Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
John Bach, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Considering the treatment options for prostate cancer, I felt my best chance for a long life was prostate removal. The thought of being cut into, opened up, and laid up was distressing. I'd never had surgery of any kind. Luckily, there was a link for Dr. Krongrad on the Bostwick Lab web site. To me, five little bandaids looked much better than a long cut.
After emailing Dr. Krongrad to request the long term results and cure rates for prostate cancer with laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, I promptly received an unhurried call from the doctor. He simply explained that although he had no long term results, LRP shouldn't be any different than open RP. It accomplished the same thing - complete removal of the prostate. He encouraged me to read through my questions and gave me names and telephone numbers of his previous patients so I could directly hear some of the prostate surgery patient stories. There was an immediate sense of trust and relief during the initial phone contact.
I was equally impressed with Ruth. After my first conversation with her, I told my wife that the doctor must have to pay her a lot because she knew so much more than any other medical office personnel I had spoken with.
The former patients that I contacted responded with an open and honest sharing of intimate information. I realized that there was no guarantee of continence or sexual function. This seemed comparable to other forms of treatment.
The earliest available surgery was Friday, February 8. Thursday morning we went to the hospital for pre-admission exam and paperwork. The clerk required only that we pay our deductible. The nurse said that I would wear elastic stockings after the surgery. However, Dr. Krongrad said that the stockings weren't necessary. I was to return to the hospital at 6:00 a.m. the next day. We next stopped by for a visit with Ruth and DRE with Dr. Krongrad.
On surgery day, my wife dropped me off at the hospital. She came after surgery and was reassured by the doctor that all had gone well. When my wife arrived at the hospital at 4 p.m., I was awake, crabby, and ready to walk. I just couldn't seem to get comfortable in the hospital bed. Every two hours that night in the hospital the staff came in to empty by abdominal drain and check vitals. The next morning, Dr. Krongrad removed the drain, ordered a leg catheter, and said I could leave.
The car ride to the hotel from the hospital was uncomfortable for me and I kept car rides to a minimum for the rest of the stay. I wasn't hungry for about two days after surgery.
The incontinence pads and rubber sheets my wife packed were unnecessary although some blood did get on the sheets. Baggy, safari-type trousers with a gentle waist closure worked well. The slight blood leakage at the catheter insertion point doesn't show as much on darker fabric. An extra long t-shirt helped to provide cover for lounging around the hotel room without trousers. Despite my fast metabolism, a couple of doses of mineral oil and mil of magnesia helped to get my bowels going. My biggest post-surgical complaint was gas pain, which walking relieved.
We were well pleased staying at the Marriott Courtyard by the Aventura Mall. Request a poolside room for easy access to outdoor walkways or a balcony for stretching room. The hotel has a breakfast restaurant and coffee, tea and hot water (for broth) available in the lobby 24 hours. A Publix grocery store and Walgreen's were with two blocks. There were also several good, informal restaurants within easy walking distance in the Loehman's shopping mall. Our favorites for light, healthy meals and soup were Pita Plus, Mo's Bagel Deli and Pitas and More. The mall was laid out as a convenient walking course with clean, well positioned restrooms. The hotel personnel were friendly and helpful as were other guests.
We were sad to return home 4 days after surgery. On our next catheterless trip to Miami we plan to stay on the beach.
Our flight had a stopover in Memphis that helped to shorten sitting time. The bulkhead seats gave me room to stand up and easy bathroom access. I took advantage of layover time to walk the airports.
The catheter was removed 10 days after surgery. I am working on becoming continent and trying to do the exercises. Generally, I am dry all night but wear a pad just in case. Daytime is more difficult as the diapers get wet from standing and sitting and get heavy when wet. A few times I have been able to feel the urge and pee normally, which makes me very happy.
My HMO paid for the LRP. This is good news and I hope LRP becomes the standard to save a lot of unnecessary suffering.
I have really appreciated Dr. Krongrad's follow up calls after I returned home. You can't find a better team than Dr. Arnon and Ruth.