Hello all PC survivors and loved ones, my name is Charlie and I'm new to this forum. I heard about it from another forum that I had been visiting that seemed not very active.
Let me tell you a little about my PC journey.
I'm 59. My brother, who is 2 years younger, was diagnosed about 5 years ago, and was one of the first people in the Rochester, NY, area to have DaVinci surgery. My father also had prostate cancer, but was never treated for it. Sadly, he passed 7 years ago at age 77 from another type of cancer.
So I had been dutiful about seeing the urologist twice a year. He always told me that although my prostate was a bit enlarged, there was no suspicion of cancer.
In May I went for my semiannual checkup. My PSA was only 1.4. Nice, right? Well, not so fast. The DRE revealed a "bump" that the doc had not noticed before. Subsequent biopsy showed a number of positive, moderately differentiated spots out of 12 samples. The Gleason score was 6 (3+3). DaVinci surgery was recommended because:
a. Watchful waiting would not do me much good because my PSA was registering so low. I would need to have a biopsy every six months if I deccided to wait it out.
b. I was healthy enough to tolerate surgery.
c. Radiation now would preclude the possibility of surgery later.
So I went ahead and had the procedure done on June 16. Everything seemed to go well. The catheter was scheduled to be removed on June 26.
On about June 23 (coincidentally my 30th wedding anniversary) I noticed a problem with a bowel movement. Without getting overly graphic about it, let me just say that #2 was oozing from the opening where only #1 is supposed to come out. Needless to say, this was terribly painful and distressing.
My cystogram on June 26 revealed a fistula. Well, now I knew what it was called, but I also knew that it wasn't good. The doctor said that he had seen this only once before, out of hundreds of daVinci's he had done. (How lucky can a guy get?) He recommended a change to a "low-residue" diet, stool softening medication, and the retention of the catheter for another three weeks to allow it to heal on its own. If it didn't heal, he would have recommended sending me to the Leahy Clinic in Boston for bowel repair surgery.
Fortunately, it seems to have healed. The catheter is now just an evil, distant memory. However I continue to struggle with incontinence. I'm using about 6 pads a day, in addition to 1 or 2 Depends.
I'm trying to be patient, but I'm feeling a lot of frustration. I was doing the Kegels faitfully, but have now dropped off somewhat as they don't seem to have any effect. As of yesterday, the doctor says that if things don't improve in a couple of weeks, they have some machine in his office that helps you exercise your pelvic floor, and he would recommend that for me.
Personally, I'm glad to be back at work, although I had to move my cubicle to one closer to the men's room. What I miss most are my four or five weekly trips to the gym. I just don't feel comfortable in a locker room or a public shower.
Thanks for listening. I'm hoping to meet some guys here with similarly interesting stories, and possibly gain some encouragement and insight.
Peace to all,
P.S. There's an error in my profile that lists my age as 66. I'm really 59. I have since fixed the profile.
Age at diagnosis 66, PSA 1.4
Biopsy 12/08 12 cores, 6 positive
CAT scan negative.
DaVinci surgery 6/14/09 Catheter Out 7/17/09
After 10 days, cystogram revealed fistula