I was diagnosed in December 2012 after a biopsy the month before. 2 cores of 12 showed the presence of cancer. A word to the wise, do not go alone to get your biopsy results. My wife stayed in the car while I went to see the urologist and we both thought (hoped!) this would be a routine "we didn't find anything" meeting. I was stunned, shocked and not able to listen to 50% of what I was told. So take someone with you, just in case.
I had a bone scan and CT scan within a week and initial results showed some spots on the ribs, which turned out to be from old rib fractures. These were caused by some folly as a youth, which my wife did not know about. Guess who fielded the call from the surgeon when he asked "Did Clark ever have any rib fractures or breaks"? More angst until I got home and was able to talk to both her and the surgeon regarding the report.
On my follow-up visit my wife was there and we were both much better prepared with questions regarding he cancer. My urologist reviewed all the options and surgery was the procedure of choice. With our urologist's blessing we got a 2nd opinion from the surgeon who had trained him. Consensus was the same, a radical to remove the prostate. We opted to have our surgeon do the procedure as it was a much shorter timeline and at that point we just wanted to get it done with.
Had my radical the end of March 2013. Surgeon said he was not able to spare any nerves, with the cancer close to the edge he did not want to take a chance on it. I did not fully appreciated the impact of that statement for months to come. However I was glad to hear him say he was confident that he had gotten all of the cancer.
There was very little pain after surgery and after day 3 I was on my way home. The catheter was manageable and even managed a slow and very short walk the next day. After 14 days Mr. Foley's apparatus was removed. I did get a UTI from the catheter which apparently is not uncommon.
Within a couple of weeks I was down to one slim Tena pad per day. Worked on my Kegel exercises and started to build up my stamina by walking. By the end of April I was only using a pad when I felt there might be an issue, but could have probably stopped altogether.
The pathology report showed cancer in one other apex, and that reinforced the decision for surgery. At this time I started on Viagra with minimal effect. Luckily I already had 'sensation' in the penis, so hope remained. I did not like the side effects of the Viagra, so in Oct 2013 he switched me to Cialis. Same minimal results. I did find I could orgasm without chemical intervention, so that was good news also.
First PSA in Oct 2013 was undetectable which was great news.. PSA in Feb 2014 was also undetectable. Interestingly I had more trepidation waiting for the 2nd PSA result, thoughts of "was the cancer really gone?" I also found out this was not uncommon amongst our group either.
One unexpected outcome that no one told me about was the likelihood of getting a hernia within 24 months. So guess what, I had an inguinal hernia in my right groin. This occurred in June 2013 and was finally treated surgically in Nov 2014. Because of the hernia I had to curtail my exercise and some sexual activity due to the discomfort.
So here in May 2014 things are positive. I had a great surgeon and that made a world of difference.
Luckily my incontinence issues are minimal.
Sexual function is not what it was pre-surgery, however my orgasms are more intense and 'knee weakening' than anything experienced prior to having my prostate removed.
My support groups were, and still are, amazing including my spouse. I could not have done this journey without her!
I did hook up with a local Prostate Support Group and we also found a book by Dr. Anne Katz: Prostate Cancer and The Man You Love. Highly recommended.
Well good news from my urologist. Just had my 6 month monitoring and PSA is undetectable. No urinary issues, other than when it is time to go ... it is time to go!
The doctor asked how sexual function is and I told him we were still getting used to the "new normal" with our sex life. It is good and Viagra does enhance things at times.
So all things considered, he stated I'm doing amazing and pushed the next appointment out to 9 months. I feel very blessed and thankful.
Take care all.
Current PSA today was 'undetectable' and have been put on 1 year surveillance for my next PSA.
Still occasional dribbles (strenuous activity related) and erections are about 75% of pre-surgery.
Life is good and I'm thankful to be here. Good luck to all!
Just had my yearly check with the urologist and PSA is undetectable. Bladder control is fine. Full erections are a fond memory, but not complaining.
Keep the good fight all!!
Clark's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org