This chapter of my life began on Feb. 16 2009. I was told I have prostate cancer. Actually it started in August of 2008 with a routine trip to the Doctor. A DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) and a blood draw for PSA. PSA test results elevated from a previous 4.3 to a 6.5. Scheduled a trip to urologist. Another DRE then wait then another PSA. Results 6.7. Then a biopsy. Ouch. Then came the bad news.
Since that day I've done a lot of reading. Who knew you would have so many choices to treat the cancer. I didn't know you could live with it for years, and still be alive, or not. On April 29th 2009 I'm going to have Da Vinci surgery to remove my prostate. A decision my wife of 38 years and I made together.
I've got to say I'm glad to have found this web site. Knowing you are not alone eases some of the mental stress. I had no idea I'd be heading down this road, or for that matter what lies ahead. I know all cases are different, and no two people heal the same.
I will see my urologist on April 22. Will update then.
Starting my 18th day without a prostate. Everything seems to be going ok. My doctor and Da Vinci are my heroes.
Being no stranger to surgery I prearranged with my surgeon for some heavy pain medication. Also alerting him to the fact I would like to be as comfortable in the hospital as possible. I was given a morphine block before surgery, and came out very comfortable...wow...When I awoke I wondered if they had done anything to me. Spent the next two nights in the hospital being cared for very well. The hospital staff and especially the nurses were always there.
Leaving the hospital with a catheter wasn't the greatest, but going home was. My doctor told me the catheter would come out in ten days, that being a Friday and his office being closed for the weekend the tube remained in place till the following Monday. I was becoming a master at emptying and changing the bags, keeping the tube cleaned and using an antiseptic salve where the tube enters the penis. Very important. (a guys gotta have something to do while recovering). Monday the catheter came out. (ouch) The nurse throws me a pad, and says, "for the dribbles". Yeah! Right! Dribbles? - more like streams.
So today is Friday, and I continue to battle with the "dribbles". Very frustrating when you've been able to control your bladder all these years. It's beginning to look like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Dribbling less enjoying it more.
The pathology report came back with a reassurance that all the cancer was contained in the prostate.
Did I tell you that I woke up with an erection the morning after the catheter came out, and a couple more since? Happy Days!
Today is July 8th and my recovery ten weeks after surgery seems to be progressing at an even keel. My first post op PSA at eight weeks was 0.01. As I continue down this road, I'm a little more continent each day. Frustrated a bit, but with the help of a couple fellow Yana members I've been able to cope a little better with the anxiety (it comes with the territory.)
I started Cialis on a daily basis a week and a half ago with some success already. The doctor doesn't think I will need it on a long term basis, since I have already shown improvement in that area.
I've been riding my bicycle since week seven. I ride for the exercise, plus all the benefits of being outside enjoying the weather, and seeing the sights at a little slower pace.
I don't think about the cancer as much as I did before the surgery. I know it can be the only thing on your mind for days at a time. It does get better. Next PSA in a couple months.
Thanks again to my YANA buddies, I do appreciate your input. No one knows what's going on better than someone who is there or has been there. Feel free to contact me.
September 24, 2009. I did a revisit to urologist on August 28, feeling totally depressed. I regained 99.8% continence a few days before. I should have been celebrating. He checked me out and all is well physically. I wasn't even up to a PSA check. Just didn't care.
He sent me to primary care doctor who put me on Prozac. I had experienced the same thing 13 years ago with heart by-pass surgery so I know where I was headed.
Doing much better now, and continue to battle ED. Someone else I've met along the way. Tried Cialis every day for a month with little success. Then Cialis 36 hour...again with limited length, and a banging headache the day after. I don't know what's next, but I'm not giving up.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
I have now passed the eight month mark (Dec. 29) since surgery. Had PSA test and it was, according to my doctor it was undetectable. For that I am grateful.
I'm still on Prozac for the depression, and it continues to do it's job. Going to get off of it in March. As my doctor says, "waiting for the dust to settle."
