I am extremely fit and healthy and have always looked after myself. Exercise regularly. Eat organic food. Go to acupuncturist and chiropractor for general health. Was quite a shock when I heard the news about this. Genetics suck! All of my uncles have had prostate dramas, but in their 70s. I decided to start much earlier at age 40.
Every year I get a full physical and bloods done by my GP/MD. This year, as I turned 40, he included PSA for the first time. Came back at 3.6. Did it again 3 months later - came back at 4.1. Off to the specialist I went. [By the way, my specialist has the largest hands I have ever seen (like a hairless gorilla). Knowing full well that the finger up the bum was coming, I remarked "Mate, how did you get into this profession with hands like a gorilla?". Thankfully he had a good sense of humour and pissed himself laughing.] No discount on the consultation though - still $150.
Off I go to get a biopsy. Went to Greenslopes Hospital (this is a great hospital with brilliant staff). Arrived at 12pm. Filled in a couple of forms and sat in waiting room number one.
Ten minutes later I was escorted to waiting room number two. You pick up the magazine to have a look through it but you're really looking at everyone else saying to yourself "...I wonder what he's got?". When you notice everyone looking back at you with the same quizzical expression on their faces you get on with reading the mag.
30 minutes later I off to waiting room three. This was bigger than waiting room one and had fewer people.
30 minutes later I was chaperoned by a nice nurse into (yes, you guessed it) waiting room FOUR! This waiting room contain the bed I was going to get the procedure done on. Took my gear off and put on those lovely paper undies - you know, the ones that have no obvious back or front that look like nappies and do nothing to secure the position of your manhood. Got into bed and watch a bit of telly (Batman was on - the old 'Holy Crap' Batman series). I thought to myself, "I wish I had some Bat prostate fixer spray." I'll bet Batman never had prostate trouble at 40.
30 minutes later I was wheeled around to (yes, it's coming, no joke) WAITING ROOM FIVE! This was a small room directly off theatre where the only thing in direct view was a large clock. By the way, 45 minutes is 2,700 ticks of the second hand.
I eventually got wheeled in to theatre where there was a cast of thousands ready to look at my butt (so it seemed). Got the pre-op from the anaesthetist who said 'this is like having three beers at once.' Then he started to give me the full gear to send me under. I have had a number of ops and probes and like to start to tell the anaesthetist a good joke while he is injecting the anaesthetic knowing full well I won't be able to finish the joke and he will have to ensure I live through it to tell him the rest.
ext thing I know is I am in recovery. All painless really. A little bit of healing discomfort for a week after, but that's about it. I usually am very nauseous after anaesthetic, but I told the anaesthetist before I went in so he said he would give me a "special cocktail". It worked. No nausea, but I did hiccup every 5 seconds for 6 hours straight the next day. In an attempt to get rid of them, my wife kept trying to scare me all day by jumping out of cupboards.
2 of 16 core samples were positive. Got the call from the specialist while I was on the bus on the way home from work. It's not every day someone tells you you've got cancer.
I was pretty shocked and my wife was away on a well deserved break so I decided not to tell her until she returned later that week. During this period, I went in to get bone scan and CT scan (they only had two waiting rooms so I had a word to them about the lack of facilities). The Radiologist told me there and then that the scan was clear (which was good of him - but he did tell me my right shoulder was stuffed and I only had one Kidney [congenital defect]). Oh joy.
When in the waiting room, they came back and said they wanted to do another CT scan. I thought, "Well that's it, they've found something and I'm stuffed". Back to the waiting room. Finally got called to collect the report and paid. The report and images were sealed in an envelope with 'To be open ONLY by the referring specialist.' I said, "yeah, right", opened and read it in front of the staff member.
Thankfully, nothing found. Went out to the car and pumped both hands in the air and screamed "YES!". I'd had a small win.
