Prostate Cancer Survival Story

There was a man named John,
At hospital prostate was gone.

What am I to do,
Tell it to friend Lou.

You will have to train again,
During which you will suffer pain.

In the end it will all work out,
That is what life is all about.

                                                                             (A poem written for me by my friend Louis)

On May 18, 2005 I was notified that I had Prostate Cancer. On July 18th I had a Radical Prostatectomy (Surgical removal of the prostate gland). Six weeks later on August 28th my wife and I celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary at a local restaurant with about 40 friends. On September 23rd, two months after the surgery, I got the results of my first post surgical blood test - I was cancer free! (Well... perhaps not so - see my March, 2007 entry - my PSA level has reappeared. But also see my August 22, 2008 entry - my PSA does not seem to be getting any higher - and finally see my May, 2010 entry - no change - I do not expect a reoccurence). Three months after the surgery I could do 15 partial sit ups, 10 full sit ups and go for a 45 minute bike including pedaling up a steep hill without discomfort.

This is my Prostate Cancer Survival Story. If you have been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and have elected to treat it using Surgery you may find this story useful. I  am 64 years old and in good condition. I am about 15 lb overweight.

I live on Galiano Island near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. All the medical visits and procedures were carried out using the normal Public Health services available here on Galiano Island and in the Victoria area.

References:

There was a strong emphasis on making sure that I was able to make an "informed decision". My urologist gave me a book called "The Intelligent Patient Guide to Prostate Cancer" by Goldberg and Thompson. It was very useful. I also received several useful phamphlets. There are local support groups (I didn't use one). The surgeon also supplied me with a very useful booklet detailing what I should expect to happen during and after the surgery. The survivor stories I found on the Internet were also quite helpful. I found that a Goggle search for ["Prostate Cancer Survivor" stories] got the most relevant hits. Also www.myprostate.eu is a site where men may publish their histories and may be of interest.

Pre Surgery hints:

  1. I kept busy to keep my mind from dwelling on what was coming. We went on sailing trips on our sailboat. I worked on projects around the house. I went for bike rides. Things like that. Fallow time worked against me.

  2. I occasionally took a sleeping/anxiety pill (1/4 of a 2mb clonazepam pill) to help me sleep when my mind was "churning".

  3. I tried to be in as good a condition as I could, getting a lot of physical exercises. I stopped drinking alcohol 2 weeks in advance of the surgery.

  4. I kept a journal.

Post Surgery hints: .

  1. I was released from the hospital 4 days after the surgery complete with catheter and staples. In this situation it is not possible to comfortably wear a normal pair of underwear pants and/or a belt. I wore a cloak that went from my neck to my ankles with nothing underneath. A long sleeping gown would probably work as well. Work overalls might be ok - I started wearing them later. 

  2. Long after the staples were removed the incision and the surrounding skin were still very sensitive. I wore pants with the zipper undone and used suspenders to keep them up. I cut the elastic in three pairs of my underwear and attached the suspenders to them as well. I wore long shirts not tucked in so it hid everything.  I used suspenders for about two months. 

  3. It took a while for my energy to return and I easily got frustrated at my inability to do things. I scaled way back on my expectations. It was, "do a little", "rest", "do a little", "rest" through the whole day.

  4. Sometimes my anxieties would tend to get out of control.  I would use 1/4 of a clonazepam in those situations.

  5. In the car I would place a pillow between my incision and the seat belt.

I never did have a significant problem with incontinence. Even the day the catheter was removed my "plumbing" seemed to work the way it was supposed to. I would occasionally stuff some toilet paper in my underwear. Some types of physical activity, especially if my bladder is full, might result in a little squirt. I have been told that I am doing extremely well.

Timeline:

March 14-21st: Bladder infection.
April 11th: See urologist for checkup. PSA = 4.0 (within normal range for my age)
April 18th: Ultrasound bladder and prostate.
May 12: Prostate Biopsy Performed.
May 18: Notified by doctor the results were bad (Gleason score = 6 out of 10).
May 25: Visit to urologist who explained options. I choose surgery.
June 3: Visit to surgeon for evaluation for surgery.
July 18th: Surgery (Radical Prostatectomy)
July 22: Released from hospital.
August 2nd: (2 weeks post surgery) Staples and catheter removed.
August 28th: Celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary
Sept. 15 (8 weeks post Surgery): Wearing underwear with full elastic again. First bicycle ride. Blood test taken - excellent result.

Excerpts from my Journal.

At the urging of my wife I purchased a small Journal book about two months ahead of the operation. The following are edited exerpts from this journal. I tended to write in the Journal more often when I was feeling "down". It would help me feel better. If you notice days going by with no entries it is probably pretty reasonable to assume that they were "ok" days.

