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Ron Valdes lives in New York, USA. He was 39 when he was diagnosed in April, 2008. His initial PSA was 4.20 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 6, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was Surgery (Retropubic Prostatectomy). Here is his story.

I was having some trouble with my urinary flow so I went to the doctor to have it checked out. It turns out my PSA was a 6.7. We tried to go straight for a biopsy but it ends up that when the day came for it, I had an infection in my urine. My urologist thought I was way too young for anything to be wrong and he placed me on Levaquin for two weeks thinking it may have been a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). After two weeks it dropped to a 4.2. That was when we decided to actually go ahead with the biopsy. When the time came, he tried to back out. He felt that I was way too young for cancer and wanted to place me back on Levaquin for another six weeks. I said that I needed to go ahead with the biopsy for my own piece of mind. He took eight samples and truthfully it was pretty painless and the discomfort was minimal.

A little less than two weeks later I was told the samples came back positive. They found cancer in five of the eight samples and my Gleason Score was set at six. My next step is a CT scan of my abdomen and pelvis and a Nuclear bone scan on Tuesday.

My only worry is that I have an arthritic type of pain in my lower back; pretty much across the whole thing. It could be in my head, but it just seems strange that I have had this pain for about three months now and now this news comes out.

UPDATED

May 2008

The CT scan and bone scan came back negative. My first appointment with the Oncologist is on Wednesday, May 7th. My urologist and I both feel it is best to go for the robotic surgery. I would imagine (and hope) that the oncologist agrees. His name is Dr. David Silver and from what I have heard and read about him he is a pioneer in the Robotic surgery so I think I will be in pretty safe hands. I just want to get it done ASAP. This back pain is pretty unbearable sometimes.

Later:

I met with the Urologic Oncologist on May 7th. Dr. David Silver of Brooklyn, NY. I feel really lucky to have him as a surgeon. He is really the most professional and sympathetic doctor I have ever met. He really made me feel at ease, explained all my options, and made sure I understood everything that was happening and will happen to me.

I now have a date for my Robotic Prostatic procedure, May 19th. It also helps that this will be done fairly quickly. I just want it cleared up so I can move on with the rest of my life. I have a pretty good attitude about this now and I feel that finding the right doctor makes a huge difference. The next time I write will be after my surgery. Wish me luck.

Later (May 21): It is now two days since my operation. I went in on Monday morning, May 19th, and was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon, May 20th. It is now Wednesday and I am at home.

I am very bloated and have not had a bowel movement since right before the procedure. The catheter is fairly uncomfortable, although my urine has turned from red to yellow during the course of today.

I have been trying to take it easy like the doctor instructed. I am walking around the house with some discomfort in the groin and stomach but that is to be expected I suppose. The doctor told me that everything went really smoothly and the bleeding was minimal. I have to return to the doctor's office on Tuesday morning and have the catheter removed. Then after 6 more weeks I have to repeat my PSA test. That will coincide with the pathology report of the prostate and hopefully all will come out clear and I can move on without worry.

I can not stress how important it is to find the right doctor. Dr. David Silver is one of the finest doctors I have ever come into contact with in my life. If any of you can have the opportunity to get to Brooklyn, NY and see him I strongly recommend it. He is a wonder.

UPDATED

June 2008

It is now June 3rd and it's been two full weeks since my RL surgery and one week since the catheter came out. I must say that I am having something of a miraculous recovery. My pain has been minimal and I am getting back to my normal walking speed and have been finding it easier to bend and move around without any aches or pains whatsoever except for the occasional gas pain.

I went to the local drug chain the day the catheter came out (it didn't hurt, just felt very weird) and bought a huge pack of Depends; better to have them and not need them than need them and not have them. I wore one each day for a week and the only incontinence I had was a tiny leak in the early morning of the third or forth day getting up to urinate. That was it. Now I don't wear one at all. I feel strong urges to urinate and don't have any problems with leaking or accidents of any kind (knock on wood).

As far as ED, the doctor gave me a prescription for 100 mg Viagra and I was told to take a half a pill every other night to "kick start" the my erection. The first night I took it I achieved about a 40% erection of what I used to have and am now up to about 60%. The way things are going I feel that I could be back to normal in no time (again knock on wood). I have to say though that the "phantom orgasms" are weird; definitely something to get used to. The doctor said I may see some seminal fluid but so far I haven't seen a drop of anything.

Now I just play the waiting game. I have my first post-op PSA test at the end of the month and my Dr's appointment to discuss everything is on July 9th, two weeks before my 40th birthday (and yet again knock on wood).

I wish you all luck with your choices. Please email me if you have any questions about the procedure or recovery.

UPDATED

July 2008

It is July 7th, 2008. My Dr.'s office called me yesterday and moved my appointment up one day. They then call me back and say that they haven't gotten my PSA results back. Luckily I took the the PSA at a hospital three blocks from my job so I walked there after work and they immediately faxed the results. I had a hard time sleeping thinking of what was waiting for me.

