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This is one of several essays from my private cancer journal. It is not intended as anything than a record of my states of mind as I struggled with the disease and the effects of the treatment.

Pain, Pleasure & PSA

drawing showing pain 7/10/02

After 12 long, agonizing days, the pain finally stopped.

It was the worst since November 99, when I was diagnosed, but not as bad. Back then, the pain was so severe I could barely walk, sit, stand or sleep.

This time, I had Tylenol II, which includes codeine. In 12 days, I took more than I had in two years, when I was first given them as a backup.

The reason for the pain was apparently two-fold. First, I restarted my Zoladex (and triple Casodex) on June 26 without taking Casodex first, which invites flare. I knew about flare and had I known that it would have been this bad, I would have held on the Zoladex while the Casodex kicked in.

Second, on the same day, I got my Aredia infusion and my oncologist said it could cause some bone pain.

So the pain originated somewhere between or because of the two.

And it was bad. A few times, I had to go a tad over the recommended dosage for it to take effect. When it did, the relief was sheer pleasure.

I've never been able to adequately describe this kind of very unique pain. But I finally came up with a comparison: a toothache. It doesn't restrict itself to the tooth but radiates (a good word for this kind of pain) through the jaw and can extend into the neck. It isn't sharp or even dull. It is its own class of exhausting pain, until the medication brings that wave of pleasurable relief. Like the pain, the pleasure is also unique, prompting me to wonder how these two are related.

It also made me realize that this sort of pain may be what awaits me, if the cancer can't be held in check. It isn't a pleasant thought for cancer pain isn't fun, not that any pain is fun. But I can't let this prospect panic or depress me. I've been through enough of that with the cancer itself and worry solved nothing. Instead, I have to take it as merely another prospective challenge. This disease has allowed me to learn much about myself and I can't stop now.

Last note: I got the results of my PSA from the last visit. It was 278.5, up from 238. So it looks like this:

    January = 3.6
    March = 30.7
    April = 96.6
    May = 238.7
    June = 278.5

Again, it did not take the leap that I would have expected. My next PSA will be in August. We'll see what the HT does, if anything.

Never a dull day with this disease.


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This information is provided for educational purposes only and does not replace or amend professional medical advice. Unless otherwise stated and credited, the content of Phoenix5 (P5) is by and the opinion of and copyright © 2000 Robert Vaughn Young. All Rights Reserved. P5 is at <>. P5's policy regarding privacy and right to reprint are at <>.