Friday, October 17, 2008

nail biting time

So I'm one month away from my next appointment with the radiation oncologist. Which means I'm less than three weeks away from the blood draw for the PSA.
I find myself Googling for anything about the effectiveness of salvage radiation that I haven't seen before. So far, nothing new.
When you look at the graphs, most men respond initially to salvage with a drop to 0.1 or below. However, for the next several years, people "fall off" the curve, moving out of the "percent progression-free" category.
Thus the return of PSA anxiety.

With luck, I'll have another "< 0.1" report and go back to living my life fairly normally for the next 6-12 months, depending on when the RO wants to see me again. And, as I've posted before, if that is the case, I plan on starting a shut down of this blog, to be complete upon the NEXT good PSA report.

I have developed a backup plan, however. If my PSA rises, I have identified a medical oncologist who specializes in prostate cancer at a leading NCI cancer center that happens to be in a nearby city. I've decided not to see the medical oncologist I consulted before. Nothing wrong with him, but he does not specialize in prostate cancer.

I feel great, and continue to train for a marathon in January.


Sue said...

Just discovered your blog and wanted to thank you for being so candid and generous with sharing your experience. My husband is 7 1/2 years post-RP and his PSA has crept up to .19. He's planning to undergo IMRT starting next month and he's very worried about what to expect. It's helpful for him to read about your experience with salvage radiation and see that the side effects are manageable.
Wishing you continued good news--

Replicant said...

Sue, thank you for the kind words. People have differing experience with IMRT, however, in general men find the side effects mild and temporary--if they have any side effects at all. My bowel problems were probably more extreme than most men run into with this treatment, and still I found them manageable and they DID go away. My gut feels and acts pretty normal these days.

The treatments themselves were a breeze. I actually looked forward to them in a way--the therapists were like new friends. Stop in, say hi, drop trousers a bit, lay down for 10 minutes or so, and then out the door.

It's good that your husband is starting while his PSA is that low. There are several factors that interact in predicting the success of salvage radiation, but the PSA right before treatment is particularly important. The lower the better.

I wish you and your husband the best. I hope you'll post back on the blog here and let everyone know how it goes.

David E. has a quote on his foundation page at :

When the world says
"Give up," Hope whispers "Try it again one more time."

Here's to hope.