Part 7

A valuable insight

Hormone therapy (or Lupron shots) every 3 to 4 months are prescribed for me, depending on dosage, and cost anywhere from $2500 to $3000 a pop. Lupron shots "fool your body" into believing that is doesn't need to produce testosterone, the male hormone that causes prostate cancer to grow. Health insurance is a good thing. I pay almost nothing. Side effects from Lupron shots include “hot flashes” –just like your wife’s (although I think mine were worse), loss of muscle tone, and a thing called “emotional lability,” which means I will cry for any reason at all. Hot flashes are really unpleasant. The crying is, at worst, embarrassing. However, I eventually learned to control it.

I really learn to empathize with my wife. For the first time in my life, I understand what women deal with. Oddly enough, I also learn to listen instead of talk. This is appreciated by both of us and adds an entirely new dimension to our relationship. In adversity, I have gained much of value.

There is a standard protocol among most physicians for administering the first Lupron shot, because the first shot tends to produce what is called a “testosterone flare,” or a temporary increase in testosterone production. Obviously, I do not want this. A little white pill, called Casodex, is normally administered daily for a week before the shot; this prevents the flare. A good thing. However, I needed my first Lupron shot before I found Dr. Myers, so I returned to Dr. number 1; remember the movie star? A mistake on my part. He does not follow the protocol, so I will not take the shot in his office. I have my medical records transferred to me and tell his nurse that I won’t be back.

FYI: I find my medical records interesting reading; they contain information that I was not given, plus the occasional personal note from a nurse who does not like me. Well, I didn’t like her either. And anyhow, how is our relationship relevant to my medical treatment?

Shortly thereafter, his partner calls me at home. Wow, this is a first. He expresses concern that I am trying to treat myself. I reassure him that this is not the case and ask why I was not offered Casodex before Lupron. He says Casodex is very expensive. I think, “Excuse me? Who are you to decide what I should spend to take care of my health?” I don’t say it. I remain polite. On February 18, 2004, I go back to The Big Hospital and the Big Ego for the last time for my first Lupron shot. At least he knows what the proper protocol is, and I get the Casodex first.

See what can happen if you don’t do your own research? There is a lesson here, and its

Rule number 4: Do your own research

*&%#!, again!

Okay, so I have had surgery, hormone therapy, and radiation. Now what? I am really tired.

Still more to come. I don’t know it yet, but I am approaching a corner in Part 8 with some bad news on the other side.