”This can’t be real,” thought 64-year-old Martti when he heard the words ’prostate cancer’ four years ago.
”Diagnoses felt like a shot with a cannon or a death sentence. It took me half a day to understand what was going on, and then I was in shock. For three years my symptoms had been treated as an enlarged prostate,” Martti recalls.
Martti’s cancer had already escaped from the prostate capsule. The tumor couldn’t be removed in surgery so Martti was treated with a combination of two different radiotherapies and hormonal therapy. Additionally he took medicine for the side effects that external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) caused.
”When the treatments started I got a spark of hope. I travelled to Helsinki from Central Finland daily, and became very familiar with Netflix at that time,” Martti laughs.
Receiving good news from Kaiku Health
Kaiku Health came to Martti’s life on his first follow-up in mid summer 2013.
”A nurse recommended me to try this new application for communication and following my condition. Absolutely! Right after I got in the train I registered to Kaiku with my iPad and started using the app. Before Kaiku I always had to call to the clinic if I had something on my mind. Immediately I noticed how handy Kaiku is. Every week I had questions or comments that I sent to my care team. The nurse — or doctor if needed — answered me the next day, the latest.”
In the beginning Martti used Kaiku Health mainly to communicate with his care team, but he also scheduled the endoscopies and asked the doctor to renew his prescriptions. Nowadays Martti reports the PSA and testosterone levels himself every four months, and his doctor interprets them and shares the good news via message.
”My worries are answered quickly and especially in the beginning it soothed me. I find the report related conversations especially important. Hearing an expert saying: ’Your levels of PSA and testosterone are fantastic!’ feels very good,” says Martti.
Living in the present
”I have been quite discreet about my cancer. At first only my familiars knew about my illness, but nowadays my friends know about it, too. My wife has been a great support since the beginning. She took care of all the current matters so that I was able to focus my energy to recovery,” Martti explains.
Right after the radiotherapy finished they got back to ordinary life: Martti and his family took a trip abroad for a week despite the unpleasant side effects that external beam radiotherapy caused.
Martti goes to follow-ups every four months. When the date is around the corner he feels anxious again:
”My cancer was aggressive, so it’s likely that it will recur. The uncertainty feels like drawing a lottery ball. Forestry is like therapy for me. When I’m working there’s no time time to think about any problems.”
”The only way to keep on living is to continue an ordinary life. The illness comes along if it can keep up with you. It’s there and that’s it,” Martti says.
Written by Matilda Mela, Trainee at NetmediTags: Patient monitoring, Patient-Reported Outcomes, prostate cancer