Monday, April 7, 2014

Cancer Center Day

Today was our monthly visit to the Cancer Center. Marshall has been in a deep depression for the past week or so. It's awful. I know he's in the house but we don't really talk. And as we approach Cancer Center Day, he always starts getting worked up.

His first appointment was with the psychiatrist. I asked him if it was helpful and he said "yes."

Then over to the lab for blood work. Then to the oncologist where we saw the Nurse Practitioner (Kathryn).

All of the regular tests today came out exactly where they should be. The PSA went up from 2.46 to 4.64. Kathryn said that since his PSA has been "bouncing" and since he has no pain, this rise is nothing to get concerned about and will probably go back down next month.

We discussed depression and she prescribed Venlafaxine so he will try that and see if it helps.

He needs to get a Pneumonia 13 shot (which is kind of a booster) and they will do that at the next visit.

That's it for today......

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. You sound tired, I hope you have enough support so you can care for yourself. I read your blog every week. My husband is 58 and has Stage IV Metastatic Prostate cancer as well, diagnosed 7/6/2012. I identify with you. I am also a mental health nurse and wanted you to know that Venlafaxine can be very helpful for anxiety and depression. Just wanted you to know that your blog helps me. Thank you!

    1. I hope I am able to reply to you - I still am not 100% sure of all the ins and outs of blogging.

      You are right, I am tired. The Venlafaxine does appear to be working so that's very good news. I appreciate you taking the time to write me. If you do get this email, and if you have time, would you let me know how your husband is doing, what is his PSA, how is he coping and how are you coping, etc.

      Being a mental health nurse must be tough and I would imagine it is even tougher when you are living through cancer.

      Thanks again.


    2. Yes, I did receive your reply, thank you!

      My husband, Mike (we just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary yesterday) was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Prostate Cancer 7/6/12 and has experienced some of what your husband is going through. He has mets to bone, pretty much everywhere (skull, shoulder, spine, hips, legs) except his arms, feet and hands. There is no lymph involvement so far. Mike is still working full time, although, it is s struggle most days because his energy level is so low. He has continued in many activities outside of work, but he is tired and gets sick easily.

      Mike is on Wellbutrin XL which was initially started for smoking cessation, but we decided to continue it because his mood was dropping. I think it has been helpful, although, recently I have noticed that he is "living in his head" more often.

      As far as his treatment, he has been on Lupron and Xgeva since 7/6/2012 which dropped his PSA from 882 (yes eight hundred) to 65, then to 14, then below 2 within a couple weeks. It started to climb again a couple months later, so they started Zytiga and prednisone, along with Xanax and Trazodone at bedtime for sleep and anxiety. He is also on various other medications for HBP, and diabetes, although, he may be off those medications some day because he is losing so much weight. I think he about 40 pounds. Appetite is poor, little interest in eating for that matter. We went to Mayo Clinic here in MN last summer and discussed Provenge. We decided to start the process in October of 2013 at Roger Maris in Fargo, ND. It was a long and arduous process, but we finished in November 2013. Tomorrow, Mike has bone and CT scans to decide if the Provenge treatment made any difference at all. I think he is secretly hoping for big results, I am sure what to think. Right now, his PSA is 4.1. They tell us not to focus so much on PSA, just focus on how he is functioning, but it's hard not to look for that number every couple of months.

      Mike copes by working, staying as involved as he can in other activities and visiting our 23 year old son who is in college in MN. He says that these next test results will help us make a decision about retirement for him (I am only 48, I have many more years to work!) but it is a difficult decision because of health insurance and the support that he gets from his co-workers and residents at the assisted living facility where he works. At some point, it will have to happen, we just don't want to make that decision too quickly.

      I cope by allowing myself to stay focused on what is the most important. My faith helps me and my co-workers are incredibly supportive (mental health professionals). I have to say though, I have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure so I have to get serious about taking care of myself also. Not easy to do in the middle of all of this chaos. Your blog helps me to know that other women are going through this also.

      Along the way, we have also tried to create new memories, that is why we have vacationed in Winter Park, CO for the last two winters. One of the docs that I work with has a house in Winter Park and our son and Mike's 17 year old grandson (lives with us, his parents can't get it together) love to ski and snowboard. We have had wonderful memories in Colorado, although, the altitude really bothered Mike this last trip.

      I want to say thank you again for your blog. It has been helpful to me to "share" this experience with someone that has been going through the same thing. I have a lot of people in my life that ask me how we are doing, but it's not as helpful as talking with someone that knows what it is like to watch their life change month by month. I hope it is encouraging to you to know that you are helping others. Thanks again!

  2. I think maybe you didn't get my reply this time. I tried the easy way and didn't hear back from you, so now I'm trying the more difficult way (I wish I understood how all this worked). Here's what I wrote:

    Boy, reading your message is like looking in a mirror. Marshall takes medications for high blood pressure, diabetes and GERD, plus he takes Flomax, aspirin, allergy medication, sleeping medication, plus he uses a CPAP machine for sleeping, along with the oxygen at night. He also needs to regularly take a nausea pill. He has little or no appetite in the morning and I have to force him to eat a half piece of toast so he can take the prednisone pill. But as the day goes on he gets a better appetite and can usually eat a good dinner. So his weight has stayed the same.

    Our oncologist also tells us not to worry about the PSA. That is very hard to do. But we try.

    I may be wrong but it seems to me that with your husband working at an assisted living facility and you being in the mental health field, that would definitely give you a little bit of a leg up on coping. But what do I know....

    We love Winter Park. The first time I was there I had a terrible altitude problem, it was awful. But I think I'm better adjusted now.

    I hope you will let me know how the scans and tests turn out. My direct email is marilynmarshall@yahoo.com. If you could reply to that, it would be easier. I'd love to stay in touch.

    And by the way, in June we will celebrate our 27th anniversary!

    Hugs and prayers,