There seems to be no end to the surprises after the big one, when I found out the cancer had metastasized after two years. Never mind that I supposedly had an 80% chance of being cancer free at five years. Next up was the radiation treatments that were supposed to produce no side effects except minor fatigue. I wound up having to cut them short, and it took months to recover from the damage. Then our dog was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery, was pronounced cancer free, and cancer killed her a month later. My mother-in-law died about the same time. I started taking casodex to slow the growth of my cancer and experienced the expected side effects of loss of libido, hot flashes, irritability, and depression. Lucky me, I also developed extremely tender breasts, something that happens only 30% of the time I’m told. Not too long after that, we were informed our other dog has digestive problems and will likely die before the end of the year.
The most recent surprise was just last Saturday morning. When I got up, I noticed something slightly rubbing against the inside of my arms. It was my breasts. One of casodex’s other low incidence side effects is breast enlargement. I luck out again and get the low probability outcome. At this point the growth isn’t noticeable to anyone but me, but I have to assume the grow will continue. They won’t shrink back if I go off casodex. If I stay on it and they do continue to grow, surgery is the only option. In other words, having prostate cancer and staying on casodex may lead me essentially to a double mastectomy. Now that’s ironic.
This last surprise has been one too many for me. Words can’t express how broken and depressed I feel. Any sexual identity I had feels like it’s fast slipping away. But I’m still totally asymptomatic, i.e., no bone pain. This is the good part of the rest of my life?! I can hardly wait for the bad part to start! The last nine months has been a near constant stream of bad news and death. My luck appears totally shot. A big part of me just wants to stop taking any of the meds, except painkillers, and let nature take its course. I’m not going to do that, though.
I’m hoping that first thing next week I’ll get in to see the oncologist and maybe move back to lupron, which has a much lower incidence of breast pain and enlargement issues. I’m also going to move up my regular appointment with the shrink to address the deep depression this has caused. When the adderall is working I’m OK, but when it wears off it’s not pretty. We’ll no doubt change my anti-depressant cocktail. That will take weeks to assess, and if it doesn’t work, we go at it again. I’ve tried enough different cocktails already that I have very little hope we’ll find one that works long term. There’s a new genetic test that supposedly helps identify which drugs are most likely to work – I’ll ask him about that. I’ll probably try TMS in parallel with all of this (it’s described in earlier posts). If neither of these work, I don’t know what I’ll do. Guess I’ll cross that bridge if and when I have to.