Posted 12/7/2008 1:17 PM (GMT -6)
We've had a long leadup time, months, but surgery is approaching, 2 weeks off. Time to make love to my wife twice, maybe three times more, but definitely fingers of one hand. We can share this thing, and find laughter in it between the sensible preparation steps. Supplies laid in. Informed.
Picked the best doctor I could. Recognized by his peers as who they would send their loved ones too. about 15 years in practice, so prime of his practice. 350+ da Vinci procedures, so meets experience criteria. And staging wise, I am as low risk as it gets. A bit of carcinoma in a couple of cores of a biopsy. Gleason 6.
But its a roll of the dice.
For certain, an operation with at least an overnight stay, a darned catheter for a week, out New Years Eve, off work for another week and then reassess. I'm lucky, health insurance covers operation, and work will support me, though in kind of a flinty impatient way.
Carcinoma, odds are for organ confined, surgical margins clear, lymph nodes clear. But about maybe a 1 in 20 chance of a surprise. Aiming for the zero club, no biochemical return, but have to grapple with testosterone supplements and odds there too. I worry here, that maybe odds are only 3 to 1 that I'll be in the zero club for a decade. Don't have enough factual basis.
Continence, could be dry when the catheter comes out, or struggling up to a year, or even very unlikely something permanent. Odds are best for incontinence for about 3 months, gradually declining pads and Depends and leakage and accidents. And a high probability of a squirt now and then for the rest of my life. The public face of the outcome, but for the person ranking behind carcinoma and sex.
Sex, best I can figure is about a 50:50 chance of regaining something just a notch down from where I'm at with some things changed, dry orgasms, dependency on Cialis (do that now). probably more stimulation required, but capable of intercourse, etc. Anticipate vacuum pump and drugs, 'therapy' starting 6 weeks out, first embers after 3-6 months, what its going to really be like after a year. But it can ratchet down from there pretty quickly. Prepared to face injections. But real possibilities that it will be damaged to heartache proportions. ED, loss of sensation, loss of desire, as one poster put it lovemaking no longer being a mutual exploration of intimacy but some sort of all about him getting over the hump with the loss of the woman's side of things. Those are not odds I like, and I hope and pray.
The trouble with all this is its like a run through an old Mario Brothers video game. Fast forward through snapping dangers. Odds for any one danger small enough, but many in sequence.
I am extraordinarily blessed. I cannot control my life but I can influence this moment. I choose to treasure it. The other side will be what it will be.
The past is gone, the future yet to come.
This moment, here and now, is nothing less than the totality of existence.
Mild DRE finding (hindsight unrelated) > biopsy
3/08 1st biopsy, 18 core. Path 1, HPIN and ASAP, 0.5mm 1 core. Path 2, carcinoma
7/08 2nd biopsy, 16 core. Path 1, 1 core carcinoma. Path 3, 3 cores carcinoma
Urologist retired. Referred to another Dr. in same practice, not experienced enough.
Robotic da Vinci sched 12/22/08, Univ of Washington Med Center, Dr. Ellis.