Whilst living in Tasmania I had a major health event, which really changed our whole outlook on life. The disease was not diagnosed initially as prostate cancer, I was diagnosed with acute sciatica and treated for acute sciatica for three months. After the three months I’d still no improvement. We got the GP to bring in a neurologist because he was very concerned that there was everincreasing damage to my spine. The good news is, as he held up or put the Xray on the viewing board, is that it is not acute sciatica.
It’s these four grey shadows at the base of your spine, I think, are causing you the problem, pressing on nerves. I think it’s prostate cancer. He said but I am not a specialist in that area, I’ll refer you to the local urologist. Once the urologist was brought in he sent me for a nuclear bone scan and an MRI. I was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer with a PSA of 128, and five days later it was 137. Gleason score of 4 4, which is eight. I had metastases of my pelvis, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, right shoulder,.
And I think the right rib. Well we were given three days to decide on treatment choices. We had two choices, medical castration or hormone therapy ADT. Chris, my wife, and myself decided on hormone therapy rather than medical castration. Hormone therapy was Zoladex, but kicking off first of all with Cosudex for a couple of weeks. I also then had a period after that where I was just on Cosudex for a year. The hormone therapy has been intermittent. The longest period I had off it was about twelve months, eighteen months.
Davids story 7 years with metastatic prostate cancer
And that was quite good. It didn’t help to reduce the side effects or anything like that, just got a little bit of the drugs out of your system. October ’14 to February ’15 I had chemotherapy, Docetaxel. That was stopped after six sessions. After the six sessions the medical oncologist decided to call it quits and took me off it. Chemotherapy, the side effects from chemotherapy did not impact on me so much on a day to day basis. I had a little bit of nausea, but no actual vomiting.
Temperature never rose. I know of some colleagues that had to go into hospital, especially after the first two or three infusions. So in that sense I didn’t have anything like that. However, I did have increasing fatigue and peripheral neuropathy in my feet, and to a lesser extent in my hands. A feeling of peripheral neuropathy is a bit like walking on marbles, and you’re not sure, it affects you balance sometimes. In the seven odd years that I’ve had, I’ve been on this journey, my highest peak PSA was 7 since they’ve brought the cancer under control.
At present on my last reading, which was about four weeks ago, was 4.1 In 2012, July of mid2012, I was now living in Queensland, Toowoomba. I had increasing bone pain and breathlessness, And I was on maximum dosage of Tramadol, then, from the medical oncologist. I went to my GP and asked him to refer me to a palliative care consultant. My GP said, No, you’re in good health, you’re not going to die within three months. I said, Look, I’m not worried about dying whether it’s in three months or three years.
I’d like to see a palliative care consultant to help control the pain. And he said fair enough. And I saw a doctor who specialised in palliative care consultancy at the Toowoomba General Hospital in about mid July and he had the pain under control within two and a half three months by prescribing Fentanyl patches and weaned me off the oral opiates. That’s been a big improvement in my quality of life. Unfortunately, owing to the side effects from ADT, I’m no longer able to work. I was working as a loss control practitioner for the mainly explosives and mining industries,.
But also for general industry as well. Specifically I don’t have the energy. I’ve lost, I don’t have a great deal of energy now and also I suffer from short term memory loss. I get very anxious at times, which when one’s working in the explosives industry, is not exactly a good thing to be. I have to say though that, we’re all different and we all respond differently to treatment. I’ve a colleague in Sydney, diagnosed about a year or so before me, but similarly, and on the same hormone therapy, Zoladex with Cosudex, and since he’s been diagnosed,.
He’s continued to work eight to ten hours a day. Work all day on a slasher. He’s climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, goes snowboarding or skiing. Unfortunately, I lost my energy levels, he didn’t. Ah! I still enjoy a dram, a good glass of red wine, walk the dogs every day, go to hydrotherapy twice a week. Maybe at the weekends the walk would be forty to an hour and a half, depending the temperature, time of day. But on average I walk forty minutes a day. sorry, I was a consumer representative for Palliative Care Queensland,.
On the State committee. I resigned my position approximately two months ago, because I felt I just did not have sufficient energy to attend meetings on a regular basis and go to events. I have said to them that I would happily give presentations for them in the Toowoomba region and will continue to do so on palliative care, and this is to consumers, sorry, the local community. I also do a little bit of genealogy, trying to find out the roots on my paternal side. I’m also the ambassador with the PCFA Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
I haven’t done any presentation recently but I used to do that quite frequently. And until eighteen months two years ago I was the Convenor of the Toowoomba Prostate Cancer Support Group. So, all in all, keep pretty active. I would discuss with him the pros and cons of having treatment. I think it depends greatly on his own outlook on life, whether he’s married, has a young family all of these things have got to be taken into the equation. I was unfortunate in suffering a lot of side effects,.