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An experience of prostate cancer: 14. Two weeks to go

by AgedTenor on 2 May 2010

23 radiotherapy sessions down and 10 to go.

I'm getting to know the other prostate patients quite well now. The others seem to be on a different regime from me since for them radiotherapy is the primary treatment whereas mine is what is called adjuvant radiotherapy (from the Latin verb adjuvare - to help). They have all had hormone treatment first which starves some of the cancer cells of the testosterone they need to reproduce. This effectively doubles the effect of the radiotherapy. They have had experience of the hot flashes and night sweats that you get with hormone treatment. They get a slightly larger dose than me, 37 sessions rather than 33.

With two weeks to go the side effects are beginning to get unpleasant. What seems to be happening is that the lining of the lower bowel is being damaged. This causes additional mucus to collect inside the rectum with (at the moment) an occasional trace of blood. The lining of the rectum must be swollen as well because it feels as if I need to go when I don't - apparently this is called proctitis. The net result of this is that it is not safe to fart any more because the wind tends to exit along with a certain amount of fluid. It is safer to pee sitting down in case of accidents. What is more, visits to the loo become extremely urgent if gas is trying to escape and I need a pee. My bottom is also getting rather sore but the aqueous cream has certainly come into its own now. I was using Savlon around the hole but have been told that both this and Anusol are highly discouraged, though I haven't discovered why.

I am still self-catheterising every other day. Actually doing it doesn't really hurt but it takes longer and longer for things to calm down afterwards. I imagine that this is because of the effect of the radiation as well as the effect of pushing through the scarring around the neck of the bladder. Having a pee is often eye-wateringly uncomfortable. On a brighter note I have now had two sessions of complementary therapy, a back massage and a foot massage. Both were intensely pleasant experiences and it was hard to escape puritanical notions of guilt at enjoying them so much. Both sessions lasted about half an hour. The back massage was quite gentle, not at all like the sort of massage which the osteopath does, mostly a stroking motion but with a little bit of extra pressure down the sides of the spine. This experience was so pleasant that I immediately booked for the three more I am permitted. The second session was with a different therapist, an astonishingly attractive red-headed lady of Irish extraction with a deep, sexy voice. She persuaded me to try reflexology instead of massage - actually she could have talked me into anything although I was a bit worried that I might not have washed my feet thoroughly enough. I took my shoes off and lay on my back. She put a herbal pad over my eyes blocking out the light entirely and a drop of scented oil (mostly basil) on a pad on my chest. She then worked on each foot in turn stroking and kneading. The sensation created by massaging the tip of each toe was particularly intense. I relaxed completely and floated off to my favourite place overlooking the valley of the Swale in North Yorkshire. When I stood up again it was as if I was wearing particularly fluffy slippers - very odd.



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audrey1969 said on 9 May 2010

Thanks for sharing your experience with us :}.  My dad, who is reading <a href=""> James Norris's</a> new book on prostate health, will appreciate your feedback.  He's going through a similar situation and has a return visit to the doctor next. month.  Such is life! Best to you in your recovery.

audrey1969 said on 12 May 2010

It looks like my link did not work in my last comment. Here is a better link for anyone interested in checking out more on this book:

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Grahamn278 was referred to a urologist with a high PSA in 2008 and prostate cancer was confirmed

monty2011 knew there was a problem with his prostate when he started needing to go to the toilet more often

AgedTenor is 64, loves singing and geology, and was alerted to his prostate cancer by a raised PSA test

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