phoenix 5 - to help men and their companions overcome issues created by prostate cancer
main menu   -   prostate   -   stories   -   articles   -   sexuality   -   resources   -   glossary   -   search


Advice from Jack Jennings:


(In response to my post of 1/28/00.)


I've been diagnosed with prostate cancer and I'M MAD AS HELL!

Oh how well I remember this feeling, as well as, "WHY ME? I didn't do anything to deserve this!," along with, "How can ANYBODY understand this GIBBERISH!"

Although the first two feelings are quite common with many of us, the third is a very special frustration reserved exclusively for those who decide to become involved in making the decision of WHAT treatment to have, WHERE, and BY WHOM.

There is a way to avoid this: just put all of these decisions in the hands of some doctor and do what he/she suggests.

I started out with this intention.. My urologist told me that I was a good candidate for an RP. He told me that I should consider other options, and suggested that I go on a Casodex/Lupron regime to "buy me time" while I made up my mind. He did remark that no other treatment works as well as an RP and quoted Dr. Walsh's statistics as if they were his.

I took the first Casodex pill and thought that it might be interesting to find out how this drug, when used along with Lupron, could stop my PCa from growing. I read the poop sheet that came with the Casodex, then went to the FDA web site to investigate Lupron. One phrase in the FDA document jumped right off the screen, "Approved for the palliative treatment of terminal prostate cancer patients"!

Was there something this doctor wasn't telling me. I knew what "palliative" meant, as well as "terminal" and went ballistic! It was too late to call the doctor so I sat up that night reading everything I could find on the net. Over the next few days I hardly slept at all. Then off to the bookstore, to the library, back to the Web. My fiancee told me in no uncertain terms that she wanted me to get the BEST treatment possible, and yes, she was still going to marry me, even with impotence and incontinence as definite possibilities.

It didn't take long to find the best surgeon, Dr. Patrick Walsh, only a three hour drive down to Baltimore. Reading his research papers confirmed that is results were exactly those that my urologist had quoted. I guess my urologist must be pretty good? Then I found out that Walsh did not ever take patients like me with a Gleason 7. A quick read of Korda's book, Man to Man revealed that the side effects of RP, even when performed by Dr. Walsh, were not inconsequential, as my urologist indicated.

To say I lost faith in this urologist quickly would be an understatement. I called his office an told his office that I had stopped taking the Casodex and although I did want to consult with the doctor on my scheduled visit, I did not want the Lupron shot yet since I had just started researching treatment alternatives and had found out that Dr. Walsh would not take any patients who had had Lupron.

Fifteen minutes later I received a call from the doctor's nurse. She told me that I had made a "very dumb" decision, that I was "putting my life at risk" and a lot of other stuff that I had never expected to hear from a medical "professional." When told of this, my "step-daughter-to-be" Jeanie (a registered nurse) was appalled. I never did figure out if the nurse was sleeping with the urologist or if she was angry at the huge amount of money they were missing for the Lupron shot!

Robert, for the next month I had all the feelings you expressed in your post and then some. Even with the advantages of a formal education in science and academic research, I often found myself, with a medical dictionary held open with my left hand while groping to find some meaning in the abstruse language of some phrase in some medical paper that I was pinning down with my right!

Now looking back on this very hellish portion of MY life, I can tell you that FOR ME, it WAS all worth it. Two years after treatment my PSA is 0.3 (just got the news today), my sex life is great, and I don't wet my pants.

I can't guarantee that it will work out the same for you but the alternative is to stop what you are doing that is causing you all this grief and just asking your doctor to schedule you for whatever treatment he thinks is best. After a rather confrontational consultation with that urologist, he sheepishly confided to the lovely lady Sharon that most men just want to be told what to do.

It's your choice!

Jack in Sicklerville, NJ
[name used with permission]


This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.