May 18, Wednesday

On May 12th I went in for my Prostate Ultra-sound and biopsy. Not a pleasant procedure but perhaps not as bad as I gathered from listening to other men. Today I got the results and they are bad! I have prostate cancer. In terms of how "aggressive" it has a "Gregory Score" of 6, which is apparently moderate. I don't feel I have reacted very much yet - I guess it has not really sunk in yet. Worst case scenarios are some years of survival. Best case scenarios are surgical removal of the prostate while the cancer is still confined completely to the prostate. 

May 31

Not doing much thinking about my prostate cancer. The emotion is there - not buried very far. I think it is better to acknowledge it then bury it. But I can't very well let myself break out into tears in public - at least I don't want to - not that people wouldn't understand but it would be awkward to explain.... I'm hoping this weepy situation will stabilize. I think of it as getting used to a new reality.

June 9, Thursday

Got my surgery day (July 18). Feeling melancholy and sad. I find it difficult to handle busy crowded situations.

June 10, Friday

I had a great sense of having no control over my life. The thought saddens me. I enjoy the walk down the path. I enjoy playing the guitar. I feel a sense of urgency. Fallow time allows too much introspection.

June 12, Sunday

Nice walk in the morning and afternoon. Feeling generally very up.

June 13, Monday

Good hike to shopping centre. I don't think much about my problem, my prostate cancer. Inside me a very small child cowers in fear. Took 1/4 sleeping pill tonight.

June 14, Tuesday

Great sleep. Cold day. Feeling discouraged. Spent good morning dealing with queries about <...>. Should feel good about finally dealing with that... but....

June 22, Wednesday

Well rested but experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety today.

June 26, Sunday

Feeling tired, irritable, anxious and annoyed. Need a couple of days rest. Did a lot yesterday.

June 27, Monday

Phoned pre-admission clinic and clarified the procedure. They will call me next week and set a date in the week before the operation. Took 1/4 pill last night after restless start and finally fell asleep. Stomach queasy. I am feeling a little sad. Nice music on CBC FM. All is well but I don't feel "up", sort of anxious, not really fearful.

June 29, Wednesday

Love! Sadness! Fear! Frustration!

July 1, Friday

Weather cloudy. Feeling relaxed. Feeling kind of down. Been busy on boat stuff. Weather outlook is not great for our cruise but will keep fingers crossed. Been working on guitar songs. Finding it hard to keep motivated.

July 2, Saturday

Great sleep last night. Dreamed about my operation. Can't remember the details but it was not a disturbing dream. Not a great day. Hard to get motivated.  Had a good cycle - that felt good. Had a swim - that felt good also.

I am sensitive. Skin is not thick any more. Minor jibes come through. Over reaction and withdrawal. Want to avoid people. Wine affects me too strongly.

July 3, Sunday

Feeling weepy. Feeling overwhelmed. Feeling sad!

July 4, Monday

Poor sleep - problems getting to sleep even with 1/4 a sleeping pill. Lots of "disaster" thoughts, but very generalized. Not feeling cheerful.

July 5, Tuesday

Great sleep. Long walk yesterday afternoon. Hospital called. Pre-op clinic is set up for 1:30 next Tuesday. Had long rainy afternoon getting to <...>. Very tiring. Very tense for me. Perhaps got chilled. All ok. Had good sing-song on sailboat . Had enough and turned in early. Others were drunk and happy playing cards. Not in the mood to join in.

July 6, Wednesday

Only so-so sleep. Very anxious this morning. Worried about engine starting. Feel it is mostly irrational. I desperately need some quiet time. Nice sing a long. Feel good playing the guitar and singing. Not very cheerful - take 1/4 pill before bed.

July 8, Friday

10 days to go. Have now cut out aspirin. Quit alcohol as well. I feel like a need a day or two of quiet time. My anxieties seem to float at a higher than comfortable level.

July 10, Sunday

Feel overwhelmed by big crowds. Big physical day. Back aches. Mainly hauling wood. Also ran HAM antenna wire to the basement bedroom. Took 1/4 anxiety pill. Hoping to sleep better than I did last night.

July 12, Tuesday

Pre-op clinic today. All went well but suddenly the "procedure" became much more real and scary. I was left a little emotionally drained. But I am still very determined.

July 15, Friday

Mind is churning. Feeling a bit stuffed up - worried about a cold but it is probably allergies. Took 1/4 pill. Seemed to help. My sense was of "fear", non specific fear. An hour after taking the pill I accomplished something I have been procrastinating about for months.

July 16

Had a good sleep last night - with the help of another 1/4 pill. Starting to focus on final things to do before we go into the city. Been a little stuffed up past few days but doesn't seem to be turning into anything. Stay rested is the keyword.

Practicing my music. Memorizing "All Of Me" and "Danny Boy". My son is coming this morning. Recycling to do. Play this afternoon. Crab traps to bring in etc. etc. I really seem to have "up" and "down" days.

July 17, Sunday

Fair sleep last night (no pills). Woke about two hours in the middle of the night. Feeling quite tense. 2:30 now and I am getting real twitchy. All the family is here. It is almost like too much stimulation.

