners for 31 years and she wanted me to get the trip in case I couldn’t go again. Shock does strange things to you, but I can’t speak for my partner. She was very angry but I have yet to find that part.
The treatments went okay. I had Taxotere chemo with an anti-nausea medication, which I took all the way through treatment. The worst part about the chemo was the shot of Neulasta the day after because it would put me down for 3-4 days. Lots of naps helped. During the chemo process, I had a tough time eating. My nutritionist said to eat anything I could just don’t lose any more weight. My wife made a lot of potatoes and gravy, also pie and ice cream. The only thing I could drink was pink lemonade -- strange I know. Can’t really think of anything that would have made it any easier with a 1 hour drive and Neulasta shots. Taking the anti-nausea pills morning and night was a big plus. Benadryl and Tylenol helped with the Neulasta shots.
I really depended on my doctor for recommendations. The fact that if I did it with chemo first then Xtandi I could always go to radiation or others when (or if) Xtandi fails. I always try to keep my options open.
Read Part 2 of Larry's story in Movember Community Spotlight: Larry (Part 2).
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?