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Husband is going to have bracatherapy

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 10:13
Hi

I am new on here.

My husband is 45 and recently diagnosed with contained prostrate cancer. Yesterday it was decided the treatment would be bracatherapy.I don't think my husband was listening properly he seemed to be in a world of his own,which I suppose is understandable.Since his diagnosis 2 weeks ago,he is angry all the time and won't speak about much.I want to support him,he is my whole world but i don't know what to do? He is still in work and looking at treatment beginning in a few months.This is not about me,I am struggling with it and so scared,but I don't let him see me upset or crying.I just want to be there for him but not overpowering in anyway.Some advice from the guys on here would be great or any ladies that have had to give support.

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 18:23

Hello Snowflake and welcome
What was your husband's PSA and his Gleason score. It might help people to give their opinions/advice

My husband was diagnosed a couple of years ago and started with Active surveillance and eventually went with Low Dose Seed Brachytherapy.

He was 72/3 when he had the procedure. He was/is relatively fit for his age.

He did suffer some urinary incontinence for a while afterwards but it didn't last long. He has had some problems with bowel urgency but that appears to have levelled off.

The procedure itself was straight forward. It was done as a day case and we travelled home by public transport afterwards, apart from a short cab journey to the first station on our route and even then he was protesting and saying he could walk.
He was very tired afterwards, he had after all, just has an anaesthetic.

Constipation was a definite problem. If your other half is going down the low dose Brachytherapy route I would strongly advise you get yourselves sorted out in advance with the necessary medicine ready to take as and when he needs it.

Sexually speaking, if he has no problems now, he is unlikely to have them in the immediate future, once the shock to his body is passed.
You are both young enough to have that as an important part of your life and future.

For us, at our advanced ages (74 and 67) it is still important but not the be all and end all of our love for each other. In fact though, we have been able to go down the Sildenafil (Viagra) route and it has made a great difference to our love life. This was already being affected before diagnosis and we had put this down to ageing. Age may well have had some impact
and without the cancer we would have accepted that it was no longer a part of our future.
Now we know that it is not over and we can still enjoy intimacy.

His emotions will be all over the place, indeed so must yours be.

We've all been there and do appreciate how hard this is for both of you. There will be a range of feelings, some of which you just will not be able to understand.

Please ask anything you want on here.It's what we're here for.

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:11

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
Hi
I am new on here.
My husband is 45 and recently diagnosed with contained prostrate cancer. Yesterday it was decided the treatment would be bracatherapy.I don't think my husband was listening properly he seemed to be in a world of his own,which I suppose is understandable.Since his diagnosis 2 weeks ago,he is angry all the time and won't speak about much.I want to support him,he is my whole world but i don't know what to do? He is still in work and looking at treatment beginning in a few months.This is not about me,I am struggling with it and so scared,but I don't let him see me upset or crying.I just want to be there for him but not overpowering in anyway.Some advice from the guys on here would be great or any ladies that have had to give support.

Hi snowflake

When first diagnosed your emotions and thoughts seem to be all over the place but when I also discovered my prostate cancer was localised I realised I was one of the lucky ones ....... if it has spread (metastatic cancer) it is far more difficult to treat. If your husbands cancer is localised then 'cure' is quite likely.

They wanted to give me a robotic prostatectomy but I already have a large scar in that area from an op when I was 17 so I wasn't keen as it could cause even further complications to a technique that often leaves folk with continence and erectile problems, sometimes for years and in cases for the rest of their lives. I researched the various options and settled on brachytherapy as being MY treatment of choice and the procedure is due to happen next month.

My advice is for your husband to talk about it, find folk who have had brachytherapy - on this site you can call the Specialist Nurses of prostate Cancer UK 0800 074 8383 and discuss issues/thoughts/fears etc and they will even put you in touch with someone who has had the procedure to discuss what to expect. I had someone call me and felt so much better afterwards as he hardly had any problems afterwards at all, was young when he had the procedure and has been free from cancer for over 14 years.

This site can be very helpful and you can order a Prostate cancer 'Tool Kit' from the site which they will send in the post - very useful. there are some good websites that can also help but be careful ..... they are not all good and some go into mind boggling stats that often disagree with another 'paper' on the subject.

The worst thing that can happen is for hubby to 'burry his head in the sand' as all his fears will flare up and prevent him from 'living'. If he explores the facts he will find that the word 'cancer', esp. of the prostate when it is localised ....... is not as bad as our fears suggest at first, for most of us not as bad by a long way!

