Warm greetings to all the participants and viewers of this site. I decided to share my story, because so many have men have done so before me and I learned a great deal and gained perspective from their experiences. My user name is "Rocket"; I am reluctant to use my real name on the internet. I live in the Dallas Texas area; I am in sales operations for a major data company. My wife and I have been married for 40 years. I was diagnosed at age 60.
My walk with PC became apparent to me in February 2011 as my Internist told me it was time to meet with the urologist because my PSA had risen from 2.3 to 4.10 over 23 months. With reassuring words, something like "the biopsy can be somewhat difficult" and if one should be scheduled, to call him before the procedure and he would write a prescription that would make is easier. Oh, ick!
I put off making the appointment for several weeks, but finally met with the urologist in March, 2011.
He took my history, took a blood sample and performed a DRE, reassuring me that he didn't "feel anything" abnormal. The PSA results were back few days later at 5.0 with a Free PSA of 21.8%.
Time for a biopsy, I didn't want to go. In my gut, I knew what the result would be.
Yes, I did get the prescriptions filled and it probably kept me from flying off the table with the first sample! The initial sound was more unnerving, it sounds like a pneumatic nail gun. I wouldn't call a biopsy painful... just pressure. The urologist called with the results. Of the twelve cores taken, five on one side were cancerous and one of the samples on the other side was pre-cancerous. He told me to come by the office as soon as I could and he would have a package of information waiting for me. I made a follow up appointment and read as much as I could prior to that date. Understanding the disease, the terminology and the treatment options are critical at this step.
My wife accompanied me to the next appointment. The doctor explained the diagnosis...
The Gleason score was 3+3=6, T1C, N0 M0. Even though I had decided to have surgery before this meeting, he explained all of the surgery and treatment options and answered all of my questions.
I felt fortunate that the cancer was diagnosed at this stage. Our decision was still surgery, I wanted the enemy removed, just needed time to decide whether it would be DaVinci or Open. This doctor had performed hundreds of open procedures, but only 20 or so DaVinci. I understand that most doctors will not perform a prostatectomy before your are biopsy plus six weeks.
Throughout this process, the most difficult part was telling my two adult daughters that I had cancer. They are both very sensitive, I asked them to keep their emotions in check and that I was confident that this would have a great outcome.
I did not want to take time off of work to have the surgery, matter of fact; I did not want to tell my employer or co-workers. This urgency was a major factor in our decision. In the Dallas area we have an abundance of fine doctors and hospitals. We ultimately located an urologist close to home that specialized in the DaVinci procedure and was associated with a smaller hospital where the care is personal. We know several orthopedic surgeons and nurses who also practice (why do they call it practice?) at this hospital who provided assurance we had found the right man. Oh, yes - he does surgery on Tuesdays and Thursdays... So with a Thursday surgery, I could take two days away and be back to work the following Monday.
I had my surgery on Thursday afternoon July 14, 2011 and released from the hospital by noon on Friday the 15th. The Surgery was performed at Frisco Medical Center in Frisco, Texas, by Dr. xxx. I am very pleased with the process. Five days later, I met with the doctor to have my catheter removed and hear those wonderful words, "you are cured" I think the better words are "in remission".
Some guys say that they did not have any post surgical pain, guess it is relative. I did have some minimal pain from the incisions, but nothing I would need to take a drug for. Yawning, stretching or sneezing reminded me that I had some stitches. This was major surgery; it just did not feel like it. The major discomfort was in the dull ache in the perineum.
Five weeks after surgery, met with the doctor and had a list of questions about the surgery. Seminal vessels and some lymph nodes were removed, nerve bundles should be intact. Pathology good, surprised to know that a new tumor stage of pT2C was assigned and the new Gleason score was 3+4=7. His emphasis has changed to ED and rehabilitation. Prescribed daily Cialis (not covered by insurance) and a vacuum pump. After two weeks Cialis has zero effect.
Urinary incontinence could be much worse. Currently using three pads per day. May use four if I have coffee and drink a lot of fluids. I keep reminding myself that it is a small price to pay to have the cancer gone.
First post surgical PSA result <0.1 ng/ml.