Friday, April 15, 2016

Bringing You Up To Date and a Mini Refresher for Those Who Haven't Read My Story

In January of 2014, I was a strong, healthy, happy 52 year old guy with no major health issues.  I ate good food, I worked out 4 to 5 times a week, I had gotten into running, was 3 years into a great job with this little tech startup called Kinnser Software and was also 3 years into the best, most loving relationship of my life.  Life WAS great!

Then I went in for my yearly physical.  I wasn't one of those guys who avoided the doctor at all costs; rather, I was one who went happily as I had good health and a great primary care physician who I genuinely liked as a doctor and a friend.  He noted that my PSA had risen from 1.45 in 2011 to 4.91 in late 2013. At the time of the physical in 2014, it was 5.2.  During a DRE my friend and physician noted a lump and abnormalities in the prostate.  So off he sent me to a urologist who talked me into a biopsy of the gland.

I was diagnosed with a Gleason 8, stage IV cancer with extracapsular extension, suspected seminal vesicle involvement, very aggressive type of PC and, to top it all off, cancerous nodules in my lungs.  Three lung biopsies (never again!) confirmed the nodules were indeed metastasized cancer cells from the prostate.  The most simple way to put it was, I was in deep shit with few options.

At first, the only option I was given was hormone treatment with Lupron.  I agreed and within a month, my measurable testosterone was 0.  As in none.  As in most women now had more testosterone than I did.  I felt horrible; weak, losing muscle, gaining body fat,  body aches and pains, libido gone and just not like a guy or like Scott anymore.

By May 2014, my PSA was also unmeasurable, but I was advised there were no guarantees it would stay that way and would likely become Lupron resistant at some point.  I was also told the FDA had approved the first chemo treatment for "castrate resistant" (lovely marketing term, eh?) PC and it was using a drug called docetaxel, a highly toxic but effective drug that has been used on women with breast cancer for decades.  FDA studies showed that this chemo treatment (8 sessions, 3 weeks apart) had a positive effect on PC cells and extended average life expectancy by 3-5 months.  Not having any better options, I agreed to it.

By the end of chemo treatment (don't forget, I was also doing the Lupron/no male hormone thing at the same time), I was bald, had little to no energy, had clouded mental function ("chemo brain"), couldn't work, was on disability, and had begun to have severe pain from chemo induced neuropathy in my feet/hands, wrists/ankles, and arms/legs.

So I ended 2014 with good numbers, medically speaking. As I wrote in December of '14:

  • * My lungs appear to be cancer nodule free
  • * My prostate and the associated tumor appear to have shrunk substantially
  • * The tumor is no longer "extracapsular"
  • * The tumor no longer appears to have seminal vesicle involvement
But I had traded one problem for others.  Horrible neuropathy as mentioned above, extreme fatigue and depression.

So that's where I left off blogging.  In my next post I'll cover the events of the last 16 months and where I'm at now.

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