Now it's the next day. I wake up early and get to the Doctor's office about 10 minutes early. I wait in the waiting room for a while and go to the examination room. One of the doctor's give me a full examination, asks me questions about everything. I am then called into Dr. Silver's office and we sit down for a talk. He gives me a copy of the Pathology report and says that thankfully everything went well and the cancer was not aggressive. It stayed within the prostate and did not spread. My 6 week PSA was .03. Great news all around. I now wait six months and repeat it. Looks like all is well.

I can't tell you how weird it is to finally feel free and clear after such a long struggle. It really feels like I've been given a new lease on life. I am going to cherish each day from here on in as if it were a gift.

If any of you need any advice or guidance please feel free to email me. I will do my best to help in any way.

UPDATED

August 2008

So - it is now early August. All is really well.

I am starting to lose my ED. I am still at about 50-60% of where I was prior to the operation. They have been coming even without Viagra (obviously not nearly as easily as they used to) so things look promising.

I feel a lot better physically. I am pretty much back up to my normal routine and walking speed. The only thing I would say is that I have been getting just generally "worn-out" easier. I used to be able to walk miles and miles with no problems and now after probably about 2 miles I start to get tired, not sleepy but just tuckered out. I just need to take it easy for a while afterwards. Everyone I talk to is telling me it's to be expected just two months after a major operation. I'll agree with that and just keep trying to get some exercise.

My next PSA is in January. It's another plus that the Dr. didn't feel I need a three month check up.

E-mail me with any questions or concerns you may have about your health. I am here to help in anyway I can.

UPDATED

January 2009

So I took my 6 month PSA and all is well. Although I still don't feel quite 100%, just knowing that the PSA is <0.1 makes me feel a lot more comfortable.

UPDATED

June 2009

I started going to a new urologist because I started having pain in one of my testicles. His name is Dr. Joseph Davis and is located in NYC. So far, I have had nothing but good feelings about my choice. He seems to be a very experienced physician. After the experience I had with my last urologist, a Dr. C******o in Brooklyn, it is a welcome change. I had to fight to get test results. No compassion. MIND YOU, I am not talking about Dr. David Silver, my Urologic Oncologist, who may be the best Dr. I have ever come into contact with.

After a sonogram that showed nothing out of the ordinary, he gave me some antibiotics and the pain is now gone. But I have noticed something since the surgery. My sex drive is not at all what it used to be. I asked him to do some tests and sure enough my testosterone was low. I started using a testosterone gel called "Testim". [The use of Testosterone supplements seems to be gaining some support but is still regarded in some quarters as a dangerous practice.] It is a gel that comes in individual tubes and is applied to the triceps and biceps once a day. I have to say that just after a few days I definitely feel a difference. Good stuff.

Have any of you had or felt a drop in your testosterone since the surgery? If so, what are you guys using?

UPDATED

November 2010

So it's been over two years and all is well as far as my prostate and PSA go. This past July it was still undetectable and I couldn't be happier.

I am still taking testosterone shots monthly and still use the Testim gel daily. If anyone wants to reach out for help or just someone to talk to I would be more than happy to oblige.

UPDATED

August 2012

Sorry I haven't posted in a while but I was waiting for my 4 year blood results and I just got them. My PSA is once again undetectable. I am still taking testosterone shots (two a month) but have stopped the Testim gel. It seemed to make me a bit irritable and after reading the warnings I felt it may be best to keep it out of the house considering I have an 11 year old daughter at home. That stuff is dangerous.

Other than that all is well. I can't complain. All is well. Good luck to everyone and as always feel free to email me for any questions you may need answered or if you just want to talk to someone who's been through it.

UPDATED

November 2013

Just came from my 5 year check up and I am now 5 and 1/2 years clean. Couldn't be happier with the results. Please email me if any one needs any questions answered or just for some moral support.

UPDATED

March 2015

So it has now been almost 7 years since my prostatectomy. My Dr. did full blood and urine as a routine checkup and they found traces of blood in my urine. Naturally I was concerned. I went to my urologist for a cytoscopy of my bladder and everything was clear. He sent me for a CT Scan and found a cyst on my kidney. He said it was nothing to worry about. Lucky yet again. Good luck to all of you out there and keep fighting the good fight. Email me if you wanna talk about anything.

UPDATED

May 2016

I stopped all testosterone treatments as my T-levels have gone back to normal. Still going for T-level checks every 4 months and PSA every year. My 8 year cancer free anniversary is quickly approaching and I feel great. I only hope everyone here can have the same results. I have helped a few of you through this process and nothing makes me feel better than to be able to pass on my experiences and knowledge. I welcome anyone to forward me any questions or if you just want to get stuff off your chest; as the website says, YANA.

UPDATED

July 2017

Hey everyone. It's certainly been a while. So I just passed the 9 year anniversary of my surgery and being cancer free. All is well except one nagging issue. Every time I go to my urologist there have been trace amounts of blood in my urine. After a CT Scan we found that I have a cyst on my kidney that doesn't seem to be shrinking over time but is actually getting larger. I have a follow-up in September so we'll see how that goes. I'm not too worried about it. I'll post a follow up soon. Chin up everybody and feel free to email me if you guys need to chat about anything.

Ron's e-mail address is: rvaldes344 AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")


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