Amblin' Alameda: Hot Flash

Amblin' Alameda: Hot Flash

Morton Chalfy

I’m a little over halfway through a series of forty sessions of high energy radiation to treat my case of prostate cancer. This is after a radical Prostatectomy (removal of the prostate gland) disclosed that the cancer had not been confined to the prostate. The radiation aims to kill off any remaining cancer cells.

As part of this treatment I’m taking a hormone pill every day to suppress testosterone, which is said to “feed” cancer cells. Every weekday morning I rise, rinse and drive to Alta Bates hospital for ten minutes of painless radiation and then drive home. Incredibly I feel good, I’m able to carry out my normal tasks and other than tiring a little sooner than usual each day I carry on with my life.

Except for the hot flashes.

After several weeks of hormone pills I began to experience these. At first I thought the temperature had risen and induced the sweaty feeling, but after not too long a while I caught on to the fact that I was feeling sweaty every few hours even if I was outdoors in the fifty degree weather. At night I find myself alternating between throwing off the covers in a fit of heat and then snuggling under them again as I cool off. Thank goodness my bedmate suffers my activity gracefully, even supportively.

I don’t often speak about this openly to friends and family as the few mentions I’ve made invariably drew “humorous” remarks of the type “do your breasts hurt yet?”, “are we feeling particularly sensitive today?” and the like. I don’t mind being an object of amusement for my friends, especially when it helps them deal with the conflicting emotions like guilt and sadness that accompany the news of an illness.

It has taught even a sensitive new-age sort of guy like I am an even greater appreciation of the side effects of being a woman. And women, who make the most jokes about it, are also the most understanding and end up sharing methods of mitigation. I have a small hand fan and I think I’ll follow the suggestion to acquire a mini-battery operated fan to carry in my purse. I mean my back pack.

The alternative to this course of treatment is naturally a lot worse as it usually ends badly in the long run. And even though I’m only occasionally hot my sweetie says in her eyes I’m always hot.


Submitted by Peter on Tue, Oct 30, 2012

let me guess- Dr. Swift. I had the procedure a year ago and still having hot flashes.