Take good care of you also, you'll need to. Just being there for him will help even if it's not easy at times.

Let me know if I can help further.

dl

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 11:13  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:26

Dear Snowflake

Sorry to see you here but you are in the right place for advice.

It is fantastic news that the cancer is fully contained, and that should be a big relief.

Your experience sounds a little different to some of us on here, as you have a treatment plan set out so quickly. Many of us were given the option of 2/3 treatments that can range from active surveillance/prostate removal/radiotherapy hormone therapy or brachy as you mention. (or a mixture of a couple of treatments).

Has your Consultant talked you both through all of the options or just told you that the Brachy will be the best way forward? Perhaps it is, but maybe you should do a little research for your own peace of mind?

I certainly do not wish to confuse you and often wish that our Consultant had given us a definitive way forward.

Others will be along shortly to offer more advice.

Stay strong you are being a wonderful help to your husband and in hiding your own fears, like a lot of us wives on here.

Alison x

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:49

Whoa! This is so fast from diagnosis to treatment decision!

Your OH is bound to be angry - he is only 45 and has to face treatment that will affect his whole sense of being a man. It is important that you understand the side effects of the treatments available - for example, have you finished having a family or would you perhaps have wanted to get pregnant in the future? And do you have young children that he may have to keep away from while he is being treated? 

As suggested already, order the toolkit so that you can at least understand what the different treatments are - perhaps you could then phone his nurse at the hospital and ask why brachytherapy was recommended? Another useful thing would be to know which kind of brachytherapy is being sufggested - there are two types which are very different in terms of how they are administered.

There is a positive in all this - if he is suitable for brachy, that tells us that a) his PSA is low b) his prostate is small c) his cancer is not high grade or aggressive and d) he doesn't have any urinary problems. Lots of positives to hold on to!

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 11:51  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 12:08

Hi Snowflake,

Good advice to get the 'Tool Kit' as has been suggested. Learning more about this disease can help take away some of the fear, especially when PCa is caught and treated early as appears to be your husbands position. There are two kinds of brachytherapy, high dose and low dose. The former involves radioactive wires being inserted into the Prostate and withdrawn in an operation under anaesthetic. The low dose option involves placing radioactive seeds in the Prostate at targeted places. These are also inserted under anaesthetic but are not removed as they lose their radioactivity over a long time. Both types of Brachytherapy can be supplemented by External Beam radiation in cases where the oncologist feels this should done. So I would ascertain which method is proposed and read up on it.

Many of us put information about our diagnosis under our Profile ie, such details as PSA on diagnosis, Gleason score, Staging and any further details concerning biopsy and scan findings and in due course treatments with results. This information can be obtained on request from Consultants if not already known. This can help forum members understand better an individual's situation. It also can serve as useful record for the individual.

Barry
User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 12:20

Hi snowflake

Just to add to Lyn's useful and encouraging post and perhaps for the benefit of others reading this not necessarily relating to your husbands situation. Certain urinary problems used to count folk out of brachytherapy as an option. However, these days, many of these problems including weak flow, frequency of peeing, urgency etc. can be corrected by a procedure called a 'mini' TURP prior to the brachytherapy so urinary problems do not necessarily prohibit a patient from brachytherapy anymore. Some hospitals though will not offer this as a course of treatment, just like some hospitals don't offer brachytherapy in one form or another, but again this should not count the patient out from asking for brachytherapy or a 'mini' TURP if necessary prior to brachytherapy if that is there choice of treatment.

I had a 'mini' TURP last month due to such problems with flow etc. (that not so long ago would have meant brachytherapy would not have been an option for me) and to prepare me for the brachytherapy treatment due next month.

dl

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 16:08

Hello, my other half went for brachytherapy, he had it in January. He was not really offered a prostate removal, as he has bowel problems they said brachy would be the mildest treatment. Also as he works full time as a farmer he can't take time off (he did arrange cover for 2 days while he spent a night in hospital and I helped for a few days) As the hospital is a good hour and half away EBRT would have been quite difficult too. 

I can understand why some men want their prostate removed as it removes the cancer completely. I have read that with either treatment the same odds on returning (33%) whatever treatment. If the prostate is removed and it returns there is the option of radiotherapy, whereas if the maximum dose has already been given (from brachy or EBRT) it can't be done again. We were never actually told this, I have read it though, but there are other newer treatments that can be done. 

