Hearing the doctor say to me that "They found cancer" as the result of my biopsy was like getting hit by a truck on the way home from work. You know your life will never be the same again as it was when you walked in the doctor's office. I can't say, tho, I was really shocked..I had sort of prepared myself for that diagnosis. In April of 2006, I had a scary episode of not being able to pee in the morning when I arose. I went right away to my GP who told me my prostate was enlarged and sent me off to a urologist. My PSA was 2.7 ng/ml at the time. Six months later when I came back to the urologist for a checkup, it had increased to 3.2 ng/ml and my urologist felt something in the DRE that was not there before. He strongly suggested a biopsy. That scared the hell out of me. But when the day came, it ws actually not at all that uncomfortable. I laughed and joked my way through most of it. 2 needles came back positive - one 25% the other 2%. From day 1, my urologist said that for a man of my age, surgery was the best alternate. "Get rid of that puppy" became my mission. I know a lot of gutsy who have had PC and they all seemed to have done something different. I mostly relied and trusted the experience of my wife's cousin, an eye doctor up in CT, who had just had his prostate removed via da Vinci. I had another buddy who had had seed implantation surgery which turned in to a horror show. My doctor's reasoning - and my cousin's - was that if you have surgery and for some reason the cancer recurs, you have a number of alternates for treatment. If you DO NOT chose surgery and choose radiation, etc. and the cancer recurs, you CANNOTo go back and have surgery..your future options are limited. Made sense to me. So get rid of this puppy was my decision.
Information overkill became my next experience. So much to learn! The best source for me was reading the experiences of other guys here on YANA. I am in touch with a few of them now and it has helped me. My urologist does not do da Vinci surgery, so I had to bid him goodbye and change to another one here in Orlando, Dr. Thill. I went up to NY to check out Memorial Sloan Kettering. I had been giving them money in small amounts for years towards research and know they have a sterling reputation. But you know what? I figured if I have any complications or get scared, etc. I cannot just hop on a plane and zap back up to NYC. I wanted to have this done and treated locally and and we have a class A Cancer Institute right here at Florida Hospital in Orlando. I have scheduled my surgery for Feb 12 2007. I want to get through the Christmas holidays and take a planned cruise January 13th (last party blast!) before surgery. I realy like the doctor I chose for the surgery. He has good experience and will be assisted by a doctor who would have been another prime choice for me. I am taking the first slot in the morning as I want to be the first guy he operates on that day rather than the last.
I will try and keep this story up to date and I welcome any guy who would like to talk more with me. If there is any one thing good to come out of this, it would be that I could be of help and comfort to some other guy who was going through the same thing!
Update: 17 days after surgery
I had my surgery at Florida Hospital in Orlando on February 12. Dr. Jeffrey Thill performed the surgery with Dr. Patel assisting. The surgery went very well, I am told. I was out before I even reached the OR and woke up some 4 hours later in the recovery room. I can't say enough good things about Dr. Thill and also the Anethesiologist, Dr. Looke. I got an excellent pathology report with no cancer at the margins or evidence of it elsewhere. The Gleason score remained at 6 and the stage was t3c. I stayed overnight in the hospital and was very grateful my wife, Mary, stayed with me as she ran interference with the nursing staff during the night. The one surprise about this surgery is that in all my investigations of it I was never told that your abdomen is pumped up with CO2 gas in order to provide room for the robot to do its work. I had a lot of gas remaining in me and that was the only really painful part of the surgery afterwards. It took more than a week for the gas to noticeably dissipate. Of course I had a Foley catheter in me when I woke up and it remained in me for 8 days. I cannot say that was a pleasant experience to have that on for over a week, but it was bearable and it was wonderful to have it removed on the 8th day post surgery. I was pretty much continent from the time the catheter was removed. I am wearing a absorbent brief at night, but when I have to go, I just wake up and go the bathroom normally. During the day, I keep a pad in my shorts, but it just collects a few drips here and there. I am already achieving some erections without any Viagra. All in all, I am pretty happy and satisfied at this date. I was very tired with little energy for the first two weeks. I did not expect that and found it hard to not do things. Each day now gets a little better. I offer the following suggestions:
a. Go to a thrift shop and buy some very large sweat/leisure pants to wear for the first couple of weeks. Owing to the gas and bloating you will not want or be able to wear your normal clothes and no sense on blowing a lot of money buying new things.
b. Tell your doctor which leg you want to have the catheter mounted to. Most guys sleep on one side and that is the leg you want the catheter attached to.
c. Be patient with your recovery. It takes time and this is major surgery.
