A routine physical in April of 2003 included my first ever PSA. An elevated PSA(6.4) resulted in a referral to a urologist, subsequent biopsies, and confirmed prostate cancer on 5/20/03.
I have no known family history and was not experiencing any significant symptoms (frequent urination and urgency to urinate was about it)prior to the physical. My urologist recommended surgery (2nd opinion confirmed)and encouraged a robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy(for its advanced nerve sparing capabilities and less invasive procedures) and referred me to the Henry Ford Health system in Detroit, Michigan and Dr. Mani Menon.
After a little research and a few battles with the insurance company, surgery was scheduled for July 1, 2003. It was all pretty overwhelming. At times the support from my wife, children, and other family and friends moved me to tears.
The surgical procedure went very well.The cancer was confined within the prostate (both lobes). Surgery was on 7/1 and I was released on 7/2. The catheter was in from Tuesday 7/1 and removed the following Monday (the catheter was a very humbling experience).
3 month PSA was .03. Continence is great. I haven't worn a pad since the 4th month. Sexual functioning is showing some signs of life (inconsistent) Viagra helps a little. Tough to deal with at times - but I remain hopeful. Physically I feel great.I ran a 5 mile turkey trot race on Thanksgiving. It feels good to write about it. Having that physical done was a real life saver. It was my first visit to a new Doctor.
My Dad passed away on August 1st of 2003 - so it has been a pretty emotional year.I would be happy to discuss my procedure and experiences.
PSA level as of 2/16/04 remains negligible (less than 0.10 ng/ml). Overall health is good. As of the New Year I really made a commitment to eating better and exercising more (and I have pretty much stuck to it).
Continence remains very good (no pad). Sexual potency has improved with the help of Viagra. I am capable of intercourse on most occasions. No spontaneous erections. Though I feel I am making great strides, the change in sexual functioning is depressing at times.
I attended a prostate support group meeting (US TOO). After talking with some of the guys I am very happy that I had the opportunity to select the robotic procedure. I hope this becomes more available to others. Continued great support from my wife.
I returned for follow up one year to the date of my surgery (July 1)and was very pleased to get the news that my PSA remains negligible at less than 0.1.
I have lost some weight over the past year from eating a healthier diet and exercising more. I have found Viagra and Levitra effective and necessary at this point. I must admit that emotionally the need for medication for sexual functioning for a youngster like myself bothers me at times - but I know that I am very very fortunate.
It seems like there is so much more written about prostate cancer now. Keep informed men, and spread the word. I have spoken to a couple of other men that had good experiences and results at the Henry Ford Clinic with Dr. Menon. I think often of others going through this experience. There is much good living after prostate cancer. I have learned much from others who have dealt with tougher outcomes than mine.
Follow up appointment today at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo New York. PSA remains less than .01.
I feel well and exercise regularly. I have lost 20 lbs since my surgery last July (from exercising and watching my diet). I had the opportunity through work to speak to a group and closed my talk with a few words on the importance of early detection/PSA's etc.. Afterwards a man approached me and said he had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He seemed so relieved to be able to talk about it with someone who had been through it. You never know who you can reach and help.
As in the past reports, sexual functioning remains the same. With Viagra potency is good. I remain hopeful of returning to pre-surgery form (no pills needed), but it is what it is and I am thankful for that. Many have been through much worse than I.
Add Roswell Park memorial Institute in Buffalo to a site now doing the Robotic procedure. They have purchased the da Vinci system and are now doing the nerve sparing techniques. I strongly encourage anyone who is choosing surgery as the treatment of choice to seek out a robotic procedure. It has advantages even over the more widely used laparoscopic.
The New Year started off well with another undetectable PSA test. We are very thankful for that news.
The family is well and our three teenage sons keep us busy. I talk more to them now about healthy choices in diet and lifestyle - but teenage boys (and their father) don't always make perfect choices. We are however much more conscious of healthy meals and all of us remain pretty active with exercise. A cold beer and a few glasses of wine now and then continue to find there way into my diet. Still in need of Viagra for potency - but remain ever grateful to the developers of that medication.
I have heard from a few men and wives who have been hit with the news that prostate cancer has found its way into their bodies and homes. I feel the emotion in the e-mails they write. Please keep in mind that there can be so much good living left after this diagnosis. Do your homework and start the healing process! Be open to the support of family and friends. Men -don't be afraid to talk about this disease. You may reach someone who has never had a PSA. My wife remains my best friend. Work together as you face this.
