I had been putting off a comprehensive medical exam for years. After I retired from my last job, I decided it was time to start taking care of the things I should have been doing. We joined Kaiser Health and I scheduled an appointment. My Dr did a thorough physical and found nothing wrong. As an afterthought, I mentioned a PSA test and he said he didn't think it was needed but he would add it to the blood work. PSA came back 5.2 which he said was a little high and that I should wait 6 weeks and have it repeated. New one came back a 6. He made a referral to the urologist who did a 18 core biopsy, found cancer in 3 of the cores, 3+3, 3+4 and the 4+3. It was only in a small amount of the sample, less than 7%. I told him I wanted a month to think about it, the surgical consult said that I should decide within the next 6 months. During my reading about it I found that radiation could be very successful but that the side effects manifest themselves years later and are permanent, whereas the surgery, the side effects are immediate and slowly improve over a 1-2 year period. Besides, just the idea of cancer in my body was making it hard to sleep.
Scheduled the surgery for July 8th. Then I did what I shouldn't have done which was start reading everything I could on Da Vinci Robotic surgery especially the bad outcomes. I later told the Dr that it was like reading restaurant reviews, the only people willing to take the time to review either love it or hate it, you don't get an unbiased idea from that. I scared myself so much reading bad outcomes I kept saying I was going to cancel, all the way up until they put the oxygen mask on me.
Woke up from the surgery, everything felt ok except for the Foley, but they had me on potent pain meds. Stayed overnight, went home the next day. Cather was a pain, hard to do much with it and hard to sleep comfortably. Also, they make several "ports" into your abdomen, 7 in my case and one of mine sprung a leak, had to bandage it and keep it covered.
July 16, removed the catheter. Oh what a relief!!! Now dealing with the leak problem. I started doing the Kegel exercises 2 months ago because I hoped it would help. First night not very dry but have hope.
Final pathology report, 10% total of prostate tumor, final grade Gleason 3+4 which the surgeon said is common, upgrade or downgrade of Gleason after removal. Margins clear, according to the Dr there is only a 1-2% chance of it spreading. Repeat PSA in 5 weeks to make sure.
My final advice for now, is do the research before you decide, but don't do like I did and concentrate on all the negative outcome stories.
So it's been a year since the robot had it's way with me. I've been getting every 3 month blood tests and so far PSA has been undetectable which is good.
The incontinence issue is still with me to a very minor extent, I wear the thin "man pads" to catch just a few drips, mostly when tired or working out.
The ED is another issue. I tried the vaccuum pump for a few months, and besides feeling weird it did not produce a usable result. I have moved on to injection therapy and after getting over the stigma of putting a needle where it doesn't belong and then having to adjust dosage, we were finally able to have actual sex, which was great. I have noticed that I am starting to get some spontaneous morning stiffness which gives me hope for an eventual return of natural action!
The last year has been difficult, but in the end I am glad I chose to take the course that I did.
I feel like I'm over the hump now and things are going to keep getting better.
Best of luck to all my brethren out there.
Wow. it's been two years now since my surgery. Most of the time I don't think about it any longer but when I do I realize how much progress I've made.
Right after surgery I was completely impotent and leaked urine, having to wear 2-3 pads a day. That has improved now to the point that I don't need pads at all. I still will leak a drop once in a while especially when tired or lifting something heavy but it's nothing like the almost complete lack of control I had in the beginning.
The sexual side effects are diminished, but I very rarely get spontaneous erections any longer, part of it might be old age. Bimx and a loving wife are wonderful. Sex is as enjoyable as ever without the mess now.
In July I had my last 3 month PSA test, got a 0. Dr has told me he thinks I have beat it and put me on 6 month testing.
If you're just diagnosed, have hope. There's a lot they can do, and if you put in the work, life can continue on in most cases.
I talked via email with several others from this site when I started this journey and it helped. Reach out!
Richard's e-mail address is: ricklt23 AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")