Next day, my wife came home and I was nervous all day about telling her. I told her, "I have cancer" with a tear in my eye and she was floored with disbelief. Am starting to tell other members of my family - same reaction by all.
Saw the specialist again this week (the gorilla hand man). Took my wife with me. Talked through the options and decided on surgery. Trouble is that I can't get in for six months. He's one of the best though with 1,400 traditional removals and 70 robotic under his belt. In asking him and others and given my PSA and GS etc. it does not appear to be an issue for me to wait that long. I want the best I can get to try to limit the downside of the op. Costing me $30,000 all up including hospital ($22k back on health fund).
When I think back over the last 8 days, I pretty rapidly moved through the 5 stages of grief.
DENIAL: in shock. Can't believe this. I am strong and healthy.
ANGER: Pissed off. Not fair. I look after myself. Why me? Sneering at all of the fat bastards on the street sucking down smokes and coffee for breakfast.
BARGAINING: Just let it be in the prostate only. All I want is a long life.
DEPRESSION: I am probably going to die earlier than I thought I would. How long will this thing be over my head?
ACCEPTANCE: I have this thing. From all that I have now read, it seems most people deal with it and just get on with their lives.
And this is exactly what I am going to do.
I am going to reduce my stress by changing the type of work I do. Don't care about retirement now. Just want to make sure I make it. Getting into Tai Chi and will stay strong and healthy to give my body the best opportunity to recover and beat this insidious disease.
At least I still have my sense of humour.
Will report back when I have something to say - probably after my op.
In Feb 2010, I opted to have my prostate removed.
Pros – it gets rid of the offending item
Cons – incontinence and impotency (but hopefully both are only shorter term).
The operation went well. But the follow two weeks were not pleasant. Took me seven days to go #2 and it was like passing a pine cone! I did my pelvic floor exercises so well up to the op, that the day after I got the catheter out, I couldn't pee. Had to rush myself back to the hospital to release it and another damn catheter in. Catheters are not painful, just really annoying! A week later, I got the catheter out again and it was ok. It took about 2 months for me to get my continence back. One thing I did notice is that all of the incontinence pads out there have all got girlie names like Depend and Whisper. They need some manly names like Black Thunder and The Block!
The tumour was right on the wall of the prostate about to move into the surrounding tissue. Was nerve wracking waiting for my first PSA test 3 months after the op. It was <0.01, which was a huge relief.
Getting my "old fella" back up has been more of a challenge. After a year, I am now at about 85% I reckon, but still not hard enough to do the job. Been taking Cialis – it helps, but not quite enough. But it's improving, so hopefully back to full steam in another 6-8 months. The wife's been really good about it all. I have substituted sex for back massages – so she has been pretty content with that – for now (I even bought a proper massage table so I could do a good job).
I just had my 1 year PSA test and still < 0.01. Really good news. Hopefully I am now clear and can get on with life. One thing I have done is completely change my situation.
I left the job I hated and started my own business. I am now doing what I really enjoy doing, earning more money than before and only work half as much to help keep my stress level down.
Life's too short to be doing things you don't love to do. [Amen to that!]
All up, it was surely a difficult time, but I have come out of it well, in a stronger position than when I started and now look forward to getting up each day.
Best of luck fellas. Keep your chin up.
3 years on and PSA is still 0.
Erections only now strong enough to do the job (without Cialis) - so nearly back to normal
A little incontinence at times - but pretty rare and only a little bit
Have cut back on my stress (work) a lot and changing careers - have almost qualified as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine.
PSA still 0.
Erections still about 90%.
PSA is still <0.05, which is the main thing.
Still have some ED - sometimes can only get to 90%, others 100%
I find it difficult to hold off from orgasm for long. Am going to start learning tantra to try to sort that out.
6 (or 7?) years down the track after my prostatectomy. PSA still nil. Erections at about 90-95%. Very rare urine leakage.
Still travelling fine. Nil PSA.
Using Chinese medicine to stay strong.
Bruce's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org