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Bob Robert lives in North Carolina, USA. He was 54 when he was diagnosed in June, 2008. His initial PSA was 4.70 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 7, and he was staged T2a. His choice of treatment was Surgery (Robotic Laparoscopic Prostatectomy). Here is his story.

Hi,

I'm Bob Strauss. I'm 54, soon to be 55 and otherwise in good health. I'm 5'6 1/2" and 200 lbs and a former weightlifter, and still go the gym and pump the iron hard. Being big and strong, I've always felt invincible ..in fact after a rotator cuff surgery once I drove from the hospital ..straight to the gym ..and another time after a parathyroid surgery was mowing my lawn 2 days later. At 50 I was 255lbs and could bench press 400 lbs and could outlift everyone in the gym! Yes I felt indestructible.

At age 51 I discovered I had high blood pressure and some other problems due to my weight ..so solved them all by loosing 50 lbs. Yes I felt in control. or I thought I was. In 2007 my mother, whom I had lived with for a long time was diagnosed with lung cancer metastases in her pelvis and died that September. I hated even hearing the word cancer, but I never thought it could happen to me. I was in too good of shape or thought I was. I was away from the gym for a long time, had strange pains and this January a thought hit me. I had the same thing only with the prostate.

I set an appointment to see my doc that I haven't seen in 2 years. By the time I saw him I felt better and wasn't worried much any more ..after all I was again tearing it up in the gym. My PSA came back 4.4 and he said it wasn't probably cancer but I better see the Urologist. I had no outward symptoms other than having to go more often, but don't we all as we age? Once there I asked for another PSA test with % Free. It came back 4.7 and 8% free. Now I it finally sunk in it probably was! I scheduled the biopsy ASAP and the result was even more than I expected...Gleason 7 (3+4) and both lobes but barely anything noticeable on any DRE NOW it hit me ! I have cancer .. Prostate cancer .. Mom had adenocarcinoma of the lung. I have adenocarcinoma of the prostate.

I began to research it tirelessly and read about Norm Schwartzkopf and how he attacked it. I found this website and read the case histories. I researched the treatments ..Waiting, seeds, ADT, ERB, HIFU, and surgery. I looked up any alternative treatments. I met with Dr. Chris Tiegland with McKay Urology and discussed treatments. Since I'm young 54 , watch and wait is out of the question, as sole alternative treatments. Radiation or the "Seeds" may not get it all or may not offer a salvage treatment. The Da Vinci Robotic Radical Prostatectomy seemed to me the best option as the main treatment. Get it cut out . So I'm scheduled to go July 17th for a wide margin surgery...yup the nerves to JR. will go too...but future longevity is more important

My secondary treatment is up to me ! Cut down red meat, broccoli, brazil nuts, pomegranate juice, tomatoes.(I have a big garden)soy milk, red wine and do all I can to boost my immune system to fight the cancer and help me get through the upcoming surgery. Dr. Tiegland calls it complementary medicine. I'm going to hit it with all I got! I'm in good physical condition and can do 30 mins on the elliptical mach at the gym...but its time to eat more healthy too!

I believe I got prostate cancer by genetics, too much red meat, and taking testosterone supplements at 50...I really did have low test! I was too all consumed in being big and strong to look at what really matters...the inside ! I finally woke up and realized no matter how big and tough we are , or physical ..things can and will go wrong as we age. I'm not invincible. The key is to be on top of it .and listen to the medical professionals. If my cancer were only a Gleason 5 and in one spot I might have done the alternative approach and monitored but Gleason 7 is nothing to be left in place ! Hit it, get it out, and I'll use complimentary means to boost my immune system. There is much research that since prostate cancer grows more slowly that things we do can help have some effect. That's why we should all do research and a website like this is a good place to share. As Storming Norman said ..know your enemy then combat it.

I'm confident in the Da Vinci for me and I'll have to stick to a more healthy diet...that's my part ! Also I'll have to realize that this surgery will not be a piece of cake like before ..it's real! I'll have to take it easy I'll let you all know what more I find out and how the surgery goes. Feel free to e-mail me and we'll compare notes...after all I now belong to a new group of guys !

