Posted 4/30/2007 6:19 AM (GMT -7)
I'm at 11 months post-surgury, so I'm not sure I really count as a survivor.... but my initial numbers were alot worse than most posters here (pretty scary), so I have a sense of how you feel. I'll pass along what I found out on my journey....
I had 8 or 12 cores positive and the ones that were positive had A LOT of cancer in them...initial Gleason was 7 (4+3). My pre-surgery PSA was 39 --- and I was 45 at the time.
The good news is your doctor has not seen anything yet to disqualify you form surgery --- I'm going to assume your bone scan and CT were clear... They only operate if they think you're CURABLE.
Assuming they don't find any lympth node involvement (assume really strongly they WON'T).... They'll take out your prostate and then you see what you're REALLY dealing with from the pathology report. Your Gleason might be downgraded (mine was... to 3+4), you'll see if your seminal vessels are involved (mine weren't), and find out if you have positive margins (I had a positive margin).
This will give you and your docs an idea of what further treatment you'll consider. After that, your next milestone will be post-surg PSA testing. If you're high risk for recurrence (we both are), they might want to start doing PSA checks within the first month.
Then the question becomes what kind of further treatment will you get, at what level of PSA will you want to do additional treatment (radiation, hormone therapy or BOTH --- I had BOTH.)
Between my diagnosis and surgery I began to think I was going to die of this within a year or two. Now I don't think that. I've talked to long term survivors who have been considered "chronic" for 10 - 15 years. I'm thinking if the docs can get me 5 - 10 years without a massive progression, there's a good chance a better curative treatment will be found. And, while I had a lot of cancer in me, for all I know, I might be cured right now!
ANother inspiring story is Mike Milken -- the junk-bond guy who founded the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Chceck out his story on their web page.
Bottom line here is: you're not going to find out overnight what you're prognosis really is... its a series of "baby steps"... and a lot of waiting. You get uesed to it after a while.....just don't forget to enjoy life while you're waiting!
HANG IN THERE...if you're a man of faith, keep it - it works!
Initial PSA march of 2006: 28
PSA May of 2006: 39
8 of 12 cores malignant
Open Radical Prostatectomy 6/9/2006
Pathological Stage T3a, Positive Surgical Margin
Post surgury PSA fluctuated between .04 and .09
PSA rose to .24 in November of 2006
6 month hormone therapy initiated December 1. 2006
36 sesions of IMRT Ended Feb 1, 2007