Post RP and SRT journey - oh joy

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  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    3) Outside of myself

    We all know where this is going... Relationships

    That includes relationships with other people of course. But as a Christian the focal point is in my relationship with God.

    I should probavly speak to that since most people have a distorted view of Christianity.

    Quite simply, it is a relationship with God in Christ. Its not about sin, or hell, or especially the Ten Commandments...

    Jesus said this...

    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.... Matthew 11

    This is no illusion on my part. I have discovered this to be true... It is the third wheel on my tricycle, and when I have reached the point where I am at a complete loss to meditate my way out of something, or fail to raise my dopamine levels, I can sense the "Comforter", as Jesus called the Spirit, lift me up and buoy my own spirit through. It doesn't happen all the time, just when it's necessary.

    I have a lot more to say about this subject, but the last time we discussed spirituality, the administrators moved the conversation to another forum. So I will just leave at at this...

    Also my relationships with family and friends is very important... my wife is an incredible woman, so that helps a lot... BUT it is hard to maintain healthy relationships in this messed up world, so I treat them as a bonus when I am lucky enough to know godly, contented people. 

    Hanging out with miserable angry people wont make us feel better, that's for sure.

    I don't know if any of this helped, but I do think it's worth a discussion how Hormone Therapy affects dopamine, sertonin, and endorphin production.

  • RobLee
    RobLee Member Posts: 269 Member
    Grinder said:

    2) Inside the brain

    There are neurotransmitters in our brain we call happiness chemicals. The most commonly recognized one is dopamine. Dopamine levels can affect mood and general feelings of pleasure and happiness. Here is s description of low dopamine levels...

    "Low dopamine levels can lead to a lack of motivation, fatigue, low libido, sleep problems, and memory loss.  Low dopamine plays a role in depression, ADHD, and addictive behavior."

     Well, that doesn't sound good!  Notice it said "addictive behavior". Meth users are especially vulnerable to addictive behavior. The body functions best when dopamine levels are consistently moderate. But certain drugs trigger an inordinate amount of dopamine and other "happiness chemicals" like serotonin and "pleasure centers". Eating a chocolate bar can trigger a couple. Sex can trigger more. Cocaine can trigger more. But Heroine and Meth can trigger an avalanche. The danger though, Meth eventually disables the body's own ability and the addict cannot stimulate these pleasure centers without meth... then you have the classic and sad case where the meth addict is a paranoid delusional nut case hiding inside his house with lights off and curtains drawn, waiting for his next fix of meth so he can feel happy again.

    BUT this just illustrates my point about dopamine, etc. I have to wonder how ADT chemicals affect dopamine production or its action. 

    My first thought is to increase dopamine levels. EXERCISE is a big one... It increases dopamine, serotonin, endorphins... which is why exercise is always encouraged. Of course we dont feel like exercising... but when we do we are glad we did.

    Then there is diet, of course...

    "Of the chemicals that make up dopamine, none are more important than tyrosine. In fact, tyrosine is considered the building block of dopamine. Therefore, it is important that you get enough of this protein. There’s a large list of foods that increase Tyrosine, including: Almonds, Avocados, Bananas, Beef, Chicken, Chocolate, Coffee, Eggs, Green Tea, Watermelon, Yogurt." 

     But all this may not help if the chemical used to suppress testosterone production in ADT is also supressing dopamine and serotonin production. Therd are probably naturopathic remedies that can increase  these levels. There is also a lot of snake oil remedies out there that claim to increase them. If you find one that works please let me know.

    Maybe one of the other guys knows how Hormone Therapy interacts with dopamine et al production and processing? It is worth a discussion since mood seems to be an issue in ADT.

    How Hormone Therapy interacts with dopamine et al

    I don't know if they interact or even if ADT affects dopamine, but when I first read the beginning of your post, "Low dopamine levels can lead to a lack of motivation, fatigue, low libido, sleep problems, and memory loss.  Low dopamine plays a role in depression..." the first thing I thought was "wow, that sounds just like ADT".