Had a swim across the bay and back. It was harder than I expected it to be.

July 18, Monday (Day 0)

Up at 5am. Mediocre sleep. The special shampoo to shower with left me a little itchy. Hands are tingling. Trying to make sure I didn't forget anything.

Memorable quotes: Me: "I'm scared but I'm determined". Surgeon: "you'll do fine - I guarantee it".

.... (in the hospital ward in the afternoon after the surgery)

All done. OK I think but haven't talked to the surgeon yet. Dozy. They used an epidural for pain control. Everyone is very nice. My voice is hoarse. Family have been visiting.

July 19, Tuesday (Day 1)

Surgeon called my wife and said I was "clean". She is so happy. I don't think the definitive result is in until the lab report arrives in about a week.

Sat on the edge of the bed and stood. Sweaty and dizzy so sat back down again. Hope to walk a little bit later tonight.

July 20, Wednesday (2)

Much closer to a normal sleep last night. The surgeon dropped by.  Everything looked very clean, he said. There were no nodules, but have to wait for the lab reports. Everything looked normal. It came out very cleanly. I thanked him for calling my Wife. He apologized for not calling sooner - said the resident was supposed to call her right after the surgery (but didn't).

Walked twice. Feeling much better. The drain tube came out today. The oxygen tube was dispensed with yesterday.

July 21, Thursday (3)

Fair sleep. Slept on side again. Itchy skin is very distracting. Looking forward to discharge and starting to get scared. Gut felt tight and started getting anxious. But think it is as simple as fact I am drinking so much water?

Memorable quote: Nurse: "A hospital is no place to be sick in" (or did she say "recover in"?)

Major (to me) release of "old" blood from my penis outside the catheter this evening. All of a sudden my crotch felt damp. I put may hand down and it came out bloody. It gave me quite a scare. Hit the panic button and the nurse arrived immediately, but wasn't too concerned. The dark colour indicates it is old blood. What a mess to clean up. I offered to get out of bed and stood while the sheets were all changed. I was worried they wouldn't let me go home tomorrow, but it was not considered abnormal.

July 22, Friday (4)

Released at 7am.

Uncomfortable drive to BC Ferries. Feeling nauseous - lots of gas pain. I managed to commandeer an excellent BC Ferries handicapped washroom and sat there for 10-15 minutes passing gas and finally a reasonable stool. Never put any pressure on - let it come naturally. I have a new appreciation for handicapped washrooms now! Back home now. Panic attacks come easy. Feel like I need 13 hours sleep and plan to get it tonight. Took 1/4 pill and will take another 1/4 tonight and see how that works. I find the hustle - bustle family very stressful. Seeking peace and quiet.

Sitting up in bed. Took a couple of Tylenol-3's and a plum and a prune and a banana. The trip over left me wiped out. The slightest movement makes me nauseous. When I stand up for long I get sweaty.

July 23, Saturday (5)

Ate a wonderful meal last night. Leftover spaghetti - wonderful. Nice emails from people. Went to sleep at 8pm. Woke at 4am and took a couple of Tylenol-3's. Breakfast at 7:30. Gas pain again. Caught up on my sleep. Want to do some moving around today. Explore the deck - that sort of thing. Much more tired than I thought I'd be (although the booklet says it will be like this). So the procedure is

1. Do some small thing (e.g. check email)
2. Go rest for 1/2 to 1 hour.
3. Do some small thing (check camera pictures)
4. Go rest etc....
5. ..... Repeat as necessary.

2pm - another 2 Tylenol 3's. I wonder if I rolled over in my sleep last night and stretched something? (there is nothing visible - the pain is an ache - nothing special).

Great memory - getting my back scratched by one of the Nurses.

Sitting at the computer for any length of time is very difficult. I need a different chair I think.

6:30 - very tired. Friends visited this afternoon. In bed now. Too tired to get up and turn off the computer at the other end of the room.

July 24, Sunday (6)

Difficult to sleep well. Can't get in a comfortable position. Lots of gas. No stool. Eating lots of fruit. Taking one Tylenol-3 about every 6-8 hours. Seems to take a while to get the bowels working properly again.

Best chair is the classic Lazy Boy.

I really faded yesterday. "No energy" really means it. Difficult to sit at the computer long. Need a different better chair. One with arms and no wheels. I use my arms to lower myself and also want the stability. Easy to be paranoid. Every little itch or pain brings on a sense of panic, of helplessness. Got to listen to your body.

Visitors after lunch. Then very tired. So to bed and doze until 4pm. Awake feeling better.

My sensitive skin around the incision turns out to be the hair growing back in. If a cloth rubs against it in the wrong way it sure feels strange. Had a small bowel movement today - kind of strange when I just have to "let it happen" and not strain. It aches behind my testicles, sort of like the old prostatitis ache. Maybe a missing limb syndrome??? (just kidding).

