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Saturday, August 02, 2008 Joanie, Community Member, asks

Q: After a prostatectomy - is it normal for depression + other physical symptoms to start? PSA is norma


My Husband had a radical prostatectomy in Feb 08. While he has been fortunate not to experience incontinence and erectile dysfunction -he has developed (and diagnosed) with severe depression. He had a Total Knee Replacement in 5/06 and had had chronic pain in the knee to ankle and foot since 8/06. It is evident that soon after the prostate surgery his tolerance to deal with the chronic pain diminished. He is relatively young, and in spite of the pain, up until the prostate surgery you would never know that the pain was interrupting his life most of the time. He's been working at a physical job that he loves and has hobbies. Since the surgery he barely makes it through the workday. Earlier this week he came home from work and thought he was having a heart attack. His Dr diagnosed him with severe depression and anxiety. He also saw the Podiatrist and they gave him Lexapro and Lyrica - they feel there is nerve impingement in the TKR. I am sorry to give all these gory details but his decline has been so apparent - both his physical and mental decline since the surgery. He has lost a great deal of weight - he has lost a lot of muscle tone it is scary. His PSA was 0 in April, and his surgeon told him he didn't have to come back to be tested until September? From all my reading it really should be 3 months. I advised him to see his Urologist this week! I now this all must sound crazy - but I am / we are scared. I thought it and mistakenly so, thought it could be to do with testosterone levels. I would appreciate any feedback. Thank you! Joanie

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Answers (3)
Vicki M, Community Member
8/11/08 6:51pm

Hi Joanie,


I feel for you. I too have a man who has been to the brink of hell and back with medical issues and I know where you are at. It is very possible that your husband is suffering from depression as a result of the surgery and other medical issues. You can read more information about how to work around the depression here in the depression database. No matter the cause of the depression, this information will help you ask all the right questions. Some things that have been known to help depression are: Medical massage.  You can read an article from the Archives of Surgery here about how massage can sometimes aleve pain after surgery.


Since he is seeing several types of doctors (podiatrist, urologist, etc) you want to make sure you keep an accurate record of everything your husband is taking, all his meds whether they are prescription or not. Even vitamins and suppliments. Make sure you tell your doctor everything so he can watch for and warn about interactions. You can read about the drugs commonly prescribed for pain here in the chronic pain database. Here you can read about Lyrica. Here you can read about Lexapro. Now Lexapro is an antidepressant. Lyrica is used to treat nerve pain, like that of a diabetic. The two of these together might be questionable and you want to make sure you ask your doctor about any interaction between them.


As far as your husband's PSA and his return to the doctor in September, April to September is only 5 months and it is possible your doctor feels that is soon enough to see yous husband. If there is an issue that you think warrants seeing the doctor sooner, then you should.

I hope this helps somewhat. Please do take care of yourself and your doctor. I hope all is well.

Vicki M

William, Community Member
11/ 5/09 5:28pm

Hi Joanie,


Your husband is not alone.  I had prostate surgery in Dec 08.  I have had many problems since, including incontinece and erectile dysfunction.  My relationship with my partner has worsen.  Unfortunately, she doesn't understand how having cancer and having your manhood taken by it can affect your physical, mental and emotional state.  I have talked to my doctors and they do not have any answers.  I am told to just be patient, while everything around me is falling apart.  I tried the anti-depresent drugs, but it seemed to only make things worst for me.  Your husband is lucky to have you by his side.  I feel that I am lucky to have my partner as well.  I only wish that there was more information available to help poeple like me and my partner, as well as others, gain a better understanding of what we are dealing with.  My best to you.




Markiea, Community Member
1/28/10 10:53am

Hi Joanie, I had prostatectomy last April. A week following surgery I had a terrible bout of depression. It seem to last for a week. I could hardly get out of bed. I called my family doctor and he offered to write me a script for celexa. I gave it a great deal of thought and decided to forego a tranquilizer. I fought thru the feeling. The cloud lifted. I will admit that this surgery is a life changer and should be taken seriously. Meaning that anyone who has been diagnoised with PC should speak to other men that have gone thru a radical prostatectomy. Your partner and or spouse can make all the difference in the world. Her support is critical. It is my understanding that it takes a solid year to get back to some degree of normalcy. Testoserone replacement is dangerous. If there is a radical dormant cancer cell running around (I have been told by my urologist) this can cause a reawakening. Like adding fuel to a fire. It is not been a full year since the surgery but there are days that I will tell you that are good days and shitty days. I too wish you the best.  Mark

Dale, Community Member
4/12/10 12:31pm

I had a radical prostatectomy in January of 97 and the shock on my psyche was horrible.  Few are ready for the changes waiting for the patient after surgery.  Loss of bladder control and erectile dysfunction change a man's life drastically.  It is strange that there is little after surgery psyche care.  The medical part was a success although I did have to go back for radiation therapy in January of 2003.  But it is the feeling of being alone with the physical problems, even with a spouse, that work on a man's mind.  Those who have answered your post already are correct, it takes real support from those near you.  It's been 13 years now and I'm back to normal but it has been a long uphill battle.  Life is short, so support your spouse as much as you can.

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By Joanie, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/17/12, First Published: 08/02/08