My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer on his 82nd birthday. I expected it when his PSA test started increasing. He had a biopsy. I couldn’t attend the appointment for the results but asked my mom to make sure she found out his Gleason score. When she called me on his birthday, I heard it in her voice before she said the words.
It’s considered an intermediate- risk tumor. There is no metastasis. But given his advanced age and other co-morbidities, namely the Alzheimer’s, surgery is not recommended.
At his age, hormone therapy and radiation is recommended. Without treatment, he has perhaps 10 years. But that means the tumor will get larger, he’ll have more lower urinary tract symptoms of obstruction and likely bone pain from metastasis. Radiation is not easy. It involves daily trips to the hospital for weeks; 20-39 radiation visits. That’s 20-39 days that my mother has to drive him to and from hospital and pay exhorbitant fees in parking. My mom went through radiation treatment for her own breast cancer 15 years ago. She still remembers how hard that was on her. How difficult now will this be on my dad? He asks her several times a day what the next doctor’s appointment is for. Because he forgets. How difficult will this be for my mom to take him to the hospital day in and day out, in his already semi-frail and de-conditioned state? Is it cruel to put him through treatment? Is it cruel not to?
After meeting with his radiation oncologist and learning about a new treatment protocol involving only 5 weekly visits for radiation therapy, it looks like we will be embarking on treatment for my dad. He seems to understand the side effects of treatment and that it means weekly visits to the hospital. Of course, he’ll ask many times why he’s going but that is okay for now. Five weekly visits is going to be much easier for my mom. If and when it gets to be too much, we’ll make a decision to stop. But for now, he/we are going to fight this.
I met with my physiotherapist today. Her name is Sarah and she is amazing. I am so glad I went.
After giving her the history, she examined my feet and didn’t see any swelling or obvious issues like flat feet or high arches. I got on the treadmill for a few minutes and just ran. She watched both of my strides (heel strike first vs mid-foot strike) and for those few minutes my legs felt good.
We headed back to the exam room and that’s when the ankle started throbbing. She started examining my ankle in more detail. She said she noticed a slight wobble of my right foot while I was running. She suspected that the muscles that normally stabilize the ankle joint were weak which lead to the Achilles’ tendon taking the brunt of the force. Once she laid hands in my ankle joint she found that the subtalar joint had almost no movement when compared to the other side.
She worked the joint line for at least 5-10 minutes and was able to get it moving more. I was amazed at the difference!! She then taped the joint in so as to keep it open.
Then she showed me some exercises to do a few times a day that would help eliminate that wobble she saw when I ran. The exercises are heel raises and target the lower leg stabilizer muscles, particularly the tibialis anterior and soleus muscles.
Her assessment made me feel a hundred times better. With some gentle treatment and home exercises. I should be able to strengthen the right foot and get back to my 10k training. She even gave me the green light to try a baby run (no more than 3km) in the next day or two. Of course, I had to promise that I would stop the run if I was in pain.
I had a lot of questions and she answered all of them. I should use a heating pad before I run and to do the exercises as a warm up. If I feel the foot is weak during the run or more importantly, the back of the heel starts aching, I should stop and do some heel raises to activate the proper muscles again. She also took a look at my shoes and said they were in good shape. So for now I’m not going to change them.
We set up another appointment for next week.
After dinner tonight I got right to my exercises and did two sets. The tape feels great and I’m going to leave or on for 3 days.