Foreword: Previous I told of the day I found that I had prostate cancer. I have decided to take you along with me on my journey to try and conquer the disease so that if you are a male or have a spouse or close friend who is a male, you may better understand what they are experiencing and can help your loved one with their journey through the disease.
It was an ordinary day. Reading all the things I must be aware of since I just had my first treatment to prepare me for Cryosurgery. I will be given a series of shots that will help to reduce the size of my prostate before the Cryosurgery is done. Today I was given two shots, one on either side of my stomach just above belt height, of the drug Firmagon. The multitude of papers I was given tells me the drug is used to treat prostate cancer. Before I was given the injections I was questioned about any drug allergies I may have and what reactions I had to the drugs I now take. Firmagon may cause weak bones so I was told I should take a daily dose of Vitamin D. Seems that Firmagon has many side effects that have been experienced by others in the past such as: weight gain, change in sex ability, feeling tired or weak, hot flashes, back pain, joint pain, chills, constipation, redness or swelling where the shot is given, itching were the shot is given and pain where the shot is given. Wow! But then the nurse told me these are not all of the side effects that may occur and if I have questions about side effects I can call the doctor. Was I ready for the shots? Hey, I already have most of the side effects so I more than likely won't notice any change after the shots. She pulled out a big needle, REALLY BIG, and proceeded to give me the two shots. Then she told me to call my urologist, Dr. Seiber, right away if I have: very bad headaches, very bad dizziness, pain when passing urine, trouble passing urine or an abnormal heartbeat. Oh yeah, if I get a rash, hives, itching, redness, swelling, blistering, wheezing, fever, tightness in the chest or throat, trouble breathing or talking, unusual hoarseness or swelling of my mouth, lips, face tongue or throat I should call right away. The direction sheet I was given also said I should remove any throw rugs in the house, don't use a ladder to climb on the roof, make sure extension cords are behind furniture, take a yoga class to help my balance, lift weights, walk and make sure I have a nightlight in the bathroom and hallway to improve my night vision. I did experience eye problems from having to read all the literature given to me as well as pain while urinating so I called, as directed. I was told they couldn't help me with my eyesight, but was told to come to the office where a nurse practitioner questioned me and then asked me to give a urine sample. Within minutes my sample was negative for blood or any infections. Sent home with a drug that turned my urine bright blue. Was told it would settle my bladder due to the shot. My wife thought I had placed a Tidy Bowl tablet in the toilet bowl tank when I had forgotten to flush the toilet the next day. The blue stuff helped and in a few days I had no discomfort, but did have impressively beautiful toilets. Well, its been a month since those shots and I just had another single shot of Firmagon. I questioned the nurse why I had to wait that long between shots. She told me that the shots are very expensive and if they give them to me too close together, my Medicare will not pay for them. And, they cost several thousand dollars a shot! I was then given a date for another shot in late February; the final shot before the procedure. I told her of an upcoming vacation and she said I would have to talk to the doctor about that problem. So far I'm still working half-days at the framing gallery and taking photos for the two school yearbooks I do. Have found I do tire mid-afternoon and was told I can take a short nap, but it should be before 3:00 pm so I wouldn't have trouble sleeping at night. I have tried numerous times to contact the man whose telephone number Dr. Seiber gave me who told him he would be willing to talk to me about the surgery since he had it about a year ago. Since I haven't been successful, I emailed my urologist, Dr. Seiber, and asked for another patient who may be willing to talk to me so I can find out what to expect after the surgery. His response was: Still trying to find someone to talk with you. Seems most of my patients are in Florida for the winter. I'll keep trying. So, I try not to think of my cancer and have been fairly successful with that. I am willing to talk about it since it is a common occurrence with men of almost any age and many wonder and worry about the disease. I figure I have been lucky for 72 years that I never had it and plan to conquer it in the near future. But, you can say a prayer for me if you wish. I can use any help I can get. It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.