July 25, Monday (7 - 1 week)

Long sleep last night and very deep. Figured out way to sleep on my side. Push and bunch a pillow up against my tummy to support it. Still lots of aches and low level pain. Hate to take many Tylenol due to constipation. A nice bowel movement would feel good. Vertigo sometimes. I suspect my blood pressure is very low. Will check sometime... Dull prostatic ache behind the testicles again. Ate some nice fresh peaches, two prunes and took a Tylenol-3.

Leftovers for supper delicious. Been up longer than I have done yet but folded about 7:30. At 8:30 the dull prostatic ache was bad enough for another Tylenol-3. A little more old blood seepage at the tip of the penis to clean up. Seems to accompany the "ache" I have been complaining about. Emotionally I am a little fragile.

July 26, Tuesday (8)

Long sleep but uncomfortable. Took 2 Tylenol overnight and one this morning. Still oozing a little blood from the penis outside the catheter. This process is accompanied by an ache behind the testicles, then a sharp little pain in the penis as it works its way out.

Something new - as I has having a good bowel movement urine oozed out past the penis. Maybe squeezing past the balloon during a contraction?

Spent an hour cutting a bug screen for the window. Left incision feeling quite sore.

The urine oozing out spooked me a bit. Feeling a little depressed/sad/anxious or something.

Had a relatively active afternoon. Feeling hopeful things are turning around with respect to tummy ache.

Found another "Prostate Cancer Survivor" journal on the web - interesting.

July 27, Wednesday (9)

Not a very good sleep. Still hard to get comfortable. Get muscle cramps in my butt. Persistent ache behind testicles. Little or no blood seepage from end of penis. Feeling somewhat depressed. Progress seems very slow. Ah well - this too shall pass. Passing a little blood in my urine.

The Surgeon called with the lab report, which was clean. There was no evidence the cancer had spread beyond the prostate. He wants a PSA blood test 8 weeks after the surgery. If the PSA < 0.02 then will conclude the cancer is gone. He would like to see me in 2-3 months with respect to bladder control.

Having a little glass of wine. But my sense of euphoria does not last.

I took the opportunity to ask the surgeon about the urine leaking outside the tube during bowel movements - yes - normal. So nothing untoward is happening. I get little spasms in my penis. I think another blood bubble is working it's way down.

Feeling bummed out again. A friend dropped by with a couple of Ian Rankin books and a sketch book. I was touched - that was thoughtful.

Feeling much more spirited in the afternoon and more depressed after supper. My urine is still red tinged much of the time - accompanied by the ache behind the testicles. Much more energy though. Hope a good sleep puts this behind me.

July 28, Thursday (10)

Urine running clear this morning. Great sleep. Hooray! Hot day - hard to get comfy.

July 29, Friday (11)

Put on the leg bag. Cleaned the big one. Had a walk to the dock and back. Peeled a bunch of apples. By 11:30 getting a bit sore so came back to bed. Not sleepy though. My emotions are pretty neutral today.  I want to get on with my life.

Feeling down again. Would like to be healing faster I think.

We plan our 40th wedding anniversary party. I find it very difficult to think ahead that far. Feeling weepy, like it is all starting to catch up with me.

My incision is ok but I feel a "heat" behind the testicles. Kind of a glow from where the prostate used to be.

Happy sounds on deck but I feel like crying. My urine is still clear - that is good - I will head upstairs to the deck and join them.

July 30, Saturday (12)

Fun last night but too much to drink. Doesn't work well.

The skin around the incision where I was shaved is incredibly sensitive now as the hairs grow back in. This morning I put Noxema cream on it and covered it loosely with gauze so my clothes wouldn't rub the hairs the wrong way. Helps a little bit - not a lot.

Urine still very clear. A little shot of pink when I had a bowel movement. Haven't had a Tylenol in days. Feeling much perkier this morning.

Went for a short walk. I don't like feeling useless. Did some searching on the Internet re: converting DVD's, then napped.

Got a significant shot of blood in my urine then a few clots/lumps and then clear again. A bit spooky.

And more blood and the familiar ache. I am taking it easy. Wish I had more guidelines on this.

July 31, Sunday (13)

Had a good sleep. Was able to sleep on my side without pillows. A little gauze covering my shaved skin stopped the itching. Urine clear this morning. Still aching behind the testicles.

Urine clear all morning.. Working on plans for the front deck.

Sat up at a table for pancakes this morning. Good to sit right out at the edge of the seat. Played the piano for a while. Relatively speaking a productive morning.

6pm and urine still running clear - I am pleased.

August 1, Monday (14)

Urine still running clear. Some oozing of a clear sticky fluid from the penis, a clear sticky fluid with some old blood in it. Generally a constant ache behind the testicles. Didn't sleep super well. Will cut down the alcohol to a minimum - again. Something is not working.

