hi tinterer! welcome to the forum and i'm so sorry to hear about
our family went through similar feelings back in 2010 when my dad was first diagnosed, with a gleason 7 initially but upgraded to a gleason 8 after the pathology on the prostate after surgery.
my dad opted for surgery as there was no evidence of spread outside (though having said this, i'm currently at a stage where i'm unsure if his uro even checked this...more on that later!) the surgery didn't get rid of everything as PSA didn't go to undetectable after surgery so he then did radiation of the prostate bed as well as lupron injections. he also hugely modified his diet - became mostly vegan, stopped all alcohol and sugar. he responded well to radiation and HT and PSA went down to 0.
the good news is that 7 years later, he is still alive and feeling great! unfortunately, he did have biochemical recurrence in january 2016 and a steady climb in PSA which the uro ignored until my dad got severe back pain this year and a lesion on the spine was found. right now we are waiting for a pathology report on this lesion (which was recently removed after he showed signs of spinal compression) though all the docs are saying they think it's a bone metastisis from the PC.
anyway the last few weeks i've been going over everything and here is some advice (though i'm not a doctor! this is just waht i wished we'd done early on, if we'd had the knowledge at the time) hopefully this will be of some help to you. try not to despair too much, there are so many advances being made in PC all the time and your dad still has years ahead...it's still controllable at this stage and from things i've seen, even curable. i wish him all the best and all the best to your family too! anyway, this is what i wish we'd done, in hindsight:
-Gleason 8 is aggressive...i'm not sure if our uro really grasped the seriousness of this (my dad had a low psa with a high gleason - a combo which is often an indicator of much more aggressive disease) and i feel he treated my dad's cancer as if it was less aggressive than it was. in light of this, i wish we'd seen a medical oncologist and also got a second opinion or consultation from someone who specialises in prostate cancer/aggressive prostate cancer - they may have a better grasp than a lot of uros imo and i wish we'd known or at least been referred to one
-There is a philosophy amongst some that aggressive cancer must be treated aggresively. i'm agreeing with that. i don't think gleason 8 and above can afford medical teams to be too lax and good experts will know this. also, it seems that oftentimes using certain treatmetns concurrently (instead of one after another) has shown good results
-timing of treatments is essential in these more aggressive cases and i personally don't trust docs who want to wait too long. our uro did and was super lax about
the chemical recurrence (for over a year!) and took no action - there turned out to be a met! so that's another thing i'd do - is make sure that the monitoring is close and they take it seriously
hope everything works out. i've seen tons of gleason 8 cases where there is survival for many years and a good quality of life too. i feel for you because i know those emotions and fears well - we are going through the same again with the return of the cancer (and a possibly rare and aggressive variant of it) but you all have each other and your dad will get strength from you and your concern and support. you're doing great by informing yourself! and it's great he's got a child who is fighting his corner! this is such a great place for it with so many amazing, supportive and inspiration people
will keep you and your dad in my thoughts and let us know how he gets on