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Calvin W lives in England. He was 57 when he was diagnosed in December, 2006. His initial PSA was 13.00 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 7, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was Surgery (Retropubic Prostatectomy). Here is his story.

In November 2006 I had a full medical check-up as I have done every few years past. Expecting the usual comments about needing to lose some pounds and get more exercise I was staggered to be told by my regular Doctor that the report he'd received showed an elevated PSA count of 13.0 ng/ml. The most recent check of this was in 2002 when it was 3.0 ng/ml. The Doctor said that the level can rise through infection so gave me a course of antibiotics and then another blood check in four weeks. The second blood check still showed 13.0 ng/ml so I was directed to a Urologist who arranged a biopsy.

I was quite concerned about the biopsy as it sounded painful but in the event it was not too bad, just uncomfortable and undignified! The result came back negative which was a relief for me but my Urologist said that the check provided around 80% confidence that there was no problem. To raise that confidence to 99%+ I should have another biopsy where instead of the eight samples taken they'd take fourteen, that is seven in each side of the prostate.

The second biopsy results showed cancer at the rear of the gland mainly on the left side although there was also some in the right hemisphere.

To get to this point had taken some four months and my mind had looked at some very gloomy scenarios, my brother-in-law had died the previous year of liver/pancreatic cancer which took him away in four months after diagnosis. PCa is not the same but a mind works wonders on creating fearsome outcomes if you allow it!

I then had an MRI scan to see if the cancer had migrated out of the gland capsule and a bone scan to find if it had also found its way into my bones. Both results were negative which was a huge relief.

My wife and I then had a long talk with the Urologist about what action to take. I favoured Brachytherapy (seeds) but was told the chances of getting all the cancer nodules I seemed to have was low to medium. High dose radiation was an option but it produces adhesions to the rectum wall. This means that if it does not work, surgery to remove the prostate afterwards is very difficult without cutting into the rectum itself with attendant problems of subsequent healing and infection.

I chose a radical prostatectomy and six days later it was carried out. I was told by the Urologist to expect 5 days in hospital and 3 or 4 weeks recovery. Other medical staff told me 6 to 7 days in and 6 to 7 weeks recovery at home. Following the operation I awoke with an epidural in my back so felt nothing below my waist. I was asked many times if I was in any discomfort but I was in none at all, just dozy for a day.

The most annoying thing about it all was the catheter and bag which was attached for two weeks. That was a big inconvenience and an embarrassment to me which I know is a stupid reaction.

It's now four weeks after the operation and I am walking a couple of miles a day, the incontinence is getting better each day and I should be completely 'dry' in a couple of weeks. My Urologist showed me the pathology report on what was removed and there are 4 pictures of slices showing random dark areas all within the prostate capsule and no break-out. I was told that I should have a PSA check in a couple of months and that, "it WILL be clear".

I am just so glad I went for that check-up and found this early. I felt 100% fit and had no other symptoms of prostate problems. The first biopsy showed it was a normal size at 23mm yet the PSA level of 13.o ng/ml was a red flag that could not be ignored. Family history also is that both my paternal uncles had it with one dying of it and the other having an RP. It is believed my father and grandfather also died of bone or lymph cancer as a result of PCa.

I am thankful beyond belief right now and will nag every 50 year old man I meet about knowing his PSA level!

Regards, Calvin

Mail me if you wish about any other information.

UPDATED

June 2008

I had my surgery one year ago so this is my anniversary update.

I've had four PSA checks over the year at three month intervals and all have been at or below 0.01 ng/ml. I now plan to have two this coming year and go to once a year thereafter. I still have the erectile dysfunction that surgery nearly always produces and my Urologist is working with me to see what can be done. Mail me if you'd like details.

All found going for the surgery was the best idea for me but each case is different as we know.

UPDATED

October 2009

I have not been on the YANA site for some time now but it was a very valuable resource to me at my diagnosis and afterwards. I've also had two men contact me directly by mail who had just been diagnosed with comparable PSA and Gleason levels. I think I was able to help them with my own views and relating experiences.

My last PSA check was in January this year and it was 'less than 0.1' which I am very thankful for. It's been almost 2 1/2 years since my radical prostatectomy and the PSA level has never risen above 0.1. I will have another check in December this year and then two more in future which will take me to five years. At that point I'll cut it to a check every two or three years I suppose, having regard to my Doctors' advice of course.

Physically I am in great shape apart from a so called 'mini-stroke' this year. The consultant says that's a misnomer as it was a TIA, a Transient Ischaemic Attack. Result being that I'm now taking a few 'blood drugs'.