As always write if you have any questions and hang tough friends.
It has been awhile since I have written and I am happy to report that I received another good PSA report today. I am moving in on the 3 year post surgery mark and things continue to go well. My two older sons are home from college and my high school guy is playing lacrosse so the house is pretty active. Lots of sweaty clothes (including my own) as I will be running a 1/2 marathon in two weeks. It is great to have the house active.
I worry once in awhile about the boys' chances of getting this disease at an early age, but hopefully we will continue to progress in how we prevent prostate cancer. My wife remains my best friend.
Physically things remain pretty much as last year. Minimal leakage, sexual function is very good with medication. The urologist I see is doing a study related to vitamin D levels and prostate cancer. When he first checked mine last year it was barely normal. I continue to take 1200mg of vitamin D and a multi vitamin daily. The D level was up a bit this year but considered low normal.
Through insurance (20% copay) I purchased a VED (Vacuum Erection Device) a couple of months ago. Just looking to see if there is any long term benefit to more frequent erections. I practice with it a few times a week and it does produce a decent erection. It is a pretty strange device when you first see it - but it works.
One piece of advice I would give someone facing any treatment decisions - ask when and how they will address erectile dysfunction. Though I am pretty fortunate I often think that if I had started earlier I would be further along ( or further long - bad pun). My Doctor at the time didn't give a lot of advice in that area. Ask questions.
I wish all of you the best and offer prayers on occaision for all men and families facing this. Please write with any questions or concerns. As always hang tough and remember there is much good living after a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Surprised a few months back to learn that my PSA level was on the rise after 3 years of it being undetectable. It went from 0.10 ng/ml to 0.20 ng/ml and again a 0.20 ng/ml rise over a 6 month period. After consultation with a radiation oncologist and a peer review of my case by the Buffalo Niagara Prostate Cancer Consortium it was decided that a course of 3D Conformal External Beam Radiation Therapy to the Surgical Bed was needed. 37 treatments in all. As of this writing I have 29 down with 8 to go.
I am receiving treatment at The Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. I have a daily appointment(Monday - Friday) at 4:10. They have a great system at RPCI. From the time I park my car get my treatment and get back to the car less than 30 minutes have passed. As the treatments are quick they have a separate parking lot right near the treatment bldg. Side effects have been minimal,(little more gas, urgency to urinate), some mild fatigue (may be more a factor of starting work earlier so I can leave earlier to get to the treatment, and driving through the cold and snow over the last couple of weeks).
During this time had a friend who went to work feeling fine and by the end of the day is in a hospital being told he has a tumor on his brain. Putting in all in perspective I am doing fine. Very hopeful that this round of radiation is all that will be needed to put this thing to rest. Still exercising a bit. Treatment ends March 1st, then I will be at the Shamrock Run on the 3rd running and having a couple of beers with friends. The NP told me the other day they like to wait about 3 months before checking the PSA. I will update then. Celebrated 25 years of marriage on Jan. 30th). Who gets married in Jan. in Buffalo? - we were in love is all we can come up with now - and we still are.
Keep the faith, hang tough, write if you have any questions.
Sorry for the gap in updates.
All good news since the radiation treatments. PSA has been undetectable at all readings. The last being just a couple of days ago. My urologist is a big proponent of vitamin D and mine was very low when first checked a couple of years ago. I have been taking increasing amounts and it wasn't until last September that that it moved into the normal range (and it was there again when it was tested last week). I take 6000 iu of D per day. I can't say I feel any different but I survived the winter in Buffalo, NY without a cold or Flu. Coincidence perhaps, but some research says the D can have a positive impact on the immune system.
Everything else is about the same. Functioning in all areas is good. Minimal to no leaking, and medication for that other stuff we like to do is still effective. Trying to keep fit, running etc. Still enjoy some beer and wine with friends and family.
Stay well, stay strong, stay hopeful.
Happy Mothers Day to all the wonderful women reading this who want to help their husbands. It is an emotional ride at times, but life can be and is very good.
Life is good. Thankfully I remain in good health, as is everyone else in my family. PSAs have been undetectable.
I continue to try and lead a healthy lifestyle with a moderate amount of exercise, semi- healthy diet, and occasional alcohol consumption. I am a pretty normal guy who has been blessed with a wonderful family, steady employment, and a good recovery through this point in my life. To those beginning this journey do not abandon hope. Do your homework, seek second opinions- you deserve and need as much information as you can get to make the decision that is the best for you and your loved ones.
