I was referred to a urologist after a routine physical found a slight bump during a digital rectal exam. The urologist did another DRE and retested my PSA. He observed a "slight asymmetry" in my prostate and a PSA level of 3.0. I didn't think that was very high but he said that men of my age (49) should have a PSA of 2.5 or less and he recommended a biopsy.
I had a biopsy in July 2012. It wasn't fun but it really wasn't all that bad either. Five minutes and it was over. Side effects included blood in urine, stool, and semen for a few days and some soreness?
On July 26, my wife and I went in to learn the results. Six out of twelve cores positive, Gleason score of 7 (3+4), and some cores as high as 95%. My urologist spent an hour and a half explaining the results and going through my options. It was a lot to absorb and we went home in a state of shock.
After doing my own research I decided to follow my doctor's advice and have robotic prostatectomy. Given my relatively young age I wanted to treat the cancer aggressively. I also liked knowing that I could have radiation later if I needed to. Doing surgery after radiation seemed like a risky proposition. It also sounded like the side effects of surgery were much more manageable at my age.
I had robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) on September 18, 2012. I was walking around the hospital halls that night and got to go home the next evening. I had some incision pain and some abdominal bloating for a couple of days. It was uncomfortable but it resolved itself. I used very little prescription pain meds and only for the first two days at home. I had a foley catheter for two weeks following surgery. I had expected this to really be miserable but after the first day it was more of a nuisance than anything; not a big deal. I mostly stayed home during this time but did get out for walks and was able to work from home half-time the second week.
I got the catheter removed and began my exercises and physical therapy to address minor incontinence and ED side effects. I've had minor leakage bit nothing that generally requires more than one or two pads a day. In the erection department, things are definitely slower but there are clear signs of a full recovery there as well.
I had my first post-op PSA test last week and found out that I'm non-detect. Definitely not out of the woods yet but off to a good start. Given my current overall status, I'm very happy with my treatment choice.
I am coming up on one year since I had robotic surgery to remove my prostate. My PSA has been non-detectable since the surgery and my side effects dissipated within a few months. I am completely happy with the results and I have no regrets about my treatment decision.
It has now been over two years since my surgery. My PSA is still undetectable and I begin seeing my urologist only once every six months. I have no serious issues with ED or incontinence. All in all it has been a very positive outcome thus far.
I am now more than 3 years post-surgery and my PSA is still undetectable. I have had no issues with erectile dysfunction or incontinence. I have no regrets about having surgery to treat my cancer.
After about 4.5 years my PSA is still undetectable.
David's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org