Hi, my name is Geoff and I live in South Wales in the UK. I went to the doctors 5 years ago with a recurring back problem, which I had for over 25 years. All I wanted was another prescription for my pain killers, which I only took when absolutely necessary (I'm not a pill junkie). It was a self inflicted injury which happened in my 20's when I tried to lift an engine from a car, which slipped in the process and jarred my back. I have learned to live with it, and it didn't affect my day job as I was a design engineer at the time and worked in an office.
Anyway, the doctor I saw wasn't my regular one. I saw a young Dutch doctor who had qualified a year earlier, and was doing the rounds as a locum. He had my records in front of him on the screen, but asked me lots of questions as well. He seemed quite concerned at the frequency of my back problem, and sent me for a blood test. When I asked why, he said it was routine, my backache could be something else. When I pushed a bit further, he said he had specialised in men's cancers as part of his training and wanted to check if I had the early signs of it. Back ache was a symptom in some cases. I had the blood test the next day, and a week later the result came through as a PSA of 4.5. When I went back to see the doctor the following week, he explained that the level was a bit higher than he would of liked, and sent me for a biopsy, which was done the following week. I can't remember what the result was, as it was all double dutch (excuse the pun) to me then. I was then referred to the oncologist at the local hospital where the results were explained, the treatments available and given a booklet to read. I opted for PSA monitoring every 3 months. After a couple, the time went up to every 4 months. After 3 years I was advised to have another biopsy, which I did, and the result came back as the same as the first one. This was a relief, and I am still being monitored between every 4-6 months. My last result was 8.8 in July, and the next test is in December. I retired from full time work last week at the age of (a young) 68.
My wife is a lot younger than myself, and we have a 12 year old son. She is extremely supportive and has been with me all the way. Of course, she is worried but tries not to show it. Me, I'm very positive about it, and I have been that way throughout my life. I have 2 cars to restore, lots of work to do in the house and revamp the garden, so I don't have time to worry. It doesn't affect me as such, although the back ache is purely muscular, as I had a full bone scan 6 weeks ago and the only cancer that showed up was the prostate.
Last test has dropped from 11.7 to 9 3,which is good. I had a full scan in April this year as I had developed a bad back ache over a few months. My GP sent me for a full dye body scan to see if it was the cancer spreading, but it turned out that the only cancer detected was the original one, and that was stable. The back pain was muscular, and I have just been diagnosed with sciatica on my left side, which is more debilitating than the original back ache. My next blood test is October.
5 weeks ago I had an appointment with my consultant. He went through the last 5 years of PSA results and explained to me what they were. It seems that when the level went up to over 11 was just a glitch. The latest result was 10.3 which he was happy with. He is going to send me for an MRI scan to see if there are any other signs of the cancer anywhere else. If the results are all clear except the prostate cancer, then he is going to sign me off from the hospital PSA tests on the 4/6 monthly test, and refer me to a once yearly test at my doctors. He has set the top level to a PSA of 15 at which he will call me in to discuss what to do next. In general my health is very good for a 70 year old. I have just completed a 2300 mile trip around France in 8 days in my 23 year old Citroen with some club members, and 3 months ago I was asked to go back to work for the company I retired from to sort some engineering problems out for them. I am now working a 3 day week after working full time for 3 months before the rally. When I have had the result of the scan I will post the result.
As I was discharged from the hospital last July from being monitored on a 6 monthly basis, I was referred back to my GP for a yearly PSA check. My consultant had set the trigger point at 13.0 for a referral back to him. I had a blood test in July and was phoned by my GP 3 days after I had a PSA check to be told that the PSA level had come back near the 13.0 trigger point to be referred back to the hospital (12.9). He said to have another one in 6 weeks time to double check that it was right. I phoned the surgery yesterday to be told that I had been referred back to my consultant. I wasn't given the result of the latest test. I will update as soon as I know what's going to happen after a meeting with my consultant.
Well, I had a PSA check last July (2016) and the result came back at 12.9. My consultant Mr Carter had set the level at 13, so I had another one done 6 weeks later and that came back at 13.2. I then had an MRI scan, and a nuclear bone scan, and the results were that there was only cancer in the prostate itself. I had a meeting with him and after in depth discussions with him, and my wife, I decided to have the prostate removed. I also have the early signs of Peyronies disease, which is irreversible. I had the operation done on the 10th January this year in a day surgery unit at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. This is a large teaching hospital 10 miles from my home. I underwent surgery at 08.15am, and was back on the ward at 11am. I was up and walking about the ward at 2pm, and home by 7pm that evening. They specialise in the robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy, and it is a routine operation for the surgeon that did it. Before the op, I asked to see the equipment in the theatre and how it worked. I explained that as a design engineer, I was inquisitive as to how the operation would be done. I met with the theatre staff and had a guided tour, much to their surprise. It was very interesting to see the machine that would be plugged into me to say the least. It is called a DaVinci machine!
I have had the catheter removed today, and apart from internal bruising from the op, there hasn't been much discomfort at all. I have not had to take many pain killers in the last couple of weeks either. The holes where the machine went into me have almost completely healed over too. I have some urinary incontinence at the moment, which was expected, and I will have to learn to pee again!! although hopefully for not too long. I can't drive for another 2 weeks, and go back to work for a further 6-10 weeks(if I want to, as I only work part time) My oncology nurse also called up the post op report on the prostate and they knew the Gleason score before the op was 6, the actual result of the prostate biopsy came back at a Gleason score of 7. There was also no sign of cancer in the surrounding area or Lymph node area, so hopefully I am now cancer free. I can't have a blood test for another 2 months to check the PSA level due to the drugs I am on for the next few weeks, as these have to be out of my system to get an accurate result. I will post the result at a later date.
I have had my first blood test last week, 9 weeks after my operation and the result has come back today at a PSA level of 0.01, or undetectable. Basically the cancer has gone. I will have to have further blood tests for the next couple of years just to monitor me. The only drawback is sorting out the incontinence that I am having trouble with. It is still early days, and it could take up to 12 months to control, but the fact that I am cancer free is worth the trouble. Just got to keep doing the exercises!!
I had another blood test again on the 13th June, and it too came back as 0-undetectable. Good news again. The continence problem is getting better too, with me having more control during the day, and being almost dry during the night. I started back to work at the beginning of August in a different, office bound role as a technical consultant engineer for the same company that I originally retired from some years ago. Another blood test is due just before Christmas now, so fingers crossed.
Geoff's e-mail address is: geoffrey.rothon AT hotmail.co.uk (replace "AT" with "@")