Not having posted in a month, an update is in order. Lupron slammed me hard in June. By the second and third weeks, the side effects (noted in last post) increased dramatically in intensity to the point where I couldn’t work. Having been virtually bed ridden for 2 and a half weeks and lost 13 pounds, I’m only the last 4 days or so beginning to feel at all close to normal. I had 2 visits to the oncologist office this week. The first with my regular Onc, Dr. Kasper. He allowed as how when you decimate the testosterone of a “younger” man (i.e. 50’s as opposed to 70’s and up), they tend to get slammed by it as they are usually producing normal levels of the hormone. Indeed, my tests over the last few years had always shown that I was in the mid to high part of the “reference” or usual range for adult males (221-716 ng/ml).
But with Lupron, they’ve knocked my testosterone measurement to 12 ng/ml. That’s twelve as in 12 more than zero.
So I have almost no male hormone coursing through my body. Almost none. At all.
The good news is that the tumor has likely shrunk and the metastic cells in my lungs have likely been reduced or eliminated as its testosterone that feeds prostate cancer. The bad news is I feel as weak, shakey, achy, not normal, depressed, hot flashey (yet easily cold at the same time) and just all around blech as I’ve ever felt in my life. This has been nothing short of disabling.
To add to this, Lupron can cause about a fairly high percentage of men to develop gynecomastia, or enlargement of the breasts, that is accompanied by pain in the tissue. The only preventative is mild radiation treatments to the breasts which seems to kill or at least turn off estrogen receptors in that tissue. Not needing additional pain and realizing how further depressed I would be should my usually fairly well defined male chest become feminized, I decided to pursue that treatment yesterday. The radiation oncologist D and I spoke with was well experienced, sincere and knowledgeable. He was also the 5th or 6th physician to refer to the gravity of my “high volume” disease. He’s only seen it once before back when only estrogen was used to deal with PC and that patient “just melted away.”
His comments pushed me on my decision about pursuing chemo. The regular Onc’s assistant had called about and mailed me a federal study on men with advanced PC taking chemo in the first four months of hormone treatments having and extended life span of approximately 1.5 years. It’s 18 weeks of treatment, once every 3 weeks. I can expect hair loss, nausea/vomiting and knocking down my white blood cell count for a few days after every treatment. But there seems a strong likelihood it buys me a year plus. Seeing as how I’d always envisioned myself as a cranky, mischievous old guy some day, I’m gonna buy the year plus, nausea et al be damned.
I’ve had relatives and friend send me info about consuming nutrient rich juices made from “15-20 lbs” of organic fruits and veggies daily. While I get it and understand the theory behind it, the truth is, I can neither afford nor do I think I could down 20 pounds of organic fruits and veggies a day. The best I can do (and have been doing) is to up my consumption of these daily with what fits in the budget and appetite. I’ve often enjoyed mixed berry smoothies for well over a decade, so this is not new to me.
Finally, Derrell remains by my side in this fight. A solid partner. He’s thankfully had no further seizures since May 30 so it appears the medication he’s taking is working as intended with few side effects. The love and support I feel from him, be it accompanying me to Dr’s visits or bringing me water and blueberries when I was in bed or simply holding my hand, is remarkable and comforting. I may have never won Powerball or MegaMillions, but I won the relationship lottery somehow.
That’s all I know today.