Hi, my name is Tony Fantillo. I am 65 years old. I have been punctual in doing regular check ups on a yearly basis ever since I turned 50 years old. The year before I turned 50, my father passed away from prostate cancer, he was 85 years old. Having these genes I decided on the cautious approach. When I turned 59, my PSA reading was 3.0 ng/ml, however my doctor was not concerned since he said that the PSA will go up slightly as one ages. By the time I reached 65 the PSA had changed to 5.01 ng/ml. My doctor had had prostate cancer himself and had since retired and had prostate surgery. My new doctor, looked at my personal history, did a rectal exam, looked at my PSA and said my suggestion is that you see a urologist, just to get his opinion. So I did. My urologist proceeded with his own exam, looked at my personal history and then looked at the PSA of 5.01 ng/ml. His suggestion: watchful waiting or biopsy? I chose biopsy.
Two weeks went by and I had my biopsy...six samples. On Sept. 13 I had my urologist appointment to discuss the results. Yup, he said, 2 of the 6 samples are cancerous. Of course, you do a double take, this was never supposed to happen to you, right? Well, once my wife and I settled down to the news, he went over some more of the details of the diagnosis and the options I was faced with. He gave me lot's of reading materials, he said to talk to as many people as I could, and make an appointment to see him in two weeks to arrive at a decision.
Option 1: Watchful waiting, not an option for me.
Option 2: Radiation
Option 3: surgery (open)
Our option was to operate, especially after we talked to many people both with prostate diagnosis experience and without, professionals, the internet, etc. We asked our urologist about RLRP, and he told us that in BC, it was a fairly new procedure but that in Edmonton, Alberta, they had been doing it for about 5 years. So we decided to go to Edmonton for the RLRP. Here's a shortened schedule:
Dec. 1 operation
Dec. 3 discharged
Dec. 6 flew back to Campbell River
Dec. 12 lab results in - The lab results showed a 15% cancer in the prostate. It was completely contained, whew!
Dec. 13 catheter out
Day 1: 100% incontinent
Day 2: 80% controlled incontinent
Day 3: up and down
Day 4/5: 80% control
Day 6: good control
Nothing yet although all the feelings are active. The penis is too sore from the long catheter stay (I am hoping). The doctor said that it would take anywhere from 4 weeks to six months for the regular function to come back. I am waiting.
My first PSA appointment is on Jan.10/07 Physically I feel really normal The way I felt before the operation. I was an active soccer and squash player, I am beginning to think that I should begin again. I am giving myself the month of Dec. to recover, hopefully it will work.
Will let you know how things go!! I want to thank the administrators of this website and all the contributors for sharing their stories, it has been a real eye opener for me. I really appreciate knowing that everyone has had similar experiences, its reassuring and comforting!
I had my first post-op PSA and meeting with my urologist. The PSA is at the undetectable level of 0.02. This is great news. I asked my uro if one is ever out of the woods so to speak and he said that we have to monitor the PSA level for at least one year post op, if it remains at the undetectable level then we can begin to relax.
He seemed happy with my progress. The incontinence remains at about 20% (80% controllable). It is quite manageable with the usual drips especially after lifting weights of some types, or defecating. I guess the sphincter muscle weakens after such efforts. Night time is good although I wear pads just in case.
As for sexual functions, I am still at the dysfunctional level. My uro gave me a prescription for Cialis to be taken once a week to begin getting the blood flowing into the penis. I started yesterday, I have felt a little difference but nothing to really brag about. This try out is to last till my next appointment (April/07).
Meanwhile I have returned to my normal activities without any discomforts whatsoever. People ask me if I have been sick with the prostate thing and the answer is no. I am feeling fine. I play squash up to five times a week (45 to 90 minutes at a time). As you may know squash is quite an intense physical activity, I do not feel any ill effects from the prostate procedure. Other than the 20% incontinence and the lack of sexual functions so far, my life has returned somewhat to normal with the hope that it will be completely normal (whatever that is!) eventually!
I will keep you posted as to further progress or lack of it. I have really appreciated this website for all the individual insights on our individual approaches to our problem. At the beginning one cannot see the trees for the forest is too thick but with the sharing of experiences, the learning, the decisions and the outstanding expertise and knowledge that's out there, we begin to see, reflect and acknowledge our very existence. Thank you all!!
