Just found this website and my thanks go out to all that have shared their experiences, ongoing treatment and insights into this disease. In the hopes that there is one guy out there that reads this post and goes to be tested, I will add my personal story to the Board.
I'm a 56 year old married man, with two teenaged kids in high school. I weigh more than I want, and have slight high blood pressure that was diagnosed 7 years ago while in an extremely high stress job (since left, thank you God.) I saw my family practice doc rarely, kind of let the annual phyiscal slip, cause, hey, I feel ok. That annual stuff physical is for "old" guys, not me.
So, it had been 2.5 years since I last saw a doc and mine left the group he was in and moved out of state. I found a new docotor, went in for the whole nine yards physical. Came out well, but my PSA was 4.1. The doctor was not concerned, but had me go on antibiotics for 30 days to make sure there was no infection. In the meantime, I also had my first colonoscopy, which found a couple polyps, but none cancerous. After the 30 days of meds, I got a 4.2 on the followup test. My doctor said it was likely nothing, but referred me to a urologist for safety.
Made the urologist appointment, had a DRE and he could feel nothing in the prostate. To be safe, he suggested a biopsy. It was done on a Monday morning, and he scheduled a followup the next Monday. He did say I could hear from him earlier.......Wednesday morning my cell phone rang and it was him. The pathology was back and I had prostate cancer internal to both sides of the gland.
Many of you have been there with the same phone call. It's hard to explain the feeling of being helpless when you have to admit to yourself that you have cancer and that you personally can not do a thing to change it. Thoughts of your mortality race through your mind. For anyone that hasn't been there, you can't understand.
My wife and I met with the Dr. on Thursday, he outlined the possibilities based on the Gleason of 6, PSA of 4.2 and suggested treatments. My wife urged waiting, but I don't think I could have stood it knowing that I had a cancer growing inside me, even if it was slowly growing. My oldest son was graduating from hgih school this spring and I knew I had to be in that audience. I talked things over with my dr., my wife, and prayed for guidance, then called and scheduled it asap. I had a radical prostatectomy on May 1 2007, was in the hospital for 3.5 days and went home to recover. (My urologist has done over 1000 of this procedure in his career.) The pathology came back that the cancer was all contained within the prostate and my Dr. pronounce me cancer-free. The support I got from family, friends, and fellow church members was astounding and I think God for making my surgery the success it was.
The catheter came out after two weeks, I had moderate incontinence, but two months after surgery, am down to wearing one pad per day. I am doing my exercises and maintaining control as much as I can. I thank God every day that the cancer was found early, that my doctors all took a conservative approach and urged me to get the tests and procedures that helped find this disease. In retrospect, my surgery was a text-book perfect example and I feel so blessed to have had that outcome.
BOTTOM LINE-- If you are not a prostate cancer sufferer, I have a couple comments I've heard and plain truths to share with you.
1. "I feel ok, I don't need to see their doctor." Go anyway and be tested!
2. "The biopsy and the exams made me uncomfortable." None of us like to be poked or prodded in a private area, but look at the alternative: momentary pain and embarassment versus growing cancer. Put your pride behind you and get the exams and tests.
3. " I could never use the catheter." Yeah, I hated having it attached to me as well, but see coment 2: consider the alternatives.
4. " If I ignore things, it'll be ok." Sure you can say that, but you know you are only fooling yourself. Go see yoru doctor and be sure.
If you are a prostate cancer sufferer, you are in my prayers and thoughts. Pray for strength to get through it. We all recover in different ways, at different intervals. Realize that you found this disease at the time you did for a reason and that you can get past it. Be strong and have faith.
My thanks to HealingWell.com for offering us the chance to express what has happened and I hope my comments were of help to someone out there.
Surgery: RP on 5/1/07
PSA: 4.1 (first test) 4.2 (second test)
Spread the word to men you know or meet: See your doctor. Have a PSA test early.