Diagnosis took over a year for me. I had been measuring PSA as part of my annual exam for several years and it was slowly inching higher. After 3 annual increases in PSA and a total value of 4.0, I decided to go to a local Urologist. He was a very young physician and I felt like I was one of the first patients that he had positively diagnosed. I knew from his reaction to the digital rectal exam that all was not well and we scheduled a biopsy. Another 3 or 4 weeks passed before I could have the biopsy and pathology report, but I felt confident that these results would confirm that I had prostate cancer. This was a very stressful time for me, as I had a sense of doom but no real data to support my negative feelings. Unfortunately, my intuition was correct and the biopsy detected malignant cells in 9 of 12 cores with a Gleason score of 6 in each core. The Dr. immediately recommended surgery as the best option for me.
Upon formal diagnosis, I sought a second and third opinion and the consensus was that surgery was the best option for me. After researching the best Dr.s and hospitals in my state, I selected to work with a prominent cancer center and a well respected surgeon. I lost as much weight as I possibly could in advance of surgery dropping to 261 pounds from 275 in about 1 month. The surgery went smoothly and I was standing and walking within the first day. My back was incredibly sore, a I think your posture during surgery is not ideal.
I was released from the hospital in 1.5 days and went home with a catheter tube. I didn't feel ready to go home because I was still bleeding (draining) from one of the incisions and in a bit of pain. I was much more comfortable at home, however, and I was able to handle the drainage without too much difficulty. I owe my wife so much for taking care of me during this time. The catheter was removed after a week and I suffered a bit of setback. Prior to the removal, I was feeling better and stronger every day. Once the catheter was removed, I realized how much work I had to do to restore my urinary control. Urination was not just difficult to control, but painful. Defication was also very painful and I was restricted to eating soft foods. Lots of soups and mashed potatoes. My weight dropped to 251. Since then I've gotten stronger each day and urinary continence has returned to 95% of my original fitness. I'm still struggling with erectile function, but there are signs of life, and I'm still only 3 months removed from surgery. I take daily Viagra, but I don't know if I can do this long term as it's extremely expensive. The good news is that my first post-surgery PSA monitoring was below detection levels and I feel great. I'm back at work and I'm physically very close to 100%. I have more challenges psychologically, as I still believe that I will receive some word of additional tumors at some point in the future. I just have to get over this and move on, but it's easier said than done.
Stefan's e-mail address is: srs.2369 AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")