After I had resisted treatment for close to 4 years (Active surv. - and my numbers stayed pretty much constant), I went to see my Dr to finally discuss treatment. He agreed with my feelings about the side effects of treatment especially (and of course) ED! But he made a simple statement that I reflected over and over: "Impotence never kills anybody, Prostrate Cancer does!". This sounds like an obvious statement but I never quite thought about it that way. In the end, I made my decision. I decided to live with whatever happens. But most importantly, I made the decison also to go in with the lowest of expectations regarding especially incontinence and ED. This way, I'd appreciate every small improvement. Go in with the mindset that continence and ED improvement will happen but will take time, this way if it happens sooner good, else just take it in stride. The important thing to know is that you will recover!
Don't get me wrong, I have 2nd guessed my decision to treat sometimes. Ironically, my recent 'undetectable' PSA results fueled the 2nd guessing more as I wondered if I couldn't have taken this a bit into my later years before treatment. However, nothing beats the peace of knowing, that the source of cancer is gone! Incontinence is gone! The fear that I'd not see my sons graduate from high school (due to Pca) is gone. ED not gone but improving (at least for me the stress of an imperfect erection is nothing compared to the stress of knowing I have cancer!)- and most importantly, I am alive!
God speed to all those about to go to treatment! Know that as demostrated by many on this forum, it shall be well!
>Age 41 (At Dx-July 05) -Psa during annual physical went from previous 2.8 to 3
>Biopsy by 'primary' Urol Aug 05 - Gleason 6 low grade. 2nd opinion at Hopkins confirmed Dx
>Chose Active Surv (AS)- modified diet etc.
>Around Oct 07 Psa moved up to 5.5. I decide to treat at Hopkins. Not sure what kind yet. My doctor decided on re-biopsy first.
>2nd Biopsy Dec 07 at Hopkins was NEGATIVE for Pca! Nothing found in 14 cores!
>'Primary' Urologist baffled. Planned a saturated biopsy (22 cores) to settle issue once and for all. I wasn't going to do 22 cores wide awake!
>July 07 - Did MRI just for comfort. Nothing significant found. No spread. I'd live! Still in AS mode.
>July 08 - Saturated Biopsy performed. Cancer confirmed again (of course, you took 22 cores)! Same Gleason score, same grade, similar numbers but Urol says treat very soon! I am thinking not so fast - numbers are same and you told me it means not aggressive! In any case I agreed with Urol that I will go the way of the Seeds. I research seeds more and I don't like it.
>July 08 - Dec 08 I re-lapse back into AS mode but seriously researching/considering treatment options beside surgery - went on to Mass Gen and Georgetown to explore proton therapy and Cyberknife respectively. Anything but Surgery! Both experts who are about my age were unanimous in strongly declaring they will chose surgery 'if they were me'. In addition, I learn that if either if these radiation methods (and seeds too!) failed, no backup plan (or will be complicated)! I got the message!
>Jan 09. Went back to see my doc at Hopkins. I decide to put my fate in the hands of the 'Da Vinci Robot' then!
> May 09. Had surgery. some Pain and discomfort but normal. Pathology all clear. Gleason 6 as before. Feeling very lucky. I gambled (based on my numbers and got 4 more years!) on the slow nature of the cancer and took my time. Very happy I finally did it. Hoping for a great recovery of all 'key' functions. Great wife and family helping out.
> Sept 09 - 3month PSA - Undetectable!