I remain pretty dependent on the pills for peak performance, but have had some surprises without.
I have met many people who have struggled more than I did with a variety of illness and I am always amazed at their grace and courage- they handle things better than I think I would- you are amazing. As always try to live each day confidently and courageously. If you falter a bit on some days - that is ok, there is always tomorrow.
Thankfully nothing has changed health wise since my last update - PSA remains undetectable. I have it checked twice a year.
Still exercising pretty regularly. Finished second in my age group (50-54) in a Dash for Dad's 5k last summer. It is a race held in a number of cities to create awareness about prostate cancer. I should add there weren't a lot in my age group. What made it even more special was one of my sons finished third overall and first in his age group (his was a legitimate win). To cap it off my wife finished third in her age group. We were all medal winners. It was an emotional moment for me. We celebrated with a few cold beers afterward. It was a great day - of which there have been many since my surgery.
To those who may read this stay strong and fight the good fight. If needed please reach out to me or others. Hang tough.
another year and thankfully another undetectable PSA. I have my normal follow up next month so I will update if there are any changes. Still trying to exercise a few times a week. The family is great. My youngest son graduates from college next month.
I had a scare during the year when some nodules were discovered in my lungs-non cancerous. I have been very fortunate. Drinking a Guinness as I update. I encourage positive thoughts, being open to prayers, love, and support from family and friends. Keep active and get in touch if you have any questions, concerns, or just want a sounding board. Hang tough friends.
July 1st will be the 10 year anniversary of my surgery. Wow! My life and health continue to be very good. Ran the Buffalo half marathon over memorial day weekend. Still enjoy some beer, wine, and a good meal. My wife remains my best friend, and my 3 sons have all developed into wonderful young men. It is hard to believe they were 17,15, and 13 when I left for the Henry Ford hospital and my encounter with the daVinci Robot. I still believe it was the best decision for me. I do know there are other wonderful options. As I, and others have said, do your homework and pick what you think is best for you. Embrace the love and support of family and friends who truly want to be there for you.Stay active. Enjoy life! Write me if you have any questions about my experience, and always-hang tough!
10 years ago this month I had my surgery! All is good! Hang tough men!
The past year has gone well. Now 11 years out from surgery. Really no change from previous posts. Still working, exercising, enjoying beer and wine. The family is great. I would be happy to chat if anyone has questions/concerns. Hang tough friends.
Hello friends. Another good year. Health is good. Remain physically and sexually active (meds). Good family and friends. My family suggested I get a a hobby - so I picked brewing beer at home - just getting started. May add to my occasional leakage and urgency to urinate - but worth the risk. I'll let you know. Maybe I'll name a batch after this site (YANA ale) in honor of all the good work that is done here and to all who fight the good fight. Hang tough.
Hi friends. Hoping all is well with you. I had a little blip this year. In early May started passing blood and clots when urinating (sorry for the details). Long story short, ended up needing areas of my bladder cauterized. Learned that it is a side effect from radiation I received post prostatectomy. Often doesn't manifest until many years post treatment, which was the case for me. No problems since the treatment in May. Back to running, enjoying some beer and wine, and quality time with my wife, children, other family and friends. I remain so fortunate and share this as just more information for those who have had radiation! or are considering. I don't recall hearing about this as a possible side effect. As with most of my prostate cancer experience this was more emotional than physical. I'm now 60 and marvel that this journey all began when I was 47. Stay strong, reach out if you think I could help you in any way, and most importantly- hang tough. /Bob
Hi friends. Two big life changes this year- retirement and having our first grandchild. Both bring great joy, but having a granddaughter is even better than I expected- pure joy! Health wise I started to experience some blood in my urine earlier in the year. It would last for a few days, go away, then return. I had the bladder irrigated, which helped for a few weeks, but the bleeding returned. Finally had a cystoscopy during which they cauterized areas of the bladder. It came back for a short period, but it has been gone now for about 5 months. Was told it is a side effect of the radiation I received in 2007 and it can show up many years later- which mine did. Crazy stuff. It may reappear. Thankfully it was not painful, just alarming when it was happening. Hasn't changed my lifestyle too much as I'm still running and enjoying my new retired life, and especially being a grandfather. I hope all those seeking information are getting what you need. reach out at anytime. Stay strong and hang tough /Bob
Robert's e-mail address is: robert.goodwin AT roadrunner.com (replace "AT" with "@")