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John P lives in California, USA. He was 62 when he was diagnosed in July, 2010. His initial PSA was 2.00 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.

I am a fit 62 year old who works out four times a week and who has always paid attention to health and nutrition. At 6'1, 190 lbs., I am in good shape for my age. During my last physical in March, my FP noticed hardness in a portion of my prostate during the rectal exam and referred me to a Urologist. He recommended a biopsy which returned a positive result as follows:

Left Prostate: Apex Lateral - Gleason grade 3+3, length 1mm, 5% of biopsy; Mid Medial - Gleason grade 3+3, length 1mm, 5% of biopsy

Right Prostate: Apex Medial - Gleason grade 4+3, length 3mm, 20% of biopsy; Apex Lateral - Gleason grade 3+3, length 1mm, 5% of biopsy; Mid Medial - Gleason grade 3+3, length 1.5mm, 10% of biopsy.

Initially, this was quite a shock to me, as I have always been healthy with no previous surgeries and am physically fit. After doing my initial research and talking to my wife's boss who was diagnosed three years ago, I am 99% decided on doing the Da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy due to my relatively young age. My contact referred me to Dr. Mark Kawachi of the City of Hope who has performed many Robotic surgeries. My friend also had a very good experience with his surgery. I am meeting with Dr. Kawachi in a week and a half for consultation with my wife included, at which time I plan to make my final decision. That's it for now.

Later: This week, I consulted with a radiation specialist, a surgeon at the City of Hope and my friend who is a teacher of meditation and self hypnosis technique. My wife and I decided upon this plan of action:

Due to a Gleason score of 4+3 on one area of my biopsy which accounted for 20% of the right prostate plus the fact that two acquaintances have had robotic surgery and are doing well, we decided on this procedure as my method of treatment. All physicians I consulted with stated that at my age and given my biopsy results, this would be the recommended method of treatment. Even the radiation specialist stated that "he wouldn't have a problem" with me choosing the surgical route. He actually was recommending a combination of hormone therapy followed by IMRT radiation, a regimen that I felt might be a bit extreme. His office was near a major retirement community, and I felt that his experience might be with an older patient base.

I am scheduled for surgery with Dr. Mark Kawachi of the City of Hope on Thursday, September 23rd. Dr. Kawachi operated on my wife's boss's husband several years ago, and he is doing well. The doctor also has a very solid reputation and has been doing robotic procedures since 2003 which makes him one of the most experienced physicians in the region with this procedure.

Now that I have made this very important decision, I have to assure that I can maintain the mst positive mental attitude possible leading up to the surgery and beyond. My friend Jennifer had a stroke in 2003 and credits meditation and spiritualism as playing a huge role in her complete recovery. She has been teaching individualized courses for the past five years. We met this morning and agreed to a personalized course of an hour or two per week during the period leading up to my surgery. She knows my "type A" tendencies, and I am very confident that she can help me immensely in the mental portion of this "battle." Living five minutes from the beach in Southern CA, I have the perfect setting for meditation and improving positive mental attitude, so I am excited about bringing in Jenn as my spiritual leader and advisor.

That's it for now! May God bless us all.

UPDATED

October 2010

I had my surgery on Thursday, September 23rd, and the surgery was deemed successful by my surgeon, Dr. Mark Kawachi. However, after surgery I developed some continual blood loss which was just over minimum transfusion status. After two days, the follow-up physician found a surface vein leak and stitched the area. My blood level stabilized and although at anemia level was high enough to discharge me after five days of hospitalization.

At the follow-up appointment which was yesterday, I was told that there appears to be no lymph node nor collateral cancer outside of the prostate. I am now on the recovery program. My biggest issue thus far has been mental, as I have been unable to sleep since surgery. I took a sleeping pill last night that helped but have been very groggy all day. My biggest positive has been that I have been able to control my bladder and have not experienced incontinence.

Let me add that my wife Janice has been wonderful in this entire ordeal sleeping on basically a chair in my hospital room for four days. She is the most wonderful woman on this planet.

Later: It has now been a little over three weeks since my surgery, and I finally feel like I am on my way to recovery. I wound up being treated by an acupuncturist who I knew from a business networking group for insomnia, and he has me back on a normal sleep regimen. I was treated with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbs which seem to be working well. My strength is coming back, and I feel better with more energy each day.

The most positive things that have happened are that I have had virtually no incontinence and today actually had an unstimulated erection. I'm sure some of this is probably due to being prescribed Viagra after my surgery, [see Use It Or Lose It] but it is very encouraging after only three weeks.

All in all, I am feeling very positive, as I was told that all signs point to the cancer being confined to the prostate. My followup appointment with my surgeon is in two weeks, so I'm hoping for good news on November 1st.

