To my fellow prostate cancer survivors............
My day of truth is rapidly approaching this Tuesday, December 12th in the early AM. I am going to have a prostatectomy performed via the DaVinci Robotic at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Medical Center. It is now just over 7 weeks since first being diagnosed. All in all I've handled this all very well, but as the BIG day approaches I am growing more anxious, but remain confident. I have a surgeon who has performed hundreds of procedures using this new technology and is supposed to the be an ace at it. His name is Dr. Raymond Leveilee. I met with him three weeks ago and I liked him. I rejected other surgeons because they either a) lacked sufficient experience with the DaVinci, b) showed insufficient sympathy for the ED issue or c) Couldn't schedule me for several more months. I have too many people to thank for their words of encouragement and advice, including the people on this board. Yes, I told everyone that I was scheduled for Feb 6th, but I was not prepared to wait that long to have something done. When I found the right surgeon who was prepared to do it sooner, I jumped at it.
It has been a real rollercoaster ride since my diagnosis date of October 18th. Everyone from my family, friends and friends of family and friends have been great. I received alot of tremendous feedback that has helped me get to a point where I had enough confidence to move forward with my decision-making process. All had remained peaceful until early this week. about 4 weeks ago one of my dearest and closest friends down here in South Florida began complaining about a low-grade fever and symptoms of a cold and flu. He became steadily weaker and couldn't seem to shake the symptoms. Between doctor visits and blood tests they became suspicious of unusual activity from his liver. Among other tests, they performed a biopsy on his liver a week ago. To our total shock, he was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach, esophagus and liver. His diagnosis has adversely affected me even more than my own case of cancer! I am reminded once again how fleeting life is and how life can change on a dime without any warning. After all, this is the very same person who only a few short weeks ago was feeding me all sorts of information about cancer now had to face it himself, but under far worse circumstances. I was totally crushed. I spent many a day with him in the hospital while we awaited the test results. I don't know whether to consider myself fortunate that I am not in his position right now. The first thing I told him was to join this site.
I wanted to post this thread over a week ago. But I hesitiated to do so because I was not sure things would progress as planned. I went to my primary physician on Monday to have a routine pre-surgical physical and my primary doc ordered me to have a bone scan. I'd been asking about a bone scan since the first week and nobody seemed to think it was necessary since my 3+4 Gleason and 2.3 PSA didn't indicate it was necessary. However, when I started complain about some pain in my lower back and hip joint, the doc wanted to be absolutely certain before proceding further. I took the bone scan this AM and do not as yet have the radioligy report. I will have to wait until Monday. I am sure all will be ok since the pain is more centered in my hip joint and is a direct result of playing too much tennis on hardcourts where my body takes a real pounding 3 or 4 times a week. I took some time today to write another email to the surgeon asking him about homecare and such. I also wanted to ask him about taking some viagra this weekend for one last fling with the ole prostate. To my surprise I got an auto-reply that he was going to be out of town and not returning to Miami until the day of my surgery! I admit to being a little let-down, but hell, the guy deserves a weekend off, right? The surgeon has been great about returning emails up to this point, so I guess he's off the hook.
On Tuesday I went to Gilda's Club in Fort Lauderdale. This club was created by the Foundation of Gilda Radner of Saturday Night Live fame who died of ovarian cancer a while back. I spoke the counselors there and really liked the whole atmosphere of the place. The support group meeting was very helpful.
Thursday I went to the nurse practitioner at Jackosn for pre-surgical prep. I was given the word on what I needed to do to prepare for the surgery. I was surprised that they have me booked for 2 days in the hospital. I had falsely assumed I would be leaving the hospital if all goes well in one day. I know there have been posts here about things to prepare for in the hospital, but I don't have the time or patience to research it again. If anyone can give me some advice, any advice, I'd really appreciate it. I admit, I am getting a little jittery and anything anyone can say will be very helpful and accepted with much gratitude.
In the meantime, I remain confident, but uncertain as to my future post-surgery. Of course, first and foremost is to get the cancer, all of it. But I am scared about the continency and ED issues. I'm guess I'm going to have to leave that in the hands of God and the surgeon, won't I?
I promise to keep everyone informed as things progress. If I can get my laptop into my hospital room, I'll post from there. People, this the first surgery on my body in my 56 years of life. This is a BIG day for me as I am sure it was the same for all of you. I am counting on your words of support and encouragement.
I'll be checking in to see the responses.............