Friday, November 02, 2007

Catheter-free and learning to pee

Hey folks -

Just a quick post today, but real-time... So I ended up going to the doctor on Wednesday (Halloween...) to get the Foley catheter taken out (I think it was getting infected anyway) and to talk to the medical oncologist about our next treatment steps. For those of you who don't know, the medical oncologist is the one who takes care of the chemotherapy treatment plan, while the radiation oncologist deals with - you guessed it - radiation therapy. Anyhow, it turns out they want to start me on chemo as soon as possible, so I'm going in for the first dose in two weeks. It'll be a 3-week cycle, with 5 days of treatment (I'm going to do the first cycle in the hospital as an in-patient and see how it goes; may switch to outpatient after that) and then 2-weeks off, for 4 cycles (3 months). The drugs will be IV drugs with all sorts of nasty side effects - nausea, fatigue, hair loss, etc. I'll have two to treat the carcinoma portion of the cancer, and one to treat the sarcoma portion. After the second cycle they said they might start radiation as well, but that all depends on how I'm tolerating the therapy.

It seems sooner than I thought, but after talking to my surgeon more on Wed, it seemed like there was some concern about the margins of the surgery. There were two spots where the cancer had gone outside of where they cut (in fact, it had gone out of the prostate capsule on the left side but he managed to cut most of it out), and he seemed concerned about the spot which was down near the urethra connection on the left side. Both were microscopic in nature, but they want to be sure to get everything.

In the meantime, I've been struggling a bit with getting urinary control back. The first day or two has been tough, but I'm feeling a bit more hopeful today. For normal prostate patients it can take months to get back normal control, but I'm hoping my youth and health will help me recover more quickly. For now, though, I feel a bit like an incontinent old man (sorry to all those older men out there - when you were 28 you probably would feel strange having these problems, too...). Mostly the problem is just some leaking when I stand up, though I'm starting to be able to control that. It almost makes you want to have the catheter back in. . . as much as a pain as that is, there is some convenience to not having to go to the bathroom all the time (esp. at night - with the night bag you can basically sleep through the entire night no matter how much you pee). Luckily they make these "male guards" now, which are basically like thick maxi pads for guys with urinary problems. They work amazingly well - props to the diaper industry for coming up with these super-absorbing materials.

K, that's it for now. More on the old hospital stay later...

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Hey Alex,

Hope you don't mind that Ross pointed me to your blog; I just wanted to stop by and let you know I'm pulling for you! I hope the chemo goes as smoothly and painlessly as possible (even if that's "not very"). Kick some cancer ass for me!

Take care,
Sharon