My first biopsy in May of 2006 with no digital finding but a PSA of 5.26 (free PSA 9%) was negative. In February 2007 with PSA elevating to 5.96 a second biopsy was negative and in August '07 the PSA level was at 5.8. I thought that the PSA was stable and settled into blissful denial. But the PSA elevated to 6.7 (free less than 10%) in Feb. '08. Still no digital finding and nothing evident in the ultrasound but cancer was found in one of 10 biopsy samples taken by Dr. Homer Holt, my urologist in Louisville, Kentucky.
The pathologist reported a Gleason score of 3+3. Dr. Holt urged that we take an aggressive approach with the goal of a cure. We requested a second opinion and the report came back from Johns Hopkins with the same results. CT and Bone scans were negative and we discussed various options and I decided upon Da Vinci Robotic and requested a referral to Dr. Michael Koch, Chairman, Department of Urology, Indiana University, Indianapolis.
Darlene and I met with Dr. Koch on April 8 for a very informative discussion of prostate cancer, treatment options and the robotic procedure. Surgery is scheduled for May 23.
It's been very good to have the information in YANA to help me during the decision process as well as information and support from several guys from my church and community who are prostate cancer survivors having chosen a variety of treatment options.
It took awhile after the diagnosis to settle on the robotic procedure although I had researched in '06 while waiting to undergo my first biopsy and leaned toward that procedure if I'd be able to find a surgeon with excellent skills, lots of experience and a history of excellent results. Dr Koch came highly recommended by friends who had been his patient, by physician friends and by Dr. Holt. He was also on the list of excellent surgeons maintained by John Chandler listed on YANA.
Da Vinci Robot Assisted Prostatectomy, May 23 at Indiana University Hospital. I checked in early and Darlene and I were joined by a friend, Tim, who had an open prostatectomy a year ago. After conversations with 3 Anaesthesiologists and a Resident I was guided to surgery, met the robot, and climbed on the surgical table. I was Dr. Michael Koch second surgical patient of the day and started around 10:00 AM and left Recovery at around 3:00 PM. Dr. Koch reported to Darlene that the surgery went well, that I lost around ½ pint blood.
I have marks on my right cheek which I assume was from tape used to hold the airway tube and a very large bruise on my right side. Felt pain in recovery and a needed my first Oxychodone at around 4. Got up to sit in a chair for a half hour and then took a second dose of Oxychodone after getting back in bed around 8:30. Didn't need any more during the night but took a couple to help me with the 2 hour ride home. I slept intermittently that night and walked and napped a bit Saturday morning. I drank lots of water to re-hydrate my mouth and finally had saliva again around 2:30 in the morning. We left the hospital at 2:00 PM.
We both needed naps after getting home but felt well enough to make a brief visit at a high school graduation reception for 2 young ladies from our Church. Spent the evening in the recliner and chatting on the phone and slept well the first night at home.
Sunday morning I started feeling gas pains so walked a bit and felt the sweet relief of passing gas around noon. Bladder spasms have been unpleasant and leakage around the catheter. I started wearing a pad to absorb the leaks.
Friday May 30 I removed the catheter as decided by Dr. Koch when he realized that we lived 2 hours from Indianapolis. That was uncomfortable but not bad and have only experienced stress incontinence since removal. I feel blessed to have done so well, with so little pain and to experience the love and support of friends and family.
On Tuesday May 26 I saw Dr. Koch for my one year follow-up. I have done well this past year. I developed bladder control at 7 weeks post surgery and within less than 6 months a degree of erectile function with the assistance of Viagra or Cialis. My surgeon is not sure that my following the advice found in "Use It or Lose It" was responsible for my faster than normal change but I'm thankful that he was open to my following the regimen.
From my post surgery pathology report my Gleason score was changed to 3+2=5 and %Gleason 4: 3% and none at Gleason 5. The TNM pathologic stage: pT2b. The tumor was much larger than having only one of 10positive biopsy core would have indicated.
Around 2 months post surgery I became slightly depressed and thought that I might need antidepressant medication but after a couple of open discussions with my wife and being able to grieve my change I felt much better. It's interesting to me that professionally I see people in counseling for depression or other problems and then to be surprised that talking to a supportive listener was just what I needed. It's so much easier to be on the listener/helper side of the conversation.
