Six -years post prostatectomy - Prostate Cancer N...

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Six -years post prostatectomy

Jeff_thomas profile image

Hello everyone, my name is Jeffery Thomas, I am 67. I had a Davinci surgery in 2012. So far I am cancer free. I continue to have mild incontinence when I laugh, or overeat. I begin having severe depression about six-months post-surgery. The depressive episodes have gotten better, however, the depression is always there. Especially when I think about having an intimate relation with my spouse of 41-years. In addition, the desire for sex is just not there that anymore. That is all it takes to trigger a depressive episode. I have been treated, with antidepressants, however, I do not like the side effects. In addition, I have been sober for 31 years, and I do not care for psychological addiction. My prayers go out to those affected by this illness. Thanks.

15 Replies

Hello Jeff! I am almost one years post- RP and am still experiencing a number of problems ( incontinence, ED, lymphocele, and low but rising PSA.) And of course, low-grade depression is ever-present, with some days being worse. I fully agree with you about anti-depressants - I don't want them. BUT, I encourage you to try 5 HTP, an inexpensive, over-the counter supplement that boosts the production of serotonin in the brain. I take one on the darker days and it helps. I can even obtain it at Costco! :) All best wishes!

May I suggest that you up your intake of omega 3 - fish oil and flaxseed oil are a great source of omega 3

MegaRed is better. It uses krill oil. That's what my doctor has me on. It helps trigclycerides. I don't know what omega-3 has to do with depression though. ??

That's a great story, Jeffery! Congratulations. I am not surprised at the depression. I have gone in and out of having the blues since surgery, but not depression. I had the nerve-sparing surgery since the cancer was encapsulated in the prostate (Gleason 4+3=7) with no evidence of spread. Surgery in February 2017. I am now awaiting my 6-month PSA with a little trepidation, but not fear, though the thought of what I would have to go through if my PSA goes from "undetectable" to chemical recurrence does give me a little depression. I too am largely leak-free, though I do get a little stress-incontinence at times. The worst part was the sexual change which was immediate after surgery, including just a lack of interest in sex. Fortunately, after over a year, some of it is back with a little help from Viagra. Nevertheless it changes your body image among other things. Anyway, congratulations on remaining cancer-free! Best wishes to you, and good health!

jazz2cool profile image
jazz2cool in reply to Jeff85705

I had body image concerns about hormone therapies, but I have not heard of body changes other than ED or incontinence related to RP. (and scars of course). Is there something else I should be worried about?

Jeff85705 profile image
Jeff85705 in reply to jazz2cool

During surgery part of the urethra around the prostate is removed. Apparently the result is the "shrinkage" or shortening of the penis (when flaccid) in appearance. Erections (if you still get them) are not affected in size. That's the body image part I was referring to. My penis doesn't hang down as much most of the time, and looks as though I just got out of cold water (think Seinfeld episode!).

jazz2cool profile image
jazz2cool in reply to Jeff85705

My doctor is going to be recommending Penile Rehab. I get it now. I was concerned about a hormone level issue. Sorry if that was too direct a question.

Thanks Jeff85705, my MD removed the lump nodes and vas deferins, to prevent the spread of cancer. No sign of return. I experienced that mild anxiety for about the first two years post surgery. It gets better. Viagra does not work for everyone. Thanks.

Unfortunately ED drugs don't help if the nerves were severed. Even if they are spared, it can take months for any kind of erection to return.

Welcome to this group, Jeffery. I would suggest that an ambitious exercise program can help with depression. My medicare insurance gives me a free membership at a fitness center near me. It gets me out of the house and I feel better keeping myself in shape. I sprouted boobs as a result of my ADT treatment but I exercise my 'pecs' to try and mask off that unsightly condition, if you know what I mean.

Yes I do, hahaha.

Congrats on 6 years without a recurrence--and also for 41 years married to the same woman. You're clearly doing something right.

I am not a mental health professional, but I've been treated for anxiety and depression for probably over 20 years at this point--long before my prostate adventures. I still think the stigma of mental illness is one of the worst things about it. I don't view taking meds as in any way "weakness"; and yet I have twice tried to completely go off meds. The first time I relapsed after 8 months. The second time I relapsed after one month. Then getting back into control required multiple psychiatrists and trying many combinations of antidepressants. Although I did well on SSRIs the first and second time around, the third time I had intractable nausea and had to try other medications. Patience and a great psychopharm. guy got me back to good--but overall it took about 4 years. I am resigned to being on meds for the rest of my life, and I don't see it as a weakness or "addiction". (The meds for sleep are another story, however). I was also in therapy for several years, though I felt I'd reached the point of diminishing returns and discontinued.

I think that though your loss of sexual interest may be related to sadness about performance/incontinence, it's possible that it's the depression that caused the loss of interest, rather than the other way around. I want to stress patience in managing medications--this happened when my life was good, with no objective reasons I could see for depression, and I eventually wound up on an old tricyclic med. and have been OK almost all the time since.

I have a supportive wife too, and that's a big help (though we only have about 25 years under our belt). And it's only been 2 months since my RP, and some days it's hard to be patient.

Best of luck to you!

Thanks for sharing, your experience. Yes! We are blessed to have solid relationships; therefore no need for over-concern about not "feeling it". I am a mental health professional, specializing in addiction and co-occurring disorders. My education, and being in recovery for 31 years, has been instrumental; for stability, in those dark-moments. Congratulations on 25 years of happiness(:.

Congratulations Jeff! Six years cancer free is something to be happy about. Yes, ED is a super drag. The way I look at it, it is no use beating a dead horse. Sorry about the depression. I am thankful that I have never suffered from it. You have to admit that PC is a life changing event.

I copy.

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