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Tom Sullivan lives in Massachusetts, USA. He was 55 when he was diagnosed in October, 2007. His initial PSA was 10.50 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 6, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was Surgery (Retropubic Prostatectomy). Here is his story.

I first started going to my urologist in October 2003 with a PSA of 4.8. In June of 2004 my PSA was up to 5.8 when I had my first biopsy which came back negative. My PSA stayed around 6.0 for all of 2005 with blood tests every six months. I June of 2006 PSA was up to 8.2 when I had my second biopsy which also was negative. February of 2007 it was 8.6 and in October it rose to 10.5.

I had my third biopsy in October of last year and was diagnosed in early November. Initially my urologist suggested the watchful waiting approach. I agreed with him at first but after reading several articles on the internet (as I'm sure everyone does) and considering my age (55) I decided to go for a second opinion in Mass General in Boston.

After meeting with a surgeon, oncologist and a radiologist they all suggested removal. Seed radiation was out due to an enlarged prostate. Beam radiation was an option but I have been taking Flomax for a urine output problem for three years. They said the radiation may take care of the cancer but the urine problem and taking Flomax possibly wouldn't go away. The favored the two for one opportunity of getting rid of an obstructing prostate as well as the tumor.

My surgery is scheduled for April 14th at Mass General Hospital.

Any information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've been told practicing the Kegel exercise is very important. I guess my biggest fear is being catheterized.

UPDATED

April 2008

I arrived at MGH at 6 Monday, was in surgery by 8, recovery by 12:30 and released Tues around 2. I was very fortunate to have a nurse friend that works in the recovery room and was with me every step of the process which was very comforting. Dr. McGovern was a wonderful surgeon and very thorough and his staff were all terrific. My anestheologist was Roger White who was a great guy and gave me comfort before the surgery. They all stopped by to see me after the surgery and the next day.

I'm doing great after the surgery. Walking is recommended for a quick recovery so I've been up and around most of the day today. I have some discomfort with gas but was able to pass quite a bit last night and was able to move to light foods like soups, oatmeal etc. for a couple of days until my bowels get back to normal. The catheter was the biggest of my worries and it's really not bad at all and I think I can deal with it for two weeks when I have my followup appointment with Dr. Mcgovern. He told me there was no lymph node involvement and was able to spare the nerves so I'm a very lucky man at this point. Time will tell and hopefully i'll be as good as new.

I also wanted to thank all you guys for the tips etc. leading up to my surgery as well as after.

Please feel free to ask any questions and I'll be more than happy to answer them.

UPDATED

August 2008

Went in and had the catheter removed on April 29th and also had the pathologist readout. Catheter came out pretty easy with no pain at all. I even saved one of my percocets for that day but don't think I really needed it. Pathologist reports showed negative (0%) margins which I am thankful for.

Incontinence was a little bit of a problem in the beginning after catheter removal. Usually used two ultra thin pads a day. By the end of June I no longer needed them.

ED is improving and my doctor has given me a perscription for Cialis 1/4 tablet a day to get things moving.

I had an appointment this week August 12th for PSA reading which came back as undetectable. I have to have another blood test in 6 months and if that's the same I won't have to see my doctor for another Year.

I'm feeling great now and just want to thank everyone again for your support and help.

UPDATED

December 2009

Well here it is a little over one and a half years and I'm doing great. I've gone for blood tests every 3 months since the surgery and my PSA has been undetectable. My last blood work was done in August 2009 and the doctor has told me I only have to have it checked twice a year now.

Erections are back to about 90 percent and leakage has virtually stopped except when having a really good laugh or an extremely large fart but even then it's minimal.

Life goes on and I'm very happy about the decision I've made.

Good luck everyone.

UPDATED

March 2011

It will be three years next month since I had my surgery. I'm feeling great and have had regular blood tests every six months and all results have been undetectable. I'm very happy about the results and decision I made about my treatment.

I consider myself very fortunate.

UPDATED

May 2012

Well another year has passed and it was 4 years ago April that I had the surgery. I still have blood work done twice a year and I just had it tested two weeks ago. Again my PSA was undetectable as it has been since I had the surgery. Everything has been good and I have no regrets at all about the treatment method I chose.

UPDATED

July 2013

Well now it's 5 years since the surgery and I'm alive and well. Everything has been good. I had my 6 month blood work and gain PSA was undetectable. life is good.

UPDATED

August 2014

Well here it is year 6 and still going fine. I've had no side effects. I'm still having my blood work done twice a year and PSA is still undetectable. I have no complaints about my choice of treatment.

UPDATED

September 2015

Well now it's been 7 years and still feeling great. When I had my last appointment with my doctor I was told I could now decrease my blood tests to once a year instead of twice which was great news. Everything is going fine and I'm glad I made the decision I did.

UPDATED

October 2016

Another great year. I visited my doctor last November and PSA again was undetectable. It's now been 8 years since I had my surgery. i'm feeling great and again I'm happy with the decision (Retropubic Prostatectomy) I made.

UPDATED

November 2017

Another year has passed. I went for my yearly check up and i'm happy to report my PSA is undetectable again. Its been 9 years since I've had my procedure and I'm very fortunate to report I'm cancer free. I'm actually seeing my doctor's Physician Assistant now since my doctor has been so busy with newer prostate cancer cases. Hang in there everybody because there is light at the end of the tunnel. I'm living proof of that.

Tom's e-mail address is: sullzip1-pc AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")


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