Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
William Haake, Ft Myers, Florida
I'm a 60 year old male who takes pretty good care of himself: regular check-ups that include the prostate PSA test, the whole nine yards.
Believe it or not the best thing that happened to me was kidney stones. My primary doctor sent me to an urologist. But before I got there, I passed the stones. The urologist ran some test, which showed the stones were gone, but he also wanted to check my prostate.
I had just checked my PSA prostate specific antigen and it was below "normal." My primary had done the routine digital rectal examination, DRE, and thought all was ok. However the urologist said that my prostate felt hard on one side and wasn't happy the way it was positioned. He said this was one of the warning signs of prostate cancer and that I needed a prostate biopsy.
I had the prostate biopsy and sure enough the bad news: I had a Gleason Score 6 prostate cancer. Take this to heart: just because you have a "normal" PSA it does not mean you do not have prostate cancer.
The next step was a urology consultation with my wife and me. I was told that I needed prostate seed brachytherapy, period, case closed, go home think about it, and come back. The doctor never advised or discussed the procedure, complications, or what is all involved. It was you need to do the prostate seeding, period, come back when you are ready. I did a lot of research on it, and believe me it's not the way to go.
Ok we move onto another urologist #2, whose recommendation was to freeze the prostate (cryotherapy), no other options, come back when you ready for the procedure. Again I did research, I thought to myself who is this guy kidding.
You bet we are now at urologist #3 and into hormone treatments, call me when you ready, guess what, out the door I went.
What is amazing to me is the fact that all three of the above doctors never said to me, let's discuss all of your options, each one had one procedure they wanted to do, and not one of them mentioned results, complications, or success rates. The entire time I kept thinking to myself: if you have a prostate cancer, would removal not take care of all your prostate problems? Why would you not have a prostate surgery?
I started a major research and I'll bet I read over 800 pages of material. A friend then told me of another urologist I should go see. And off I went. He came closer to my thinking by saying you need to remove it. He recommended perineal prostatectomy. Read about it, too long to recuperate, blood loss etc.
Back to the Internet, where I discovered laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP). This made total sense to me, less invasive, blood loss minimal, shorter recovery time ... the list goes on.
So by now I have read up on perineal prostatectomy, cryotherapy, external beam radiation, seed radiation also knows as brachytherapy, hormones, watchful waiting, chemotherapy, and radical retropubic prostatectomy. Confused? You bet. All the time I have had in my mind that laparoscopic radical prostatectomy was the way to go.
I finally went to see my primary doctor who I think the world of. I told him of all my searching, and he said if it was me I would want "it" removed. He told me to give him a few days, he would go over my biopsy and he would tell me what he would do if he was me. Sure enough one night at 10:30 PM he called and said that he had put much thought into my situation and he would have his prostate removed, he would have it removed with laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and he would insist on the best LRP surgeon with many operations under his belt. So he said if you want the bottom line of all his research I could go to John Hopkins or Dr Arnon Krongrad.
By the way my doctor called two urologist friends and both told him if they personally had what I had they would be on the phone with Dr Krongrad. That was good enough for me.
Back to the Internet, I read everything you could read on Dr Krongrad. Was I impressed? You bet! I called and talked to his sidekick, Hope. He is so lucky to have her, and be advised she took care of everything. For me, all I had to do was show up.
March 20, 2007 surgery at 7:00 AM. Everything went great. I never new I had surgery: no pain, tiny little incisions. I felt great. The next day Dr "K" released me at noon, my wife and I drove back to Ft Myers, Florida.
The catheter was my only complaint. 10 days after surgery I had it removed and then 3 days later I could not urinate, which is called urinary retention. I had to have a local urologist put a catheter back in as I had an infection, I kept it for another two week while taking antibiotics. I removed it myself, and all is well.
On the personal side when I have to go I could put a fire out. For years my stream, if you want to call it that, was more like a slow drip and a pain in the neck.
If you are reading this, you probably have prostate cancer. Do your research and do yourself a favor: call Dr. Krongrad. You want a doctor with a track record. You want a less invasive surgery. You want short recovery time and you want an expert.
In my job I deal with hundreds of people on a monthly basis. I have never met anyone like Dr Krongrad.