  • VascodaGama
    VascodaGama Member Posts: 3,513 Member
    ... I don't know if any of this helped, but .......

    Grinder,

    Your above posts are GREAT. I think you have helped many reading it, even those that do not participate in the forum. And, yes, ADT disturbs many of the regulators at our brain, which enter into a vicious havoc cycle trying to balance what is lacking in its natural behavior. Brain uses hormones to trigger signals/commands that will travel throughout the body, and ADT disrupts these. The one most noticed by the majority of patients on ADT are the hot flashes due to disruption of our body temperature clock. Now you have it ... now you don't, now you have it .... now you don't. This is the brain trying to fix the problem.

    I like the way you explain the meaning of "Meditation". After my surgery in 2000, I sort out my emotions by blanking out the thoughts that were driving me negative ideas. It was my wife that at the hospital told me to think of the cancer as balloons that I would seek out bursting them one by one with needles. I follow the tactic and it worked. I never thought it to be part of meditation but I learn it now from your above post.

    Thanks,

    VG

     

  • lighterwood67
    lighterwood67 Member Posts: 324 Member
    Grinder said:

    3) Outside of myself

    We all know where this is going... Relationships

    That includes relationships with other people of course. But as a Christian the focal point is in my relationship with God.

    I should probavly speak to that since most people have a distorted view of Christianity.

    Quite simply, it is a relationship with God in Christ. Its not about sin, or hell, or especially the Ten Commandments...

    Jesus said this...

    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.... Matthew 11

    This is no illusion on my part. I have discovered this to be true... It is the third wheel on my tricycle, and when I have reached the point where I am at a complete loss to meditate my way out of something, or fail to raise my dopamine levels, I can sense the "Comforter", as Jesus called the Spirit, lift me up and buoy my own spirit through. It doesn't happen all the time, just when it's necessary.

    I have a lot more to say about this subject, but the last time we discussed spirituality, the administrators moved the conversation to another forum. So I will just leave at at this...

    Also my relationships with family and friends is very important... my wife is an incredible woman, so that helps a lot... BUT it is hard to maintain healthy relationships in this messed up world, so I treat them as a bonus when I am lucky enough to know godly, contented people. 

    Hanging out with miserable angry people wont make us feel better, that's for sure.

    I don't know if any of this helped, but I do think it's worth a discussion how Hormone Therapy affects dopamine, sertonin, and endorphin production.

    The Human Side

    I enjoy reading your comments.  The human side and indeed our spiritual side are every bit a part of our journeys with prostate cancer.  I have never been alone in this journey.  I have my family, this site, and the specialists.  I have never let this cancer get me down from PSA; DRE; biopsy (22 samples); blood in your semen; RP; recovery; pathology; incontinence; no more semen.  I think I have said this before; a giant is standing in front of me today, but he is not bigger than the God inside me.  I may lose this battle, but I have to remember I have to live this life, to get to the next one.  Thanks for your comments Grinder.

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    I appreciate the insight,

    I appreciate the insight, guys. It's been quite insiduous, this sneaking up of the dark moods. This pragmatic view lessens my tendency to blame myself for being weak.

    I've found that I am better when I am active on something constructive, which is why I am worn out now having relaid half my patio.

    Interesting that several people have mentioned faith as a means of experiencing their situation. I think I need to reflect on that because I've kind of lost faith all round at the moment.

    One thing I can say having got back into Qi Gong is that it has had an impact on my physical tension even after just a few days. Definitely something to consider. There are "no faith" forms of Qi Gong which put aside the mystic elements for the practical so it is open to everyone these days.

    C

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    yes

    Yes... I practiced yoga in the past devoid of its religious elements, because it is useful stretching exercise. Similarly, meditation, martial arts, acupuncture, and other Eastern arts are useful when seperated from their traditional "mystic" content 

    Eastern meditation includes mantras and mandalas to focus attention and expunge thoughts from the mind that create negative emotions. The most familiar mantra repeated over and over is "Om mani padme hum" simply means  "The Jewel in the Lotus" . But other mantras are actually prayers to Hindu deities Shiva, Ganesh, Krishna, Rama etc. I was startled to learn long ago that a common mantra is actually a prayer asking familiar spirits to enter you. 

