Met with the oncologist today. My PSA was up about 10% into the mid 30s. He told me that means the Lupron is slowly failing, which is good. He wants to keep me on Lupron (and Casodex) until the month to month jumps hit 20% or my PSA exceeds 50.
At that time we’ll add Zytiga to the regimen and drop the casodex. I thought that I’d be done with Lupron, but that’s not the case. I’ll still get Lupron every month.
I’m a little concerned about going off the casodex, since I feel it was a major factor in controlling the depression. He thinks I just got used to the Lupron. At any rate, if the depression returns, I’ll propose we add casodex back to the mix and see what happens.
I also asked about travel next year, specifically in about seven months. He said there shouldn’t be any problems making the trip, good news!
I’ve started to come to terms with my death likely in under two years. The panic attacks are largely gone and the anxiety is much ore manageable. Interestingly enough, the anxiety and panic is almost always the worst right before I go to sleep. I think I just don’t want the day to end and to officially one day closer to death, but who knows.
It seems my fairly well established pattern of Lupron effects fading substantially six weeks after the injection has ended. This last week, week 7, has been one of the worst weeks of my life. Depressions that once started in the afternoon, but could be resolved by taking some Xanax and sleeping it off are mostly gone. Instead I have depressions that start in the early afternoon and torture me until I am finally so exhausted I collapse at night – even then fearing what awaits me when I wake. I am so ready and wiling to die. This isn’t a life.
I suspect many people find it very difficult, if not impossible, to imagine my depression. What could it be like? For me and I suspect most others in my situation, there are 2 elements: the past and the future. The past is the sum collection of everything “wrong” about me mostly from screwed up childhood stuff I incorrectly labeled as proof of my worthlessness – with great help from my parents. The future is the literally true nature of how hopeless things going forward “may be” (but in this state of depression I assume they “will be”).
In fighting the elements of the past, it’s all about convincing myself that those are inappropriate perceptions of a child driven by imperfect parents. I feel as if I’m doing a pretty good job of that. Fighting the future means trying to live in the moment, at least until the moment becomes unbearably painful. In this regard, I’m falling woefully short. I suffer from no direct cancer pain, only these Lupron induced depressions. The depressions produce enormous fears of how bad the pain and hopelessness can and will likely be. Oftentimes it’s hard to imagine that an early death wouldn’t be a more humane result. I find myself praying for a quick death, such as by a brain aneurism or at least something like kidney failure (a very good way to go I’m told).
The doctors all tell me the drugs can control the pain. The things I read in the press don’t jive with this at all. I’ve yet to read even one story where the drugs took away all the patient’s pain, and they talk about a blissful, untroubled period. I guess this could be that they live a horrible life nearly up to the end, have a pain free period, and then die before they recount anything about it.
In the near term I hope somehow, someway to get control of this Lupron depression. In the longer term I fear all my concerns are, in fact, right on target.
Right now the truth is that all I have is week 8. Hopefully, it will be more forgiving.
I should have seen it coming. After realizing that I’ll almost certainly go off Lupron early, the other shoe didn’t drop until this morning. It finally occurred to me that what this means is I will die sooner. The thought just freaked me out and made my death come into sharp focus.
All of the morning and most of the afternoon were spent trying to get my arms around this. I finally came to the conclusion that my current life on Lupron is such a low quality of life that it’s better to forgo the extra months alive and switch to something where I can enjoy my time left.
I’m actually doing pretty good right now Had a reasonable dinner and am comfortable with exploring other options. I meet with the oncologist Tuesday the 10th and we’ll see what develops.
About five and a half weeks ago I got my most recent lupron shot. I expected only mild side effects the first 4 weeks. Instead I had major nausea and upset stomach issues on and off during the entire period. Many dinners were limited to mashed potatoes. The fifth week saw my stomach issues clear up and I had only 1 moderate depression.
The sixth week has been a disaster so far. I missed thanksgiving dinner due to stomach problems that carried over into the next day. Yesterday was one the worst days of my life. Crippling depression set in along with serious nausea. Lupron also left my arms with a fierce tingling for hours. On top of all that I had a chest cold and sore throat. I managed to get through the day, but I feel like something snapped. Today was better, but still very rough. I’m trying to get an appointment set up with oncologist to explore other choices. These side effects are so significantly degrading my quality of life, I’ve got to check out the options.
We had another death in the family Saturday. I guess it should probably be called extended family, but for all purposes she was family. She was about 100 and her body just gave out. Thankfully the pain patches made it a peaceful end.
It was another in a recent line of deaths. My sister in law’s mother died two week ago, more or less. My brother in law’s best friend of many years and employee died not much later. My wife’s mother’s estate closed just a week back; she died a few months ago.
I’m not sure what to make of all this. I guess it’s just part of life. These things cluster. It’s also not clear how difficult it’s supposed to be to deal with these events. More to the point, how emotional one is to be.
If it’s a direct relative it’s pretty obvious, but once things start to get removed, it gets tricky. At the end of the day, of course, we feel what we feel, but along the way I think most of us, like me, try to convince ourselves the impact is minimal. Maybe someone says something that brings a quick tear to our eye, but it’s quickly removed under the guise of an eye irritation.
I guess all I can say for myself is this collection has deaths has changed my mind. Something very real was lost with all these folks’ deaths and none of us will every find it in someone else in our lifetimes. To be sure, some of the things we’ll find in others and ourselves in the future will be wonderful, but that doesn’t change the loss. I think it’s that permanence in loss that has me so sad.