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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

William Bussing, Costa Rica

I am a biologist in Costa Rica where I have taught at the university for 40 years. In 1985 I was diagnosed with heart problems which required a replacement valve and a pacemaker. Denton Cooley, the premier cardiac surgeon of his day, performed the operation in Houston and I have been in good health since. I must keep my blood anticoagulated which was the reason my urologist here, who is a surgeon, recommended radiation treatment for my prostate cancer. He had been concerned about blood loss, clotting or something worse. All these treatments are available in Costa Rica and covered by the socialized medicine organization. I heard varying stories about the results of radical prostate cancer surgery, most of them not very pleasant. Everyone wanted to offer advice.

Finally I decided to concentrate on the Internet for several days to see what was out there. I was unfamiliar with laparoscopic techniques, but one of the first web sites I encountered was Dr. Krongrad's which explained in detail the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy procedure. I then found other sites offering LRP as an option to traditional radical retropubic prostatectomy or the radiation methods of treatment. Most of these other clinics or hospitals were just starting to offer LRP and supplied few details. By contrast, Dr. Krongrad's site revealed his rich experience. I sent my characteristics to a couple places to see if they would consider taking me on as a patient, given my cardiac status and need for anti-coagulation. Dr. K, his anesthesiologist, my doctors locally, and I had numerous exchanges of correspondence to review matters and decided on LRP in Florida.

I was out of the hospital the day following surgery. There had been no bleeding and no problem with the pacemaker. Soon I was eating normally, appetite back and no problems flying home three days later. The operation had been done on heparin, a blood thinner.

When the catheter was first removed I had no bladder control. After consultation, exercise, dietary modifications, and some time to heal, my continence is recovering nicely. At two months, I am almost completely continent. My PSA prostate specific antigen before the operation was 8.0; at this time it is<0.1 ng/ml.

I was very impressed by the care and attention to detail shown by Dr. K and Ruth before and after the operation. I was very fortunate to locate such a fine and experienced surgeon and especially appreciate the sensitivity to my special needs. My course and recovery could not have been smoother.

William Bussing - Costa Rica