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This member is a YANA Mentor This is his Country or State Flag

Ralph S and Wife live in Illinois, USA. He was 64 when he was diagnosed in October, 2007. His initial PSA was 4.10 ng/ml, his Gleason Score was 7, and he was staged T1c. His choice of treatment was Surgery (Robotic Laparoscopic Prostatectomy). Here is his story.

My primary doctor caught an elevated PSA during my yearly physical, which had been climbing steadily. In Aug. 2005 it was 2.6 ng/ml, Aug. 2006 it was 3.5 ng/ml and this Oct. it hit the magic number of 4.1 ng/ml, when he sent me to a urologist.

On Oct 22nd, I got my biopsy results and one of the six samples showed cancer. My dad died of PC 21 years ago at age 75, which was another factor the biopsy was necessary.

I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach, telling me I got prostate cancer, because I never had any kind of symptoms.

This is supposed to be an "old man's" disease, but the more I read on these support group sites, I learn that a LOT of younger men than me get this d*mn disease.

After researching this subject on the Internet, reading about every story on this site and talking to men who have gone through this before, I am fairly certain that RP is my best choice at the present time.

At the end of November I have an appointment for a consultation with a surgeon who specializes in Robotic Assisted Laparoscopic surgery at a University of Chicago Hospital. I believe will make my final decision then.

I have three friends my age that had the same problem within the last three years and they seem to be doing well after their surgery except for ED problems. But like one of them said, he would rather be alive with a limp sausage than be dead with a HO. Definitely some truth to that!

I am very glad I ran across this site, it kind of calms the nerves a lot. I have e-mailed about a dozen members and have received some great advice and encouragement from each one.

Thank you all for posting your stories, and may you all have a long and disease-free life from here on!

UPDATED

January 2008

Since my last entry in October, I've wrestled mainly whether to choose RT or RALP - robotic assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. My first choice after consulting with an expert in RALP was surgery. Dr. Gregory Zagaja, an Assist. Professor at the University of Chicago Hospitals Urology Department has performed over 800 such procedures since 2002.

I had attended an "Us Too!" meeting and met two other men who had nothing but praise for Dr. Zagaja. I also communicated with a member on this board, Rex Clark, an employee at the University who was most convincing after having his RALP at U of C Hospitals, his pace of recovery has been remarkable.

But I also had a consultation with a radiology oncologist in December and was very close to signing on with him, mainly to avoid having to face major surgery. I decided after lots of research, in case my cancer had spread outside the capsule, I would have more treatment options after surgery than with radiation. And I would get much quicker results of success or failure by having surgery.

After 4 hours in surgery Friday, Jan 4th, the surgeon thinks the outcome will be successful. From all he saw he thinks the cancer was capsule-contained and nearby lymph nodes were negative for cancer cells, which were tested before the actual prostatectomy began. He was able to spare both nerve bundles, which means, hopefully, that the "limp sausage?" will once again rear its ugly head in the future. Will have to wait for pathologist's report in a week to see if he is correct, will keep fingers and toes crossed.

Today, Jan. 9th and 5 days after my surgery and having my Foley removed this morning, I sit here typing this update in an completely pain-free and comfortable position. Obviously I'm not continent but am able to already stop the dribbles while peeing, sitting in the girly position and using the Kegel method.

More updates as test results develop.

So, am I happy with the option I chose? So far all I can say is, You Betcha!

Thank you all, you may not realize it, but after having read almost all of your stories you have helped me reach my treatment option and for that I am very grateful.

If I may be of any help, please e-mail me.

UPDATED

March 2008

My, my, how time flies after having one's prostate removed! LOL

Perhaps it's the lack of worry, not having the treatment decisions on ones mind 24 hours a day.

My surgeon's predictions were confirmed by the pathologists report a few weeks ago that the cancer was contained within the prostate, seminal vesicles and lymph nodes were negative for tumor. All surgical margins were negative and the tumor volume estimate was 15%.

The Gleason score changed from 4+3=7 to a 3+4=7, even though I had my original biopsy slides reviewed for a second opinion by a university laboratory, which had concurred with the findings of the first lab. I am not complaining, but it just shows that the clinical diagnosis in many cases is just an educated guess.

The clinical stage was a T2a with a palpable nodule on the left side of the prostate, which was revised in the Path report as a T2c because of the tumour's location: Peripheral zone right and left.

My six-week post-op PSA test came back as we had hoped for: "Non-detectable."

My plumbing department is another story; after 2 months of using piss-pads 24 hours a day, I wish now I had invested in the adult incontinence pads industry. All of the men I have contacted about the problem have advised me that it's too soon after surgery to worry. What I am pleased about is that the little bugger can get happy without the use of Viagra, which even at my age was a concern. Like an old soldier though, he doesn't stand erect as he once did.