    That was when I practiced the art of blanking the mind instead of focusing on mantras. de Gama's wife makes an excellent metaphor to describe it. When a thought enters the mind, pop it like a balloon before it creates a negative emotion. Then after a few "balloons" are popped, a homeostasis is achieved of calmness. Its like a reset button. If more trepidation creeps up, hit the reset button again.

    After all, once we have decided and arranged for best treatment available, stress brought on by negative thinking is COUNTER PRODUCTIVE. We can do even more damage by giving in to stress, and  not popping the balloons.

     

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    worth looking into

    I am not sure of the exact mechanism, but if ADT is indeed interfering with "regulators" as described by de Gama, then I figure the same agent that inhibits the production of testosterone by the testicles and adrenals, also inhibits production of dopamine in the brain and release by the hypothalamus, and production of serotonin in the brain and GI tract.

    Still curious though the exact machanism of the ADT. I get the mechanism behind androgen itself, but where does the interference take place? Is it the pituitary gland that is chemically influenced NOT to send neurotransmission to the testicles to begin testosterone production?... or does it interfere with the transmission AFTER it is sent? 

    I would like to check this out further out of curiosity and see how it relates to the interfefence with dopamine production. Does it inhibit the brain's perception that "dopamine is needed, begin production" the same way it inhibits the pituitary gland when it says "testosterone is needed, begin production in the testicles". Curious.

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    I dig the mystical element

    I dig the mystical element but I can separate the two as I am a kinesthetic learner / doer, learn best by doing and keep the deep thinking to the feet up with a glass of red.

    I think you are describing a more Vipissana mode of meditation than transcendental. I'm only a beginner but I lean to the former but use simple phrases to keep focus.

    I am working on the visualisation thing - I've read several stories of people using visualisation to effect change. My problem is patience. "All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was... what he was doing."

    I think the hormone thing is really complex - Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, Norepinephrine and Epinephrine, Serotonin, GABA, Dopamine, Acetylcholine, and Oxytocin and more. Its a merry go round of interacting mechanisms. Some we can work around by diet, behaviour amd emotional regulation. The rest? I guess willpower....

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    yup

    Yes there is a difference in the way I approached meditation in the 70s and now. Back then it was all about altered states of consciousness. I don't regret what I learned about reality and other planes of existence... but looking back it was a dangerous game to play. I never cut completely loose and astral traveled, but I did sense the difference between my being as a spirit, and my existence inside a human body that I used to interface with the physical plane of existence. I was afraid to completely let go for fear I couldn't come back.

    Keep in mind this was happening at the same time I was an undergrad intern in Experimental Psychology, which dismissed any idea of other planes of existence in favor of an empirical approach to the mind and brain. Quite the conflict between education and experience.

    But nowadays, I use meditation technique as described to control emotions. I would never advise anyone to seek altered states anymore, too many lose their grip on reality. Its like treading water, you constantly have to reassure yourself, or you could sink into despair. Like treading water, if you stop you start sinking. There is no "rest". Now I understand what "rest" is when Jesus says:

    "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

     I dont have to tread water anymore... I can rest in Christ.

    Anybody reading this that doubts other planes of existence... well, ok, no problem... we can still be friends.

    So yeah, I stay away from transcendental meditation now, and use meditation technique of "popping balloons" for mind control.

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    Im so confused!

    If I was confused before, now I am really confused... because another hormone is playing a part in this circus... Prolactin.

    "Dopamine and testosterone are intimately linked hormones. When one is high, the other will be high. From everything we have learned so far, high dopamine also correlates to lower levels of prolactin.

    This is a clear reason why so many bodybuilders consider it their divine duty to keep prolactin levels low, as this implies that dopamine levels will be high and hence testosterone levels as well.

