prostate cancer

April 2016

Recovery from Prostate Surgery

By |April 11th, 2016|

 
Robotic prostate surgery recovery time
Prostate cancer runs in my family, and I knew it was only a matter of time before my number came up.  When I did get the diagnosis, I chose robotic surgery to treat MY case of prostate cancer, but there are many other excellent therapies available.  You can only decide what to do for your case of prostate cancer by consulting your medical doctor.

How was my recovery from prostate surgery?  Let me say that just as every human being is different, so is every case of prostate cancer.  And the last thing in the world I would recommend is to compare your case with anyone else’s case, including my own.  Yes, you can get a […]

How A Prostate Biopsy Fooled Me Into Thinking I was Ok

By |April 20th, 2015|

MY PROSTATE BIOPSY SAID NO CANCER – WRONG !
If you have read some of my other posts, you know that prostate cancer runs in my family, so I had been carefully monitoring my PSA over the years.

As you can see from the chart above, my PSA was rising slowly at a more or less “regular” rate (tied to aging) until about 2010. Then it shot up quickly to the 5 range and then just as quickly to the 7 range.

What happened? When I saw the results, I immediately called the PSA testing lab and told them that they must have made a mistake – I need a re-test. The girl on the other end of the line sounded confused, […]

March 2015

Why My Doctor Uses the da Vinci Robot to Remove Cancerous Prostate Glands

By |March 20th, 2015|

The doctor who performed my prostatectomy was – like most urologists – originally trained to do the traditional or “open” type of prostate removal surgery. That’s where they make a 4″ to 6” incision in your groin and go in manually to remove your prostate.

Then the da Vinci Surgical System received approval in the U.S. and some doctors got on the robotic bandwagon and some did not. Today they have a choice – they can choose to do it the traditional (open) way or the robotic way.

There’s no doubt in my mind that the robotic method offers certain clear and distinct advantages compared to traditional or open surgery. There’s no argument there. Why? Because less invasive surgery offered by […]

February 2015

Why is a Bowel Cleanse Necessary for a da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy?

By |February 23rd, 2015|

Yes, I had to do a bowel cleanse before my prostate surgery, just as I had to do before a routine colonoscopy. You know the program – first drink this fluid and then the toilet becomes your new-best friend for the next 12 hours or so.

But why?

Why do you have to go through this not-very-pleasant experience before prostate surgery?

I did some research and came up with two possible explanations.
#1) To clean the intestine of stool, food particles and fecal matter to reduce the chances of infection.
The thinking is that if you do a bowel cleanse before major abdominal or pelvic surgery, you lower your chances of infection. Since the prostate is located deep inside the abdomen, if there is […]

One Day After da Vinci Prostate Surgery

By |February 2nd, 2015|

It was 3:00 a.m. on the day after surgery, and I was awake in bed. So I decided to ask the night-shift nurse if I could get up and walk, and she said sure.  She unhooked my compression socks from the machine at the foot of the bed, unplugged my IV stand from the wall (to go on battery), and we proceeded to take a walk down the hall – and went a slightly further distance than my first walk (about 12 hours prior).

It felt good. I was trying to get my recovery moving along, you know, get the blood circulating. We walked all the way to the “window” this time and back. I wanted to go further, but […]

January 2015

Surgery Day: Da Vinci Robotic Prostate Surgery

By |January 27th, 2015|

This is how my surgery day went. Yours may be similar or different. Every case of prostate cancer is unique.
SURGERY DAY – My da Vinci robotic surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am, so I was told to arrive by 6:00am.

Nurse’s first prep me in a small, curtained off area, insert IV’s in both arms, because they want to use one in the operating room and one for backup. They take more blood samples.

White-compression socks are put on my lower legs to help prevent blood clotting.

I had used the Hibiclens® antiseptic cleanser in the shower at home. Don’t have to scrub hard, just make contact with the skin. Then at the hospital, a staff person gave me what I think […]

Prostate Biopsy: The Suprising Truth About How 2 Biopsies Can Be So Different

By |January 12th, 2015|

Yes, I had prostate cancer and, yes, I chose surgery to treat it. You may choose another form of therapy for your case, but there is one thing I found quite interesting about the surgical choice.

After prostate surgery, you learn your WHOLE cancer story. How much prostate cancer did I actually have (volume)? How widespread was it (staging)? How aggressive was it (grading)? Did the cancer leak out of the prostate gland and possibly spread or was it “organ confined?”

These are questions that can only be answered fully after the entire gland is removed during surgery and examined under a microscope in a lab. There the pathologist can analyze your entire prostate gland including other nearby tissue like seminal […]

One Man’s PSA History: the Rise to Prostate Cancer and the Fall After Prostate Surgery

By |January 4th, 2015|

Prostate cancer runs rampant in my family. I won’t bore you with the details, but it seems like most of the guys in my family are diagnosed with the disease when they hit their 60’s or 70’s.

So as a younger guy, this definitely got my attention. What to do? For starters, I was way more vigilant in checking my PSA level than your average Joe might have been.

As you can see from the graph below, I had been experiencing a pretty-steady, but slow rise over the years – then a big jump from PSA level 3 to 7 in one year.

I had a feeling it (prostate cancer) was coming, but when it looked like it had finally arrived, I […]

December 2014

The Truth Behind a Prostate Biopsy – What Is It Really Like?

By |December 28th, 2014|

What is it like to get a prostate biopsy? Well, all I can do is tell you how my procedure went, but from reading about others’ experiences, it seems like mine was fairly typical.

It all starts, of course, with a bad PSA score or a fast-rising PSA score or maybe a suspicious DRE (digital rectal exam). And your doctor says, “I think we should do a biopsy.”

