While away at a very nice resort in Mexico during the spring of 2007, I noticed that I was getting out of the pool (it's where the best bar was located) about once an hour to visit the restrooms. I was not drinking heavy, so found this to be a little odd. Upon returning to Windsor, I made an appointment with my GP to have this looked into. In hindsight some of the symptoms of prostate trouble started showing up in the summer/fall of 2006: frequent urination, 2am urination, blood spotting, leakage, trouble starting a stream, and feeling that my bladder was not empty. Some of these I had seen my GP about in the past, but had been dismissed.
The GP did a full physical on me including a digit test [DRE (Digital Rectal Examination)], and PSA test. He thought my PSA was ok, and that my prostate was both soft and pliable. He booked an appointment with a local urologist just to be on the safe side. We were both thinking of a bladder infection, as my PSA was only 1.52 mg/ml. This occurred at the end of January. Prostate cancer runs in the family so I started these test at the age of 40. I am currently 42.
The Urologist appointment took a little longer and was rescheduled once. I meet with Dr. Elsdon in June, and again had a digit test and went over the family history. He said my prostate was slightly enlarged and than my PSA was a little higher than normal for a 42 year old. He sent me in for a biopsy I think more to calm my nerves and just to be sure. I credit him with saving my life.
On July 17 I had a 12 core biopsy (6 in each lobe). The ultrasonic probe was uncomfortable and the first 4 needles stung. The last 8 plain and simply HURT. After the procedure I got changed and drove my self home. In hindsight I should have had someone there to drive me home. Once home I attempted to urinate (I had a very strong urge) I passed out in the bathroom. A little pain medication during the procedure would have been useful. Also lecture on what my semen was going to look like would have been useful. It comes out with the consistency of used motor old by the way. Visit the bathroom and clear those ducts by yourself for about 2 weeks. Don't scare the crap out of your wife.
Two weeks later, on July 30, I was told I had prostate cancer in both lobes with a Gleason Score on 7 (3+4). The urologist sounded very surprised and shocked, as was I. I was then scheduled for a bone scan, followed by an ultrasound. He also recommended that I have the prostate removed laparoscopically in Hamilton due to my age. This procedure has fewer complications. This by the way is one of the few places in Ontario that use this procedure. They made an appointment with Dr. Matsumoto at St. Josephs Hospital. My mistake was telling my wife she did not have to come with me (she had just started a new job). Driving over to her office to tell her I had cancer was difficult at best.
On August 8th my wife and I meet the surgeon in Hamilton, had another really thorough digit test, and was put on a short waiting list with four other people. I was told to expect a surgery by the end of September/beginning of October. The normal waiting list with this doctor is well over six months.
On August 8th I had my bone scan. As I travel across the USA/Canada border daily, setting off the radiation detectors was loads of fun. If you plan to cross the border within a week of getting this procedure, please make sure you get a card from the hospital detailing what isotope was used and the amount.
On August 10th while on a golf weekend with some close friends I received a call from the Dr. Elsdon while waiting in the club house for my tee time. He told me that the bone scan had revealed a lesion behind my right ear. He also informed me that my prostate surgery was now on hold and I needed to come in for a CAT/MRI scan on Monday. This news was far worse than the initial diagnosis of prostate cancer. Needless to say I did not golf well, and cut the weekend outing short in order to return on Monday for a CAT scan.
On August 27 I went to see a neurosurgeon about the lesion on my skull. After looking at the CAT scan results he concluded that it most likely prostate cancer because of my recent cancer diagnosis. He suggested radiation. I asked that it be removed and biopsied. On September 1st I had a silver dollar size section my skull removed to be biopsied, and am now the proud owner of a new 6 inch scar behind my right ear. I had to wait two weeks for the biopsy results. It was a LONG two weeks, but it just takes that long to biopsy bone. I was really hoping the hair grows back. This was vane in light of the other things going. It's strange how your mind works.
On September 19th I meet the neurosurgeon and was told it was simply a fibrous mass: No Cancer, No Tumor. It was a great relief to know the prostate cancer had not spread. I called Dr. Matsumoto in Hamilton that afternoon to tell him the good news. On September 21st they called with my surgery date.
