By John

It’s 9 months since my orchiectomy in June 2022. So far I haven’t had any reason to think that I made the wrong choice. I can’t believe how well I feel despite no testosterone. For me the only side effect that is pretty much consistent between physical or chemical castration is the hot flashes. They are still an inconvenience but you start to develop mechanisms to manage them.

Wellness after orchiectomy looks like this for me…

Staying fit, not putting on weight

My fitness level has remained good and I haven’t found it a burden to exercise regularly. Typically I aim to run 5+km twice a week and do a weights workout twice a week also. Occasionally I might do a longer hike or other exercise. If I do miss a session for whatever reason, I don’t stress about it as I know I am also pretty active in day to day activities.

I do get tired occasionally but it’s a good tired, commensurate with the activity I’ve had. My weight has stayed at 73-74kg. I track what I eat but don’t stress too much over it.

Probably due to the fact that I can still exercise, I don’t think I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass. And I haven’t had the aches and pains and other demoralising impacts of Zoladex or similar hormone suppression medication.

Emotionally positive and more stable than on Zoladex

Emotionally I am a lot less fragile than when on Zoladex. I don’t feel that physical castration has softened me as much as a course of Zoladex did. My attitudes to everyday issues and interactions has remained pretty constant.

I actually feel very positive about where I am physically and who I am. I am enjoying life more these days. With plenty of short and long term projects on hand, I feel I am pretty well retired.

Sexually affectionate

Sexually my wife and I have settled into a comfortable contentment with each other I guess you would say. I did make a point of us discussing outcomes before the surgery and made it clear that she was to make sure she spoke up if she felt she was missing out sexually. She hasn’t bothered to and I think was ready to take things easier anyway. Overall we seem to have relaxed into a no pressure, easy going, affectionate relationship.

I still appreciate the sight of an attractive woman, young or old. And I still check out what’s about – but it’s with a relaxed interest, no underlying lust. Still have the occasional semi erection but not driven by it.

Not being hormone driven

In some ways I feel empowered by the experience – not being hormone driven. It’s weird but the whole prostate cancer experience has had many positive nuances. I ponder on the impact that sex hormones have on the everyday lives of men and woman through the most productive years of our lives. Perhaps we are only our true selves prior to puberty and after the andropause of later life.

I plan on having a full medical in June to get an accurate measure of how my body has been impacted or adapted after 12 months.

Editor’s note: for another alternative hormone therapy, see Richard Wassersug’s work on Estrogen-Based Hormone Therapy for Treating Prostate Cancer including his personal experiences.