I just got back in town Friday night from having surgery with Dr. Vipul Patel one week earlier. I don't have time right now to post a lengthy report, but I wanted to share some of the more important experiences.
First, my experience with Dr. Vipul Patel and his entire staff has been nothing but positive. Dr. Patel is truly a gifted surgeon, and I clearly benefited from my trip to Ohio from California. My surgery turned out to be "difficult" due to an inflamed prostate. Although I had waited the recommended 8 weeks since biopsy, it evidently wasn't enough or due to prostatitis, something that I think have also been fighting over the years. Even so, Dr. Patel said that the final surgical outcome was "one of the best ever". Both nerve bundles were spared, but Dr. Patel indicated that his team's experience was essential for the good outcome. I was close to his 2000th procedure. My pathology report was also good - no capsular penetration and negative surgical margins.
Regarding the surgical experience, I was surprised at both the initial hit to the body and at the rapid daily improvement post surgery. Given that robotic prostatectomy is "minimally invasive", I guess I had expected to feel better immediately afterwards. Surgery was early in the morning, and I had a rough time around 11pm trying to get comfortable enough for sleep. My sphincter just didn't know what to do with the catheter in place and would swing between a tightening and relaxing phase. I received a narcotic drip in my IV that made the discomfort and pain completely go away. I would recommend to anyone going through this to take the meds when needed.
At 3:30am that morning, I awoke to a little "chubbiness" from the little guy. This was on the catheter and narcotics! This was within 24 hours of surgery, and at first I thought I was dreaming. However, further experiences during the next few days gave me more first-hand evidence that the nerves were in good condition. I found that I had an erectile response during sleep, with erotic thoughts or mild direct stimulation.
I had quite a bit of bloating and bruising following surgery. Standing in front of the hotel mirror was not a pretty site. The bloating from the gas they use to pump up the abdominal cavity made me look like I had gained 30 pounds. I saw a dramatic improvement in this and overall well-being over the next several days.
Catheter removal occurred five days later. I had to use a pretty substantial pad for the rest of the day. On the next day, I awoke to being nearly fully continent, only experiencing a few drops after standing or at the end of the day. On the following day, two days after catheter removal, I was able to fly home wearing only a Serenity light pad, mostly for my confidence. This was predicted by Dr. Patel's staff.
I genuinely feel that I have been given the best possible outcome by Dr. Patel's staff. Although I am relatively young which aids recovery, Dr. Patel and his staff are clearly doing something wonderful at the OSU medical center. I would highly recommend that anyone electing robotic prostatectomy to consider Dr. Patel while evaluating surgeons.
Diagnosed 08/21/07 with T1c cancer
1 of 12 biopsy cores positive; 10% tissue
Gleason score: 3+3=6
PSA level prior to biopsy: 4.3 (velocity < 0.4ng/ml)
Prior biopsy 3 years ago was negative
Prostate is ~24g