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RT. What it looks like....

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 16:34

During my treatment Christie's asked me to appear on a Channel 5 news feature celebrating 70 years of the NHS. I did say that if I was the best looking subject they could find to drop his trousers on national television for free it didn't say much for the competition but they still wanted to use me.


There is not much of the ten minutes of interview that we filmed due to the Russian Novichok story that was leading at the time, but for those wondering what V-MAT IMIGRT looks like then I hope it helps. This was filmed on number 17 out of 20 fractions.


 


Channel 5 News at Christie's

Edited by member 16 Aug 2018 at 18:20  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 18:11

Well done, you’re “15 minutes of fame”!


It will be useful for giving a view of what VMAT IMRT looks like as a patient too.


Interesting to see progress on proton beam therapy machine.


Hope all is going well for you,


Ian

Ido4

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 19:06

I enjoyed watching that wee clip.


If my cancer gets worse, I'll maybe move to Manchester!


Ulsterman

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 20:33
Hi David,

You were very lucky to be treated with one of the few V linacs currently in the UK and I hope this proves highly successful.
Barry
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User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 18:11

Well done, you’re “15 minutes of fame”!


It will be useful for giving a view of what VMAT IMRT looks like as a patient too.


Interesting to see progress on proton beam therapy machine.


Hope all is going well for you,


Ian

Ido4

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 19:06

I enjoyed watching that wee clip.


If my cancer gets worse, I'll maybe move to Manchester!


Ulsterman

User
Posted 16 Aug 2018 at 20:33
Hi David,

You were very lucky to be treated with one of the few V linacs currently in the UK and I hope this proves highly successful.
Barry
User
Posted 17 Aug 2018 at 08:38

Thanks Barry,


Frankly I didn't choose Christie's as such. I live in South Cheshire and after consulting urologists in Manchester I found myself being told to go there. They have twelve suits in Radiology and as far as I know they are all V-Mat machines similar to the one I used.


I do realise that I was lucky and indeed the whole process was frankly very easy. I maintained my general health throughout. I drove myself to and from the hospital for all 20 fractions. Towards the end I had the odd nap in the afternoon but the only real side effect was inflammation of the bowel and rectum in the last three sessions. That was difficult as by the time it ended I couldn't pass anything, including wind. Christie's place a lot of faith in Fybrogel but when I read that it can promote trapped wind and bloating I thought it was the last thing I needed. However in the end I went with the advice and to say the least, the result wasn't pretty. The effect was the equivalent of taking a dose of Dettol and Napalm. I was bleeding a little for about a week but that cleared up and now, a month after treatment I am back to normal.

What I did find strange was that there was little if any change in urinary habits throughout the whole treatment plan. A little more frequency during the latter stages, especially at night, but again, no real ill effects. No passing of razor blades or pain. A little discomfort from the general inflammation maybe but again, a month later everything is back to normal.


The only other side effect I've noticed has been insomnia. That started about two weeks prior to RT and I presume was coincident with the second Prostap jab. One Nytol tablet at bed time seems to help but I found myself waking in the night with a flush and then not getting back to sleep. Again, that seems to be improving now.


They do say radio hits you hardest after completion of the course and I think it's fair to say I have felt more tired since completion but again, nothing compared to doing a few night Tenerife's or an Atlantic crossing when I was at work. Taking it easy and not pushing oneself soon seems to show good results.


In total all I had 60gy and two Prostap jabs. The whole process has been to me a journey that I've had to undertake but I've been lucky to have chosen my path and follow it on my own terms. I know that many reading this will be taking a much longer and more arduous trip but to anyone who is being told that RT has to be unpleasant then I hope I can show that need not be the case.


 

Edited by member 17 Aug 2018 at 08:46  | Reason: Phrasing and added incomnia

User
Posted 28 Jan 2021 at 12:03

I am ashamed to say that I have not visited the forum in recent times but I still follow the charity on Facebook and am often reminded of the superb support I received from them through my treatment. It seemed appropriate to update you all on how things have gone since I first posted and since my treatment was completed.

I'm pleased to say that overall it's been a success story. As you'll see from my posts on this thread and on others I was a staunch supporter of the HT/RT route. I researched all options from surgery through the various forms of RT and decided that private treatment didn't offer anything over what the NHS could offer. Although I have to add that I was very privileged to be treated by Christie's in Manchester. 


Since treatment ended and the inflammation of the bowel subsided I've been in good health. A little run down and tired for a few months but nothing limiting. I did have a dose of Shingles the next autumn which the GP said might have been related to my immune system being lowered but it was short lived and although I do seem to get recurrences every few months they are nothing more than a mild annoyance. 

My urination pattern hasn't really changed post treatment. I still tend to pee for England but with management of caffeine and alcohol levels it varies from 90 mins in the mornings to 180 mins later in the day. Urgency was a problem for about six months and can still cause issues but I found that the 330/440ml Lucozade bottle became my greatest friend. The larger neck accommodates even the biggest boy!

I usually manage through the night on one visit to the loo but more recently I've noticed an undisturbed night is not uncommon. I never suffered any problem with flow rates etc. Everything is much as it was before. 

From the virility aspect not much has changed. I was never going to be a 'Cavalier amongst Pork Swordsmen' again at 63 anyway so whilst the ability to gain an erection is reduced, with half a tablet of Sildenafil normal service is resumed. Luckily my wife and I don't regard that aspect of our forty year marriage as too important anymore but I hope I can reassure younger men that RT doesn't mean the end of your sex life.

My PSA scores have gone from 12 pre treatment to 0.36. I hit 0.50 on one check but it's back down again. I have been discharged by my Urologist and I will have my last annual review with Christie's next month. 

There is a common syndrome that anal bleeding can occur around 18 months down the line and indeed I have had the odd occurrence but bowel screening has repeatedly come back clean and I find that so long as I don't indulge my passion for hot curries more than once a week everything is good. In fact I would say that my bowels now function better than they did before. 

All in all I feel much as I did pre-treatment. Any differences are more likely due to age rather than PCa but who knows. What I do know is that having taken on the illness in my own way and decided my own path I feel all I can do is be grateful for the support I received here and the treatment I received through the NHS. 

For those of you just starting out on the journey. Stick in there. You can come out the other side feeling as you did before. You'll never stop looking over your shoulder at Cancer but it can be treated and you can come out the other side without it changing your life forever. 

Good Luck. 



User
Posted 28 Jan 2021 at 13:50

Originally Posted by: Online Community Member
Hi David,

You were very lucky to be treated with one of the few V linacs currently in the UK and I hope this proves highly successful.


When I was treated at Mount Vernon 18 months ago, all 9 of their operating LINACS were IG-VMAT with co-mounted cone beam CT scanners for accurate positioning. One of the consultant radiographers did tell us that was the current technology, and at that time the only step up from that was the MRI-guided LINACs.

Edited by member 28 Jan 2021 at 15:28  | Reason: Not specified

User
Posted 29 Jan 2021 at 14:41

Sounds like your treatment has been very good with a fantastic PSA response.


All the best going forward.

Ido4

User
Posted 30 Jan 2021 at 13:47
Thank you for your update. Good to know treatment worked well for you and the more advanced linacs being more widely introduced as Andy confirms.
Barry
User
Posted 30 Jan 2021 at 17:13
What a fantastic update Boeingboy - very happy for you!
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." Soren Kierkegaard
 
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