At first I thought that I’d have to go to a local hospital for the test, but my doctor performs it in his office. We set up an appointment, and he had me take an antibiotic before (and after) the procedure.

The official medical name for the procedure I received is a Trans-rectal Ultrasound […]

5 Reasons Why I’m Glad I chose da Vinci for my Prostate Cancer Surgery

By |December 3rd, 2014|

1) The prostate cancer is gone.
My doctor told me I had prostate cancer, and I’m a relatively young-ish guy (62) and in pretty good health and expect to live at least 20 years or more. Watchful waiting or active surveillance – no way, not for me. I chose the “gold standard” for treating organ-confined prostate cancer. That is, surgical removal (prostatectomy) by an experienced urologist with the assistance of a da Vinci robot.

It worked fantastically for treating my case of cancer, and how do I know that? Easy, I got my PSA tested after surgery and it went to zero, or undetectable, or <.01 ng/mL. Because my PSA level went to zero (or undetectable) after surgery and has stayed […]

November 2014

What is the Recovery Period Like After Prostate Surgery?

By |November 23rd, 2014|

Robotic prostate surgery recovery time
What’s the recovery period like after robotic prostate surgery?  When can I go back to work after prostate surgery?

If you are considering the da Vinci robotic form of prostate surgery, I just went through it, and I can tell you how the recovery period went for me.

First, I spent a couple of days in the hospital – could have been sent home after one night – but I decided to stay.  I had a private room, was getting great care, and was able to walk around the floor whenever I wanted to.  Why go home?

After two nights in the hospital, I was discharged and sent home.  Suggestion: make sure you know how to work the […]

How I Survived Prostate Cancer After da Vinci Robotic Surgery – Day to Day Log

By |November 22nd, 2014|

Yes, I had prostate cancer and yes, I chose surgery to treat it.

Before we go any further, let me explain that I am not a medical doctor – far from it. In fact, I’m an accountant. So there is absolutely no assurance that anything I say that touches on medical matters is true, correct, precise or up to date. Even if a statement I make about medicine is accurate, it may not apply to you or your symptoms.

This is informational only and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical doctor.
My Story
Prostate cancer is common in my family.  My Dad had it, all of his brothers (my uncles) had it, and I knew it was probably just a matter […]

June 2014

3 Things I Don’t Miss After Prostate Surgery

By |June 11th, 2014|

1) Dull Pelvic Pain
I occasionally had this dull ache somewhere deep down in the groin area. I don’t know why exactly, but my guess is that it had something to do with an enlarged and inflamed prostate gland. Throw in a little long-term prostatitis and there you have a number of reasons for this kind of pelvic ache.

Once in a while, it would even flare up to a point where it felt like a mule had kicked me in the rear end.

It never stopped me from doing anything, and I never took anything for it. But it was there a lot of the time, and I had it for so long, it was easy to forget about it on […]

May 2014

How I Got Up and Walked 3 Hours After da Vinci Robotic Surgery

By |May 19th, 2014|

I had read about how da Vinci robotic surgery was supposed to be “minimally invasive.” What exactly does that mean? I guess it means less cutting, less blood loss, less trauma to the body and faster recovery time. Was the advertising legit? Stay tuned, and I’ll tell you how my surgery went.

The doctor removed my prostate gland (prostatectomy) with the assistance of a da Vinci robotic surgical system. As I woke up in the recovery room afterwards, I lifted the light blanket that was covering me, and all I could see were 4 or 5 “keyholes” or dime shaped marks on my torso or abdomen. They didn’t look like incisions – I couldn’t see any stitches – they just […]

No One Told Me I Would Pee Like a Racehorse After Prostate Surgery

By |May 8th, 2014|

I had prostate cancer – it runs in my family going back at least 4 generations that I know of.  So for quite a long time, I had been more than casually interested in developments and scientific advances in the testing, diagnosing, and treatment of the disease.  Any story in a magazine or newspaper having to do with prostate cancer caught my eye – I consumed a lot of information over the years.  You might say I was studying all along, instead of cramming for the final.

The PSA test changed everything.  Early stage prostate cancer generally does not have any symptoms, so before the beginning of PSA testing, most men wouldn’t even go to see a doctor until they […]

Active Surveillance – FUGGEDABOUT IT – Why I Chose To Treat My Prostate Cancer

By |May 8th, 2014|

 

You’ve probably heard the buzz about how prostate cancer is being over-diagnosed and over-treated.  The strategy, as I – a non-medical person – understand it, is that many cases of prostate cancer are the so-called slow growing kind. So rather than seeking aggressive treatment now (which can lead to urinary, sexual and bowel problems), you “MONITOR” your situation by taking regular PSA tests, getting DRE’s (digital rectal exams), and biopsies.

The thinking (I guess) is that some other health problem is going to kill you first. In other words – YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING NOW – we’ll just “monitor” you. If you’re a patient in denial, you will love this!  Hey guys, my doctor told me I don’t […]

I Ate Tomatoes and Drank Green Tea and Still Got Prostate Cancer

By |May 7th, 2014|

I don’t know about you, but my ears perk up when I hear about the things you’re supposed to do to prevent cancer – like “get your antioxidants,” drink green tea, eat tomatoes (lycopene) – to name just a few. Well I did eat (and drink) all that stuff and still got prostate cancer.   So forgive me if I sound a tad skeptical.

Warning: this rant is not based on science. I am not a physician – far from it – I’m an accountant.
Background
Prostate cancer runs in my family and has for at least four generations that I know of. My great grandfather died from it, my grandfather died at a younger age, so we don’t know about him. […]

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