Did I make the Right Choice?
In June of 2016, my yearly bloodwork showed a jump in PSA score from 1.5 to 6.4.
My primary doctor gave me two weeks of antibiotics to rule out infection and retested me. My PSA jumped to 6.8. So, my primary doctor scheduled me with a local urologist. My local urologist said "no, no, you need 30 days of this antibiotic. At the end of my 30 days, my urologist left town for two weeks. So, it was six weeks before he retested. PSA was now 8.8. He did a digit exam and then scheduled a biopsy for the next week.
Prostate cancer diagnosis
He performed the biopsy and I had to wait for another week to get the results. Gleason score was 5 + 4= 9. So, he scheduled a couple of scans for the next week. I had to wait a week before getting those results. The next week he did another couple of scans. I had to wait another week to get those results. He finally did a bladder test and I waited a week for those results. During the wait some of my co-workers we screaming at me to get me to MD Anderson. When I went to get the results of my bladder test, I asked if it was time for him to refer me to MD Anderson. His answer was "Yea, I've about done all I can do". My wife didn't wait. She got on the phone and scheduled an appointment for two weeks from the date of her call. MD Anderson reviewed all the scans my local doctor ran and explained my options.
Prostate cancer treatment options
They asked if I had questions. I asked for their recommendation. They recommended surgery which was scheduled for 11/30/2016. My surgeon was Great. The margin test was negative and I had almost no pain from the surgery. Since I was going to have to wait an extra four days to have my urologist remove my catheter, I removed it myself, OUCH!! After surgery, I was scheduled to return to MD Anderson for a six-week exam. During surgery, they also removed 22 lymph nodes. Three had cancer. My cancer had burst out of my prostate before my surgery. My PSA was now 6.5 so they started me on Lupron shots in January 2017. My first shot dropped my PSA to Zero. They give me a six-month shot and told me I would have to take shots for at least a year and a half. No, I was on the Lupron shots for five years.
Treatment side effects
In the meantime, I have almost all of the possible side effects from the shots. My zero PSA score was very short-lived before my PSA started rising again. It started slow but, it soon picked up speed until I had to start taking Erleada tablets for 15 months. Before starting Ereleda my oncologist attempted to find my cancer with MRI and PET scans. I will not discuss that 2.5-hour MRI experience in a mixed company. No luck finding where the cancer is hiding. In March 2022 my new oncologist ran a CT scan and a CT bone scan and took me off the Lupron shots. I'm told I'm now in remission but, I'm not cured. The CT scan showed that a questionable spot on my kidney is still growing. They are going to continue to monitor in the future.
New treatment plans
As explained to me, Plan A: maybe my immune system will keep cancer at bay. If not, Plan B: they will monitor the rising PSA until they think it is high enough that the new improved PET scan can find my cancer. So, my confusing part. No, erections and no sex since 11/29/2016. I have had hot flashes/night sweats multiple times every day and night since starting the Lupron shots. I recently watched some videos about prostate cancer that claimed I would not have had these issues if I had chosen radiation instead of surgery. These side effects really affect my mental health. So, did I make the right choice in electing to have surgery?
Have you lost a loved one to prostate cancer? (select all that apply)