11/29/2012 "Annual Physical" showed a PSA of 2.42
All tests, the examination, the DRE showed good health.
5/6/2014 "Annual" physical showed a PSA of 3.43
All tests, the examination, the DRE showed good health.
I have an excellent doctor who was concerned about the jump in the PSA. Although the PSA is theoretically in the "safe zone", he was concerned in the number jump. He referred me to an excellent urologist. The urologist suggested that I get a biopsy. I knew nothing was wrong as I have always been in good health and the PSA was in the "safe zone". I figured I would get the biopsy just to get a good baseline to judge future health results.
I had the biospsy done in the Dr.'s office. I did not find it painful nor uncomfortable and I would not fear having another prostate biospy done but if given the choice between a prostate biopsy and a pint, I would take the pint. The biopsy felt like someone was snapping a rubberband against your prostate.
July 21st, 2014 --- 5PM --- 6th hole on the golf course. I was playing par/bogey golf. I received a phone call from my urologist. "You have prostate disease". I asked him if that means I have prostate cancer. "Yes -- You have prostate cancer". Shot an 8 on that hole
My wife and I visited him at his office. He explained that 10 of the 12 cores (samples) are cancerous
(*5, 11%, 40%, 5%, 30%, 7%, 40%, 5%, 17%, 5%)
Gleason Score = 3 + 3 Prostatic Adenocarcinoma Indolent
91% chance that the cancer is confined to the prostate
1% cancer in seminal vesicles
1.2% cancer is in lymph nodes
All in all, if one has prostate cancer, this is good news.
After attending consultations and support group meetings, I decided upon robotic surgery vs seeds or external radiation primarily because radiation is my back-up in case surgery didn't get all the cancer.
From hearing the words "you have prostate disease" to scheduling my surgery was one month. I do not want the cancer to "take off" on me and spread. I am aware of the probable and possible side effects and ready to take them head on. Like Errol Flyn said in Captain Blood: "No man should be late for his own hanging".
This Wednesday (9/17/2014) I am scheduled for surgery. Wednesday evening I plan to be walking the hospital hallways. I plan on being released to go home on Thursday. I do not plan on partaking in any of the side effects. I plan on being at an Irish pub in 6 months, raising a pint on St Patrick's day, and saying a quiet prayer for all those who have joined or in the process of joining this unwanted club. We will all meet this obstacle with grace, class, a sense of humor, and a stronger Faith.
I extend my most sincere gratitude to YANA and Wayne Watson for supplying me with the best information and encouragement. I cannot thank them enough.
(10 of 12 cores = prostatic adenocarcinoma Gleason 3+3=6 PSA 3.43)
It is 6 days since my robitic prostatectomy. I feel a bit guilty because I feel so good. The gas pains hurt the most and moving and walking the day of surgery caused some moderate level of pain. The catheter has been no problem at all - in fact in some ways I may miss it a little bit
My first day home I took a 10 block walk. The second day, a 1:15 stroll. Feel great. I took a prescription pain killer 1/2 hour prior to walks.
I am being careful with my diet. I feel so good that I have to watch myself and follow the recovery instructions and not do anything stupid to jeoperdize the wonderful work the Dr and nursing staff have done to get me to this level
Catheter comes out tomorrow afternoon. At that time I will start the next phase of recovering and experience what level of incontinence I may have
I had the catheter removed this afternoon and also was able to discuss my pathology report.
Re: Catheter -- Once the catheter was removed, there was no stopping the flow. Everytime I though it stoppd, somehow it started all over again. I expected something like that would occcur so I wasn't surprised. I am glad I brought a few extra pairs of diapers.
On the way home my wife and I stopped for several hours at a local restaurant. We chatted and had a few appetisers. She had a glass of wine and I'm still drinking water. I had to take the new plumbing out for a road test. I discovered that pads are easier to swap out than diapers in a public washroom. I learned sitting seems to be OK but standing and that first step can cause a spurt. I learned that diapers and pads are excellent. They hold a lot and do the job --- After 2 hours I was able to hold enough for my first whiz, although it was the last 25%, it is still a little victory. I now know the difference between spurts, dribbles, drops. I realize Kegels are much easier to do before surgery than after surgery. The muscles are not quite the same. My new mantra is 'SQUEESE - SQUEESE - SQUEEZE"
As for the pathology -- I was a Gleason 3+3=6 from the biopsy. Pathology confirms a 3+4=7.
