Edited , 7 users are following.
I am eight months past the DaVinci procedure to remove my
prostate and I have no regrets. I learned a few things during my journey that I
wish I had read about when I was on this site seeking information when I leaned
about my prostate cancer. I am here to share and hopefully make other’s journeys
I was diagnosed with very early stage cancer eighteen months
ago. First thing I learned was during the biopsy. They numb the area on the
colon where the procedure occurs, but that is not where you feel it. In hind
sight it makes complete sense, but at the time I was freaked out when it hurt
on the end of my junk. It’s not bad – just an awkward surprise. I did my
research about treatments and the proton beam therapy seemed right for me –
comfortable, not too invasive and minimizing collateral damage. A major
hospital in my city was building one to open in the spring of the next year,
and I focused on that. My urologist was not impressed by the procedure,
emphasizing that it was no more effective than other options. He did not care
about my reasoning (comfortable, not too invasive and minimizing collateral
damage), perhaps because his practice and associated hospital did not offer it.
Second lesson – get a second opinion. I am sooooo glad I did, but that happened
later. At my request, he did give me a referral to a practice associated with
the other hospital; they verified that I was a candidate for the proton beam
and referred me to that team for when they were open for business.
I stayed with my original urologist for the time being. Next
step on the monitoring of my early stage cancer was the MRI and I had no
problem with that. The results came back and my urologist was focused on the
fact that I had bladder stones, and he can take of that. I read up on that and
every line made me cringe. Next meeting, “don’t worry, you will be asleep.” I
relented, and agreed to schedule it. Then he sprang it on me that he would need
to go up and take a ‘look see’ first just to verify, and I would not be asleep
for that. Says I – “you can tell me the size of these things, down to the
centimeter. You need to verify?” “Yes.” He says, “I have to have a secondary
verification before any procedure. We could do that with an ultrasound if you
like.” Third lesson – there are options, you just have ask. Ultra sound and the
procedure were scheduled.
And then my world changed. I woke up one morning and I could
not pee. That had happened three times before and I found that if I moved
around, had some coffee and even a hot bath, things eased up. Not this time.
Emergency room, Foley catheter and they took out a liter and a half of urine.
There was a big nurse dude in the room and I found out later he was there to
hold me down if need be. He was not needed – trust me, if you can’t pee and
have to, you can put up with anything. They sent me back to my urologist who
announced that it was a spasm, removed the cath and as I was able to void, sent
me home. Three days later I was back in the emergency room, this time with the
hospital that was building the proton beam. Fourth lesson – there are options
for catheter tips. The first time it was a blunt tube being shoved through an
impacted prostate (pain of childbirth), this second time it was a twisted tip
that gently worked its way through (not pleasant but not as bad).
Having been referred to that other urology group, I made an
appointment to discuss. This time I was talking to a very different type of
doctor. He is chief of both urology and non-invasive surgery at the hospital as
well as being chair of urology at the medical school. He looked at my records
and quickly identified a significant difference in prostate size from the
biopsy to the MRI six months later. Three minutes digging into the MRI and he
identified what my first urologist had missed – my prostate was not just getting
larger and denser, it was growing an appendage up into my bladder. He gave me
options – 1) he could go up through my junk and make things right, but probably
have to do that again in a few years as it grows back, or 2) have the prostate
removed with the DaVinci procedure. Knowing that there was cancer to address, bladder
stones to remove and not wanting to live in fear of future impacted prostate
issues it was easy for me to decide – remove the prostate. Up to that point I
had been scared away by chances of long term incontinence or needs for
self-catheterization, but that possibility was not as bad as the certainty I
was living. Fifth lesson – do your research to find the best possible doctor.
I was shocked by how quickly I healed after the surgery.
There were four small incisions spread out across my abdomen, and a smaller
incision for drain tube. The surgery was over six hours (reconstructing the
bladder and repairing an umbilical hernia), and I was sent home the next day
after they got me up and walking. They tell you about Keagle exercises to
strengthen the pelvic floor muscles that need to replace the bladder control
muscles that are removed with the prostate – do them! I wore a catheter for a
week post-surgery, and within a week after that was removed I gave up the big
boy pull-ups for pads, and within three weeks I no longer needed the pads.
I bet most guys avoid prostate removal because of the fear
of no more sex; I know that had been a concern of mine. Things are different –
the prostate controls ejaculation and that will never happen again. My junk is
smaller – the urethra goes through the prostate; they cut it above and below
the prostate and stretch the urethra up to reattach it to the bladder. That
length has to come from somewhere. The little blue pill can create an erection
(I was prescribed a small dose of this daily after the operation to help blood
vessels reattach). Sixth lesson to share – you can still have an orgasm; it’s
different and better. It’s called a dry orgasm and it’s great. With a prostate,
ejaculation ends it; without a prostate, it goes on and on and on.
One of the few hopeful comments I read last year when I was
here was a short one: “Guys, I am six months out from having the prostate
removed. It is all good! Hang in there!” At eight months out, I agree. If you
are here looking for answers, I hope my sharing has helped. I wish you all the
best for the solutions that work for you.
1 like, 12 replies