My OH has suffered quite bad side effects from brachy, apparently only 10% suffer so much. He has prostatitis and radiation induced cystitis. But as he farms and works outside he can pee outside, some days he is peeing every 10 mins to half hour or so. I think he would have struggled in a different job. I won't bore everyone with all his side effects, but if you want to ask any more questions please feel free to message me. His psa had gone down at the 6 week check which was good, but with brachy it can take a good year or so to lower.

Also I would like to add that he is 57 but I am 15 years younger and we have young boys, we have had to stop them sitting next to him due to radiation, but it hasn't really been a problem. The consultant said sitting in the car and at the dinner table next to each other would be fine.

All the best.

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 16:15  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 19:14

It isn't so much the risk of impotence with brachytherapy Johsan, although that can develop as a side effect later on - I was referring to the fact that men can't father any more children after they have had treatment for prostate cancer and most have to learn to live with dry orgasms. Younger men who have not finished making their family can have their sperm frozen but it isn't guaranteed to work

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 19:15  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 20:29

Yes we were asked if we wanted more children. They said OH may be infertile but never to take it that he is. Also not allowed to father a child for a while anyway due to radiation. I am assuming the sperms would be damaged?

As far as ED goes we were told that erections would be softer after brachy, as long as they are good to start with it should not be a problem, but if they are not good to start with then it will be more of a problem. My OH half had a way higher sex drive than me before brachy, I think OH is a bit disappointed in that department, it still works but probably only 70% of pre brachy erections. But having said that he has quite a bit of pain inside especially afterwards, so that is probably not helping. I have read that erections deteriorate over 2 years, hoping not, but I know drugs usually have the desired effect. As I said his side effects are quite unusual, we know a few people that have had brachy and had no side effects at all.

According to our paperwork a small percentage have dry orgasms. But as far as I am concerned with side effects, if it cures it for a few years then it doesn't matter, but my OH would disagree on that one!

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 20:32  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 21:05

I understand that many men strongly identify ejaculation with manhood. Dry orgasm is devastating for some men, including mine.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

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User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 10:21

Hello I can't give advice on the bracatherapy as my hubby was advanced so wasn't an option. All I can say is anger is one of the emotions we all go through and all you can do is be there for him and it is hard but we do get through it. There will be other replies with more specific advice. Please take care of you too love to you both x

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:11

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
Hi
I am new on here.
My husband is 45 and recently diagnosed with contained prostrate cancer. Yesterday it was decided the treatment would be bracatherapy.I don't think my husband was listening properly he seemed to be in a world of his own,which I suppose is understandable.Since his diagnosis 2 weeks ago,he is angry all the time and won't speak about much.I want to support him,he is my whole world but i don't know what to do? He is still in work and looking at treatment beginning in a few months.This is not about me,I am struggling with it and so scared,but I don't let him see me upset or crying.I just want to be there for him but not overpowering in anyway.Some advice from the guys on here would be great or any ladies that have had to give support.

Hi snowflake

When first diagnosed your emotions and thoughts seem to be all over the place but when I also discovered my prostate cancer was localised I realised I was one of the lucky ones ....... if it has spread (metastatic cancer) it is far more difficult to treat. If your husbands cancer is localised then 'cure' is quite likely.

They wanted to give me a robotic prostatectomy but I already have a large scar in that area from an op when I was 17 so I wasn't keen as it could cause even further complications to a technique that often leaves folk with continence and erectile problems, sometimes for years and in cases for the rest of their lives. I researched the various options and settled on brachytherapy as being MY treatment of choice and the procedure is due to happen next month.

My advice is for your husband to talk about it, find folk who have had brachytherapy - on this site you can call the Specialist Nurses of prostate Cancer UK 0800 074 8383 and discuss issues/thoughts/fears etc and they will even put you in touch with someone who has had the procedure to discuss what to expect. I had someone call me and felt so much better afterwards as he hardly had any problems afterwards at all, was young when he had the procedure and has been free from cancer for over 14 years.

This site can be very helpful and you can order a Prostate cancer 'Tool Kit' from the site which they will send in the post - very useful. there are some good websites that can also help but be careful ..... they are not all good and some go into mind boggling stats that often disagree with another 'paper' on the subject.

The worst thing that can happen is for hubby to 'burry his head in the sand' as all his fears will flare up and prevent him from 'living'. If he explores the facts he will find that the word 'cancer', esp. of the prostate when it is localised ....... is not as bad as our fears suggest at first, for most of us not as bad by a long way!

Take good care of you also, you'll need to. Just being there for him will help even if it's not easy at times.

