While undergoing my DRE (Digital Rectal Examination) my urologist stated, "Interesting." Not exactly what you want to hear. It turns out I had a nodule and having a biopsy was recommended, which I scheduled for the next week and had performed. My tumor is confined to the left lobe and volume is 29.1cc. Gleason score 6 in 10 of 14 samples.
So far I've spoken to a Radiation Oncologist and Robotics Surgeon as well as my Urologist. I have a second opinion scheduled this week at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. So far I am leaning towards surgery, but a difficult decision. Sort of deciding between the BMW or Mercedes.
The only real data I can put me finger on is long term recurrence and at 53, 15 year data is not enough for me as that puts me at 68. So I am leaning towards surgery as I feel more comfortable with that being the more definitive cancer cure.
I had a prostatectomy via Da Vinci Robotics on January 11, 2011. I was hospitalized two days as I was in surgery longer than anticipated. I went for my follow up January 24, 2011 and had the catheter removed. I have five small incisions.
The pathology report showed an T2c grade. The tumor was in both lobes, had minimal capsule invasion, and no evidence of cancer in the seminal vesicles and bladder neck. No further treatments are anticipated. This was one of the main reasons I chose surgery, to have a better pathology of the cancer.
The surgery recovery so far has been fairly pain free. The worst part is having the catheter afterwards. Not painful just inconvenient. One recommendation....buy a couple of men's nightshirts or hospital gowns for home. I cut up a pair of sweatpants, but found the nightshirt preferable.
One last thought, catheter removal was uncomfortable at the worst...no big deal at all. Post catheter was a bit weird. I had almost no control the day of removal through the night. Just weird, think like you may leak and go at any time at first. Three days later I have enough control to know when I need to go...about every 1 1/2 to 2 hours and do wake up. But every time I bend ,etc. I leak which is normal. So I do my exercises and move forward.
My next appointment is February 21, 2011 and will update after that point. My overall feeling at this point is that I made the right decision. The surgery was not painful compared to other procedures. The incontinence issue is the worst part so far.
A lot of time has gone by since my last update, but the site was temporarily down after my last appointments. I am so glad Terry has reopened the site and urge everyone to help him in some way.
I went for my last follow up 10/31/2011. To think one year ago I was deciding how to tackle my cancer and move forward! I am cancer free with zero incontinence. As good as any 54 year old.
I did go through a pelvic rehab therapy program at my Urology group. That made a tremendous difference. I still do my Kegels as instructed to keep thing strong and tight. It was not until after my surgery and doing some research that I really understood why this is was an issue.
In short you have three control mechanisms before surgery. Inner sphincter, prostate and outer sphinchter. Afterwards...just the outer. Like duh. So my only concern now is to not wait too long to go, make sure I empty out well and for lack of a better way of putting...shake it and drain it well.
ED was also a bit of a problem. I found that Cialis and Viagra was not really worth the cost. Not sure what benefit and not real keen on taking drugs unless really necessary. I have been using a vacuum pump and yes it does work. Always thought it was some gimmick, but it does help restore blood flow and sensitivity. Now, compared to before surgery...I would say a 4 to 6. So not so good or exciting I am afraid. But compared to the alternative, I will take it. Just your take on the importance of sex vs risk/reward.
Overall when I look back and think what has happened in a year it seems like a bump in the road. I do everything as before. Feel like I have zero threat of prostate cancer recurrence and now a six month blood test/follow up.
Good luck my friends, choose wisely and always feel free to contact me for my thoughts, comfort and blessings.
The End (Not sure what Keith means here - if he thinks that's the end of his future updates, he's wrong - I'll be chasing him once a year to let us know how he's going!!)
Well it has been a year since my surgery! Just was thinking today that a year ago I was coping with all the post surgery implications. Notice I didn't use complications as there really was just the normal hurdles my surgeon had told me and the things I had read.
I have zero leakage. Sexually not as good as before, but who knows what normal is after 50 anyways. Somehow I feel I would have been part of the ED target audience anyways:) I've even begun a gym membership and working on my fat old tired body. Hell the last thing I want now is to die from something preventable.
My next PSA and follow up is in April. I feel like it is just another visit, causes me no anxiety, etc. What would give me stress and anxiety is if I would have elected for radiation. That personally made me feel that I would have always wondered about recurrence. One of the things my surgeon pointed out after a couple of visits was my overall demeanor and laid back attitude about my disease from day one. He feels anxiety in general plays a big role in outcome, regardless of treatment choice.
My immediate thought when I was told I had Prostate Cancer was that at least I have a treatable, slow progressing disease and not some terrible immediate life threatening disease. Just a speedbump in life.
Smile, count your blessings, remind other men to have a complete yearly exam and enjoy life. I can't believe a year has passed!
April 26 was my last followup and....PSA 0 and aside from the little scars on my belly I would never had known I has Prostate Cancer!
Next follow up is October then it will be yearly checkups.
At this point my doctor said not only am I the perfect poster boy why men need to have check ups, but my results are the perfect example how the story should unfold and life goes on for the patient. I am truly blessed.
What I try to give back is spreading the word of going for checkups to other men and encouraging them to make an appointment.
Went for my 6 month check up...all is well. Two years ago I was diagnosed and confronted with a decision on treatment. I am glad of my choice [And I am glad you're posting updates, Keith. These are SO important to newly diagnosed men reading contributions].
May 1st was my next 6 month checkup. All is good. My next checkup is in 6 months and if all clear I will then go for yearly followups. Doctor asked about incontinence. I stood at a crap table for three hours Saturday with my brother drinking beer. He went to the bathroom twice and I never moved. He is 16 years younger than me with no medical past issues! Life is good and I of course am thankful.
I went for my next 6 month check in November. No PSA level detected. I am scheduled for another 6 month check and then will go to yearly exams as my surgery will be at the 3 year anniversary as of Jan 2014.
I have no urinary issues at all other than I do not wait quite as long to make a trip to the boys room. No leakage, perform lifting as needed, bowl, golf, etc. I do continue to perform Kegel exercises to maintain a strong inner sphincter muscle.
Funny story. I sat thru an entire NASCAR race in August. Drank beers before and during. I never made a trip to the men's room until after the race. My 16 year younger brother and other younger friends....they made several trips. Take that one off my bucket list! It was funny as they all know my history and were puzzled. So was I.
ED is the same. It works. I do not take any meds nor utilize vacuum therapy any longer. If I did I am sure it would be better or more rewarding. Sex sort of seems like the least of my worries after my diagnosis.
My surgeon and urologist are as happy as I am with the results.
If I can ever help answer anyone's concerns please let me know.
Hang tough folks, God Bless and Happy Holidays,
I went for my check-up on May 7th. All is good!
I went for my check up in November 2014 and all is going well. No ill side effects and PSA is 0. I am now being scheduled for yearly check ups instead of every six months! Another milestone.
I went for my yearly check in November and everything is status quo. Really no changes in the side effects. My overall situation is as the best as anyone could hope for.
Went to my Urologist for my yearly check on November 30th. All is good, PSA 0 and no side effects.
Keith's e-mail address is: klindamer AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")