This is joe_just_joe.
I had a PSA test showing 4.7 in September 2015. It was my 4th rising PSA in a row. My doctor recommended a needle biopsy. Due to BPH, my prostate was estimated to be 96 grams, 5 times larger than a normal prostate. I got the biopsy results in October 2015. The pathologist found a cancer he scored as Gleason 6 (3+3).
In November 2015 I had a robotic nerve-sparing radical prostatectomy. My doctor said the operation went very well -- a textbook case he said.
I am at home on recovery. I scheduled 1 month off from work. Currently I am trying to manage the urine bag. My world - walking the dog so to speak. Looking at my list of goals. Regain contenance. Regain sexual function.
Six days after surgery, my doctor called to tell me the pathology report was in. "There was only the one spot of cancer," he said. "The margins were clean."
Ten days after surgery I had the catheter removed. I'm working on relearning how to be continent again. The doctor said I was cured of cancer. He also gave me a sample of Cialis.
I have to call the doctor about the Cialis prescription. On the second day of taking the pills, I got a dull pain in my left arm / back. It made it impossible to move my hand and arm as before -- I couldn't put my left hand on top of my head, or reach the coffee filters on the shelf at eye level. A side effect of this drug. I took only two pills, and after 3 days without the drug there is no pain and most of the mobility has returned. I'm going to ask my doctor if Viagra or Levitra can work for me or if I need to continue with Cialis and fight thru the back pain / muscle stiffness.
It's been 10 weeks now since my nerve-sparing robotic radical prostatectomy. I had the blood test done about 5 days before my doctor's appointment and he reported my PSA was ''unmeasurable.'' I now feel comfortable using the term ''cancer free.''
I am still dealing with incontinence and erectile dysfunction, although both situations are improving. In some ways the incontinence was the hardest to deal with for me, since loss of bladder control is so unnerving. But I have signs regularly that my situation is improving -- a big improvement from the early days after the catheter was removed when it seemed like I would never stop leaking.
One year after surgery I have 3 PSA tests in a row of ''unmeasurable.'' My doctor said he was confident enough to say I was cured. Normally it takes 5 years to declare a patient to be cancer free, but my doctor was really confident.
The erectile dysfunction has - what's the proper term? Subsided? Improved? Before surgery I had absolutely no erectile dysfunction at all. After the surgery I didn't have any erection for about the first month but found success with Cialis and using a vaccuum pump. I used the pump for a few months and combined with Cialis my erections returned to as normal as I remember. Some days I do have some bit of morning erection as well.
Not so much success with the incontinence. One year out I am still using Tena incontence pads, averaging one per day. I generally don't leak while sitting or lying down but do leak unexpectedly most often while walking and on those instances it tends to be while walking downhill (?!?!?). My doctor said to focus on tightening up the pelvic floor muscle in anticipation of those events to which I have had some success but still leak unexpectedly.
The combination of the two ''side effects'' gives me an opportunity to feel like a twenty-something, going into Costco to buy a 48 pack of condoms. With no prostate therefore no ejaculate the average observer would imagine no need for condoms. But the condoms prevent me from leaking urine during sexual intercourse. Fun to buy the condoms but embarassing just thinking about explaining to anyone what I need them for.
My wife is more understanding and accepting than anyone I know.
Papa Whiskey's e-mail address is: joeroyled AT yahoo.com (replace "AT" with "@")