Bob

UPDATED

August 2008

My surgery day was Thurs July 17 th. I was somewhat nervous and apprehensive going into it, but knew that for me it was what I had to do. I went into the OR 12:30 pm and woke up in recovery at 6 pm. My first words were "I am now prostateless" I felt just only like I had abdominal cramps..no real pain. Got into my room at 7:30 and chatted with my friends til 10..then tried to get some sleep..you just can't get rest in a hospilal ! Every 15 mins I got woken up!

That next morning I was tired from lack of sleep and the nurse said I had to get up and walk around the nurses station. Well after 10 brisk laps..she quit..and I did 10 more! I rested a while then got dressed..put my catheter bag in a tote bag hanging from my belt..tube was under my short pants then went in tote bag...then I went and visited a friend that worked elswhere in the hosp. I got released and walked out of the hosp Fri at 7:30..My Bird Sparky was happy to see me!

After I got home I noticed my temp was up to 101.3 so called the 24 hr support line and they just wanted me to moniter it, take Tylenol, but if it got much higher to "come in" I researched post surgery fever on the net and saw that it is common. The next day sat..went out to the garden, watered it and picked veggies. Just had ensures and a salad and took my stool softener.

The catheter wasn't too bad. I emptied it by tinkling it in the toilet, or on the anthill or tree out in back...where I normally go. Sun ate more..actually went out shopping ..driving isn't too hard with the catheter bag on my left side. I still felt bloated from the surgery. Monday my digestive system opened for business...I farted like crazy...and pooped a bit too. My catheter in tote bag gave me freedom to do what I needed to get by..in fact one week out I mowed my lawn.

The catheter came out at 10 days and now I was a wet one! no continence ! The next day I went back to work but had to constantly change Depends. I did get a call from my doc ..Negative margins, lymph nodes, and seminal vesicles he did take the nerves tho ..Gleason 7 both sides..caught it in time. No further treatment planned. Now over 3 weeks out of surgery I can only hold when I lay or sit..if I get up fast it lets go. I cope with it by drinking very little at work and mostly at night, and by using a wad of toilet paper and wetting it so I only use 2-3 depends a day. I change the wad as it gets wet. My co-workers call me "dependable" I am even meeting clients, doing sales calls, mowing my lawn, gardening, and even back to the gym...only light stuff.

I'm eating very little red meat, more veggies, brocolli, tomatoes, brazil nuts, and drinking pomegranite juice. If there is anything left I'll fight it ! Now if I can just pee like a man again! I was hoping for better..but I'm hoping and coping. I do use some humor to cope. I told my training partner in the gym I was lifting weights when I was in diapers. We joke about it at work. I'm hoping I get it back soon. Being incontinent is an inconvienience. I do have a condom catheter just in case I need it but only used it once when I drove 45 mins.Would be good on long trips. My physical activities are like before except I'm lifing lighter in the gym (135 lbs only) and not straining on anything. A cough, sneeze, or BM is harder. Very little blood in urine which can happen. I watch this closely. I have a support system of friends, workout partners, a prostate cancer support group, and wellwishers..and my little bird ..a sun conure..Sparky..Pets and people are important..and then there is God..may God bless all of you!

Bob

UPDATED

December 2009

It's been almost a year and a half since my surgery. My PSA remains negligible.

My continence has improved to where I just wear two pair of briefs unless I go to the gym, then I use a toilet paper pad. I use one also if I'm doing any physical work. I did take a 10 hour trip with no problem. I can hold a lot more now after surgery. Most nights I don't get up at all or it's early morning til I got to pee then it's like a racehorse! My continence could be better, but I'll just wait it out. I was told that all my exercise did not help my continence, and since I've been going less to the gym it has gotten better.

I'm to the point in life where other health issues concern me more than prostate cancer. I'll continue to get PSA checked, but I'm more concerned about cholesterol, sugar, etc. Because of my early intervention, I'll die eventually of something else, just not prostate cancer, as early detection and intervention saves lives.

UPDATED

April 2011

It's been almost three years since my diagnosis and surgery.

I'm still active in the gym and still have stress incontinence. I find that when my weight is higher and I'm more active it is worse. I like to hit the gym hard so I'll just have to use protection at times. At 57 yr and 215 lbs I can still do 10 full squats with a 315 lb barbell on my back! ...that's before testosterone replacement.