Let me know if I can help further.

dl

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 11:13  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:26

Dear Snowflake

Sorry to see you here but you are in the right place for advice.

It is fantastic news that the cancer is fully contained, and that should be a big relief.

Your experience sounds a little different to some of us on here, as you have a treatment plan set out so quickly. Many of us were given the option of 2/3 treatments that can range from active surveillance/prostate removal/radiotherapy hormone therapy or brachy as you mention. (or a mixture of a couple of treatments).

Has your Consultant talked you both through all of the options or just told you that the Brachy will be the best way forward? Perhaps it is, but maybe you should do a little research for your own peace of mind?

I certainly do not wish to confuse you and often wish that our Consultant had given us a definitive way forward.

Others will be along shortly to offer more advice.

Stay strong you are being a wonderful help to your husband and in hiding your own fears, like a lot of us wives on here.

Alison x

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:31
Thank you very much for the reply.It is not criticism of my family and friends,their support is wonderful,but in my own opinion I would prefer speaking to those that are and have been dealing with this type of cancer and those that show support. Just have so many different feelings rushing around me at the moment,it is knowing how to give support without being overbearing.Sending kind wishes to you.
User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:43
Hi alison,

They did mention removing the prostrate,but with my husband being young they went for the bracatherapy.My husband asked me later what he thought I should do? That decision is not mine to make,I care obviously how things go for him in his treatment,he is anxious that our marriage will suffer if he takes the wrong option..that could not be further from the truth,I married him for better or worse and in sickness and health,the only outcome I want is the best most loyal husband to be healthy and happy!He is stuck with me regardless,but he is trying to push me away and talks like he has just got the flu.

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 11:49

Whoa! This is so fast from diagnosis to treatment decision!

Your OH is bound to be angry - he is only 45 and has to face treatment that will affect his whole sense of being a man. It is important that you understand the side effects of the treatments available - for example, have you finished having a family or would you perhaps have wanted to get pregnant in the future? And do you have young children that he may have to keep away from while he is being treated? 

As suggested already, order the toolkit so that you can at least understand what the different treatments are - perhaps you could then phone his nurse at the hospital and ask why brachytherapy was recommended? Another useful thing would be to know which kind of brachytherapy is being sufggested - there are two types which are very different in terms of how they are administered.

There is a positive in all this - if he is suitable for brachy, that tells us that a) his PSA is low b) his prostate is small c) his cancer is not high grade or aggressive and d) he doesn't have any urinary problems. Lots of positives to hold on to!

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 11:51  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 12:08

Hi Snowflake,

Good advice to get the 'Tool Kit' as has been suggested. Learning more about this disease can help take away some of the fear, especially when PCa is caught and treated early as appears to be your husbands position. There are two kinds of brachytherapy, high dose and low dose. The former involves radioactive wires being inserted into the Prostate and withdrawn in an operation under anaesthetic. The low dose option involves placing radioactive seeds in the Prostate at targeted places. These are also inserted under anaesthetic but are not removed as they lose their radioactivity over a long time. Both types of Brachytherapy can be supplemented by External Beam radiation in cases where the oncologist feels this should done. So I would ascertain which method is proposed and read up on it.

Many of us put information about our diagnosis under our Profile ie, such details as PSA on diagnosis, Gleason score, Staging and any further details concerning biopsy and scan findings and in due course treatments with results. This information can be obtained on request from Consultants if not already known. This can help forum members understand better an individual's situation. It also can serve as useful record for the individual.

Barry
User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 12:20

Hi snowflake

Just to add to Lyn's useful and encouraging post and perhaps for the benefit of others reading this not necessarily relating to your husbands situation. Certain urinary problems used to count folk out of brachytherapy as an option. However, these days, many of these problems including weak flow, frequency of peeing, urgency etc. can be corrected by a procedure called a 'mini' TURP prior to the brachytherapy so urinary problems do not necessarily prohibit a patient from brachytherapy anymore. Some hospitals though will not offer this as a course of treatment, just like some hospitals don't offer brachytherapy in one form or another, but again this should not count the patient out from asking for brachytherapy or a 'mini' TURP if necessary prior to brachytherapy if that is there choice of treatment.