The lasting impact from the prostatectomy has been that I cannot get an erection now and maybe being aged 59 is a contributory factor. I've tried Cialis and that just gives me a stuffy nose all day but injecting 'Caverject' does work. I think that stuff could cause a piece of wet string to become rigid! My sexual desires are dropping also and I think that my mind is aware that no erections happen now and so it maybe thinks that means I don't have the desire so in turn 'turns down' my arousal. It's a flimsy piece of reasoning I know but it's the way it feels to me. Having had that desire for most of my life is a strange feeling to lose it more and more.

UPDATED

February 2011

Another year passed and that makes it almost four years since I had my prostate removed.

I'm glad to say that I have had no increase in my PSA since then and it's been below 0.1 or 'not measurable by our equipment'. Last measured April 2010, due again in a month's time.

I still struggle with Erectile Dysfunction but I'm coming to terms with it. Being 60 now I suspect it would have been an increasing problem even without the RP operation. I use Caverject for that and it works as I said in a previous update.

I intend to keep updating this for as long as Terry wants me to keep sending them. [That would be annually for the next 20 or 30 years!] Thanks again Terry for this site and the great work you do.

Regards, 'Calvin W.'

UPDATED

May 2012

Another year passed and this is my fifth anniversary since my radical prostatectomy. My latest test showed my PSA at 'less than 0.1' so I am thanking my stars of 2007 that I went for the annual checkup that revealed the problem. It was just a reading of 13 - 14 and perhaps I could have let it pass for just keeping an eye on it. My wife would never have allowed me to though!

I have the ED problem still but that's OK, I can awake the old man with Caverject if needed and that's a small thing to worry about as I've just had my 62nd birthday. For me I just eat well but probably still drink too many beers and enjoy life. I am still working although drawing a pension from a previous employer so have little stress in my life apart from worrying about my daughter and her future. I don't think that has anything to do with PCa though, it's just what Dads do.

Until next April, be nice and enjoy life.

Calvin

UPDATED

May 2013

Another year on and my regular check up for PSA, Cholesterol and all the other items has just been done and the report is that after 6 years my PSA count remains less than 0.1 ng/ml which it has been since the operation in 2007. For the past couple of years I have come to expect that result but it's still nice to see it confirmed. In fact my health is, I hesitate to say it, boringly the same since last year without problems and that is all that we'd wish for ourselves I am sure.

Best wishes to all, here's to another year.

Calvin

UPDATED

June 2014

It is now seven years since my radical prostatectomy, years measured by the annual PSA test. This year it once again produced a zero or undetectable reading which is pleasing, to say the least. I have considered going to a two year cycle of testing but I don't think my peace of mind could stand that, I'd be 'twitchy' on the anniversary without the reassuring report. Perhaps at 10 years in 2017 I might do that. My health otherwise is still excellent aprt from carrying a few too many pounds and the aches in knees and the rest which comes with increasing age.

I still tell every man over 50 that will listen - get tested!!

Cheers, Calvin

UPDATED

June 2015

This is my yearly story update. It's now eight years since I had my Prostate surgically removed and you can find the details of all that in my earliest posting. I see my Doctor once yearly for a standard health check - fats, glucose etc and the PSA measurement is tacked on the end.

I'm glad to say that it was reported this year as 0.03 ng/ml which shows how accuracy of measurement is improving each year. I had been told that the finest granularity allowed detecttion down to just 0.1 ng/ml which is what mine has been since 2008.

Nothing to report I'm happy to say. If you like mail me if you need information or support.

Cheers, Calvin

UPDATED

July 2016

Another year, another test and, glad to say, another negative result. I moved to a new area last year and the Doctor's practice I am registered with does not provide the detailed results of tests. Their response when asked was to say that if the Doctor had noticed any results that gave concern he would contact me, so no news is good news. Since this is now 9 years since my radical and every year the PSA has been 0.1 ng or less I assume that was the case this time.

I am fit and healthy enough at 66 although like most, if I could lose 10 pounds I'd be happier! About to retire having put it off for a couple of years and we'll celebrate with a month away in January next year to somewhere warmer and avoid the English mist and rain of winter.

Mail me if you'd like any detail or more information.

Calvin

UPDATED

June 2017

This is an update to the journey I began in June 2007 and so after a radical prostatectomy I'm still here, fit and healthy, aging processes notwithstanding!

I try to keep myself fit through exercise and a diet featuring veg. and fruit. These days I seem to be losing my taste for red meat and I think that is a good thing for the animals and for me in fact. So, 10 year anniversary, book now for the 20 year anniversary in 2027 !

Calvin

Calvin's e-mail address is: calvin.winwood AT btinternet.com (replace "AT" with "@")


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