Aug 15, 2012 - 8:05 am
Independently of the treatment one has chosen or been administered, we all will go through a period of recovery which experiences are important to know in advance by the many starting the therapy. In any case, recovery experiences from hormonal treatments are rarely reported and diverse probably because HT is usually administered in combinations with other therapies or because doctors prefer to administer the HT drugs continuously until these fail and the patient becomes an hormone refractory case, therefore with no recovery period to contemplate.
In my case the HT protocol chosen by the uro-oncologist regards for intermittent administration (on/off medication periods) which OFF period leads to recovery before reaching to a “normal” status. This choice is better than continuous, particularly for those suffering nasty side effects from the drugs or from the hypogonadism status the treatment causes.
Nevertheless, it is noted in a recent study that HT on intermittent application is not better than continuous; however the conclusions of the study in my view are based on protocols inconclusive of the whole benefits. They could not assure that patients would recover from their hypogonadism status completely. No testosterone tests were executed but instead preferences were given to a fixed period on/off drugs.
I started HT in November 2010 with a protocol for intermittent administration on mono blockade with 6-month shots of Eligard. The on/off “switch” is controlled through periodical PSA values, testosterone tests (to confirm castration levels) and symptoms. The ON period required remission levels (PSA less than 0.05 ng/ml) for at least 12 months. In my case it took 18 months for the achievement.
I would like to note that this protocol is recommended by many renowned oncologists, experts on the administration of hormonal therapies in PCa cases.
You may follow the chronology of my treatment and tests (PSA, etc) in this link;
Here I want to report on the recent achievements of the treatment which is now at the 3-month mark since starting the OFF-drugs period.
This is a continuation of the remission level (lower than 0.05) while a small increase of testosterone become apparent from >0.1 to 0.11).
During the ON-drugs period, the side effects were numerous but mild being fatigue the one most annoying. Some effects were present but unnoticed. Now three months since the end of drug’s effectiveness I can identify additional effects that I thought being a cause from other factors.
I feel fortunate for the positive response to the treatment by the cancer and my system. I also have no prostate in place producing serum from benign tissue, which makes the case more impressive.
One note on the drug effectiveness (Eligard-leuprolide acetate); This LHRH agonist has a short half life period of 7 days, therefore the drug’s “power” losses the effect just after the end of the period of effectiveness of the shot (in my case was 6 months). However, what causes the majority of symptoms we experience is the condition on castration due to stoppage of the “factory” (the testes). To start fabricating testosterone, the testes require signalling from the pituitary. This function differs from person to person but many report on periods lasting from two to twelve months. In some cases the system does not recuperate at all subjecting the patient to a permanent condition of hypogonadism. This is scaring and many need TRT treatments.
It is yet too early to confirm success but the last results are showing that all is working in my favour. Today I commemorate the 12th year anniversary as a survivor from the surgery done in August 15, 2000.
Some guys wishing to get a relief from the symptoms should discuss with their care team on the possibility of going OFF-drugs. However keep it in mind that one may respond differently in each situation.
The best to all.