Tips and advice for any sexual side effects of treatment
Have a good memory and learn to be positive about things getting better over time.
Tips and advice for any physical side effects of treatment
It’s the sweats that got me, and ensuring that others know what is going on. I teach and often find myself starting to sweat, so explain to the kids what is going on.
Tips and advice for any mental and emotional side effects of treatment
I share my story with people and family and find incredible empathy and understanding- prostate cancer is becoming less taboo and men need to share their emotions much more than they do. Counselling has been brilliant for me along with Maggie’s - a superb walk-in centre at Barts.
How this treatment impacted my life the most
The lead up to treatment was the worse bit and knowing that the inevitable answer was coming; but bizarrely I felt I was joining an exclusive club! My PSA was 35 before any treatment - I was having peeing issues but, like other men, ignoring it. Immediately I embarked on my journey within two weeks of the PSA shock. My local hospital initiated treatment after DRE and an MRI and the toughest bit - the trans-perineal biopsy (ouch!). But the nursing team were wonderful and still stay with me. At the same time Sept 21 2021 my younger brother died with MND - devastating blow and later that very day I was phoned by a Doctor with my own diagnosis. What followed was hormone therapy with three monthly shots - I remained on this until my last three monthly injection January 2023. Sweats, fatigue, lack of libido and no body hair as well as tits and tummy - I was in menopause (much to the amusement of my colleagues and female family!) In 2022 I was invited invited to engage with pelvic floor exercises to prepare for LINAC radiation. June 2022 I received 30 days of radiation from the incredible team, but the bladder training was really tough and trying not to pee was hard. As the radiation progressed I became more and more short tempered and a feeling of deep fatigue- and my bowel habits also changed - the feeling that I hadn’t completely emptied my bowels - and a bit drippy too. But the kindness of the oncology and urology team - help from Prostate Cancer UK and Maggie’s - and my family were all incredibly vital. Work was kind to me too and over the radiation period I worked from home as much as I was able.
If I had to do it all over again, would I choose the same treatment?
Why did I give this answer?
Looking back there was a real sense of holistic care - a clear pathway and with steps on the way. I was offered surgery but the urologist suggested the radiation route and I am pleased with the outcome - so far. My consultant has been outstanding and my PSA has dropped to 0.03 - but there is always an anxious moment prior to my 6 monthly check up and meeting. So ever onwards and hopefully towards a full return to pre-hormonal life!