I wanted to give a brief update on my treatment and recovery in dealing with my prostate cancer. Possibly, if anyone finds they have prostate cancer and has the Brachytherapy (Radiation Seed Implant) as an option this can serve as a example to my experience in treating the cancer and hopefully may answer a few questions.
If anyone reading this knows of someone with prostate cancer, and most certainly you will sometime, let this be a guide. But the only way to have my treatment method, Brachytherapy and radiation seed implants, is to get the cancer detected early. To have this option the cancer must still be relatively small and localized; no spreading. Otherwise more invasive treatments must be used, up to and including removal.
My first week has been pretty easy. The short story here is I went back to work the Friday after my procedure; back to work in 3-4 days. Anyone reading this that has this option, I highly recommend you take it. Now 2 weeks since the procedure I feel normal. I feel great; just like how I felt when I walked in the hospital. Infact, I felt that way a week ago.
The day of my procedure was a breeze. They gave me an IV early. I danced in my surgical gown after a bathroom adventure. Two hours later they wheeled me to the operating room. I switched beds by own accord. A nurse with pretty white teeth said, ‘I am now going to drop something in your IV that will make me sleep’ and the next thing I know I am waking up in the recovery room, mentally searching my body to see what hurts. Nothing hurt. It was that easy. I entered the hospital at 5.30am and was discharged by 2.00pm. … for a cancer treatment.
I went back to my Oncologist the next morning at 8.30am and his nurse took out the catheter. This went waaaayyyyy easier than I thought it would be; out in a second. It felt like I was peeing really hard; that’s what the catheter felt like being removed.
Sure there are some anxious moments, mainly stemming from things I didn’t understand; mainly that morning in the hospital, living with a catheter in and especially the catheter removal. I didn’t get much sleep the night with the catheter in. And Pee’ing has been the biggest concern. It really took me half the morning the day of my procedure to pee at all on my own and then I could not get a stream until about 3pm that day.
My butt was sore initially but not where I thought it would be. While I thought the area of injections would be in the land down under, where my legs come together, the actual busy area was BEHIND that area, not so much in the middle, but literally in the REAR.
I came home with a maxi pad type cushion in my catheter underwear for my butt and there were a few blood dots on it from the needles. The inner portions of my cheeks were swollen for about a week. It seems most of the needles entered my prostate via my lower rectum. That area is still a bit sore. And why wouldn’t it be sore? I figure 30+ needles went in through there.
I have what looks like a months’ worth of infection medicine. Thankfully, I do not have any infections though. I do have some meds for pain, percocets.
Now I had not taken the pain meds because I didn’t feel like I needed them after the catheter was removed. I felt fine! However I read online a few days following my release that the pain meds were for the swelling. I didn’t know! It’s a good thing I looked up ‘recovery’ on a web search.
My stomach felt ‘full‘ the first few days although I could eat. And I think that had to do with overall swelling inside my stomach. They said my prostate should have really swollen up. I thought to get 95 seeds in my tiny, poor ol’ prostate it would have had to be enlarged!
And I don’t feel the seeds or radiation one bit. None! I would never know they were there. Although I swear I can smell the radiation. My wife says that’s not likely. I have had that same ‘hospital smell’ around me for almost 10 days.
I have many of the usual ‘side effects’ that pertains to this procedure and my urine. My urine stream has been impaired. Impaired? My 3 year old has more fluid volume than I do.
The gentle flow usually means smaller urination, creating more frequency, given a normal diet.
I get the urges to go real bad but when I make it to the bathroom I barely get a stream. This is normal I hear. Guess the prostate is still rather enlarged. Size does matter! I worry what’s wrong while I wait to finish but when I am done it feels good. It’s hard to explain.
The day following the procedure it was real important that I go to make sure my urinary tract was not injured during the procedure. Well, I went, eventually, just 15 minutes before my deadline, but only enough to fill a shot glass.
I was told to take a warm bath for the swelling that may have occurred from my catheter placement but that “if I couldn’t get a stream going by 3:00pm to come back in.
So I drank some more and waited and waited.
I finally found the old, ‘hands up against the wall’ pose as the most comfortable as I waited for some action down there.
But, now, I go to the bathroom more often than I used to. My streams are weak or smallish. And I frequently have the sensation of wondering whether I am actually finished or still more to come, forcing me to adopt a new pee’ing position
An extreme example of this came last Sunday as I counted 6 times that I got up to go to the bathroom between 10:30pm and 12:30am. That’s one every 20 minutes. I ended up getting up over 10 times that very sleepless night.
But all these issues are listed side effects. I see it as all fixing itself in time.
And while one side effect maybe blood in the urine, I have none of that. However, the 2nd or third day, while I was in the shower, I was cleaning up and noticed my penis was mostly purple, along with a great portion of my scrotum. Yes black and blue.
Frankly, you really hate to see black and blue or ‘injury’ in your sensitive areas and this was no exception. Thoughts of ‘withering and falling off’ run through your mind.
This was really unsettling at the time but I figured it was from all the trauma it must have went through with the catheter initially. And the discoloration is starting to fade now. Thankfully, nothing has fallen off!
In fact, here now at 14 days since my procedure, my doctor told me I am supposed to exercise that wiener!
He told me that intercourse would be good ‘therapy’ for the healing and rejuvenation of my prostate. The catch is that I need to wear a condom in case one of my glowing seeds passes through my prostate.
Now how many surgeries can you think of that tell you to go have sex as a way to heal? So, in a way, we actually will be playing doctor this week!
Another side effect might be my energy being sapped. I fag-out around 3pm-4pm the majority of the days since the procedure. At first I thought it was from the pain killers. But then I stopped taking them during the day. But I still feel nappy.
I left work 30- 60 minutes early each day of my return. Possibly it is the radiation inside me making me tired or my body dealing with some changes
I tried to ride my bike this past weekend but that didn’t seem like a good idea. Yes, my rear is still a bit sore inside.
In looking back, over the whole treatment for my prostate cancer, the hardest part of this whole procedure was done at the testing, the biopsy. And that wasn’t so bad. Again, not too bad for having a cancer.
Of course I am gun-hoe now since it is over but I have to remind myself I still have the cancer and it won’t be for another 2 months or so until I know if this procedure actually got rid of my cancer. So I tell myself it’s not over yet. But so far no complications.
You know if I am running down the aisles of a grocery store, pushing two girls in a grocery cart, I can’t be feeling too bad. In fact…
I feel too good!
I feel pre-procedure, when I didn’t feel sick at all. I feel unleashed, like a new lease on life. I feel like I don’t have a small box of radiated BB’s in my belly.
I wish I would! Then I would remember to not pick up my two girls and carrying on with them. It’s hard to remember about the radiation without a
good mild reminder.
So, in summary, the procedure went well. Recovery is fairly easy and pretty quick. And ‘best practices’ for healing and recovery include having sex and sleeping. Maybe I can just drag this recovery out a little bit longer then!
Thanks again to all of you that sent the prayers, well-wishes and healing thoughts. it really meant a lot! Words can’t express my gratitiude but….