    Prolactin Image 4

    Prolactin inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion. This hormone directly stimulates the Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone. Higher levels then directly slow formation of new testosterone steroidal hormones.

    Testosterone’s relationship with dopamine lies in its ability to stimulate certain areas of the brain that release dopamine. As dopamine directly controls the release of prolactin, we see that high prolactin is almost always connected with low testosterone and low dopamine and vice versa.

    This is the bidirectional relationship of regulation that to a great degree, controls levels in men (and to a much lesser extent in women).[11]

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    Should mention

    Transcendental Meditation was a safer alternative to LSD and other mind expanding drugs... By the time we were dropping, the days of Owsley and pure LSD were long gone and it was being cut with speed and other drugs... the LSD sent you into altered states, but the speed kept you hyperactive for hours... I lost 15 pounds in one instance of particularly bad mix. No lie. So TM did give us a safer alternative, but I wouldn't do either today.

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Well I have to confess that I

    Well I have to confess that I am looking into psylocybin as a therapeutic aid. There have been studies that show it has benefits for anxiety in general and for cancer patients in specific. I'm punting for a trial later in the year and if that fails, there is always lots of research and a "trip" to Amsterdam :)

     

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    IMHO

    I am wondering if you are better off with your "qi gong" exercises than psylocybin... the problem with the latter... if it works, your system will become dependent on the external trigger to get the same results in the future. Even though psilocybin occurs naturally, doesnt mean its a naturopathic remedy... Exercise, however, is naturopathic.

    This is from WebMD describing benefits of exercise...

     

    "Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

    Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

    Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence. "

    If I remember correctly, psilocybin is an hallucinogen, not a narcotic. So it will not be as addictive physically as narcotics, but can still be addictive psychologically. In other words, like the meth illustration before, narcotics like meth dependence can actually disable your body's mechanisms for producing endorphins, so that a meth fix becomes the only way to experience "happiness" . But you can still become addicted in the sense you will not bother to exercise, diet, and naturally raise your endorphin levels because its way easier to pop a pill, smoke weed, eat a mushroom, or whatever.

    I have never heard of "qi gong"b efore, so I binged (googled) it...

    "Yin qigong exercises are expressed through relaxed stretching, visualization, and breathing. Yang qigong exercises are expressed in a more aerobic or dynamic way. They are particularly effective for supporting the immune system. In China, Qigong is used extensively for people with cancer."

     If you can find a school that emphasizes the breathing techniques and exercises instead of the metaphysical mumbo jumbo, you will be way better off than using psilocybin.

    Im just saying this as a friend, and by no means an expert on any of this.

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Grinder said:

    IMHO

    I am wondering if you are better off with your "qi gong" exercises than psylocybin... the problem with the latter... if it works, your system will become dependent on the external trigger to get the same results in the future. Even though psilocybin occurs naturally, doesnt mean its a naturopathic remedy... Exercise, however, is naturopathic.

    This is from WebMD describing benefits of exercise...

     

    "Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.

    Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

    Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence. "

    If I remember correctly, psilocybin is an hallucinogen, not a narcotic. So it will not be as addictive physically as narcotics, but can still be addictive psychologically. In other words, like the meth illustration before, narcotics like meth dependence can actually disable your body's mechanisms for producing endorphins, so that a meth fix becomes the only way to experience "happiness" . But you can still become addicted in the sense you will not bother to exercise, diet, and naturally raise your endorphin levels because its way easier to pop a pill, smoke weed, eat a mushroom, or whatever.

    I have never heard of "qi gong"b efore, so I binged (googled) it...

    "Yin qigong exercises are expressed through relaxed stretching, visualization, and breathing. Yang qigong exercises are expressed in a more aerobic or dynamic way. They are particularly effective for supporting the immune system. In China, Qigong is used extensively for people with cancer."

     If you can find a school that emphasizes the breathing techniques and exercises instead of the metaphysical mumbo jumbo, you will be way better off than using psilocybin.

    Im just saying this as a friend, and by no means an expert on any of this.

