My story started in March 2008. After trying to pull a horse trailer out of the mud, I started having pain as if I strained something. A week later the pain seemed to be getting worse, spreading from my lower left abdomen down into my groin. I tried to get in to see my family doctor but could only get an appointment with a nurse practitioner.
After examining me, he could find no signs of a hernia. He told me that I was probably suffering from epididymitis which can be brought on by heavy lifting. He also checked my prostate just as a precaution and found nothing out of the ordinary. After 10 days of antibiotics, there was no change so I saw my family doctor. He said sometimes the antibiotics take longer so he put me back on them for a month. A month went by and still no change so, back to the doctor again. This time he found microscopic traces of blood in my urine. He decided that maybe there is a problem with my prostate and started treatment for BPH (Benign Prostate Hyperplasia).
Another month goes by and still no change. The pain seemed to move around and some days wasn't there at all. This time my doc seemed worried. He said I need to see a Urologist. In June 2008 I saw the Urologist. When he checked my prostate, pushing extremely hard, he felt a small lump and scheduled a biopsy. He also said he would have to run a scope into my bladder to find out why I have blood in my urine.
My next visit was the biopsy. My PSA results had come back and only being 0.97 I figured I had nothing to worry about. I was awake for the biopsy which really wasn't all that bad. A couple weeks later I returned for the bladder scope. When the Urologist walked in to start the procedure he informed me that my biopsy showed that I have prostate cancer. I was in shock, I couldn't believe it. A very low PSA, no family history and only 43 years old. This just isn't possible. As he scoped my bladder he found a tumor. At this point I figured "Oh great, now I have bladder cancer too".
The ride home with my wife was extremely quiet. We were both in shock. A week later I had the bladder tumor removed and the biopsy came back negative. Thank God for that. Now I just have one cancer to deal with. Next was the CT and bone scans. I had myself convinced that the cancer had spread because of the pain I was having, then both scans came back negative. They did find arthritis in my hips and spine. Turns out this is where all the pain was coming from.
Thinking back, I was very lucky. I only went to the doctor because I aggravated the arthritis. He wasn't going to start checking my prostate until I reached 50. This in addition to an extremely low PSA and the Urologist barely feeling a lump, the chance of catching this was almost zero. After my consultation with the Urologist I decided on the robotic surgery. I met with a surgeon in the same Urology group on Sept. 4th and figured he would go over the procedure and schedule it within a week or 2. Wrong. At 5'9" and 200 lbs. I had developed a little bit of a belly. He scheduled the surgery for Oct. 21st and told me I had to lose at least 25 lbs. and flatten out my stomach by then. They have to expand your abdomen with air when they do the surgery and mine was already expanded. Another hurdle to get over!
I had spent 4 years in the Marine Corp. and knew what I had to do. I immediately went on a diet and started running and biking everyday. I pushed myself to the limit and more. I was determined that I was going to give my surgeon the best chance to perform a successful operation. By surgery day I weighed 174 and lost 5 and a half inches off of my stomach. I used the South beach diet which worked very well for me. (If you need to lose weight let me know. I will send you a copy of the diet and some advice on what worked for me.)
Oct. 21st finally came and the surgery went perfect. Exactly 3 hours, no complications and all the nerves were spared. The surgery was on a Tuesday, came home on Friday and returned to have the catheter removed the following Tuesday. The catheter was a little awkward but bearable. It has now been five weeks since the surgery. The incontinence is still there but seems to be slowing up. The surgeon said at least six weeks. Erections are about 75%. That will take up to a year.
The lab report on my prostate came back good. The cancer was contained. I am very thankful for all of the Doctors involved and for this website. I spent a lot of time searching for answers on the internet and found out there's a lot of bad information out there. I finally came across the YANA site and to be honest, that's what got me through. If you have just been diagnosed you have a lot of questions and you're scared. We've all been there. Don't be afraid to contact the guys on this site.
It's been slightly over 5 months since my surgery and things are going fine.
The incontinence really slowed down exactly 6 weeks after the surgery. A couple weeks later I was brave enough to switch from Depends over to a pad. I currently wear a light pad just in case of an accident (sneezing, lifting something heavy, etc) but it's really not much of an issue anymore.
Impotence is still an issue but has improved slightly. Works but no where near 100% yet. Doc says it takes a while. Could actually take up to 2 years. Tried Viagra and Levitra but just couldn't deal with the side effects. Levitra worked better than Viagra but the pressure in my head, sinuses and the headaches were a little too much. Suffered from the side effects for up to a week.
I've been back to my surgeon twice since the operation and he says I'm doing great. My PSA remains clear.
As far as physical activity goes, I'm back to doing everything I did before the surgery. The important thing is to accept it, educate yourself, pick a treatment and once you are through it, get on with your life.