Margin=clear lymph nodes = clear seminal vesicles = clear
All in all I think it is a good report. The Gleason 7 means keeping a closer watch.
First PSA is next month.
Received my pathology report on 9/24/2014.
Biopsy was stage Tc1 Pathology now read pT3a.
Biopsy Gleason was 3+3=6 Pathology now read Gleason 3+4=7.
Apparently the prostate cancer had broken through the prostate wall into the fatty tissue (exprostatic extension). There also was some involvement in the tiny nerves inside the prostate, which are near the prostate wall. Sometimes this can offer PC cells a way out of the prostate and into other areas even though the surgical margins are clear.
Having clear lymph nodes is a good thing, along with the clear seminal vesicles. If I recall correctly, the seminal vesicles are among the first things that spreading prostate cancer will attack. So it is very good that mine were clear.
Now back to trying to regain my continence and into a regime of monthly PSA tests. In the back of my mind I will wonder when the cancer will take off again. Where is it? What treatment now? More questions than answers and a lifetime of waiting games. Not the result I was hoping for.
I was hoping the surgery would have put all of this behind me.
Surgery was performed September 16th, 2014
Best advice I read re: incontinence was to "drink quarts of water and walk, walk, walk"
"Kegel, Kegel, Kegel"
I followed this advice, which seemed counter-intuitive to me.
It greatly improved the level of incontinence.
I still spurt, leak, dripple, and drip but not as much. I can see the improvement on a weekly basis. I have decreased my pad usage by 38% and "diaper" usage by 45%
Another trick I learned is I try to do my Kegels while standing next to the toilet.When I do my Kegels, I spurt & dripple. If I am next to the toilet, it doesn't go into my pads or diapers. I don't change as often so I feel better. Anything to find an advantage I will take.
Re: ED Not there yet. Going for my first PSA test since surgery in 2 weeks. I will talk to the Dr about ED therapy at that time.
After I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and while deciding on the type of treatment, I reached out to a few on YANA via email. They were incredibly encouraging and helpful. I will never be able to thank them enough.
If you are recently diagnosed, know someone who has been, or have questions and need to reach out, I am more than willing to help as those who helped me.
My PSA blood test is coming up at the end of Jan. 2016
Currently having PSA taken every 6 months
There is slight daily incontinence. Can be a little annoying if I think about it -- so I don't think about it. I wear one maximum absorbency pad per day. Just enough to keep wearing them.
Re: ED. "Intimacy" has never been a priority with my wife so I really can't effectively speak on the ED issues with those who have had an active sex life.
My advice is:
- Get tested > early detection and action is a HUGE benefit
- Relax > they are experts and know what they are doing
- It is not nearly as bad as your imagination will make it
- Maintain a sense of humor. There is a lot of humor if you allow yourself to laugh
- You will learn to appreciate the little moments and each day (if you allow yourself) It can be a big blessing in your life
- If you choose robotic surgery:
a) wear the diapers before the surgery, just to see that it's not that big a deal
b) wear the maximum absorbency pads before the surgery, just to see that it's not that big a deal
c) when urinating, stop the flow, restart, stop, restart. This will show you where the muscles to use for the Kegel exercises
- Squeeze .... Squeeze ..... Then ...... Squeeze some more
PSA is undetectable (<.01).
The incontinence is "good". I use one max absorbency pad per 24 hours if I am going to be physically active or having a pint or two. Otherwise, I use one light absorbency shield. I am ready to try going without pads as a safety valve but...
Re: ED I realize that Cialis is an important therapy measure in regaining erections but the cost is very prohibitive. I use the pump, which seems to have a decreasing effect
I keep reminding myself to be thankful that "right now" I am cancer free. I am confident, but not overly cocky, that the cancer will not reappear.
The blessing is that I take fewer days and events for granted and live in six month time spans, from PSA test to PSA test. Enjoy what you do have.
Chris's e-mail address is: email@example.com