I read a sad, disturbing story and started crying and crying. I looked at my staples and cried. Then I had a good shower and now I feel better.

Found many more stories on the Internet by searching for '"prostate cancer" survivor story'. There is a lot of variability in the stories. Some men never seem to get their urine under control. Others do it in a week. No mention about bleeding.

Most seem to have a catheter in for longer than two weeks. Some don't get surgery in time and face follow up treatment.

My concern is the blood seepage. I am worried about infection. Sometimes I get the urge to pee which doesn't make much sense.

Drank pints of dilute cranberry in water today.

Ache beginning - take 1/4 sleeping pill and a Tylenol-3

August 2, Tuesday (15)

Urine clear all night thank goodness. Jeez - I am getting fixated on this. Good sleep finally. I am in a much better space today. Got a list of questions for the doctor visit later this morning.

(later).... All done! Catheter is out and staples gone! No problems. I can expect blood in the urine for a couple more weeks. Feels good. Looking forward (?) to my first pee???

(still later).... I can pee! The body still knows what to do. It took a while for the urine to start flowing. A little blood at the beginning. No pain until I cut it off at the end.

Wonderful to snooze without the attachments. Have peed three times now with less discomfort each time and no blood.

Not a good idea to sneeze. Now my butt is sore again. Big day - up a long time.

August 3, Wednesday (16)

Wonderful sleep last night. Up many times to pee but no bed wetting or leakage of any type. No blood. Not a very robust urine flow.

A lot of sitting up today. Bottom aches. Don't like walking as much so not doing it much.

At the end of the day the urine stream is, if anything, stronger. 1/4 pill and to bed.

Aug 4, Thu (17)

Good sleep. Up every two hours. My thighs ache - perhaps just getting back in shape. Shaved skin is still very sensitive.

Long day - very tired. Urine flow better. Up longer and more walking. Avoiding upright chairs helps ache in the bottom. 1/4 pill before sleep.

Aug 5, Fri (18)

Good sleep. Bottom ached a lot but feels improved this morning. The head of my penis has been sore since the catheter came out. Slowly improving I think. Shaved area still very sensitive. Incision looks better.

Hurts to "yawn" very hard. All in all I think things are progressing well.

Walked to the mailbox and back. Not fast but sure. Two trips to the dock - nice. Bottom started to ache (like a heat) late in the afternoon so went horizontal again. Most active day yet!

Two scotch and 1/2 wine - now very tired. To bed. No pad tonight.

Aug 6, Sat (19)

Slept naked last night. Felt wonderful. No pad today - being careful. Generally taking it slow. I get frustrated due to the inability to do physical projects.

Head of penis feels better all the time. Not much stirring sex wise but I have little motivation until the incision becomes less sensitive. Urinating well. Less active today. No nap so tired at 9pm. Tried thinking sexy thoughts and managed to elicit only some tiny stirrings. But I take comfort in that there is some tiny reaction.

Aug 8 Monday (21)

Doing a bit more each day. Walked to beach yesterday. Then drove to <..> for supper. Still not comfortable in the car. I was sitting up a lot though and my bottom ached quite a bit overnight. Going to take it easier today.

... very tired tonight. Slept 1 1/2 hours this afternoon. Hope I feel friskier tomorrow. My wife is going to town Thu-Fri and I find that a bit scary. Hope I am feeling more independent by then.

Aug 10, Wednesday (23)

I may have overdone it yesterday. Pretty tired and achey at the end of the day followed by a poor sleep. But felt re-energized this morning. Got a ride to the Ferry Terminal  this morning. Visited the grocery store and bakery and socialized at the Library before hiking home with a pack full of shopping. Would like to go swimming but too nervous about getting in during low tide. The bank is too slippery. I am afraid of falling.

Aug 11, Thursday (24)

As I get more active I am having some problems with incontinence. Shows up when my bladder is full. Not serious as long as I can relieve myself promptly. I get by with a Kotex "light day" pad and normally it stays bone dry. On my own today. My wife is in the city for a grandchild fix until Fri pm.

... Best day yet. Taking less and less of a nap in the afternoon. Less than a 1/2 hour nap today. Not feeling so tired. 1/2 sleeping pill...

Aug 12, Friday (25)

Great sleep. Up to pee about every 3 hours. No seepage at all. Up at 8am.

Busy day. I feel like I really pushed the envelope. I'm Tired. My back, knees and hips ache. Gut aches only a little bit. Take 1/4 pill.

Aug 13, Saturday (26)

First swim! Just paddled around a bit. Swam again later and did much better. Gentle crawl and on the side. Felt wonderful.

Sang "Danny Boy" and "All Of Me" at the local restaurant with <...>. I was very nervous but it came off OK. There was no sense of urgency to pee during the performance. Earlier in the day I gave a tiny unintended squirt .

Aug 14, Sunday (27)

Indifferent sleep. The hairs growing back in around the incision are still very sensitive.

