Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saying No To Man Boobs and Wishing I Could Say No To Fatigue

Friday at lunch was my third visit to the radiation oncologist to get my breasts zapped so as to prevent the most unwanted side effect of hormone "therapy, " painful enlargement of the breasts.  It's proven to be a strange, if uneventful, experience.  Five sessions with each lasting less that ten minutes where you lay shirtless and flat on a moving table and radiation techs center the beam right on your nipple on each side.  They flee the room and you can hear the machine turned on and zapping the tissue on each side for about 45 seconds. It seems this turns off (kills?) the estrogen receptors that both genders have in breast tissue, but are typically never active in males.. The only side effects I'm told I should experience are a reddening of the skin that was exposed in about 2 weeks, then all the hair in the "square" that was exposed will fall out and never grow back, which should look quite strange if I ever go shirtless at a pool or the lake again.  Doing my part to Keep Austin Weird I guess.

Fatigue continues to be an issue.  In the last week, during which I returned to work full time, I find that its all I can do to make it through my 8 hours at what is a relatively sedentary job.  Even with a solid 7 or 8 hours sleep, I'm still running on half my cylinders.  Yesterday, I managed to do a fairly good workout (elliptical, stretching, arms and chest) at the gym and grocery shopped.  When I got home, it was all I could do to put up the groceries.  Derrell woke me up and hour and a half later from napping when he came home from work on break.  I thought the nap would rejuvenate me, but I was wiped the rest of the day to the point where I decided, after showering and getting dressed, that I just didn't have the stamina to make it to a friend and coworker's long planned party.  The energy just wasn't there and I was in bed by 10pm.

This lack of energy comes despite upping the quality of my already pretty darned good diet.  Berry/kale smoothies, multiple prostate friendly supplements and vitamins, vegetable juices, salmon, increased amounts of organic veggies and fruits........I will say, my skin looks amazing. But the energy and stamina is virtually non-existent.  It's become apparent to me that a man in his 50s needs some degree of testosterone to function normally. The oncologist's plan is to keep me on Lupron indefinitely.  I'm not sure that's something I can do.  I've lost 13 pounds (mostly muscle), have little or no energy most days, severe tinnitus, a slight to moderate headache almost all the time, my extremities ache 80% of the time, I'm docile and weak and I just plain old feel like crap virtually all my waking hours.  This is not quality life.


  1. Scott,
    I don't know if this will help alleviate your situation with fatigue but it is also an issue with me. I used to take an afternoon nap of 15 or 20 minutes. After my seed implants (May 2, 2013) I now need at least an hour and often more for my afternoon nap. It's not unusual for me to lie down at 2 and wake up at 5:30! And it's a deep sleep. I just cannot go straight through. In fact I'm dreading next month at work where I'm filling in for a vacationing co-worker and have to work five days in a row. Now I work consecutive nights a week (3 to 11 pm) at the hotel. My job is mostly sedentary also. But even after two shifts I am wiped out, even more so now during the busy season.

    While I was trying to make my decision a couple of years ago as to what kind of treatment for my prostate cancer, a friend of mine told me of his choice for hormone therapy/treatment. He said it almost killed his marriage and turned him into a woman with breasts he didn't have before and hot flashes. Last year while I was waiting for my oncologist to go over my options, I was sitting next to a man in the waiting room who was undergoing hormone therapy to reduce the size of his prostate so he could have seed implants (thank goodness I didn't have to do that, my prostate wasn't enlarged that much). I could feel the heat emanating from him. He was flushed and squirming. He said he could hardly get any sleep because of the hot flashes. He was going to ask his oncologist to take him off of that treatment. The experiences both of these guys had is one of the reasons I decided not to go the hormone therapy route.
    I don't think I'll ever have my full energy back. Like you said about "operating on all cylinders." And, my extremities always ache. I'm not sure how much is old age but I didn't have all these conditions before the seed implants. My biggest worry now is my upcoming trip to Canada to visit my good friend Pat. After my seed implants, when I have to go to the bathroom I really have to go. No waiting. I leave for the airport which is two hours away (Philadelphia) to catch a 7:29 am plan on August 15th. I usually "do my business" about 6 am in the morning. I will probably have to take an enema before I go, because I'm waking up at 3:30 am or 4:00 am to catch my ride to the airport. Pat (my Canadian friend) took a bus down here last month to visit me. That was a 24 hour drive. There is no way I could do that since my seed implants. I often "leak" which I can handle but when I have a full blown bowel movement, watch out. I HAVE TO GO. There is no holding it. I hope to God I can make it to Toronto without an accident.
    I know I've been talking about myself a lot here but maybe I've helped you to take your mind off of your situation just for a few moments and see the humor in my situation. Reading about what you're going through now I realize how very, very lucky I am. I hope your treatments stabilize your situation soon and you can enjoy more quality time with Derrell.

    You continue to be in my thoughts Scott,

    Your friend,


  2. First, I just love to see that your humor and wit are still very much in tact, as evidenced by the title. (I'm also glad you're saying No to man boobs.)
    Radiation therapy also causes fatigue, so that can also be adding to your already reduced energy. Sounds like you're doing a great job listening to your energy levels and doing what you can when you can.
    Sending you much love, my friend. XOXO