2 weeks ago today I underwent the last of the 39 radiation treatments.
On Monday I visited my local urologist for a pre-arranged appointment. The purpose of the visit was to receive an injection, this time the 6 month version of the Eligard (hormone depressing) medication. Previous ones had been 3 months, it is a time release capsule injected under the skin.
Dr. Locke and I spoke for about 20 minutes, we both had some questions. He advised that my symptoms would resolve in 6-8 weeks after the end of radiation, not the 2 weeks or so that Dr. Gray had indicated. This took a large load off my mind, as I have not seen any improvement in my too-frequent trips to the toilet to pee. Interestingly, last night I slept longer than I have in many months, and only had to visit the loo twice instead of 4-5 times which has been the norm since beginning radiation.
More importantly in my mind, being a results oriented person, the clinic also drew blood to check my latest PSA and testosterone levels. Dr. Locke, unlike Dr. Gray, who when asked was vague, gave me a number for the PSA level: less than 1. He said that is the target level after radiation that they are looking for. Yesterday I received the report. My result met that, it is now down to 0.710. Made me happy.
The Eligard will continue the fight to suppress any remaining cancer, though that level of PSA indicates it is almost non-existent. I will return in November 2021 for another 6 month injection. He said if my PSA level stays below 1 for the next 12 months I will not need a third injection. Testoserone levels would then take up to a year to return to normal.
And PSA testing would be done at one year intervals instead of every 3 months. Most men, in the 90 percentile, who have similar results from this combination of hormone therapy/radiation have excellent life expectancies, and normally succumb to something other than cancer.
I have been diligent about my exercise routine and my diet and intend to place myself firmly in that category.
Here is the full chart of testing results since returning to the U.S. in October 2020 for treatment.
PSA & Testosterone Tracking
October 8, 2020
October 27, 2020
Lupron 3 month Injection
November 30, 2020
January 25, ’21
Eligard 3 month injection
Testosterone < 2.5
Feb. 19 thru April 21
Proton Beam Radiation (39 treatments)
May 2, 2021 (98 days)
6 month Eligard injection
Testosterone < 2.5