kcragman: your entry was a breath of fresh air. We are also from the dc area (many years ago, we lived in Foggy Bottom, but I don't know the restaurant you mentioned) and my husband was treated at Hopkins in September 2008, PSA jumped from .7 to 1.4 in a year, Gleason 8 biopsy, upgraded to Gleason 9 after open radical prostatectomy, negative margins, negative vesicles, negative lymph nodes, but there was some EPE necessitating removal of nerves on one side. PT3A. First PSA after surgery was .1 which the doctor said was as low as this particular test went. Waiting to take the second 6 month psa in a few weeks.
We are anxious -- keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. The surgeon, who is also an oncologist, does not paint either a rosy picture or a gloomy one. He says Gleason 9 is bad cancer and we'll just have to wait and see. I don't want anyone to offer us false hope, but it would be nice to get some encouraging news once in a while, which is why I was so interested in your post. There's just not much encouraging out there or those in the high risk group.
By the way, we saw two surgeons before we selected Hopkins and both said that surgery for my husband's Gleason 8 was the ONLY option available to us. The robotics guy (the one we didn't pick) said you don't go into a gunfight with a knife - you go into it with everything you've got and that is surgery. He was actually much more confident than the open surgeon we ultimately chose - in response to our question as to whether surgery "could, might or should" result in a cure, the robotic guy's response was "It WILL result in a cure." Our open surgeon, who is awesome and to whom I will be forever grateful no matter what happens, was much more tempered when answering the same question. His response, with a small smile: "I like to think I can cure all my patients." Go figure.
I was a bit surprised about your doc's comment that Walsh's statistics are overly optimistic. Perhaps they are optimistic for the low risk Gleason 6 patients, but for Gleason 8-10 patients, Walsh said there is only a 40% chance of non recurrence after surgery. That does not instill confidence in me, but someone has to be in the 40% group, right?
Anyway, it's nice to hear about doctors out there who are expressing encouraging words to their high risk patients. Thank you for sharing that.