My Diagnosis and Treatment & Life Choices
By Lenny Hirsh, Israel
Fighting Prostate Cancer has made me aware of many aspects of life that I was not aware of previously. During my seven-year battle I have become focused on my newly found strengths and learned to accept that I also have weaknesses.
I compare being diagnosed with cancer as being kicked in the stomach. Hearing the words “We have found cancer cells in your biopsy,” was bad enough, even worse was learning about the possible side effects of the numerous treatments. The fear of dying from cancer coupled with the possibility of being impotent and /or incontinent for the rest of my life was devastating to me.
Fortunately I soon learned that Prostate Cancer is in most cases slow growing and there is no need to immediately commit oneself to any specific treatment. The marker generally used to gauge the growth of prostate cancer is known as a PSA test. My need to remain potent and continent led me to choose a rather controversial form of treatment known as Watchful Waiting. I changed my eating habits. I became a vegetarian. As a person who was used to eating large quantities of red meat, dairy products and other foods considered not healthy for prostate cancer patients, this was a complete switch around. I started taking vitamins and food supplements. Within three months of starting this new way of life and loosing weight, my psa dropped by 30%. I was elated by what I had done for myself. I continued this new way of life with my psa not increasing. Then, after three and a half years the psa started climbing.
My marriage at this stage was heading for the rocks and I was unemployed. My psa doubled within a month, I knew that the time had come to take decisive action against the cancer. The prostate was too large to be operated and had to be shrunk. Hormone injections would achieve this. However these injections affected my quality of life. I lost my libido, experienced mood swings and depression. For six months hot flushes denied me a full nights sleep. Another side effect was fatigue. By now I was active on the Internet having