Went to my nurse practitioner on October 23, 2015 for medicine refills. Asked for my PSA to be run. It was like pulling teeth to get her to do that. The score was 4.3. She said there was nothing to worry about and I was still young.
Friday, November 13, 2015 packed the family and headed to Salado, RD and the Scottish Highland Games. On the way I tried to make a pit stop to go to the restroom. I didn't make it in time. I have never had an (New word for me) incontinence problem. I like a man wanted to ignore it, but when we got back home the wife pestered me into seeing a urologist; whom we saw on December 3rd. At that time he did a DRE in which he felt something, but nothing to worry about at this time. So he scheduled me for a biopsy. That was done on December 22nd. Doc said I should hear before Christmas. I didn't hear anything.
So, no news is good news, right? Finally I called the doctor's office January 6. They apologized and wanted me to come in the next day. My wife and I show up and go to an exam room. As this young female PA walks in the door, with the door still open, she declares very matter of fact I have cancer. We did not hear anything else she told us after that. We are then scheduled to meet the doctor the next day. He gives me a good book to read with all the options: "Promoting Wellness for Prostate Cancer Patients" by Mark A. Moyad, MD, MPH Then explains that if I choose radiation I cannot do surgery afterwards. So we schedule for a robotic laparoscopic radical prostatectomy for Monday, February 8 when he and his team have the most time and are rested.
I was so angry and mad that I was beside myself. Of course, my wife is dumbfounded and scared. Here I prided myself on taking care of myself. I even just the previous November tried to get my company to get involved with Prostate Cancer Awareness month and grow mustaches to raise money.
I don't have any family history of cancer much less prostate cancer.
Well eight months later and I'm cancer free and my PSA level is undetectable.
I want to make a correction to my first post. The Scottish Highland Games were in Salado, TX not Salado, RD. I made my first post from my iPhone. I was anxious to start on this site and was not near a computer.
I wanted to explain why my wife and I chose to go the route of Robotic Laproscopic Radical Prostatectomy. One of the biggest reasons we chose surgery over radiation/chemotherapy was as the urologist made clear that chemotherapy deforms even the normal cells in the entire area and they will not heal nor respond normally and therefore cannot have surgery done on that area after chemotherapy has affected that area. But chemotherapy can be done after surgery. Plus the urologist we used was in his early 40s, had already done three kidney surgeries on my wife, removed a cancerous kidney from my mother-in-law and seen other family members over the years. He did explain the "nerve sparing" measures and the pills and injections and pumps to aid in erection difficulties. That last sentence just completely went over our heads. So everything's going to be okay, right doc? The surgery date was set a month away, but I called about every 3rd or 4th day asking the surgeon: what about this option? And I was surprised, it was the doctor, not his nurse or PA that answered each time to answer my questions and calm my fears. In the end it was: Molon Labe! At or about 31° 58' 40.8"N, 102° 8' 10"W Lose Not a Minute!
Pathology results: This puts me at a stage T3a with a Gleason Score 3+4=7 Tumor involves 20% of Prostatectomy Specimen. (2) Right Lymph nodes are benigh, Left Lymph nodes are benign. No cancer in either of the Seminal Vesicles, or vas deferens, and no cancer invasion of the bladder neck. The cancer was totally contained within the prostate and had not escaped through the prostate wall.
I am nine months post-prostatectomy and cancer free. I was not able to achieve an erection on Viagra or Cialis. So on August 23rd in the urologist office I tried my first Caverject Impulse injection of 5 mg. Wow! I haven't seen a hard-on like that since my early twenties much less the last 7 months. That was at 9:02 in the morning. Doc said it should last 30 minutes to an hour. If it lasts more than one and a half hours to call him. He explained the damage that priapism could do to my penis after 3 or 4 hours. Well, I was so excited that on my way back to the office I did some Kegel exercises. Okay, maybe not Kegel. I just wanted to feel myself bounce up and down. Good thing I thought to grab a sport jacket to wear to work that day to conceal the boner I was enjoying. Well, by 10 o'clock I went to the men's room to try to make it go down by masturbating. That didn't work. And I was really starting to hurt. I waited until 10:25. Finally at 10:45 I called the doctor. He said to meet him at the Emergency Room. My Boss knew I had an other doctor's appointment at 11:00 so I just stopped by his door and nodded at him and left. I called my wife on the way. The E.R. was waiting for me. I was relieved to finally get my boxer-briefs off and slacks. I put on the hospital gown and waited 45 minutes for Dr. Dragun to come. The meds he needed to inject have a short shelf life, which he does not keep at his office. The PA's that wanted to watch were unmarried women. Ugh. I had to lay there with my boner straight up, my wife beside me, a needle with a tube attached sticking out the side, totally exposed with people walking in and out of the room. My flagpole finally started to very slowly subside an hour later. Any modesty I had, left that day. Well at least I was smiling and laughing at the experience. I was back at work by 2:00 that day and no one at the office was any the wiser.
Three weeks later the pharmacy was finally able to get everything I needed so I could mix smaller dosages of the Caverject. Went to the urologist office. He walked me through the steps. And by 8:54 a.m. I had my second injection. This time 1mg. No results. I tried 8 more attempts on my own, each time the same dose or adding a 1/2 mg, to take it slow. I didn't want to end up in the E.R. again. The last dose was at 2.5mg and I achieved an erection. Having read on this site about men losing length and girth, I decided to measure myself. I was so angry. I measured my length 2 and 3 ways. Yep, I had lost 1-1/2 inches in length! I haven't measured my girth, but my hand doesn't grip myself the same so I know I have lost girth. I just don't remember that measurement. I wonder if it I lost all of it since my prostatectomy. Well, now that I can use 2-1/2mg of Caverject, I can go back to using the Caverject Impulse.
But I must confess I wonder about my loss of length and girth of my manhood if it had started before my prostatectomy. My libido fell drastically the last ten years and I would only get horny for about 2 or 3 days a month. My poor wife. I tried talking to the doctors about it but they just ignored me or made it difficult to open up about. They said my testosterone was in the normal range for a 45 year old. Since then I have done my own study and that normal range was for an 85 year old. Doctors really need to get a clue.
Having learned on this site and another about "Use it or Lose It" I have bought a VED to use daily. (Well, almost daily.) That's hard to do when one of your grown daughters and grandson moved back to live at home. Maybe I can regain some of what I have lost. I hate / feel desperate having to use a vacuum pump, out-of-necessity each day of which God had designed my body to do for me 3 to 8 times a night on its own. I kind of bites into my Christian lifestyle thinking.
At the current time I am almost continent. I have total urge continent control, but I still wear a Depend shield for the "stress" incontinence. Which to me is weird. I will hold it, then run to the restroom, then come back to my office and as soon as I sit down a dribble will escape. That does not make any sense. I recently started concentrating on doing Kegel exercises to see if that really helps. I'll keep you informed.
Hang in there men, we will make it.
Steve's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org