Man shares prostate cancer story

I had my physical last October as usual and was given a clear bill of health. I had a digital rectal examination but no PSA. I then went to England for two weeks. I lead an active life style, walking, hiking, skiing, and generally am told I look young for my 68 years. In 1986 I had a TURP*. Although retired in 1996 I have kept my hand in a number of activities.

In late January this year, I had back pain and pain in the hip area, noticeable while skiing. On checking with the doctor in February it was assumed to be mechanical/muscular in origin and I took ibuprofen. I went to the Canadian Back Institute for physiotherapy and massage. In March I returned to the doctor and x-rays were taken-a little osteoarthritis and two discs rubbing. I went to a chiropractor.

Doctor surprised
In April the pain took a severe change for the worse and I could only crawl out of bed. I am not one to go to the doctor with every little thing but this was serious. Blood tests-PSA over 240; hospital-CAT scan, bone scan, X-ray, ultrasound, biopsy.

My doctor was most surprised and upset. I had no blood in the urine or other such symptoms to suggest this problem. &lt/P

My urologist said “I cannot cure you but I can control the disease”.

Recovery progress
When I came out of the hospital on May 9 I was using a walker. A bed support, toilet riser, bath transfer bench, obus form, and a nurse who comes every week were provided by the Community Care Access Centre, a superb organization. I am taking one anandron (nilutamide) pill each day as hormone treatment, and pain pills. The latter is down to 30 mg per day of oxycontin. And I had a bilateral orchiectomy (castration).

The most upsetting side effects of the treatment are periodic, unpredictable, frequent hot flushes. However, they last only 3 to 5 minutes. I have gone from the walker to two canes to one cane to no canes and have been quite active this last six weeks at the cottage and around the community.

Positive attitude
My PSA was down to 2.79 in July and to 1.40 in September. The recent bone scan shows “overall appearance has improved significantly since April”. I am looking forward to some cross-country skiing again in January.

The book “Love, Medicine and Miracles” by Dr. Bernie Siegal has many helpful suggestions. A positive attitude is essential. I have received the support of many cards, prayers and prayer chains. I consider that I am blessed many times over and particularly with a loving, understanding, and supporting wife.

Don Irish

*TURP for Transurethral Resection of Prostate. In this procedure, the core of the prostate gland is removed to allow freer passage of urine. Information from the Mayo Clinic says it’s still possible to develop prostate cancer because a TURP leaves behind the outer portion of the gland where most prostate cancers occur. Anyone who has had a TURP should still be examined and tested regularly for prostate cancer.