On September 27th my prostate and I are going to part company.
September 26 -29 – This first trip to St. Joseph's in Hamilton
My wife and I traveled up to Hamilton on the 26 to get the pre-op paper work and testing done before the surgery, and then went to find a hotel room for the night. We though we would have one last romantic evening before the surgery, but alas two fleet enemas took the wind out of our sails.
The surgery went well, but I have to admit not remembering much of the 27th after being wheeled into the operating room. I came too when I developed a blockage in my catheter. Not being fully awake I strained a little and blew a stitch while waiting for the nurse to irrigate my catheter. My nice almost dry JP drain (Jackson-Pratt drain) was now working overtime. By Saturday my JP drain was slowing down again so they sent my home. My wife really, really did not want me going home with the JP drain, and hindsight she was right.
September 30- October 4 - My short stay at Home.
The 300km trip home was uneventful other that the stares I received while walking around the rests stops. It's like they never seen anyone walk around with a drainage bag attached to their leg. I was supposed to have a home health care nurse stop by once a day to check up on me, because I went home with the JP drain. St. Joseph's had made all the arrangements with local Hospice service organization in Windsor, but no one showed up until 8pm Sunday evening. My drainage had slowed down a lot, so I was not a big deal in my opinion. Again my wife was not impressed with the nursing company, and again she was right to have these feelings. They did not come at a set time, nor did they ever come prepared.
At 11:30pm Sunday evening I was off to the hospital with a blocked catheter. The nursing company had ordered some supplies, but nothing to irrigate a catheter. I should have made these arrangements and picked up any needed medical supplies before the surgery. My JP drain is flowing again. I contacted some of the YANANOW mentors regarding my JP drain. They all assured me that leaks will heal themselves.
On Wednesday the JP drain is really slowed down, and I am feeling GREAT. I'm eating what I want and walking as much as I can tolerate with the catheter. Dr. Matsumoto called me that afternoon and we were making plans to take the JP drain out and then the catheter in a week's time. After this phone call and while walking through the kitchen I had a huge sneeze. My JP drain is flowing again BIG TIME. I was now draining well over a litre a day from my JP drain. My heart sunk.
Early Thursday morning my catheter plugged again, and I could not empty my JP bulb fast enough. All my urine was coming out the JP drain. The irritation kit had finally arrived so my home heath care nurse attempted to clean out the clot. They did not arrive until 2pm. The nurse could only bring up was bloody urine. I made a call up to Hamilton and spoke with Dr. Matsumoto. He was in an operating room at the time. He told me to get back up to Hamilton ASAP.
October 4 - October 11 - My Return trip to Hamilton.
We arrived in Hamilton at around 10pm and after a short stay in the emergency room went right to bed in the urology ward. One on the young doctors studying under Dr. Matsumoto was there to greet me. He asked a few question, probed my abdomen and then tried irrigating the catheter again. After a little bit of playing with the catheter he was able to clear the blockage. He told me afterward they were really worried I had torn my bladder were they had connected the urethra. He said the bloody urine the nurse in Windsor saw was cause by poor irrigation technique. They decided to place my catheter under traction *OUCH* and keep me in the Hospital under observation for a week as was draining a lot and was having trouble with blockages.
On October 11th, they pulled the JP drain out and sent me home with instructions to take it easy.
October 12 - November 6
I home without the JP drain and in a week the catheter is leaving as well. I'm out walking a lot and am enjoying the freedom. On October 15th I developed a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and was given some oral medication. Two days later after coming to the conclusion that the medication was not working, Dr Elsdon decided to pull the catheter a day early and give me a different medication. I did not complain one bit about the catheter being pulled early!
I had almost complete control of my bladder from the start. Finally something that is working well! I was using a thin women's incontinence pad and only need to change it once a day.