Aug 15, Monday (28 - 4 weeks)

Big day yesterday. Swam across the bay. Visit on the boat and dinner at our favourite restaurant. Too much I think. I was very tired and "out of sorts" at the end of the day. Some diarrhea but now gone thank god. Think it was something I ate on the boat. The restaurant chair was very uncomfortable.

A bit queasy around noon - took a nap. Bowl movement not firm but not diarrhea i.e. improving.

Aug 16, Tuesday (29)

Good sleep. Much better day with respect to incontinence and general ache behind testicles. Feels almost like a breakthrough. Tried some foreplay this morning with negligible results.

Aug 17, Wednesday (30)

Walked to stores and back - slow but OK. Feeling depressed. Lack of motivation. Practiced music for our 40th anniversary - generally a down day.

Aug 18, Thursday (31 - 1 month)

Good visit to see the local doctor. I am doing well especially with respect to incontinence.

Worked all afternoon hanging bamboo shades. At 9pm left dinner table - I was so tired I felt slightly nauseated.

Aug 19, Friday (32)

Stomach aches - feeling discouraged and overwhelmed. But got a lot done and went swimming. paced myself better. Knees are giving me lots of problems.

Aug 20, Saturday (33)

Feeling much improved this morning. Did a brisk walk to mailbox - started to get aches and pains so walked slowly back. Maybe drank too much coffee? ( approx 4 cups at 60% caffeinated). So far this is an up day. Playing the guitar.

Aug 21, Sunday (34)

Good sleep (1/4 pill). Drove car with small pillow - OK. Best day yet for mobility. Nap in afternoon. Drove car to recycling in the afternoon.

Aug 22, Monday (35)

Very physical day. With help, cleaned out the water storage tank. Very tired at the end of the day - in fact exhausted.

Aug 24, Wednesday (37)

Two hours sitting yesterday was enough. Felt sore last night - poor sleep. Going to take it easier today. ... and I did. Did get in a swim though. I may be catching a cold.

Aug 25, Thursday (38)

Wonderful sleep last night. Only got up twice to pee. Slept one hour in the afternoon - felt wonderful also. Still and am pretty well pooped by 9pm. Swim in afternoon again, just before the nap.

Aug 26, Friday (39)

Up early. Didn't need so much sleep last night. Incision is sensitive and itchy now but able to wear my pants done up, but no belt. Still using suspenders. No improvement in the erection area. Tummy feels uncomfortable if I jiggle it, for example jog a few steps. I have a sense of incremental improvement.

Aug 31, Wednesday (44)

Very busy over the weekend. Getting more back to normal all the time. Went up on the roof and cleaned the chimney yesterday. Still find the 50lb water jug more than I want to try lifting. Climbing up the ladder is quite slow. Still don't like wearing belt or tight pants - itchy. Starting to get apprehensive about upcoming PSA test in the middle of next month.

Sept 1, Thursday (45)

Didn't take a sleeping pill last night and didn't fall asleep until after 1am. Not such a good day but got a lot done. Worked on a computer (recycling stuff) in the morning. In the afternoon swept off the Driftwood roof, cleaned the gutters and the rain collection tank.

Absent prostate really aches this evening - actually any time today when I sat for long. Had a small incontinence incident twice. Also drank a lot of water today. Second time was after a cocktail and wine!

Sept 2, Friday (46)

Good sleep. Bottom much better in the morning. Much more problem with incontinence and frequent urination. Doing a lot of Kegel exercises.

Sept 3, Saturday (47)

Up till midnight watching a movie - OK. Slept till 9am - no pill. I got very frustrated not being able to do a deck repair - almost cried with frustration. Got to focus - get my flexibility and strength back.

Sept. 4, Sunday (48)

Tried some exercises this evening. On touching toes I can only get a little bit past the knees. Can do 5 mini-crunches (mini situps). I can do a partial pushup but my gut hurts with that one so it is a no go for now. Can swing knees 50 times no problem. Will try to do exercises twice a day. Nice meal at a local restaurant but two hours is still too much in that type of upright chair.

Sept. 5, Monday (49)

Starting exercise regime. Flexibility poor. Did 15 crunches this morning but only 17 leg swings (pain on right side of gut). This evening I did 13 crunches and 50 leg swings and 9 partial pushups - much better, but I don't like letting my stomach touch the floor. My ham strings are still very tight.

Sept. 6, Tuesday (50)

Lousy sleep last night (too much to drink - 2 scotch and a big wine glass).

Worked on projects but my mood is subdued. But I am very tired. A little power nap didn't seem to help. Ham strings getting looser. Friends came over for dinner - I had 1 scotch and 1 glass wine and hope I sleep better tonight.

Sept 7, Wednesday (51)

Superb sleep last night.

Sept 8, Thursday (52)

Fitful sleep. Up at 5:45am as my wife was catching an early ferry. Did laundry by 8am but I am tired and a little nauseous ... but that cleared.