    Hey

    Hey

    I appreciate the advice. I'm plugging away at the meditation etc. Need it right now as a struggling to face going to work even though I know that even in the worst case I probably have five years. I'm going to have to give myself a kick up the arse I think.

    P

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Hey folks

    Hey folks

    Quick update - going well with the meditation and Qi Gong. Finding the meditation a really good immediate help but the Qi Gong is a learning experience.

    I'm also expanding my supplement based to include capsaicin, ginger and green tea.

    When I keep off the booze, my mindset is improving really well.

    Interesting to read another post Vasco made where he believes stress is what started and progresses his disease. My recurrence started after an awful Xmas where my Mum was really ill with illness triggered dementia whilst staying with us.

    I've determined that getting rid of the mindset that generates the stress is my number one goal at the moment, even it it means saying "no" to other people, even those I care about.

    I've realised that looking after your mind, body and soul takes a lot of time, so it wil be interesting to see how I progress.

    C

  • Grinder
    Grinder Member Posts: 487 Member
    Thats a new one

    "even it it means saying "no" to other people, even those I care about"

    Something I dont recall seeing in this forum... stress brought on by the "needy" people in our lives.

    We all have them, right? People who just don't have the drive to sustain themselves, emotionally or physically... and have been leaching off family and friends. Sometimes they really are helpless to help themselves... but some times...

    If it were me, I would put my condition ahead of needy folks, because if you don't take care of yourself, both emotionally and physically... you won't be any good to them in a pine box.

    The ones that love us will understand. The ones that don't, well...

     

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Quick update:

    Quick update:

    Still plodding on. Weight stable but finding it hard to get to the gym as mentally tired. Meditation and Qi Gong going well. Going part time at work next week.

    Only down side is still waking up every morning thinking I'm f*cked. I still hang on to negative information and dwell on it. An example was Vasco's comment in an adjacent thread about PSADT < 6m. Me hitting BCR after 8 months (1.7 at month7 and 2.4 at month 8 post RP) is a real mental drag.

    I have a long wait until September for the atual RT.

    I have to use all my willpower to just hack away at life some days.

    Still, some days and things are good. My family loves me, The weather is good. I have a job and I have time to make sure they are going to be cared for when I am gone.

    C

  • VascodaGama
    VascodaGama Member Posts: 3,513 Member
    Still plodding on

    Cushions,

    You should realize that you are under the effects of ADT and these may not be noticeable but are there and pinching your feelings constantly. Some are more pronounced on occasions and one needs to be mentally prepared to recognize it as not our own natural, adopting a counter posture. The PSADT index facilitates in grouping cases that should have earlier or later interventions. You are in the "earlier" group so that you did already start the combination salvage therapy. RT will later give the final blow to the bandit.

    Just continue plodding.

    VG

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Hi Vasco

    Hi Vasco

    The voice of wisdom and reason already.

    I am slowly starting to realise that my hormones are kicking in more. I am starting to struggle with weight loss (comfort eating as well) and moods are all over.

    I had a bottle of red last night and your comment in another thread about intervention over 2.0 often fails bothered me a bit.

    I know it is a numbers game and I am a bit OCD about such things.

    Thaks again for your support.

    C

  • hewhositsoncushions
    hewhositsoncushions Member Posts: 409 Member
    Hi all

    Hi all

    Had planning appointment letter. Due to go in first week of August.

    Need to confirm availabiltity and AM/PM preferences for RT and also mention i have stress related IBS.

    Given lots of information about low-fibre diet and micro-enemas .

    Summer holiday abroad won't be as food and drink related as I hoped but hey ho.

    The letter did make me wobble as it is finally "real" whereas up to now I was in a happy vacuum.

    Still, as I posted earlier, today is today and I am still breathing.

    Have told work which was a worry as I am a contractor but I made it clear I can still work around it and am covered by disability law even as a contractor. They were fine for the moment. Time will tell.

    The other good news is that I have almost broken the bad habit of researching life expectancy but I still backslide now and then.

    H

    PS any good tips on low-fibre diet and how much alchohol I can consume?