This past week I had the good fortune to participate in a Reel Recovery Retreat. I encourage others with an interest in fly fishing to participate in the "courageous conversations" and comraderie.
I've also been blessed to be contacted by others facing prostate cancer and to be able to provide support and information. I'm so thankful for YANA for being a link that helps to calm the swirling anxiety following the diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Ted does not mention it here, but his PSA is undetectable.
I continue to do well. In June at my 2 year follow-up with Dr. Koch my PSA level remains at an undetectable level. He released me back to my primary care doctor, Yolana Yoder.
Physically my bladder control has continued to improve to the point that I don't feel that it is urgent that I find a restroom at first pressure. Erectile function has still not returned to normal.
Since last year I have become a volunteer with Friend for Live, a support program that matches persons newly diagnosed with any form of cancer with a survivor friend. So I mentor through YANA, referrals from my primary care physician, friends and now Friend for Life, Louisville. I also helped out with the Reel Recovery Retreat this spring.
And, during a family reunion in northern Michigan I caught a beautiful Brook Trout, my first on a fly rod. Life is good, God is good. I am retiring the 8th of October and my hunting buddy and I are again planning our western pheasant hunting trip -- this time an extended hunt since I don't have to come back to the counseling practice.
My PSA remains at an undetectable level and last weekend was the 4 year anniversary of my surgery. I was told at my 2 year follow-up with Dr. Michael Koch that my ED should gradually improve but so far it has not. I also notice that I need to a larger dose of either Viagra or Cialis in order to have a good erection. It could be me or it could be that the medication has lost it's potency since the pills are 3 years old! I still have some stress incontinence. But my health remains good and I remain active.
Last month I facilitated two Reel Recovery retreats for men with any potentially fatal form of cancer. The fly fishing was good and the Courageous Conversations were excellent. The second retreat was composed of 11 men, ten in various stages of PC. One man 7 years after being told that he only had 6 month to live. We learn from each other at these retreats. Some things medical and much more about the power we have to change our attitudes and spirits. As we say at the conclusion or our retreats, Be well, fish on!
It has been 5 years since my surgery and my PSA remains at an undetectable level. I have not shared in previous posts that I have been a volunteer for Friend for Life which can also be found on Facebook an organization in Louisville, KY that matches newly diagnosed individuals with a mentor who has completed treatment. This has given me the opportunity to connect with newly diagnosed men from many other states in the US. I also continue to facilitate 6 to 8 Reel Recovery retreats each year, fly fishing retreats for men with any type of cancer.
At my last annual check-up my PSA continues to remain at an undetectable level. It has been 6 years snce my surgery. My ED has become increasingly resistant to medication so am considering getting an external pump. I don't have interest in an implant.
I continue to facilitate Reel Recovery Retreats, free fly fishing retreats for men with any form of cancer (www.reelrecovery.org).
I remain cancer free 9 years after diagnosis and treatment. I'm very grateful at I was diagnosed and treated early by an outstanding Urologist because I hear many stories our Reel Recovery Retreats of late diagnosis, poorly provided treatment, unsatisfactory outcomes, and ongoing suffering.
I strongly recommend support groups, conversations with a mentor, and participating in a Reel Recovery Retreat. These free fly fishing retreats are for men experiencing any type of cancer and are located in many states in the US and in New Zealand. Contact me or the Reel Recovery website for more information.
I'm also thankful for this informative website and the continued support to men and their partners.
On 3 November 2016 I fell while attempting to repair a climbing hunting stand. My friend with me says I fell backwards abo 16 ft (or nearly 5 m) landing on my head and back. I suffered a severe head injury and was life-flighted to the university hospital where I am told I stayed a week then was transferred back to our home community Rehabilitation facility. I was restored to counscious memory near the end of the month and began to actively participate in treatment: physical therapy and speech therapy. I've received wonderful support from family, our church community, the wider community as well as my many friends in Reel Recovery. I learned to walk quickly and am continuing to regain physical strength and mental functioning. I've had to regain bladder control so have included Kegal exercises in my daily routine. I'm so fortunate to be alive and not suffering more than temporary disability.
Ted's e-mail address is: ted.larrison AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")