For any of you in the South reading this, I feel very blessed to have a surgeon of Dr. Thill's capability right here in Orlando. I can't imagine traveling a long distance to have your surgery because you will have questions and possible needs to see your doctor after the operation and who needs to travel to do that! I highly recommend Dr. Thill to any of you considering robotic surgery.
Well, I am now 8 weeks post surgery. As far as I am concerned, I am fully recovered from the surgery. I am completely continent for which I am very grateful. For the first few weeks, I was still getting up in the middle of the night a couple of times and that was a little discouraging (to say nothing of being tired!). But that need is fading now.
I just had my first PSA test this past week and got the results back which were < 0.1. That was very great news to me and I don't have to go back to see the doctor for three months. As far as the sexual side of things go, I was able to achive erections a few days after I got the catheter removed. That was heartening to me for sure. I still can do that, but they are not really satisfactory for sexual penetration. So I am using Viagra that the doctor suggested for me. It works best if I take it a couple of hours before wanting to have sex.
I continue to be deeply grateful for my urologist and surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Thill, here in Orlando and I continue to recommend him to anyone in Florida who is considering having the DaVinci surgery done. I have been mentoring a couple of other guys and find that very satisfying to be able to help another man go through this experience.
As far as I am concerned, there is no better source of information about what the prostate cancer experience is really like than what appears on this YANA site. I have not found anyone who was not willing to share their insights. The most important thing I have learned from this is that each man's experience and recovery is different and it is best to remain patient. You can learn a lot from other guys who are living with prostate cancer and its aftermath, but in the end your own story will be unique.
Partly as a celebration for having endured all of this satisfactorily so far, Mary and I are taking a two week cruise to the Greek Isles, Egypt and Turkey next month. We both no longer want to postpone things we were thinking of doing. Best to live life now!
Well, it has been six months since surgery and I just had my six month PSA check and it came up undetectable. That is always happy news. I am completely continent and only very rarely may leak a drop. Sexually, I am functional with the help of Viagra. Sex will never be as it once was, but that seems to be the case with all of us who have had this treatment for prostate cancer. But considering the alternate, it is a small price to pay. At least I don't need to worry about any paternity suits!
I have learned a great deal from my experience to date and I have enjoyed mentoring several men through the process either in person or via YANA. I try to talk with a guy before the surgery and give him pointers on preparation. If he is local, I make an effort to visit him in hospital the day after surgery, and I keep in touch with him thereafter during those first few weeks. I only wish when I was in the hospital the day after surgery a guy who had been through this was there to talk with me.
I firmly believe the best source of real life information and experiences regarding treatment for prostate cancer is right here on the YANA website.I thank all of you guys who contact me and keep in touch. I am a happy camper now and have no regrets about my choice of treatment. I would recommend Dr. Jeffrey Thill in Orlando to any Florida guys who are seeking prostate cancer surgery.
It's been 9 months since the surgery. It increasing seems like a distant memory now. Perhaps we all go through intense anxiety, fear, sadness,anger when we first hear those words.."you have cancer.." Of all the things I feared in life, getting cancer was tops on the list. Now I look back at it and say "been there...done that". Now I am a cancer survivor and cancer does not scare me nearly as much anymore. If it should ever recur, I can deal with that.
In some ways, this experience has been a gift to me because I have met so many great guys in the same boat as me. A few I have been able to mentor and get to know personally, others via e-mail. Those experiences have been greatly rewarding to me. I just had my 9 month PSA checkup and it came back undetectable..That's about as good as it gets right now. Dr. Thill is considering putting me on a 6 month PSA check up schedule.