On November 6th I met with Dr. Matsumoto to find out the result of my surgery. The cancerous cells were all contained in the prostate, the seminal vessels and lymph nodes were clear. He told me again that he had been able to spare both nerve bundles. I was starting to seen some progress on the erection front. I forgot to mention that I was starting to have some trouble with rectal bleeding from hemorrhoids. I should have written down all my questions on a piece of paper. Dr. Matsumoto sent me home with a prescription for Viagra to keep thing working until the nerves healed.
November 7 - January
On December 3rd, the day before my birthday, I finally had the confidence to stop wearing pads altogether. With the exception of the occasional stress induction leak, that part of the journey is over. Now that I'm dry, we booked a week holiday in Mexico for the family.
My hemorrhoids are really sore now and I starting to wonder if the increased blood flow caused by the Viagra is making thing worse. I've made an appointment with my GP and am trying some stronger ointments.
On January 15th I had my three month check up. My PSA was now 0.03 and in the cancer free range. Dr. Matsumoto advised me that haemorrhoids are a sometimes complication (stool softeners and pain medication) and to see a surgeon and get them taken care of. I'm about a three on the Glen Leslie scale.
It's hard to believe that three months have already come and gone. I like to thank those Mentors that help my though times. Your sage advice and phone calls were really appreciated. I am starting to get e-mail and calls from guys in and about my age. It is gratifying to know that I can help in any small way.
Life is starting to return to normal.
February 7th. I've gotten fed up with the bleeding haemorrhoids and cannot wait for the specialist's appointment in July. After doing a little internet research I came across this supposed cure from David Hosking's Pharmacy in Essendon, Victoria, Australia. I ordered some Proctosedyl suppositories and Paroven Capsules and crossed my fingers.
March 1st. I'm happy to report the hemorrhoids are finally starting to go away. I've stopped taking the daily Viagra pills until this heal.
On April 15th I had my six month follow up. On the good side, my PSA was 0.03, or undetectable. On the bad side my hemorrhoids are still giving me some trouble. My daily dosage of Viagra was reduced from 100mg to 25 mg to see if this would help. I'm still about a three on the Glen Leslie scale. It's a little depressing on the ED front.
May 1st. I've stopped the daily Viagra treatment again and tried another round of Proctosedyl suppositories and Paroven Capsules . These thing are driving me NUTS.
June 1st. I happy to report the hemorrhoids are only a minor problem now. I've up my fibre and really watch what I eat. What's next prunes....
July 16th. I've been using the Viagra again and wanted to see if they actually do anything. I decide to get frisky one night and took 200mg. Not much of a change on the ED front, but I did get to see a funky blue haze around everything.
On July 24th I had my nine month follow up in Hamilton. My PSA was once again 0.03, or undetectable. I had very little anxiety this time waiting for the results. On the ED front we are moving on to Cialis. I hope this does something. My hemorrhoids specialist appointment is not until 2009. I found this out when I called to confirm the appointment. I'm glad I got a little proactive myself.
A year has passed already and the surgery is fading memory... well almost.
This will be a short update as there is really not that much to say. I had my ONE YEAR follow up in Hamilton. My PSA was once again 0.03, or undetectable. I'm going to ask that I be transferred to a local doctor after the next visit in six months. The 600km drive to find out your PSA is zero is not really needed.
I managed to get my hemorrhoids specialist appointment moved, and just come back from being scoped. Turns out I had a small anal fissure that was causing the bleeding and pain. It has almost completely healed itself. Time to turn the page on this problem.
On the ED front things are progressing SLOWLY, but they are progressing. Maybe in another six months I'll have something useful. I'll think about using injections at about the two year mark. I've tried Viagra, Cialis, and now Levitra. They all are about the same. Patience is a virtue I'm told.
I'm still receiving to odd call and I enjoy helping them. This site has been wonderful.
Cya in six months to a year.
As I stated previously my hemorrhoids/anal fissure issues are over and I'm happy to say they have not come back.
My ED issues however are not progressing. On April 24th I had my 18 month follow-up and left the office disheartened. My PSA came in at 0.05, a slight tick up, but still in the undetectable range. During the meeting with my urologist I confided with him that I was happy that the PSA was low, and that incontinence was not an issue. I then told him I was depressed about how slowly the ED problems were progressing.
