Last updated: May 2023
Getting diagnosed with prostrate cancer
I am 73, married for 54 years with one daughter and two grandkids. We spend all our time and money on the buggers.
I discovered my cancer by accident about 15 months ago when I went to have a cholesterol check. My PSA was 130+-something. Biopsies (7) confirmed it. The only sign I had was a terrible paralysis that began about a month before the cholesterol check. About this time I had a PSMA scan. I thought the paralysis was due to either polio (as a child), football or martial arts injuries, etc and I didn't bother anyone with it -- even though I had to roll out of bed onto the floor and crawl to the bathroom. The pain/paralysis came and went. One Sunday I simply could not get out of bed, no matter how I tried. The pain was really something else! The family called an ambulance and they gave me some very strong painkillers and slowly the pain, and paralysis went away. In the hospital, a young intern told me Panadol would fix my problem. He called up my PSMA (which I had only three days earlier, and which I had not received the results of), and this young doctor then informed me that there was no sign of any cancer. He was adamant that he had checked the PMSA -- he told my wife and me. This was Sunday and I was relieved. On Monday morning we received a phone call from the radiologist that he needed to see me immediately. Three hours later in his hospital office he pulled up the PSMA and told me that the cancer was in all my lower and torso lymph nodes. He showed us the screen and to use his words, it was "like a Christmas tree". The radiologist was visibly upset, as were we. We had no knowledge whatsoever about prostate cancer. We asked him what happens next and he said I needed to see an oncologist and he would refer me to the hospital.
Prostate cancer prognosis
I asked him what the prognosis was and he, somewhat reluctantly, after prompting, said that with such a spread of the cancer, it could be three months to two or three years of survival -- depending on the treatment. He said he thought I would need to start chemotherapy asap and booked me into the hospital one week out. Meantime we found another oncologist with strong recommendations. He told me I needed to make a decision on the chemo, or what he would recommend -- Lupron injections every three months. I canceled the chemo appointment!!!! So I went on Lupron and my PSA fell dramatically and I had no more paralysis episodes, then my PSA began to rise again, when I was put on Nubeqa as well, which I have taken now for about three months.
Life with prostate cancer
Throughout all of this, I had to wonder whether they had misdiagnosed the thing... I still feel great; I play tennis three times a week (doubles); I exercise (usually 10,000 steps a day). There were only a couple of side effects: my tummy and boobs are a bit bigger; I have hot "flashes" -- just about every two to three hours. The sweats don't bother me, it is the adrenalin-like feeling they cause -- billions of tiny ants spreading out from the sternum area across the torso, legs, and arms -- it's like being gently electrocuted!. But it doesn't hurt me. I have learned to sleep in patches (I don't want to take any other drugs). I know I am more emotional and cry at the sight of a kitten, but that's not so bad. My wife tolerates my surliness from time to time. The overhead fans are lifesavers! Getting back to exercise: I have one 10 kg dumbbell in our media lounge. Every day while we watch TV, I do three sets of 20 single-arm raises above the head, single-arm curls, and two-handed raises above my head. All this is done while seated. I believe these exercises have improved my tennis, substantially, which makes sense. I have looked at your exercise video and now plan to do more aerobic work on my legs -- which are weak anyway and generally numb from the knees down, from polio (I think and hope). In four weeks (26/06/2023) I see my oncologist for another blood test to see where the PSA is at. We'll take it from there. It's just another incredible adventure and I see this thing as a blessing giving me time to live better. Julian.
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