I don't have any continence problems now, I sleep through most nights without getting up to take a leak, or at most I might get up once during some nights. I have gotten used to the different feeling sexual orgasm has now. I use Viagra. My wife and I have grown closer through this experience.
From time to time I get on the YANA site and read new postings and updated ones. It makes me feel part of a very special fraternity. Thanks to all of you who have gotten in touch with me. And for those of you who are still wrestling with choice of treatment, I would say...get rid of that bad puppy inside you..and don't think of any choice other than surgery with the DaVinci robot. I have yet to hear from any guy who said they regretted having had DaVinci surgery in contrast to hearing from many other guys who regretted some other treatment choice they made. So, find yourself a great urologist like Jeffrey Thill in Orlando who has a lot of experience with robotic surgery, and be at peace about it.
A blessed holiday season to all of you YANA mentors and readers who visit the site!
Hello everyone at YANA.
It has been several months since my last update. I am on a 6 month schedule for checking my PSA after my surgery. I had my last test in August and the results came back 0..I am prostate cancer free.
I can hardly remember now the actual surgery and some of the anxiety I had after my diagnosis of prostate cancer and having to research and decide on my treatment of choice. I must again say the men of YANA were my single best resource for honest input and sharing. Thanks to all of you guys who have so generously shared your stories and continue to do so. For me, the whole episode of prostate cancer seems like a distant memory. I have forgotten now all of the little travails I went through right after surgery and learning to live without a prostate gland!
I certainly have no regrets about the treatment I chose and I have yet to meet or talk to a man who regretted having had the Da Vinci surgery. I would recommend that to anyone and cannot say enough for the superb surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Thill, of Winter Park Urology here in Orlando. who performed the surgery and has followed up in my visits to him ever since. He is a warm, humorous, caring man who has great experience with the Da Vinci. I would urge any man in Florida dianosed with prostate cancer to see Dr. Thill.
I have no problems with incontinence or leakage. From a sexual standpoint, I have to depend on my friend Mr. Viagra for assistance. But that is a small price to pay for being cured of prostate cancer. The price of the pills however is another matter! Let's hope it goes generic soon!
I am more than willing to talk to anyone who wants to know all the details of my experience. I enjoy mentoring other guys through this process. Feel free to e-mail me..And if you are feeling discouraged, remember there is light at the end of this tunnel!!!
It has been a while since I posted an update here, but it has now been a little over three years since my initial diagnosis. I have my PSA checked every three months and it has remained basically undetectable since after my surgery. I have no incontinence problems whatever. I can have sex without Viagra now, but I use it now and then for that "added boost". The initial fear and angst over having prostate cancer has long since disappeared from my life.
To all of you reading this, I am sure it will pass the same way for you. I have yet to meet a man who regretted his choice of Da Vinci robotic surgery. If it is possible for you to have that surgery, to me, it is the only way to go. I remain convinced that with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, the best option is to get rid of that puppy ASAP. Every other form of treatment, it seems, carries a higher risk of recurrence. Today I am a happy camper. Cancer is in my past and I hope it remains that way. My life is very active and I have started a second career as a medical actor working as a standard patient with our new medical school and I also act in medical videos and films for educational purposes. I did one for the Winter Park Urology Associates here in Florida where my surgeon, Dr. Jeff Thill, practices. I would highly recommend to any guy in Central Florida seeing Dr. Thill for treatment of your prostate cancer. He is an excellent and very personable surgeon and I am grateful to him for his treatment.
I was morbidly afraid of cancer all my life. You know the feeling you get awaiting the diagnosis and then hearing the news that "they found cancer". Like many of you, I researched myself to death on the subject of prostate cancer. The best and most honest advice I got was right here on the YANA website…real guys...real experiences and no BS. So I am glad you are reading these testimonials here. If there is one gift I have gotten out of this, it is that I am no longer terrified of cancer. Been there...Done that...I only hope that I don't have to go through a future bout with cancer. If you are reading this, please take heart. You can handle this. I welcome any man or his wife to contact me and I will do my utmost to share my experiences and advice and help you in any way I possibly can.