Good luck and God bless you all.
It's now been one year since my surgery and things are going good. I've been back to see my surgeon every 3 months since the surgery and since my PSA is still clear, he said I can now change to annual check ups.
I still wear a light pad just as a precaution. I may get a very slight leak here and there but no big deal. Doctor says after hitting the one year mark, the incontinence is as good as it's going to get, which I have no complaints.
As far as erections, nowhere near 100% but it works without drugs. Doctor says the nerves will continue to heal for one more year so it will continue to improve.
After a year I still believe that surgery was the best choice for me. I made my choice based on the fact that at my age I just wanted it out of me. I also like the fact that there is no other treatment or drugs necessary. When I first heard the word "cancer" I thought my life was over. Now I hardly ever think about it. Hang in there, it will get better.
Good luck and God bless you all.
Just had my 2 year checkup since my surgery and doing well. PSA is still clear.
The biggest change for me over the last year was when I hit the 16 month mark after my surgery. My erections went back to 100%. After recovering from the surgery they were somewhere between 50 to 75% up to that point. Figured that was as good as it was going to get but my doctor disagreed. He said it can sometimes take up to two years or more, but every case is different. Strange thing was, when I hit the 16 month mark it just seemed to happen over night.
As far as incontinence, still get a small leak here and there sometimes when I sneeze or maybe doing heavy lifting at the gym. I still wear a light pad but it's really no big deal.
I still believe I made the right choice with the surgery and am very happy with the results. Good luck to all of you and God bless you. And please write anytime if you need to talk.
It's been 3 years now since my surgery and everything is good. Still get a slight leak once in a great while but no big deal. Usually in the evening if I'm tired and stand up too fast or move the wrong way I may get a little "squirt". Doesn't happen very often but I still wear a light pad just in case. Erections are still at 100%. Physically I feel great. Hit the gym 3 nights a week. Do a solid hour of lifting and then 30 minutes of cardio. Don't really think about the cancer much anymore. You deal with it and get on with life. God bless you all and good luck with your journey.
Coming up on the 4½ year mark since my surgery. Was a little late getting in to see my Urologist this time. PSA still undetectable so he released me back to my regular Doctor starting in October for my 5 year checkup. Recommended continuing the digital rectal exam for up to 15 years after surgery and PSA checks forever. Erections are still 100% with no pills. No problems at all in that area. Still get a slight leakage at times but not much really. Usually if I drink too much water and maybe move the wrong way in the gym. Actually I can lift a lot of heavy weight with no problems then get on the treadmill and start running and feel a small squirt. Still wear a very light pad just in case. Still happy I went with the surgery. No regrets there. Once I got through it all, life pretty much went back to normal. Good luck and God bless you all.
Finally hit the big "5 year" mark. It's pretty much been life as usual. Working, hitting the gym, etc. Still have a slight leakage but very rarely. Everything else is fine. Did just have my first colonoscopy just before the holidays. No problems, just as a screening. Just turned 49 so I figured it was time. I was a little concerned since I had prostate cancer at 43, could I end up with other cancers at an early age also? Doc says there is no evidence to support that and I shouldn't be concerned, however, it is a good idea for everyone to get a colonoscopy screening as you approach 50. Results came back normal so no problems there. Won't have to have it done again for 10 years. So life goes on. After 5 years, I'm healthy and still happy with the decision I made to have the surgery. God bless all of you and good luck to you in your journey.
Just hit the 6 year mark since my surgery. Everything is still going great. Sexual function still 100%. Slight leakage once in a great while if I sneeze, cough or move the wrong way. Really doesn't happen very often though and when it does, it isn't much. Just had a full physical since I'm turning 50 this month. All blood work came back normal other than cholesterol at 255. Got to get more serious on the diet and exercise. Doc also decided to do a CT scan of my lungs since I've never had one. Lungs were normal. (Good news after a 25 year smoking history). Quit smoking a few years ago. Really don't want to hear the word "cancer" again. So, in summary, 6 years post surgery and I'm doing great. Still happy with the decision I made. God bless you all and good luck in your own journey.
A little late posting this year. Had to wait a while to get blood test results. New computer system at Doctor's office. They did all my blood work but missed my PSA. Finally got the results. Still clean, which I expected. It's now been 7 years since my surgery and everything is still going great. Slight leakage sometimes if I cough or sneeze but not all the time. Erections still normal. As before, don't really think about it anymore. Always happy to talk if you need support or have questions. I remember how scary this was in the beginning. Good luck with your own journey. One day at a time. God bless.
Had my checkup back in December. Just getting around to updating. Nothing new to report. PSA is still 0 and I'm doing fine. It's been 8 years and everything is still great. Still get a little leakage here and there but no big deal. God bless you all and good luck on your own journey.
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