Posted 11/21/2010 1:43 PM (GMT -7)
At 55, my health insurance became unaffordable..My wife and I were both healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. I said lets get physicals and see if there are any problems lurking we need to know about..She reluctantly agreed..We were looking at making that 10 year jump to Medicare without any health insurance, paying for any needed medical out of pocket..For $500 a month (the cost of our insurance when I turned 55) you can by a lot of treatment...
The physicals went fine, we were in good shape, the only tiny warning my PSA was then 3.5 Doc said "It's not really a worry now, your DRE felt fine, but you need to have a PSA test every year or two." I was completely ignorant about PC...
I did have one pretty much every year. The Number slowly rose, I had no urinary symptoms..When I was 64, I went for a free prostate screening at the University Hospital, a big research center. A hot-shot urologist (I learned later) marked my DRE as "abnormal" Doc said: "I can feel a little roughness, you should get that checked out" . A few weeks later the PSA test came back 7.5, something like that..I saw my family doctor, had another PSA to verify, his DRE was negative, "feels fine to me, but I'm referring you to a Urologist."
"Can we wait a few weeks until I get on Medicare says I, Doc says sure, no problem..Two days after my insurance card came I was in the urologists office, actually a big treatment center called TUCC in Denver. By now PSA 8.5, but DRE negative.."We need to do a biopsy" I agreed with no argument. 12-core Biopsy came back negative, clean, no cancer, no pin no atypical.. WHEW!!!!!! I made it! I ran the gauntlet! U-doc says, Bob, SOMETHING is going on here, we need to watch this, the first biopsy will find any cancer 90% of the time, but that leaves a 10% chance we missed it...Come back in 6 months"...Well is was 8 months before I got back..PSA now 9.0, doc says "We need to do it again.." Results negative, but a few atypical cells found in one core..Doc says "we may need to do a third one"..I say wait a minute here...He says my prostate is slightly enlarged, lets try Proscar (finasteride) and see what happens..Come back in 6 months.. My next visit, PSA has dropped to 4.5, my minor urinary symptoms gone, DRE normal, Looking good, see you next year..So I'm walking down the street in Guaymas, Mexico, shopping with my wife..I spot a medical lab..I say "I'm going to see if I can get a PSA test." Wife says why? I say just because...$35 and 6 hours later, PSA 7.0 on Finasteride...I'm back in Denver in a week. Third biopsy POSITIVE Two cores Gleason 6, One core Gleason 7 one core Gleason 9..
After a lot of research, hand-wringing and angst, and a lot of help from this and other forums, I elect to have surgery, knowing my chances of a cure were 50-50 at best..But my chances with radiation were no better and at least this way I get two shots at it..My surgeon seemed skilled, aggressive and confident he could cure me. In Denver, for whatever reason, 90% of the prostate surgeries are now being done using the Davinci robot..My surgeon had done over 300 of them and had trained other doctors (at the University Hospital) how to perform these operations...Good enough for me..Operation went smoothly, pathology was bad, positive margin, positive vesicle on one side, the six lymph nodes he removed, 3 on each side were negative...Catheter out, I was dry in two days. Four weeks out, I was virtually fully recovered, then, I got sick, real sick..First few days, looked and felt like a bad GI infection, dry heaves, fever..Family Doc says "You are very sick, go see your surgeon" Surgeon is waiting for me, CAT scan, large fluid-filled abscess found in my left lower abdomen, off to hospital, right now, do NOT go home first, I will admit you from here, go, they will be waiting for you...They were....
Interventional Radiologist uses a CAT scanner to guide him as he places drain needle / tube. Fluid pours out, makes big mess, lots of loud talk..Up to my room, IV's go in, IV pumps, fluid bags, antibiotics..Fever rages, lots of doctors, fluid in abdomen infected with staph, blood infected with staph, I am a sick puppy...Not MRSA (thank God) but MSSA, which standard antibiotics can deal with. Everyone agrees it's a complication of surgery, no one can explain the long delay in developing..Six days in hospital. Then home with an abdominal drain and a PIC Port, a type of IV, and I must self-administer IV antibiotics 3 times a day using pre-loaded 30cc syringes..The weeks go by, drainage finally stops, drain and PIC removed..
Now they can get back to treating my cancer, six week PSA 0.9...Well that REALLY sucks! No worrying about the zero club for me...I'm not to happy with the people at TUCC, so, out of spite more than anything else, I jump ship and contact a radiation oncologist I know who treated my daughter (BC) and he will start SRT in December on a nice new shiny Varian trilogy rapid-arc machine..
PSA at age 55: 3.5, DRE normal. Advice, "Keep an eye on it".
age 58: 4.5
" 61: 5.2
" 64: 7.5, DRE "Abnormal"
" 65: 8.5, " normal", biopsy, 12 core, negative...
" 66 9.0 "normal", 2ed biopsy, negative, BPH, Proscar
" 67 4.5 DRE "normal"
" 68 7.0 third biopsy positive, 4 out of 12, G-6,7, 9
RRP Sept 3 2010, pos margin, one pos vesicle nodes neg. Post Op PSA 0.9 SRT, HT, Dec