What a bad boy am I! I have not updated my story for almost one year now. Gosh, it's been over 3 years now and PSA is 0. Thank you, God, and thank you Dr. Thill!
I have mentored several men through PC treatment and am only to happy to mentor you as well. Interestingly enough, among my other careers I have become a medical actor (standard patient) at the new medical school in Orlando. Tomorrow, I will be acting in a film where I portray a doctor who has had aggressive prostate cancer and is now going for psychiatric counselling…. who would have thought!
Take heart all of you are reading this and the other stories on YANA. You can make it through prostate cancer and survive it. Many, many of us have done that and continue to do it. Take heart and remember, YOU are not alone.
Well, it's been well over a year since I updated my story. It's been five years since my prostate surgery with the DaVinci robot and I am hale and hearty and enjoying good health. I now have my PSA checked annually and it is always 0. I did have a bout with a small squamous cell skin cancer about a year ago that was removed with no after effects. So I have survived cancer twice. And cancer does not frighten my any more. People have been cured of every form of cancer. I keep in touch with my surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Thill, here in Orlando. For any of you guys in Central Florida who have prostate cancer, go see Dr. Thill. As far as I am concerned, surgical removal of the prostate using the DaVinci robot is the only way to go. As far as "after effects" go, I am still able to have sex without any medication or devices. Sometimes, though, I do take one of the "little blue pills" just to make it that much more intense. As far as after effects 5 years after surgery, my favorite is if I happen to go into a public mens' room and there is a bunch of guys at the urinals, I pee quicker than a teenager - in and out - while all the older guys are taking forever! So I have no real after effects.
I am pleased whenever some one, after consulting the YANA site, contacts me for information, etc. It is always my pleasure to be of assistance to another guy. YANA was the best resource I had when I developed prostate cancer. Blessings to you all, Ed
Well, it has been 6 years since my surgery for prostate cancer. Looking back now, I am glad that my cancer was detected early enough so that I had a wide range of treatment options, including doing nothing. I am thankful that I found about about robot assisted surgery and that we had a doctor, Dr. Jeffrey Thill, right here in Orlando who was experienced at the procedure. I go back to see him about every 6 months to have my PSA tested and it is always 0. I am very thankful for that and have absolutely no regrets about having the surgery.. From my perspective, if one has a cancerous prostate the best thing to do is get rid of it as soon as possible. I pee just fine and my sex life has returned to the point where I do not always have to use Viagra although I do sometimes. I am grateful also to a good number of you who have contacted me and listened to my story and my advice. I am always happy to talk to another guy who is just beginning his journal with prostate cancer, or has already undergone treatment and I ask you to feel free to contact me anytime. Remember: you do not have to take the prostate cancer journey alone. YANA is here to make sure of that. Regards and blessings, Ed
Hello To all of you who are reading my story! It seems like a long time ago the day I was sitting in the urologist's office listening hm say "They found cancer." No man likes to hear that. I said prayers and set about exploring the options open to me. My decision was removal of my prostate gland via the DaVinci robot. I have never regretted that decision. Prostate cancer is a distant memory to me now. I am grateful for my life. Other than having to use Viagra now and then, I don't have to do anything else as a result of my prostate cancer. I am grateful wen I have the chance to mentor another guy through the process of defeating prostate cancer. I am also very grateful for the YANA website which has brought solace and information to countless men. Feel free to contact me anytime if you have any questions and in the meantime, have courage. Prostate cancer can be cured! Regards, Ed
It has been a long time since I have revisited this wonderful site to update my story. I am now 73 years old...and have been cancer free for 10 years now. I still need the help of Viagra now and then, but I can also have sexual feelings without the pill. I have helped several men in central Florida in the initial steps after their surgery and will continue to do so...
Ed's e-mail address is: clubedorl AT aol.com (replace "AT" with "@")