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David Bagnall lives in Washington, USA. He was 50 when he was diagnosed in May, 2011. His initial PSA was 5.40 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 7a, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was External Beam Radiation (Calypso). Here is his story.

Recently diagnosed with PCa. It was great to be able to visit YANANOW site and find such tremendous support. I had an elevated PSA of 5.4 at my annual physical. My Physician had me re-tested a few weeks later and it came back at a 5.6. I received a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) which found nothing. I was scheduled for a biopsy and in May the results were five out of 13 cores tested positive with one core at 50%. My Gleason score was 3+4 and I was staged as a T1c. My Urologist scheduled a consultation in two weeks so I can meet with various doctors and case managers. I am on the fence between Robotic surgery or EBRT (External Beam Radiation Treatment) with Calypso beacons. My doctor says both are 95% curative for someone in my situation but he recommends surgery. [There are no studies that demonstrate that one therapy is better than any of the others. The best outcomes depend on the details of the diagnosis and the expertise of the doctors.] He has performed over 350 Da Vinci surgeries.

Surgery does leave other treatment options available for the future. EBRT makes salvage prostatectomy more challenging and possibly not an option. As one YANA member aptly put it, "We are not only choosing a treatment plan but we are also choosing side effects." Pick your poison so to speak. My family is supportive but they don't know why I would be worried about side effects. In their minds they think that the only concern should be about surviving! [Survival rates for diagnoses like these are very high no matter what the choice of the man is - including Active Surveillance.]

My radiological oncologist has a protocol that targets the cancer areas with a 3% margin. This is an improvement from the typical 4% margin. My Urologist is very supportive and while he supports my right to decide he still advocates surgery for pathology and future treatment options.

I must decide soon and get on with a treatment plan. I am sure that a good number of you were on the fence as am I. I will update when I have made my decision. Doc says take a couple three weeks and make a decision.

UPDATED

June 2011

It has been one and a half months since my biopsy. It took me a little longer to decide upon and choose a treatment.

After much research and sitting on the fence between Robotic DaVinci Surgery and EBRT, I chose EBRT with Calypso markers. This was a tough choice as I know that with radiation therapy, failure leaves few options. So I did my homework and needed to feel confident in the success rate of my therapy choice. In the end it came down to looking at surgery as an opportunity for cross contamination via blood as we know that PCa cells can be carried thru our blood to other organs or bones. [There appear to be no reliable studies that demonstrate this oft-stated belief to be true.] If such were to occur then radiation therapy is there to hopefully save the day. Don't get me wrong, I am not overjoyed with the harmful effects of radiation. Calypso is designed to and has proven success with limiting collateral damage. Surgery, while very successful, wasn't something that I looked forward to. With surgery I also felt there were just too many things to go wrong or to have to overcome. Overcoming side effects could take as much as two years if you overcome them at all.

So for me it it EBRT with Calypso. Now that I have made my mind up I am looking forward to my treatment. Very odd thing to look forward to but I suppose its my way of being positive about the potential outcome.

I have also changed my diet and eliminated all red meat and most dairy. I do have some no fat greek yogurt for protein and I take supplements to boost my immune system. Whether or not its a gimmick doesn't matter. Any edge I can get whether physical or psychological will help me beat this cancer so for me it's worth it. I have lost 15 pounds since my biopsy. My goal is to lose another 10. I am also increasing my physical exercise. Something that I should have been doing all along.

I will post again after meeting with my doctors and establishing my treatment plan.

Later: I met with my nurse case manager and set all of my appointment dates for MRI, Cat Scan, Beacon Implantation, Vitals base line establishment and so forth. I am so looking forward to my treatment and beating this. They had me do another round of blood work to establish a new PSA. I should find out in about a week if there is any change.

I am still consistent with my diet, supplements, and exercise. I want to thank everyone for their support thus far. You have all been amazing. Some of you I have spoken with on the phone and I greatly appreciate your insight and value your experiences. I just want you to know that my choice of treatment was not based upon any single encounter but a lot of research into each protocol and of course my "gut check". This is a very personal journey for each and everyone of us and I admire the strength and courage of you all. Keep up the fight and I am hopeful that I will join the ranks of survivor!

So for now I get a break for a few weeks as I wait for my initial appts to set me up for EBRT. I will post again after I experience those first hand. Until then.

UPDATED

July 2011

Greetings to all.

Just last week I had my MRI. I met with my nurse case manager and filled out a survey for my treatment program. The survey is used before during and after therapy to track and gauge quality of life issues from general health, urinary function, bowel function, and sexual function.

I received another set of blood tests back and my PSA dropped almost a whole point! Based on my survey results and PSA reading you would think it impossible for me to have PCa. My Doc said that it is probably from the supplements I am taking. Prostate health, Fish oil, and Turmeric.

Tomorrow I receive my Calypso GPS implants so I had to take an antibiotic prior to my surgery. I take antibiotics for two more days and then next week is my simulation.

I met with friends today and ran into an acquaintance that is a survivor. His was caught early and he had brachytherapy. I will post again after my implants.

Until then.

Dave

Later: I received my Calypso transponders last week. The procedure went well although I felt that it was slightly more uncomfortable than the biopsy.

The doctor used the ultrasound probe to perform the insertion the same way he used it for the biopsy. He administered at least three locals into the prostate at the positions where he intended to implant the beacons. He said that my lips would go numb and that I would have ringing in my ears. Sure enough. He then began the process of implanting the beacons.

The first two, one in the right lateral and the second in the left lateral were no problem. The third placement into the apex was jaw clenching for about three seconds and made me a bit light headed. The procedure was over very quickly thank goodness.

I took a few minutes to recover before I felt sure enough to stand up. They asked me to urinate prior to leaving the office so I drank some water and after 30 minutes or so I was able to provide them with a cup of urine. I then set my appointment for next week where I do the radiation simulation.

All is well in my normal life. Still keeping my weight down and exercising although I missed a few days after the procedure as my doc told me to take it easy for a bit. That's all for now. I will update my story after my simulation.

Dave

UPDATED

April 2012

I just got my latest PSA reading of 3.5. Doc says its heading in the right direction so thats good. No other issues. Treatment plan holding strong. Still exercising regularly.

UPDATED

July 2014

Coming up on my annual checkup. Looking forward to clean bill of health. There has been a lot of discussion on the use of PSA as a valid test. Some advocates are now questioning the entire PCA process. Because of my young age I am very happy with my decisions. Better to be safe than sorry. I am curious to how the new Proton Beam therapy is working. This was not available to me as a treatment option but seemed to be a promising alternative.

UPDATED

January 2015

I recently returned from my radiation oncologist and got the news that my prostate is small, round and smooth. My PSA is 0.6. I never did experience a PSA bump at least nothing that was ever measured. PSA increases could occur at anytime without our knowledge. I continue to excercise although I did put on a few pounds over the holidays. The only side effect thus far is mild to moderate ED.

UPDATED

January 2016

Prostate cancer is at bay. Still suffering from moderate ED. The greatest challenge is the loss of libido. If it were just ED then Viagra will solve that problem. This last year my libido dropped significantly. With almost zero libido I feel challenged to find a solution that doesn't involve testosterone. So off I go to investigate and discover. If anyone has figured this out then email me. Thanks

UPDATED

April 2017

No updates at this time. Check back in August after my next exam.

David's e-mail address is: dsbagnall AT hotmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")


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