Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's not an EZ road to recovery.

I've joined a support group for prostate cancer victims on Facebook. I also attend a live support group that meets once a month. Here is a description of my experience that I have shared with those groups.

I'm 65 yo, reasonably healthy but about 10% over ideal weight. I had the DaVinci radical prostatectomy on 3 December 15. 12 of 14 biopsy cores had been positive, Gleason of 7 (4+3 with "excursions" to 5) and some evidence of extra-capsule malignancy. Both the radiation oncologist and the surgical oncologist (and second opinion) agreed surgery was the best first choice for me, as it can be followed by radiation if not fully successful but, for some reason, it's less desirable to do surgery if the radiation doesn't fully work. I spent two nights in hospital, had next to no pain, painkillers for only two days post-discharge. I took the month of December off (slept  and went back to work 1st workday of January. Will go back for F/U with first post-surgery PSA early February. The surgeon was able to do "nerve sparing" surgery on one, but not both sides, of the prostate area. They took the seminal vesicles and samples of the lymph nodes as well. Pathology after surgery was good with all "clean edges" but it did show some extra-capsular malignancy which was removed. At this point, I'm finding that I still have excess fatigue and tire VERY easily. The incontinence is my big gripe, very demoralizing, and I've not seen any improvement, yet. I had a catheter for one week. Since it's removal, if I'm standing or walking, I'm leaking. I can hold it no problem sitting or laying down. Coughing, sneezing, laughing no problem unless standing. I'm using "prompted toileting" using the timer on my iPhone to remind me to void every hour while awake. I am receiving rehabilitative care once a week with biofeedback on the Kegels and electrostimulation for the pelvic floor muscle. I find I do better on holding the urine when I'm fresh than when I'm tired. I've been prescribed daily Viagra and issued an expensive pump, but there's no sign of life there yet. My wife is demonstrating the meaning of patience. A deciding factor for me: every Dr. I consulted said side effects are initially worse with surgery but they get better -- with radiation, side effects are minimal up front but a significant number of men so treated have onset of incontinence and impotence later on and the side effects then get worse over time and never get better.