John Wetzel

First post: Jan 22, 2017 Latest post: Mar 13, 2019
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My story starts in July of 2015 with my yearly physical exam as proof-positive I'm keeping my word to my sister that I will get my physical done EVERY year.  All was good... except that my PSA was at 3.9 and should be less than 4.0.  So, my doctor put in a request for my 50-year old present (colonoscopy) and requested that the PSA numbers be run again.  I got this procedure done in Dec. 2015, at which time the results of the colonoscopy were normal, but the PSA was at 5.0.  In Jan. 2016, I switched from HealthNet to Kaiser as a result of available options through my work.  And upon my first visit, I found out that my PSA was now at 5.5.  My doctor put in for an emergency urology visit.  As a result, I had my prostate removed on June 6, 2016.  The results of the surgery were very promising... the margins were clear and the lymph nodes had no signs of cancer... meaning, it was a successful surgery and my PSA values should drop below 0.5.  Thirty days after the surgery, my PSA was at a 7.2.  So the surgery was not as successful as originally indicated.  So I had a PET scan which indicated that I had prostate metastasis in my left pelvic bone, one of my back, right rib tips, and some spots on my skull... all indicating that the cancer had bypassed the lymph nodes and is now finding its new home in my bones.   At that point, the doctors put me on Lupron -- a hormone shot that forces your testosterone down, so that shortly thereafter, PSA numbers drop.  Lupron has been used successfully for many years as a standard ADT hormone therapy for this sort of cancer.  It works by forcing the testosterone down to less than 50 (normal range is 225-700) which allows the PSA number to go down, and as a result, starves the cancer.  That does not mean the cancer is gone, it is just not growing.  Some of the weaker cancer cells die at this point in time and the affected bone area can rejuvenate.  Because it was discovered that I had at least 3 other locations where the cancer was present, I was offered a chemo drug called Taxotere, which kills the weaker cancer cells as the Lupron begins to do its job.  The advantage of Taxotere is that it can allow a person to use Lupron an extra 12 month (on average).

You see, Lupron and Taxotere are not a cure for prostate cancer, because there is no cure.  But they are the gateway medicines for the clinical trials available today.  As of January 15, 2017, I found out that my body had no reaction to my 90-day supply of the Lupron shot, and that my choice NOT to take the Taxotere, was the right one.  On Jan. 11, I got a second round of Lupron along with a booster of Casodex, and now I'm feeling hot flashes along with extreme bone pain, which feels like sciatica times 100.  This pain is caused by the amount of cancer that is inside my bones.  The doctors have agreed to monitor my testosterone on a weekly basis, such that within one-month's time, we will know if we need to go to another drug (Firmagon) to stop my generation of testosterone.

It is with great sadness that I find myself creating this web page, but I find it necessary as explaining it over and over again to my many family and friends is taking its toll on my family and work life.  I realize that everybody is concerned and praying for me, and I'm using this website as a communication network.  I will keep you updated and read your comments as often as I can.

John Wetzel

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