I last updated this journal entry a year ago. Since then my PSA has held at 0.0. I have been very relieved about this. I have resumed a "normal" life and am thankful that everything seems to be ok. My incontinence is back to 100% controlled. I do have the odd smallest leakage especially when I get excited about some event or action. My sexual functions have not returned as yet. We have tried the pump, Cialis and a few other ideas but nothing has worked yet. Our uro did say that it could take up to two years for the functions to come back.
One odd thing that has happened on this topic, and that is for about five times now, I get a real stiff one in the middle of the night and it might last up to 40 seconds. No idea what might bring it on, no dreams of any significance that I can recall. I will have to ask my uro at my next appointment. I do get some blood flow in there but still too soft to use with any confidence.
I am very active physically (I play squash up to five times a week, walk and play soccer at times), so this might not help I really can't say. I am thankful that I am healthy for now and hope that the rest will resume with time.
If I can be of any help whatsoever to anyone, please drop me a line. I am available any time.
Hi everyone...this is the continuing saga of my story.
Since my last update (in January 2008) there has been no change to my situation. I get a check up every six months and the PSA reading has remained the same, undetectable, that's good news.
On the ED front, I cannot say that it got any better. I tried everything from Cialis to Viagra to the pump to the needle.
The only thing that really worked was the needle. But this was a rather negative experience on top of the positive sexual experience. After I went to my urologist to show me how and when to use the needle, he did it right than and there. Within 5 minutes I had an erection. We drove home (about 40 minutes) and it was still standing at attention. Used it thoroughly and satisfactorily (I think, according to my wife), got well tired and it was still standing. About an hour later it began to hurt. Two hours and still hurting, no sign of softening. Four hours go by and hurting still and no sign of subsiding. To make a long story short I ended up at emergency. It took another four hours and two injections two hours apart to have it go back to no life like before. As soon as the erection subsided the pain went away. So the needle works but at what trouble! Was it worth the effort?
Well we have tried different dosages but without success...so we may end up by going back to the urologist.
I will keep you posted, the good news is that the PSA has remained at the undetectable level.
Hi everyone...this is an update on my journey.
I have been having regular 6 months check ups. My PSA has remained the same so far, undetectable. I have been fortunate as I have the opportunity to live an active, normal life on all fronts except the ED.
The noodle has not changed from the beginning of the saga, the desire is still the same but the results very lacking. I have not returned to the needle as I did not enjoy the experience, however, I have not given up on it completely. The intimacy is still there but, of course, not at all like it was before. I have returned to Cialis and the like with no apparent results.
Generally speaking life is good. One adjusts to what one's reality really is and so we move on, hoping that the remaining years will be fruitful in many different ways on a variety of different levels. I am involved in the community and so that gives me an opportunity to give back. I am also really enjoying my family, especially the grandchildren. My wife and I also enjoy travelling whenever we have a chance...Italy and Turkey are on the horizon.
Cheers to you all and hang in there tough!
In response to a reminder, Tony said:
Sorry for not responding earlier but I have been rather busy with mundane things that I have neglected to respond.
Since my last update I have continued on the same pattern of recovery. My doctor has moved me from 6 months checkups to yearly checkups. The PSA continues to be undetectable (.02). The ED has not changed either...I have tried everything from acupuncture to Cialis to Viagra but usually with similar results. The only thing that really worked was the needle and that was a painful experience as I ended up in the emergency trying to bring down the "monstrous" erection. I am kind of gun shy to venture on that path again but I am sure that if I tried again with a different dosage it would be better. We did try it with an older prescription but it did not achieve any functioning erection.
Other than that I have been leading a very busy, normal life enjoying my grandchildren, my larger family, travels, and helping out in the community. I am also still paying a lot of squash and enjoy my gardening. Cheers and please keep me posted. Just the other day I had a chat with a fellow from Vancouver who has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. I shared my experience with him, he was staged at similar levels that I had been and so I hope that I alleviated some of his concerns. He had not decided yet as to which path he was taking but I am sure he was leaning toward LRP.
Thanks again and sorry for being somewhat lax in my response, Tony.
Everything is as normal as could be. ED is still the same. Incontinence is negligible. I feel lucky so far, 8 years post op.
So far so good...
Tony's e-mail address is: ando7779 AT shaw.ca (replace "AT" with "@")