So, for now life has almost returned to normal and I will update from time to time, hopefully when things change for the better with UI problem.

All the best to everyone and again, if you have any questions you may contact me.

Ralph Schneider

UPDATED

August 2009

Well, it's been over a year and a half since my surgery and by all indications the cancer is gone, knock on wood. So,that's a very good thing.

On the other hand, the two things I was concerned with when I was weighing my treatment options were ED and urinary control. At my pre-surgical consultation my doctor had assured me that either problem would be a very low risk, in the 3-5% level.

Hate to say it but I'm in 3-5% Club. Still hoping that it eventually will improve but I have gotten used to changing my pads a half a dozen times or so in a 24 hour period, that it's no big deal and that sometimes frightens me.

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

All the best, Ralph

UPDATED

February 2011

Wow, it's been over three years since my surgery and back when I first got diagnosed with prostate cancer I thought for sure that I would not be alive today. As you can all relate what it felt like when the doctor told you, "You have prostate cancer!"

Life has been good since the surgery, made the decision to retire after the operation and move Arizona six months a year to get away from the Chicago winters with my wife.

My wish for everyone that had to go through the nightmare of that first shock, is that you are all doing well and are reasonably happy. I do still have some UI issues but learned to live with that annoying but manageable problem. In other words, the wearing "piss pads" are not the worst thing that could have happened to me.

Again, if anyone needs to "talk" about PC or has any questions, please feel free to contact me.

All the best to you all, Ralph.

UPDATED

April 2012

It's been just slightly over 4 years since my RALP and still have a dripping problem, one of the things I had originally worried about before the surgery. At the pre-op meeting with my surgeon he had assured me that there was only about a 3 percent chance that it may happen, but after having read many other stories I tend to believe that surgeons don't want to give you the whole truth, probably fearing the patient would be less inclined to have surgery.

Having said all that, and looking back, I probably would have the same treatment again knowing that the cancer is gone. It's like most things in life, what's done is done and no use crying over spilled pee, no, wait, I meant crying over spilled milk. LOL

UPDATED

February 2013

Nothing much has changed from my previous update and still have UI problems which I have come to accept that it will be with me the rest of my life. Had I known this would be a problem before my surgery, I may have thought longer about the treatment options and chosen surveillance for a bit more to see how fast the PSA would climb.

Having said that, and the potential problems with the alternative treatments, more than likely nothing would have changed my eventual decision. Life is a guessing game and there is no use kicking yourself once the treatment is complete, for it will not change a thing.

Good luck to everyone,

Ralph

UPDATED

April 2014

As always, the time between updates seem to go faster the older I get. You all remember when you were young how the "old people" used to say, " ...the older you get, the faster the time goes!" Of course we couldn't wait to get older and didn't believe them. Funny how right they were!

It's been 6 years since my surgery and things are going along pretty smoothly, except as always the problem with slight urinary leakage has not resolved itself. As I have mentioned before, it was my greatest concern as I was contemplating my treatment options. My surgeon had assured me that the chance of that problem would be in the 3 - 4 percent range. I don't believe that anymore, because quite a number of men with surgery whom I have talked to, tell me they have some degree of leakage.

Granted, it is NOT most of them but I truly believe the range is probably closer to the 10 to 15 percent rate. Having said that, I am still satisfied with my option for treatment I chose back then and have come the the conclusion that I'll support the urinary pads industry for the rest of my life.

Over the last year, several newly diagnosed men have contacted me after reading my story. I've advised them not to jump into treatment and go the watch and wait method,at least for a few months, getting their PSA; readings and seeing if there are any significant changes over some time period.

As always, those are only my opinions and each individual man has to make up his own mind as to what he feels comfortable with concerning his options.

Feel free to contact me if you need info I could help you with.

All the best, Ralph

UPDATED

June 2015

I see it's been awhile since I last updated my story, but there is really nothing to update, since nothing has changed since then.

Would I have the same treatment as I originally did, knowing what I know today? Probably not.

I would have probably choosen 'watchful waiting' had the information been available back then.

Hindsight is 20/20, so no regrets, and the treatment has produced non-detectable PSA numbers.

Thanks for viewing and as always, if you have any questions for me, please email me.

All the best to everyone,

Ralph

UPDATED

October 2016

Sorry, the time has gotten away from me, forgot to update my story.

There is not much new to report, I'm doing well with no negative symptoms except for the problem of still having to wear pads, which has been the case from the beginning.

So, life is going along well, lets hope it continues without major problems.

Ralph

Ralph's e-mail address is: lumpee33@aol.com


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