Nothing is the same as it was, but there are positives.

Living with ADT-modulated prostate cancer has changed virtually every aspect of my life, but with time it has become the new “normal.” Making love to my wife was often normal.

After diagnosis

After diagnosis at age 68, surgery, radiation, then years of ADT treatments, sex disappeared for 5 years while we struggled to get cancer under control and find a method to restore my potency. When penile injections were successful for me, my wife had undergone menopause, and sex was painful to her. Working through her situation took another 6 months, but finally, we were able to make love again, albeit with injections for me and hormones and extra lubrication for her.

Regaining continence

I had achieved continence after radiation treatments, but As the ADT treatments progressed I gradually lost continence. After a year's worth of zeros for testosterone and PSA levels, my ADT injections were stopped and my testosterone recovered and so did my continence. But after 2 years my PSA increased to 0.7 so back on ADT and a loss of continence. I use pads and incontinence clamps.

ADT treatment side effects

The ADT treatments have had the usual side effects, loss of muscle strength and bone mass, hot flashes, anemia and mood swings. I wasn’t as physically prepared for the first round of ADT from 2017 through 2019, and so I really felt these side effects. The second round of treatments began at the end of 2021, but I was much better prepared physically by taking several Les Mills classes at our YMCA (8 classes per week including strength, flexibility, and cardio). I’m still anemic, but I’ve been able to retain muscle strength and overall energy levels. I’ll get a read on bone density next month.

Desire for more aggressive treatments

My 75th birthday is just one month away, and my daily routine has pretty much settled down. But I’m not satisfied that my treatment is so passive…we’re simply waiting for the ADT to fail before doing anything else. Seems to me we should be looking for where the cancer is and going in and killing it.

My life is different

That’s my story so far, still a work in progress. My take-aways, sex post-surgery/radiation/ADT will probably not be the same as pre-cancer, but the struggle to restore potency is worth it; and ramping up physical activity with an emphasis on weight-bearing exercise, cardio and flexibility will definitely reduce the impact of ADT on one’s life.
Life is different, in some ways worse, but there are positives. The struggle by my wife and I to restore intimacy has brought us closer together; the realization that I’m mortal has led me to try and enjoy every day I have; I’m in better physical condition now than 10 years ago; I take my faith more seriously. My odyssey continues…

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