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Wife in shock

Posted 25 Apr 2017 at 15:39

My husband Barry was diagnosed with prostate cancer last December. He is 71 years old. He has always been extremely fit and healthy and people always remarked how he never looked his age and how well he was. After trying out my new blood pressure monitor and finding his blood pressure a bit high he went to the GP. The GP only ever usually sees him when he accompanies me to the doctor's and he said as Barry was there they may as well do some routine blood tests. Barry received a telephone call a couple of days later asking him to go to the surgery where he was examined. The GP said his PSA was 9 and he had felt a lump on his prostate when he examined him. Our local hospital was excellent.  Within four weeks he had a scan, bone scan, biopsies and consultation with an oncologist. The tumour had grown out of the prostate but not attached to anything else. He was asked if he wished to take part in a clinical trial. After a week to consider he agreed to and has been wearing hormone patches since December. After a month of the hormone treatment he had 20 sessions of radiotherapy. He has had numerous blood tests in the meantime and his psa level reduced to 0.26 which the research team are very pleased about.

I think I was and still am to a great extent, shocked by this. He had no symptoms whatsoever, no running to the loo during the night, no urgency to get to the loo at all.If he hadn't taken his blood pressure that day he would just have carried on as normal and scarily the tumour would have continued to grow. He seems to have accepted it all and has gone for his treatment but otherwise has been the same until three weeks ago when he began to have bowel and bladder problems which he has been told have been caused by the radiotherapy. For the first time he became emotional about it and said it hit him that he has something wrong with him.He has support nurses but when they ring he just says he is ok.  I still feel I am talking about somebody else. We usually talk about everything together but it has been so difficult to know what to say. 

I want to know what happens now, has the tumour gone or has it shrunk with the radiotherapy? We are waiting to hear about an appointment. I asked him to ask if he would be having a scan to find out what the situation is but he didn't get a clear answer, just that he would have to have the patches on for some time yet.

Posted 25 Apr 2017 at 16:34

It seems he is on a curative treatment plan so the doctors are certainly hoping that they can get rid of the tumour. However, he won't know for quite a few years - they will keep monitoring his PSA regularly and if it stays low, even after he stops taking the hormones, then they will assume he is in remission. He is unlikely to have any more scans unless there are problems in the future because the scans can't tell whether the radiotherapy is damaging the cancer cells.

The tears may not really be about what he said - he is being forced into a menopause with hormones that take away much of his masculinity, his pelvis is spreading, muscle mass reduces, he may be growing breasts ... becoming emotional is another well known side effect.

The vast majority of men have very few specific signs or indicators which is why so many men are diagnosed late.

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

Posted 04 May 2017 at 22:26
Hello IvyMAY

I am in an almost identical position with my husband. same age ,same diagnosis. no symptoms just a PSA jump from 7 __10.8.

Huge shock,never been ill before. So like yourself we are on the road to a totally unexpected new life. Not the retirement we planned .

So I have no great advice to give you just my wholehearted understanding and sympathy. All the best to you both

Lyn x

The only thing you know is you never know,so,keep trying
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