I was having a physical at age 48 and complained that peeing wasn't what it used to be. The young woman nurse practitioner standing in for my doctor in an embarrassed state did a DRE (Digital Rectal Examination). She rushed and didn't discover that my prostate was very enlarged. She did order a PSA test which came back as 8.4 ng/ml, so I was sent to an urologist.
He said I had a prostate three times the normal size. Put me on antibiotic then retested. It went up to 8.6 ng/ml. Did a biopsy with negative results.
Six months later, a follow up visit revealed more difficulty urinating and a PSA of 13.4 ng/ml. He put me on Flomax which helped peeing. I don't understand why he waited so long before another biopsy, eleven months after the first and five months after the rise to 13.4 ng/ml but the result was positive. I wanted more information and opinions so went with a surgeon at Mass General that has been operating for twenty two years with this procedure. Note I also got an opinion from a top radiation oncologist at Mass General. He ordered more tests and thought I was best served with the surgery. He said I would probably pee much better as well.
I had the surgery six weeks after the positive biopsy. I was reluctant to risk my sex life but with three young children, all indications of the best chance of long survival were with surgery. Though my PSA was on the high side, all indications were that it had not spread. I had CAT scan, bone scan and an MRI.
I'm 15 months out with no detectable PSA.
It is more than 3-1/2 years since my radical Prostatectomy. I'm due for another PSA test but my January reading was still undetectable. My doctor told me that the January reading was far more important than the previous one!
My personal life has changed quite a bit since my surgery. I am no longer married. I was divorced September 2007. I feel very well and still have ED issues but am glad I had the "gold card" treatment. I recommend it to anyone young, healthy and expecting to otherwise have many good years ahead.
My story remains as I had last updated it. I continue to have a zero or undetectable PSA. The last one was two months ago in August 2009. I am fully continent. In fact, urinating is even better that the first years after my surgery because I can go for quite long periods between bathroom stops. I easily go through the night. I have not a single drop ever leak out except at the urinal.
ED is the only long lasting side effect from the surgery. At five years out THIS week, I can get an erection that doesn't seem to last long. I am quite committed to using Viagra for the rest of my life. Spontaneity is a little difficult as I need at least two hours for the Viagra to kick in. Once taken, it seems to have a long lasting effect. Probably 18 or more hours later, I can get a second round.
As updating before, please do not hesitate to contact me via email if anyone has any specific questions.
Life is busy being busy with life. My involvement with prostate cancer is quite minimal since I seem to be cancer free since my surgery in October 2004. I just had a recent PSA that was again zero. I have my yearly check up next week and hope/expect to remain clear.
ED is an ongoing issue but is relieved with the use of medicine.
I just had my yearly with Dr. McGovern at Mass General. I am doing great. Zero PSA and he says there is no evidence of any tumors detectable from the DRE. My very slight ED is better using Viagra but I can get by without it. I have no incontinence issues. Never did have any. I do have what seems to be a smaller bladder capacity and still need to go frequently. It could be nerve response, but I get intense urges when I need to go. Other than that, I am doing great and would recommend sugery if one had the same circumstances as me.
Nothing new to report from last time. My PSA is still zero and the result of my yearly check-up with Dr. McGovern (MGH) is that I am clear of cancer. This is my ninth year since my RP. I am alive and healthy. I believe in the PSA. I feel it has saved my life despite what the insurance companies and their lobbyists want you to believe. Before my cancer was detected, my PSA was increasing by a huge amount and I was probably destined to lose the battle if it had not been discovered at an early stage from the PSA screening.
In my tenth year since my RP. My health is fine (just ten years older!). My bladder either doesn't hold much or the nerves send a signal too early so I go frequently. This is not a new side effect but I don't think I mentioned it before. This is not a problem. I am happy that I made the decision to have RP by a top surgeon. I could in all likelihood, be six feet under by now. I am still here for my kids and my doctor said I will be here for a long time.
It has been 10 years and ten months since my surgery. My health overall is fine. I still need to urinate frequently and my ED is the same. I don't exactly need Viagra but it helps sustain the desired effect. As I might have mentioned several updates ago, my doctor says I will not die from prostate cancer but something else. I am certain that since I developed prostate cancer young, got early detection from the PSA and subsequent biopsy, my life has been saved. There is a lot of medical media frenzy about the over-treatment of prostate cancer resulting from more early detections from PSA tests. I think the discussion should emphasize more the ages of the individuals. Putting it more simply, the younger your age of developing prostate cancer and detection, the more likely treatments would save your life. Older gents may suffer more side effects than actual life saving consequences. Please contact me if I can offer any support.
I am still very healthy and cancer free. I have stopped getting yearly check ups from my surgeon. It is almost the 12th anniversary of my surgery. My PSA is still zero. I think I would have passed away by now had I not had my surgery when I did. My PSA was on a rapid rising slope prior to my surgery. I would have undoubtedly been a victim of this horrible disease by now. Probably several extra years have already been added and likely many more thanks to Dr. Francis McGovern of Mass General Hospital in Boston and to modern medicine.
I am truly a very lucky and very blessed man. I am now 13 years out from my diagnosis and treatment (surgery). I won't repeat all of the above as nothing has changed. My PSA is still zero. I recenly did the Zero Prostate Cancer Walk in Boston. I met some very interesting people and supporters. I get chills every time I learn about another man either passing or diagnosed. I am happy to be here for my growing children and enjoying my life.
Peter's e-mail address is: peter AT cassidybros.com (replace "AT" with "@")