Just a quick note before I start, for those of you who know the story, or are not interested in the background, read on. If you want the context of this before you start, scroll to the bottom and read the bit in bold.
These days, finding inspiration for blogs is not always easy, but sometimes you see something that makes you chuckle, then makes you think. This blog is one such example, as I was inspired by a tweet from one of my favourite tweeters.
I was surprised when I saw this. I didn't realise females had this issue, just goes to show how much I know! This picture got me thinking about the whole issue of 'getting up for a wee'. I have really no idea what is a normal pattern, despite being asked many times "are your patterns normal". I 've also no idea what is something we should worry about. I've never actually been asked to detail my getting up in the night pattern and I've no idea if it's actually relevant, so Ithought I'd share it and see if any of you had any ideas.
For those of us whe are male and suffering with one of the myriad of issues that are lumped together as "Prostate Problems", this is a daily dilemma. Although I have never suffered from any of the more serious symptoms of Prostate cancer, I have long needed a wee more than the next man! I've never been 100% sure if this is down to overconsumption of tea/beer/wine, especially at night. My mum would be turning in her grave, as she felt it impolite to discuss going for a wee, but I happen to think that sharing information on matters medical is a good way to help us live longer/healthier.
When it comes to visiting the bathroom, I've noticed that Green Tea, which is meant to be good at slowing the advance of prostate cancer, is a nightmare for me. It literally goes straight through me. I have always assumed that this was a good thing, but I now never drink Green tea after 6pm, when I am going somewhere without a loo, or going on a long journey. For my nightly slumers, if I only have a glass of water by about 9pm, I might get through the night with one wee or even no getting up. If I drink tea, I'll get up at around 1am and again at around 4-5pm. If I have several pints of beer, it may even be four times. A glass of wine, will often spare me getting up, but a couple of bottles, I am not sure as I can't remember!
One of the most annoying things though is when you wake up sort of needing to go (as per Claires picture above). It's cold and you don't feel like going to the loo, so you lie there and realise that if you don't go, you won't sleep. So you stagger up, have your wee, then stagger back to bed. Only when you lie down, you realise that you were so keen to get back to bed, you hadn't emptied your bladder properly. You are back where you started. I have developed a strategy to avoid this. When I finish, I count to ten and then see if I need to do a bit more. Although this means that I don't get back to bed as quickly as I'd like, it also means that I don't get the dreaded double visit scenario and get back to sleep sooner.
Am I the only person who believes that overnight we get rid of far more fluid than we took in during the day. The number of times I've just had a cup of tea in the evening and had to get up two or three times, removing what seems like six litres of fluid? Does your body save it all up from the night before to teach you a lesson. I've been tempted to actually measure the amount, but I suspect if I used the measuring jug we make gravy in, my wife would conclude I am a weirdo and divorce me. This is nothing more than curiosity, but I am convinced that what goes out is never the same as what goes in. I did an A level in biology, but they never teach you useful things like this.
One of the pieces of advice that we get when we are diagnosed with cancer is to "look out for changes". In truth, I have no idea whether any of this has got worse. I have noticed that I find it hard to make the journey from the City back to Mill Hill on the train without going to the loo, far more than I used to, if I've drunk a lot of beer. It is a godsend that the new Thameslink trains have multiple loos. The older rolling stock was far less well supplied and the toilets were far more often out of service. It was not unknown for me to get off en route, find a pub, use the loo and have another pint! Another key factor is the ambient temperature outside. When it is cold, it seems that you are far more likely to need the loo. I've never really understood this, as you'd think the body would seek to retain warmth rather than remove it more efficiently.
I don't feel that there's been any rapid change. I actually always had to nip to the loo quite frequently. I can remember hearing a radio program on prostate cancer when I was about 30, convincing myself that I had it as I used the loo far more often than recommended. I went to see the docter who told me not to be so ridiculous and try drinking less beer. Ironically, when I was diagnosed aged 49, I was quite surprised.
So anyway, I guess what I've been trying to say, ina very roundabout way, if you have noticed an sort of change in your patterns, go and see a Doctor and get it checked out. The earlier they catch these issues, the more options you have. None are necessarily pleasant if you have got Prostate cancer, but if you are caught early, as I was, you can have treatments that have less unwanted side effects. Had I not been diagnosed in 2011, I'd not have realised it was turning nasty in 2015 and right now I would be in nowhere near as good a place.
For those of you who are regular readers and have read the previous posts on Cancer, there's what this is all about. I write this blog because knowledge is power and if you know what you are dealing with, you have more weapons in the locker to fight it. It is a personal view, I'm not medically qualified. This is for the sole purpose of information for those who are interested.This is the latest installment in my occasional series about how I'm adjusting to living with a big C in my life. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick summary. I'm 54years old and in October 2011 I had a prostate biopsy following two "slightly high" PSA tests - 2.8 & 4.1. The biopsy took ten tissue samples and one of these showed a "low grade cancer" which gave me a 3+3 on the Gleason scale. I was put on a program of active monitoring. In early February, I got the results of the a PSA test - down to 3.5 and an MRI scan which found absolutely nothing, two more tests in 2012 were at 3.5 and 3.9, in 2013 my test was 4.0, Jan 2014 was 3.8, August 2014 was 4.0, February 2015 it was up to 5.5 and my latest in August 2015 was down again at 4.6. In October 2015 I had a transperinial Prostate biopsy, that revealed higher grade cancer and my Gleason score was raised to 3+4 (Small mass + more aggressive cancer). On 22nd Jan 2016 I had HIFU (Hi Intensity Focused Ultrasound) treatment at UCHL). My post procedure PSA in May was 4.0 which was down, followed by 3.7 in August, and 3.5 in October which means that the direction is positive . However in January the follow up MRI revealed "something unusual which requires investigation" After a follow up biopsy, it appeared this was nothing to worry about. My two most recent PSA tests were Ok (3.7 and 4.6) and an MRI scan in March was very positive. A PSA in October 2019 was 4.6, so stable and good news, the last in May 2020 was 5.45 a small rise, so worrying, however after a review against the most recent MRI, it was decided that this was fine.
I've no symptoms apart from needing to wee quite regularly and sadly for a few people, if I'm gonna die soon, it won't be from Prostate cancer. Got the picture?