Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Zytiga 3 years and counting.

  I have now been on Zytiga for
3 years. My most recent PSA came back at an undetectable level. It has been at that level for 30 months. It has been a good ride. I began writing this post over a month ago so currently I have been on Zytiga 38 months. I guess the reason it has taken me so long to finish this post is because my emotional state is a little mixed at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I am elated that I have had such an amazing response to my treatment. What concerns me however is the length of time I have been on treatment. Every day it seems there is some ambulance chasing law firm on the television filing a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company because of side effects from long term drug use. 
   Long term Lupron use causes several nasty little side effects. I get to look forward to ostioperosis, increased risk of heart disease, and now it appears I have a 50% higher risk of developing dementia. I am sort of a glass half full kind of guy so on a positive note, I may live long enough to forget I am sick.
   Zytiga is an unknown. In the short term I have noticed very few side effects other than higher blood pressure due to the prednisone and a tendency to bruise easier. Not much is known yet about long term exposure to the drug. I, and a million or so other guys, are essentially Guinea pigs. It is necessary. It is the only way science can advance cancer treatments. If my prognosis was not terminal, it might be unsettling but the truth is, were it not for these new treatments, I would already be in the grave. I suppose that as long as I don't grow a third eye or something equally bizarre, I can handle any side effect that comes down the road. 
   It has been 124 months since my stage IV diagnosis. I feel good most of the time. I seem to need more sleep lately but I am getting older. I think part of that is normal. 
  When first diagnosed, I would ponder all of the things I would miss out on because of cancer. I felt ripped off that I would not celebrate my 50th birthday like all of my friends and family. In 6 weeks I will be 53! All of the things I thought cancer was going to steal away from me continue to happen. I am grateful.