Very active. Picked blackberries in morning for 1 1/2 hours. Walked home from a neighbours. The activities seem to encourage incontinence problems. Or the stress. I was "pumped up" and feeling good.

Sept. 9, Friday (53)

Wore a pad last night because I felt like I wanted to pee all the time but I stayed dry. Took 1/4 pill and slept well. By evening all felt normal again.

Sept 10, Saturday (54)

No pill last night. Reasonable sleep. Nose plugged up and a dry throat. Lots of allergy reactions lately. Alcohol really works against me. Tried Cialis with my wife - no reaction at all.

Sept 12, Monday (56)

Another fitful sleep. Awake for 4-6 hours more or less. Had a short energetic walk with my wife. Best walk so far. Feeling tired and vaguely disturbed early in the afternoon - unsettling and fragile. Think it is a stress reaction. I don't feel joyful.

Sept 13, Tuesday (57)

Very good sleep. Feeling better.

Sept 14, Wednesday (58)

Another good sleep. Very good hamstring stretch and pushup exercises - almost like normal again. Had coffee in the afternoon - not good for incontinence. Busy active day. I wonder if the 1/4 pill at night takes the edge of my anxieties during the day? I seem to be much more positive and active. Haven't worn suspenders for 3 days. Stomach still seems large but nowhere near as sensitive.

Sept 15, Thursday (59)

Wearing regular underwear today - first time. Hiked from the Medical Centre home after leaving blood sample for PSA test. The walk felt good. No or very little discomfort.

But I seem to feel fragile. Like I can't do anything right. Hard to stay motivated - but small wonder?

First bike ride today! Mood swings. Not doing future planning well. Happier focusing on more immediate projects. The future isn't friendly?

Sept 16, Friday (60)

First full situp today! One only - at the end of 3 sets of 5 crunches.

Sept 17, Saturday (61)

Drank a lot last night but no urination problems. It was a fun evening - a salmon BBQ.

Sept 18, Sunday (62 - 2 Months)

Two month anniversary. Hike to Bluff Park lookout and back. 2 1/2 hours. Very tired but feel OK.

Sept. 19, Monday (63)

Not a great sleep (overtired?). Quite stiff in lower back. 15 crunches and 5 full situps! - Another full day.

Sept 20 Tuesday (64)

Still a little bit stiff. Didn't do exercises today. Discovered I can have a real "orgasm" with out the benefit of any erection at all.

Sept 21 - Wednesday (65)

Poor sleep despite pill. allergy/running nose. May try a Neocitran tonight. Lots of knee pain. Not much energy today. I think to much time past few days hunched over the computer.

Tired tonight. Took 1/2 Neocitran an see if I stay drier (nose). 15 crunches and 5 full sit ups.

Sept 23, Friday (67)

Good news on my PSA test result. The report was "excellent". Time to get on with my life. I think this is as close to a "cure" as one can get in this business. To be absolutely sure these tests will be made every three months for two years.

Sept 25, Sunday (69)

Incision is still sensitive at the end of a long day.

Sept 27, Tuesday (71)

Long physical day with no nap. Included splitting and hauling wood and a swim. Generally I feel I am back to 90-95% now.

I have few incontinence problems, especially if I am careful to visit the washroom as soon as I feel the first signs of bladder pressure. Incontinence incidents I have had are very minor, often the "seepage" never gets out of the foreskin, especially if I am quick to clamp down. Urine flow is better than it was before the operation. I am capable of a nice orgasm but there is no erection - or perhaps a slight swelling - nothing significant. I don't feel like I am limiting myself in many ways.

Oct. 2, Sunday (76)

Did 10 full situps along with the rest of my exercises. Riding in a car for 3 hours gets pretty uncomfortable.

Oct. 11, Tuesday. (85)

Rode bike to Bluff Park lookout on bike in the usual time of about 28 minutes.

Nov. 18, Friday (4 months)

A six hour car trip showed that my incision is still irritated by tight belts, etc. when I am confined to a seat for a long time. Purchased a part of overalls.

I have put on 5-10 lb since the operation. Have cut back - no snacks, no deserts and seem to have brought the increase to a halt, but haven't lost any significant weight. My waist size has increased from 38 to 40.

January 5, 2006 (6 months)

PSA Blood test ok.

April 26, 2006 (9 months)

PSA Blood test ok. I enjoy a quiet moment of pleasure. My anxiety levels raise between the time I give the blood for this test and get the results. It is a little reminder that it may not all be behind me after all. Have lost about 5 lb. Want to lose another 5.

September 5, 2006 (1 year 2 months)

PSA Blood Test ok. No special anxiety about this one.

February 18, 2007 (1 year, 7 months)

Next blood test is about a month from now (only every 6 months now).