UPDATED

November 2010

Had my six week follow-up from surgery on November 1. PSA was non-detectable, and I have had no incontinence problems or erectile dysfunction. My only issue is prolonged slight anemia from blood loss after surgery. My family physician just put me on Slow-Fe, a timed release iron supplement, and I actually feel stronger after one day.

With all the good news relative to my recent surgery, we are facing a new challenge, as my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer two weeks ago and started chemo last week. However, her prognosis is good, and she is being treated by a world class oncologist, Dr. John Link. He has projected a 90% chance of complete recovery.

So, in conclusion, I have gone from care taker to care giver in the space of a couple of weeks. We are as positive as can be given the situation and will fight the Big C with everything we've got.

UPDATED

January 2011

I had my 15 week checkup yesterday at City of Hope, and everything checked out well. My PSA was non-detectable, and my blood levels were back to normal. I had been battling anemia from excessive bleeding after surgery which resulted in ongoing colds and sinus infections. However, now I feel as close to normal as I have felt since my surgery in late September. I am back to my one hour beach power walk, and last week I walked five days. I am going to do a combination of power walks and gym workouts consistently four days a week.

My objective now turns toward providing total support for my wife who has hit a plateau in her breast cancer chemo treatments. I'm hoping that my significantly better positive mindset can rub off on her.

I am very fortunate in the fact that I have experienced no incontinence nor erectile dysfunction since my surgery.

UPDATED

April 2012

One month after I had a robotic prostatectomy for my prostate cancer, my wife was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Although I have recuperated well from my surgery with no side effects and symptoms, my wife passed away in September of 2011. It has been extremely difficult dealing with her loss. I am trying to reduce stress and move forward, but my own personal situation seems highly irrelevant after what Janice went through. As of April of 2012, I am still trying to learn how to cope.

UPDATED

May 2013

As of today, I am 19 months cancer free with no detectable PSA after my robotic surgery in September of 2010. I had none of the obvious side effects such as incontinence or erectile dysfunction from day one, and I owe this to my surgeon at City of Hope, Dr. Mark Kawachi. I did experience excess bleeding from a vein that was nicked during surgery and was anemic for six months, but as of today everything is going well. I lost my wife of 40 years to breast cancer in September of 2011, and went through the normal grieving process but finally decided that I had to move on with my life. After talking with my daughter and my late wife's best friend, I decided to venture out socially and met a wonderful woman in January of this year. We now are seeing each other exclusively, enjoy fitness, fine dining and concerts, and experience a normal sex life. For this I am very thankful. The best saying I came across during all my family's cancer battles was NEGU (Never Ever Give Up.) Best of luck to everyone who reads these comments.

UPDATED

June 2014

I have now been cancer free for 3 years and 7 months and still have no side effects from my robotic surgery in September, 2011. I am dating a second great woman since the death of my wife from triple negative breast cancer in 2011. We enjoy a great sex life, and for this I am thankful. I am also involved in support and fund raising for victims of childhood cancer. As I write this today, life is all good. NEGU!

UPDATED

July 2015

It is now July 1st, 2015, and I have been cancer free for 3-1/2 years. As of today, I have had no side effects and enjoy a strong sex life with my girlfriend. Kudos to Dr. Mark Kawachi of City of Hope for his surgical expertise. For the past three years, I have practiced a 5-6 day a week workout regimen which includes 3-4 one hour power beach walks and two days of high intensity short duration nautilus training. I also practice a high protein, low carb diet with no sugar containing food products except for natural fruit. I supplement this with a daily energy drink containing Bai Coconut energy drink, protein powder, Go Ruby Go fruit and veggie supplement and apple cider vinegar. This program has me consistently at 180 lbs. on a 6'1 frame and is relatively easy to administer. My annual physical is in two weeks, so I am hoping and praying for another good report. Best wishes to everyone in the club we never wanted to join.

UPDATED

May 2016

This September, I will have been cancer free for six years. in January of 2015, I started dating one of my clients, a wonderful woman who is also a widow, and this past January, we moved to paradise in Central CA. We both sold homes and pooled resources to get a great place overlooking the Pacific and the Morro Bay rock and are much closer to my two grandsons. We enjoy a great sex life, and my love and thanks go out to my surgeon, Dr. Mark Kawachi at City of Hope. I have become involved in Pediatric Cancer research and support several foundations which raise money to help the kids. Whatever happens going forward will not change the fact that I am a very lucky man. I thank the Lord every day for watching over me and wish all of you continued success in your battle against the cancer monster.

John's e-mail address is: calrep@cox.net


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