It was the Fourth of July weekend in 2007 when I first had urinary symptoms (frequent urination), body ache, and fever. I ended up in the hospital ER the next day and treated for an UT (Urinary Tract) infection -- received 2 liters of fluid and sent home with a script for a week's worth of antibiotics. Symptoms returned the next week and I refilled the antibiotics. Symptoms again resurfaced after another week so I gave up on the antibiotics and started treating the problem holistically -- cranberry juice mostly.
I kept things at bay until October 2008 when I finally threw in the towel and saw my GP (something I should have done in July!). He put me on a much stronger antibiotic but also did a PSA test that came back at 6.7. I was then referred to an Urologist (Barry Shuman) in Albany, NY.
Dr. Shuman wanted to give the antibiotics time to work and do a follow-up PSA in January 2009. My PSA rose to 9.3 so Dr. Shuman recommended a biopsy which was done in late March 2009. The biopsy came back with 3 cores positive. Dr. Shuman felt that I had a slow growing cancer that was probably around for 5 - 10 years. Dr. Shuman explained my options and suggested I consider either RP or radiation therapy and referred me to Dr. Arun Puranik, a radiation oncologist in Latham, NY.
I met with Dr. Puranik in May to discuss EBRT (External Beam Radiation Treatment) and BT (Brachytherapy) options. I decided to give things more time and try to reverse the progression in my PSA using botanicals and diet. A third PSA in June rose to 11.2 so I decided that it was time to seriously consider conventional therapies. I did a lot of research on Proton Beam and CyberKnife but ultimately chose BT as I had confidence in my Urologist and I did not want to travel for treatment.
I had 72 seeds implanted in October 2009 under a spinal. My Urologist thankfully removed the catheter before I woke up so the whole experience was not all that unpleasant. I was able to urinate after an hour and was sent home to recuperate (lots of icing the groin!). I returned to work on the Monday following my Thursday morning implant with few side effects other than slight burning during urination and an occasional crap (minor) in my pants when I peed.
I stayed on Flomax for the first 6 months after seeds but was able to wean myself from it and have no problems sleeping through the night. Other side effects include a diminished libido and difficulty obtaining and maintaining an erection.
Nine months post seeding my PSA is down to 0.94. I'm now on Testosterone replacement therapy for the libido problems which seems to be working as I'm now getting nocturnal erections which did not occur the first 6 months post seeding. I tried Cialis samples also but that gave me a backache so I did not bother to fill the script.
I see my Uro every three months for a PSA and a DRE. All things considered, I feel that BT was the best choice for me as it allowed me to continue working and I was able to resume normal activities (except for riding my bike) shortly after. I now engage in all the activities I did prior to seeding including trail running, snowshoe and Nordic racing, biking, and kayaking without discomfort.
It has now been nearly two years since my seeding in October 2009. PSA continues to trend down from 11.3 pre-seeding to 0.30 now (September, 2010).
The only significant side effects I'm experiencing are occasional ED (correctable with Levitra) and low T (using Androgel to raise levels to normal range). After a few problems with having to urinate at night during the first 6 months post-seeding, I now sleep through the night w/o problems.
All-in-all, a positive experience so far although I'm aware that one is never out-of-the-woods with PCa.
At two plus years post-seed implant PSA continues to trend down from 11.3 to 0.23. Still experience some libido/ED issues and have been on testosterone replacement therapy for about a year.
Otherwise no other noticeable side effects.
Two and a half years past October 2008 seeding, PSA continues to trend downward from 11.4 to 0.16. No major issues so far and ED problems have abated.
I'm now three years post-seed implant and things are OK save for occasional ED problems that respond to medication. PSA continues to slowly trend downward and I've not experienced the "bump" that many report. I've no problem with urinary frequency and manage to sleep all night without having to "hit the head".
It has been 4 1/2 years since my brachytherapy. PSA is now undetectable however I am experiencing ED to the point where I must rely on Staxyn to maintain an erection. Problem is that ins. only covers a limited amount and to remain sexually active, I have to pay out-of-pocket -- $70 for 4 doses which I cut in half so I get 8 for less than $9 each. I'd like to think that my sexual function will return but it would appear that is only a hope and not likely to happen.
Tom's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org