There has been no improvement in my ability to have an erection and I now have no real hope that this will ever change. Of the popular pills available for erectile dysfunction the best for me is Cialis, however it is not effective enough to allow normal sexual intercourse. I have also tried the Vacuum Pump and injections. For me, both seem to be mood destroying (by the time I go through the necessary manipulations to use them I have lost interest).  This is not as distressing as I once might have thought. Life is good and full of love.

March 9, 2007

My PSA level is up from 0.02 to 0.03. (The doctor says that values below 0.02 are not quantified - they are returned as "<0.02"). If it continues to rise this is not good, so I am back to testing on a 3 month basis. This was definitely worriesome and has caused me some somber thoughts. I did some research on the Internet. The best information I found about the use of PSA tests for the prediction of cancer in post operative Radical Prostatectomy patients was at http://www.prostate-cancer.org/education/preclin/McDermed_Using_PSA_Intelligently2.html . I would like to think that my fluctuation may simply be due to the margin of error inherent in the test, but that will be revealed in three months.  It has all been distracting but not terribly distracting.

March 13, 2007

It is getting more distracting - can't seem to get the somber thoughts out of my head. Will take 1/4 pill tonight. Not feeling very sociable. Don't feel much like being around people.

March 20, 2007

I seem to have recovered from my bout of somber thinking.

May 20, 2007

Went in for another PSA on Thursday. There are no results yet. But here I am wide awake at 4am. Normally I have lots of things to keep my mind occupied but the nights can be a problem. I had safely pushed this topic to the back of my mind but this has brought it out front again. My original readings were "<0.02" so I have no reason to be optomistic.

May 23, 2007

Got the call yesterday and will see the Doctor today for the results. My wife wants to come with me. We are not expecting good news. This is very gloomy.

May 30, 2007

The news was not good. My PSA is up to 0.06 but it is hard to compare to the previous readings as the lab has changed their analysis procedure so the PSA reads higher in the very low ranges. I am being set up with an appointment with the BC Cancer Agency for a consultation. We are entering a period of "watchful waiting". Further therapy is dependant on how fast my PSA rises. My gloomy mood is finally starting to lift (seems to take about a week).

June 26, 2007

I had a consultation with a Doctor at the BC Cancer Agency on June 13th. There is a large margin of error in PSA readings at this level. He is reluctant to recommend any further treatment at this point. One treatment involves external beam radiation of the site where the prostate used to be. However this has side affects and will do nothing for me if the cancer was entirely removed from that site. My reports from the biopsy and surgery will be reviewed by one of their experienced people. This will include a re-assessement of my Gleason score and review of the slides taken from the prostate after surgery to confirm that the cancer had not reached the margins of the prostate.  I will be getting my PSA tested every two months. When (and if) it rises to 0.1 they are recommending a consultation with the surgeon before considering treatment options. It is important to get an idea of how fast the PSA is rising. I am relieved that I don't have to make a decision about further treatment at this time and am anxious to just get on with my life, for a while anyhow. Another useful article called "When PSA levels rise following surgery or radiation therapy " is available at http://www.communityoncology.net/journal/articles/0304191.pdf .

August 27, 2007

Good news! My PSA stayed level at 0.06. I really wasn't expecting this! I don't think this has anything to do with the following related information though.

About two weeks ago I started having a glass of Pomegranate Juice each day. There has been some research that suggests this may slow the progress of the cancer. For more information see the BBC article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/5132546.stm or do an Internet Search for "Pomegranate Juice Prostate Cancer".

Other good news is that my ability to have an erection has improved to the point where with the help of Cialis I can experience what might be called normal intercourse. This was two years in the waiting so don't loose hope!

December 18, 2007

PSA: 0.05. 

I suspect that the drop of 0.01 is well within the margin of error the test can give at this sensitivity level and suspect that my PSA has not actually dropped but continued to stay fairly flat. But that is darned good news and a real nice Christmas Present!!!!

Here is another link to an opinion about the value of Pomegranate Juice by a urologist at the Mayo Clinic  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pomegranate-juice/AN01477 .  They caution,  "Although these results are promising, they're based on a small sample of only 46 men. For this reason, it's too early to say whether or not pomegranate juice can definitely slow the growth of prostate cancer. However, pomegranate juice is generally safe to drink.". I would tend to agree with this summary.

March 11, 2008

PSA: 0.05.

This is great! I can scarcely believe it!

May 22, 2008

PSA: 0.04

I'm starting to turn into a believer.

August 22, 2008

PSA:  0.05

My anxiety levels rose about two days before I went to the lab, then a felt a release of tension after the lab had taken their sample. Next test will be in 6 months. I think it is very unlikely that this is going anywhere. If I still have some remnants of prostate cancer left in my system I expect I will die of something else before it catches up with me.

February 26, 2009

PSA: 0.06

I have been drinking very little Pomegranate Juice over the past year.

August 20, 2009

PSA: 0.04

May, 2010

Nothing has changed - I do not expect to make any more updates to this report unless something happens. I think the odds of any reoccurence are very small now.


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