Still a bit of incontinence, a surprise cough or sneeze can put a wet spot on the front of my pants, or if I sit down when sneezing, no problem. Quit wearing pads four months ago.
Not sure what's going on in the erection department. Tried Cialis everyday......not much help. Cialis 36....shows potential. Will try Viagra next, then Levitra. Have sporadic morning erections, so I know the mechanics are working. It's always fun to try new things.
I know that life is once again more enjoyable, and the cancer is now in the past. I can now move on with just a bit of inconvenience. Very much worth everything I have been put through. Seems like it's been forever, or just a wink of an eye.
I am now past the tenth month into recovery. Things continue to get better. Incontinence seems to be lightening up to barely being a problem. More annoying when it happens than anything else.
There is still a bit of a problem with ED, but it also seems to be improving. I haven't even tried Viagra or Levitra, haven't needed it. Again things are improving.
My words of wisdom to you behind me, "Don't give up, it does get better, not for a while, but it does get better."
Question? I'll be glad to answer and help with any questions you may have. Feel free to contact me.
I will be two years post op at the end of April. A year has passed since my last entry already? Hard to believe, but I'm finally getting my life back together.
Bodily functions have improved, and don't seem to much of a problem anymore. I still have a drip of urine every now and then. Small trade off for getting rid of the cancer.
Would I do it again? In a minute. If you have any questions I will be more than happy to answer for you.
Three years post op. end of April. PSA is undetectable. Time has past so quickly and the body has had time for the dust to settle. I rarely think about it and I hardly ever have a problem with incontinence. All body parts working. If you have any questions please contact me.
Just past four years post op. PSA is still undetectable. Life goes on, pretty much as usual. I find it difficult to update because things have not changed much. I really don't feel much of a difference from a year or so ago. I still have a bit of incontinence, but it's more of a pest that a problem. I continue to do anything I want, and I really don't worry much about it. Very glad I received treatment early on, and yes I would do it again. As I have said in the past, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Five years? It's hard to believe so much time has gone by since the beginning of this journey. Lost both of my parents within a week of one another less than a year ago. Many things to think about besides the cancer. Though I doubt I would update if I didn't think about it at all.
Same ole little leaks and besides that no problems. A sneeze or caugh, or bend or twist a certain way lose a few drops, nothing major. Could prevent it if I give it a little thought first. Life is good. If you want more information e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another year gone by and living quite comfortably with the after-effects of losing my prostate. Few things have changed. I still have a dribble now and then, nothing major. It's hard to remember how things were before since it's been so long ago. I no longer have a fear of cancer in that part of my body. As I have mentioned before I have made a friend here and for that I am thankful. We have been able to communicate and be available for each other throughout our treatment. It makes a difference when you have someone to talk to that is going through the same thing as yourself. Although we live on opposite sides of the US we have become close friends. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that I can relating to the subject. Feel free to contact me.
The older I get the faster time seems to go by. I continue to live my cancer free life. Not thinking much about the past, but focusing more on the future. Yes, I still have a bit of incontinence, and yes it remains a pain. It's just my little reminder of what I've been through. If not for that I probably wouldn't even have thoughts of the cancer. I wonder if I would still be alive had I not received treatment.
Again I will always be thankful to YANA for this site. It has helped me in many ways to get to this point in my life. Nobody wants to go through any kind of cancer treatment, but sometimes it's the only option, other than death.
Before my last post, July 23, 2015 my wife passed. I mention this because she was diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer in 1978 and underwent operations, chemo and extra heavy radiation treatments. Although the cancer never reappeared the radiation caused many internal problems over the years. I'm thankful that her treatment gave her so many extra years with me.
This past year and a half has been a different world for me. Mostly a learning experience. I had never paid a bill, or written a check in over 45 years. I had a debit card, what more did I need? I've become the main cook, dish washer, housekeeper and yes banker.
As in the past the only side effect has been that little inevitable DRIP! I do believe it's going to be with me forever. I laugh, I joke, I live with it. However on the bright side ED is not a problem. Cheers to Life.
Dennis's e-mail address is: email@example.com