He made an appointment to train me on TriMix injections. When he reviewed the file, he informed me that he had been hoping for a better result, but that the one nerve bundle that was spared may have been damaged as he had to cut really tight around it. My JAW DROPPED. THE ONE BUNDLE! I had always been under the impression that both had been saved, but my memory is really fuzzy on this.
What a roller coaster the last year has been!
That small uptick in my PSA turned out to be nothing, but this news, my ED, and few other items sent me off the deep end. It was the lowest I have ever felt in my life, and I broke mentally. I ended up in the hospital, and then in the care of a psychiatrist. I could not find a big enough rock to crawl under.
I ended up taking several months off work, resigned from a group I really liked being part of with a group of friends I enjoyed being with, and in general withdrew from life. It was a couple of very dark months.
Since then I've monitored my PSA very closely, and and am happy to report that it's settled back down to zero. Why it every started to rise is a mystery to both myself and my doctor. My psychiatrist has helped me focus on what's important in my life, and what can and should be cast aside. He's also helping me deal with my ED at such an early age and it's effects.
I'm living (key word living) my life a little different now, and am enjoying what I'm doing.
My wife and I just came back from a wonderful, unscripted vacation in Key West, FL. What a great, laid back place!!!
Life goes on, and so do I.
Not much to add really. I'm still getting a few odd signs (blood in urine for example) but the PSA is pegged at zero. Let the zeros keep on rolling.
My wife and I traveled again to on a vacation in Key West, FL. We saw a group from Winnipeg cycle in a fundraising trip for Children Wish on our last day. That's a 4,200 km trip!.
Another year and I'm at the magic five year milestone for cancer SURVIVORS. YIPEE!!!! Not much has changed, ED is still an issue, but the zero keep adding up.
The family just came back from a trip to Cedar Point. We had a great time. I was able to ride all the coasters this year with out issues, but the spinning rides really got me sick. Prior to my prostate surgery I had to have surgery right behind my right ear. I now get dizzy really quickly. That was the only let down.
My oldest in second year engineering is now a member of the The Golden Key International Honour Society, and the youngest is finishing high school. My wife and I are now starting see the prospects of retirement. I'm glad to be around for all of it.
Cya next year
I am very grateful to be around to see my daughters grow up. My oldest is off for her second engineering co-op in January. She'll be working on a cable stay bridge .. way cool stuff. My youngest has started university with the world of opportunities laid out in front of her.
Had to start a new job in March. I'll delay our retirement by a few years, but that's ok.
Again glad to be around for the ride.. even a bumpy one.
PS. I'm sitting here debating whether or not to shave my mustache off for November. I hope everyone who reads this finds someone to support.
Until next year.
The year 2015 is now upon me and my PSA score are still coming up zeros.
Not much really to add to my story. My marriage is strong as it's survived the side effects of my surgery. This summer I will get to see my eldest graduate from University. Something I would likely have missed.
Simply put, I'm glad to be alive. Now onto year 8.
Happy Chinese New Year. This year I find myself submitting my update from Hong Kong. So very happy to be alive and well.
Still all zeros with the PSA scores.
My wife and I are on the home streach to retirement. Eight more years and it will be time to kick up our feet, relax, and dance. My eldest graduated from university and started her new life with an engineering firm in Vancouver. My youngest has interviews for medical school in March. She has been doing cancer research for the last three years.
My father in law, also a prostate cancer survivor, it once again battling cancer. This beast never seems to go away.
Now onto year 9.
I have spent the last year travelling the world. This year I find myself submitting my update from Rome, La dolce vita. The wine is really good here.
Still all zeros with the PSA scores, but depression is once again creeping in.
My eldest graduated has changed jobs and is enjoying life on the west coast. My youngest had more interviews for medical school in this year. So very proud of both.
My father in law looks like he might beat back cancer one again.
Roger's e-mail address is: grondin.rog AT gmail.com (replace "AT" with "@")