I had a 'mini' TURP last month due to such problems with flow etc. (that not so long ago would have meant brachytherapy would not have been an option for me) and to prepare me for the brachytherapy treatment due next month.

dl

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 16:08

Hello, my other half went for brachytherapy, he had it in January. He was not really offered a prostate removal, as he has bowel problems they said brachy would be the mildest treatment. Also as he works full time as a farmer he can't take time off (he did arrange cover for 2 days while he spent a night in hospital and I helped for a few days) As the hospital is a good hour and half away EBRT would have been quite difficult too. 

I can understand why some men want their prostate removed as it removes the cancer completely. I have read that with either treatment the same odds on returning (33%) whatever treatment. If the prostate is removed and it returns there is the option of radiotherapy, whereas if the maximum dose has already been given (from brachy or EBRT) it can't be done again. We were never actually told this, I have read it though, but there are other newer treatments that can be done. 

My OH has suffered quite bad side effects from brachy, apparently only 10% suffer so much. He has prostatitis and radiation induced cystitis. But as he farms and works outside he can pee outside, some days he is peeing every 10 mins to half hour or so. I think he would have struggled in a different job. I won't bore everyone with all his side effects, but if you want to ask any more questions please feel free to message me. His psa had gone down at the 6 week check which was good, but with brachy it can take a good year or so to lower.

Also I would like to add that he is 57 but I am 15 years younger and we have young boys, we have had to stop them sitting next to him due to radiation, but it hasn't really been a problem. The consultant said sitting in the car and at the dinner table next to each other would be fine.

All the best.

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 16:15  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 18:23

Hello Snowflake and welcome
What was your husband's PSA and his Gleason score. It might help people to give their opinions/advice

My husband was diagnosed a couple of years ago and started with Active surveillance and eventually went with Low Dose Seed Brachytherapy.

He was 72/3 when he had the procedure. He was/is relatively fit for his age.

He did suffer some urinary incontinence for a while afterwards but it didn't last long. He has had some problems with bowel urgency but that appears to have levelled off.

The procedure itself was straight forward. It was done as a day case and we travelled home by public transport afterwards, apart from a short cab journey to the first station on our route and even then he was protesting and saying he could walk.
He was very tired afterwards, he had after all, just has an anaesthetic.

Constipation was a definite problem. If your other half is going down the low dose Brachytherapy route I would strongly advise you get yourselves sorted out in advance with the necessary medicine ready to take as and when he needs it.

Sexually speaking, if he has no problems now, he is unlikely to have them in the immediate future, once the shock to his body is passed.
You are both young enough to have that as an important part of your life and future.

For us, at our advanced ages (74 and 67) it is still important but not the be all and end all of our love for each other. In fact though, we have been able to go down the Sildenafil (Viagra) route and it has made a great difference to our love life. This was already being affected before diagnosis and we had put this down to ageing. Age may well have had some impact
and without the cancer we would have accepted that it was no longer a part of our future.
Now we know that it is not over and we can still enjoy intimacy.

His emotions will be all over the place, indeed so must yours be.

We've all been there and do appreciate how hard this is for both of you. There will be a range of feelings, some of which you just will not be able to understand.

Please ask anything you want on here.It's what we're here for.

We can't control the winds - but we can adjust our sails
User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 19:14

It isn't so much the risk of impotence with brachytherapy Johsan, although that can develop as a side effect later on - I was referring to the fact that men can't father any more children after they have had treatment for prostate cancer and most have to learn to live with dry orgasms. Younger men who have not finished making their family can have their sperm frozen but it isn't guaranteed to work

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 19:15  | Reason: Not specified

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 20:29

Yes we were asked if we wanted more children. They said OH may be infertile but never to take it that he is. Also not allowed to father a child for a while anyway due to radiation. I am assuming the sperms would be damaged?

As far as ED goes we were told that erections would be softer after brachy, as long as they are good to start with it should not be a problem, but if they are not good to start with then it will be more of a problem. My OH half had a way higher sex drive than me before brachy, I think OH is a bit disappointed in that department, it still works but probably only 70% of pre brachy erections. But having said that he has quite a bit of pain inside especially afterwards, so that is probably not helping. I have read that erections deteriorate over 2 years, hoping not, but I know drugs usually have the desired effect. As I said his side effects are quite unusual, we know a few people that have had brachy and had no side effects at all.

According to our paperwork a small percentage have dry orgasms. But as far as I am concerned with side effects, if it cures it for a few years then it doesn't matter, but my OH would disagree on that one!

Edited by member 10 Apr 2015 at 20:32  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 10 Apr 2015 at 21:05

I understand that many men strongly identify ejaculation with manhood. Dry orgasm is devastating for some men, including mine.

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard

 
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