I have the usual stuff most of us have with hormone therapy: hot flushes, feminisation of the body with some fat in new places – specifically breast, tummy and thighs. I do not think I am as strong as I was – but have just returned from a 7 day hiking holiday in Italy where we walked around 20km each day with some steep climbing, so I would not want to overstate this. I try and walk briskly for around 3-5 km most days and go to a gym twice a week and work out with a sympathetic trainer. I am about 4kgs heavier than my fighting weight. I blame the decapeptyl for this but my wife blames pasta! I think we are both right and I will go on a determined diet soon!! I seem to have developed mild arthritis in my hands which my oncologist thinks may be connected to the therapy.
As far as the after-effects of the surgery are concerned, I still wear lightweight pads because, annoyingly, I occasionally have very small dribbles. I also have mild lymphedema in my left ankle and sometimes my calf. The general view seems to be that losing 25 lymph nodes in my pelvic region is the cause. On long haul flights and long drives I wear full length medical stockings which work well. When I can, I sit with my foot raised. After a night laying down, usually my ankle is just about of normal size in the morning. I also have a triangular piece of foam rubber to raise my ankle and knee above my heart which has always done the trick if the swelling is persistent. Exercise helps and after a long walk the swelling has usually mostly gone down.
I can live with all these physical changes but by far the most difficult issue for me to handle is the uncertainty and the agonising few days before my 3 monthly PSA checks. I try not to look at survival statistics since they are unhelpful to individuals: Statistically, a PSA of 8 with a normal DRE and absolutely no symptoms meant it was very unlikely I had either an aggressive cancer or prostate cancer at all…….As Harold Wilson said, “If you are unemployed, the unemployment rate is 100%”. Any advice on how to handle the stress of the 3 monthly PSA checks and the general uncertainty of probable treatment failure at some point would be helpful.