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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

Billy Ewing, Miami, Florida

I had been through WWII and other adventures and looked forward to some peace and quiet as a healthy, retired 72-year old. I was content to help around the house, play my tuba, and mind my own business. Then in 1999 they diagnosed me with prostate cancer.

Knowing you have prostate cancer is bad enough, but when you examine the pros and cons of the various options, it becomes downright scary. I had heard about and did not want the side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Having had two major operations before, I definitely did not want to go through that again. I wanted prostate cancer surgery, without the pain. My urologist introduced me to Dr. Krongrad. His proposition seemed to be the most promising. Only one catch ... he had not performed this prostate surgery procedure before. This meant that if I agreed, I would be his first.

Over a period of a few weeks he told me how he had been preparing for this and who would be assisting and even about the new robotic equipment he was getting. I felt like I would be more than just his patient. I would be a member of his team. I still feel that way, even after two years.

When I awoke after the operation, I was groggy and my throat was sore. I could see that most of the people around me were smiling and that must mean that this was a success. The catheter was uncomfortable, but not too bad. I kept waiting for the incisions to start hurting, but when I felt my abdomen with one hand there was just a little soreness.

After a few hours they moved me into a post surgery room. Krongrad and the floor nurse told me that if I needed something for pain, just say so. On the second day the same nurse asked me why I didn't take something for pain? When I told her that just wasn't that bad, she said: "will you please take two Tylenol for my sake?" You are after prostate removal and that is supposed to hurt." I took some Tylenol just to make her happy.

By the second day, I was bored, restless, and eager to get going. Dr. Krongrad admitted that he could think of no reason to keep me in the hospital, so he discharged me. And this is how I became the founding member of the Miami LRP fraternity.

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did not want side effects of radiation therapy for prostate cancer