I thought I would share my experience with others.
Diagnosed in May. One core out of 12. Gleason 6. PSA 4.9. This was my fourth biopsy. Had PSA between 4-5 for past several years. Age 50.
Been anticipating postive biopsy one day for a while. Always had questionable results which were ultimately sent to Johns Hopkins' Jonathan Epstein, perhaps the most renowned prostate tissue pathologist in the country. Dr. Epstein made the call of cancer this past May when the pathologists down South (I live in New Orleans) said it was too close for them to call.
Decided I wanted a cure, particularly given my age. So, I knew surgery was my option. Wasn't sure which procedure, open or robotic/lap. Knew I would travel for the procedure. Realized there is no expert who does both. Whatever procedure they perform is the procedure they will tell you is the better. So, I decided to pick my surgeon rather than the procedure. I didn't care if I had a smaller scar or not, or if I had a longer recovery. I wanted a cure. Also, there is no evidence one procedure gives you a better chance for continence and erectile function.
After weighing options, decided to call Alan Partin, MD, at Johns Hopkins. I placed a call on Thursday, June 8, and had an appointment to see Dr. Partin on Monday, June 19. I thought that was remarkable! Saw Partin at 9 a.m. He reviewed my case and asked what I wanted to do. I told him and his staff scheduled surgery for Aug. 2. I was told I was no. 2 on the surgery schedule that day. Partin told me the surgery would take about one hour, that only 2% of his patients needed a transfusion (he suggested that I not waste my "time or money" donating blood and mailing it to Baltimore), that I would be in the hospital no more than two nights, I could stay in a hotel the night of discharge and fly home the next morning. The man had all the answers backed up by solid research and experience. I felt blessed to have such a skilled surgeon.
I next saw Partin on Aug. 1 for the pre-op appointment. Everything was a "go" for the next day.
Checked in Aug. 2 at 7:45 a.m. Taken to the pre-op room after a few minutes. Went to the OR around 9:30 a.m. Remember seeing Partin as I rolled off the gurney onto the OR table. He's a big man (former lineman at Ole Miss). He had his game face on at the time. He's confident in his ability. I could tell his concentration was on me 100%. That made me feel good. I looked over at him as the anesthesiologists were working on me and told him, "you da man!" The next thing I remember was the recovery room. Partin came in to see me and described the surgery as "perfect".
I was taken to my room awake. Felt pretty good. Well medicated at the time. Had some nausea that night. The next day, Thursday, Aug. 3, was a roller coaster. Had some pain in the a.m., but by the afternoon was roaming the halls. Passed some gas that night, had a little more nausea. Friday morning, Aug. 4, felt better. Ate breakfast with no problem. Visited Jonathan Epstein, whose lab was a building or two away from my hospital room, and thanked him for past pathology reports. He's a nice man. By noon I was discharged and off to the hotel for a one night stay.
Walked the halls a lot at the hotel. This helped the lower intestines get back on track.
Saturday morning took some pain medication and went to the airport for the 2 1/2 hour flight to New Orleans. Decided to wear shorts with elastic waste and carry my Foley bag rather than stuff it down a sweat pant leg. A great decision. Had no problem with the flight and emptying the bag a couple of times. Stood up in the back of the plane as much as possible.
Been home now five days. One week, one day post surgery. Staples will come out tomorrow (probably ready to come out now). Catheter scheduled to come out Saturday (ten days post surgery). Have an appointment with my local urologist to take it out on Monday. Don't think an extra two days will hurt. Partin told me I was a "wimp" if I didn't take it out myself. I decided to be a "wimp"!
Also received the post surgery pathology report from Jonathan Epstein: negative margins and lymph nodes. Diagnosis: as close to a 100% cure you can hope for at this point. Will take a PSA three months post-op. If that reading is negligible, I'll be in great shape.
Goal one accomplished. Will turn to goals two and three next week when catheter comes out.