My oncologist thinks it's safe to boost my testosterone a bit because it was really low (137) I'm doing this to feel a bit better and do a bit more in the gym. For padding I just use a wad of toilet paper and empty my bladder before exercise.

I feel I'm one of the lucky ones with my brush with this disease. for now I'll just have to live with the stress incontinence. I know I'll go someday, but it won't be from prostate cancer!!!

UPDATED

May 2012

It has been four years since I had my surgery and my PSA is still undetectable. I am on testesterone replacement and have been lifting weights heavily for the past year. I have gained 20 lbs and an now 230 on my 5'6" frame. This however has led to a return of some incontinence, especially when lifting. I do wear some padding during the day and a depends when I lift heavy. At least I can say "I lifted 400 lbs when I was in diapers" Lifting in meets is fun and also a place where I can spread prostate cancer awareness. I know if I dropped 25 lbs and didn't lift as heavy the incontinence would not be as bad, but at almost 59 I still love to lift heavy. I know that if I didn't have the cancer treated when I did it may have been giving me worse problems by now so I did the right thing by having it taken out four years ago. Life goes on and all of us have our maladies with age and the brush with prostate cancer was just one bump in the road. I did have kidney stone surgery this past August and that was another. As we age, the road can get a bit bumpier, but I'm still blasting down the road.

UPDATED

January 2018

Now it's 2018 and it has been over 5 years since my last PSA test. I went to my GP to get blood pressure meds and to have my test checked for "low T" for the possibility of getting some test replacement to help me feel better and be able to work out harder. I'm hardly a weakling in the gym, but want to maximize what I have. I'm 64 now 5'7" and 235 (mostly muscle) and can out work and out lift most in the gym. I carry a set of "guns" at my side. Being strong and in good shape has been important to me, and I felt I could do a bit more. I know..poor old 64 yr old man who bench presses body weight while younger people can't. Well anyway I knew I'd have to get my PSA checked to get hormone replacement and I was a bit scared since it had been over 5 years since it has been checked.

I had been a bit apprehensive about this, but I felt I needed to know anyway just in case. I will be going on Medicare in 8 months and I had plans in my mind of what I would do eventually if the cancer had returned. The test results would determine what direction my life would go in if the cancer did make a comeback. When I had the surgery I opted for wide margins (non nerve sparing) as to give me the best possible outcome cancerwise. The biggest problem from the surgery has been the incontinence which still is bad, but I realize my compact frame and extreme exercise regimes add to the problem. I sometimes wonder if I should have taken another option as first treatment, but I wanted to know exactly what was in me so I could plot the next move. I mostly see my current incontinence as something I'll have to live with as a result of the cancer and my choice to remain large and lift heavy weights. If the cancer had returned I would in the next year or so retire, sell my house, and move into a senior community near Roswell Park Cancer Hospital which just happens to be in Buffalo, NY, where I'm from, and receive treatment there. I had all sorts of different plans as well. I have recently been in a pivotal role with the company I work for and ready for my best work yet. It seemed to me that the result of my PSA test would influence my future plans as well as any thoughts of test supplementation.

The moment had arrived when I saw the result ...less than .1 which is most likely "background noise". Now I'm 10 years clean. I was instantly elated, but then at the same time realized I would not be going back to my beloved Buffalo any time soon. I immediately went to the gym and our performed some youngsters 40 yrs younger than me and realized the old man still has it and my best years are in front of me. The good news is giving me the push to do drive harder at work, the gym, and other things in life. As I have said I'm "64 and back for more" Now my future plans are to just get better at what I'm doing now. 2018 will be doing what I did in 2017 only to the next level. I'm not only getting older, but better! This test came at a good time for me and provided a good kick in the ass. If I would had a recurrence, I would have fought for sure, but for now I'll throw it all into life. I am in otherwise good health and look much younger than 64 and built like a bull and have good stamina. As far as the incontinence, I'll just have to manage it and when I go on medicare, explore my options. So for now, I'm just a 64 yr old man who wets his diapers while lifting 100's of pounds for hours at a time, works full time, looking to the future...and just getting better! I thank God for this result and for the good fortunes I do have. Prostate cancer is survivable and we just have to fight it and deal with the results as long as we are alive. I wish the best for all the other men who happen to have this disease.

Bob's e-mail address is: rstrauss AT carolina.rr.com (replace "AT" with "@")


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