It's been two years since I was wheeled into the O.R. on a gurney for robotic surgery. I was 44 at the time but had been fighting a rising PSA for five years prior. My father was diagnosed (and cured) of prostate cancer at age 52, I decided to start the PSA testing early. At only 39, my PSA was already at 2.23.
Fortunately, the pathology revealed that the cancer was caught at a very early stage. Was I "overtreated"? I think not, but sometimes wish I was so that I wouldn't have so much PSA test anxiety. I have posted before about the "ultrasensitive" test, and I ultimately decided that switching to the "standard" variety would be reduce my anxiety without risking my future health, given that I am in a "low risk" group. My latest PSA came back as "<0.1".
I have been truly blessed with my fast and complete recovery of urinary and erectile functions. Other than an obvious lack of semen and a few small scars, I have no evidence of my new "plumbing". It's as if my prostate was abducted by aliens. I do still take a 5mg Cialis every 3-4 days, but I am better than I was before surgery and sometimes feel like a teenager again. I am considering stopping the Cialis since I probably don't need it, however it sure is nice to have this "treat", considering what I have been through.
Although my experience with robotic surgery is a personal journey, I can say that it sure seems like it was the right choice for me. I am also a firm believer in getting the PSA test, at least a baseline, at an early age, say 40.
Age:45 (44 when diagnosed)
Father diagnosed and cured at age 52.
08/21/07: Diagnosed with T1c cancer
1 of 12 biopsy cores positive; 10% tissue
Gleason score: 3+3=6
PSA level prior to biopsy: 4.3 (velocity < 0.4ng/ml)
10/19/07: da Vinci prostatectomy by Dr. Vipul Patel
Difficult surgery due to prostate inflammation.
Both nerve bundles spared.
Spongy erections began within 24hrs of surgery!
10/24/07: Catheter out; down to 1 Serenity pad/day next day.
Final pathology: neg margins, no capsular penetration,
Gleason 3+3=6, 5% tumor involvement, multi-focal.
11/04/07 First usable erection with Cialis
11/22/07 Thanksgiving - Bye-bye, pads
01/17/08 First post-surgery PSA result: < 0.008 ng/ml
03/17/08 Erection quality mostly back to pre-surgery levels with Cialis;
have not tried without meds yet.
04/23/08 Second post-surgery PSA result: < 0.008 ng/ml
07/30/08 Third PSA: 0.01 ng/ml
11/04/08 One year PSA: 0.01
Still taking 10mg Cialis every other day - enjoying the results
too much to stop yet.
02/07/09 Taking 5mg Cialis every other day - having too much fun to try
to stop for now.
03/23/09 PSA: 0.02
10/19/09 PSA: < 0.1 (switched to "standard" assay)