Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
Glenn Wilson, Amarillo, Texas
After successful prostate cancer surgery, Glenn Wilson returns to home on the range
Today, 68-year-old Glenn Wilson drives his tractor about his 14-acre home in Amarillo, TX, feeling spry and healthy, but had Glenn not undergone laparoscopic radical prostatectomy surgery with Dr. Krongrad, his story could have been very different.
"I had always taken care of myself. I had never smoked or used alcohol," Glenn said. "I had no symptoms, so I never considered the possibility of having prostate cancer."
However, 40 years earlier, Glenn's grandfather had passed away from metastatic prostate cancer. "I remember when I was about 20, my mother and I had taken my grandfather, who was in his mid 70s, back to his home in Post, TX. He was in severe pain because he could not urinate, and ultimately he died an agonizing death due to prostate cancer," Glenn said. "But that was back in 1955, and there was no treatment for metastatic prostate cancer."
Time fades memories and Glenn was more concerned about family cardiac and arthritic issues rather than cancer. "Since the age of 35, I have suffered from arthritis in my hands, hip and in a segment of my lower back," Glenn explained. Though Glenn's hands are misshapen, and his walking stiff, he never expected that arthritis could play a role in interpreting X-rays that could lead to the direction his prostate cancer treatment would take.
In November 2002, Glenn visited Dr. A for a routine checkup. He wasn't worried - his prostate PSA test the previous year had a score of 3.8. "Dr. A reported that my PSA was 4.4 and wanted to perform a prostate needle biopsy," Glenn said. "But I was feeling fine, and I had many things on my mind - business problems, the holidays, a trip to Arizona - so I neglected to have the prostate needle biopsy done at this time."
He continued, "When the PSA test is a 4.0, there is a concern, and the patient needs to be checked further. But still I was not concerned. I had no prostate cancer symptoms." In fact, Glenn was doing some rather physical work. "My wife and I had sold our farm and we were in the process of physically moving heavy farm machinery," Glenn said. "I figure that if I could move this equipment, I was fine."
In April, Glenn returned his attentions to his health issue. "I decided that I would go to Lubbock, TX to Dr. B for a second opinion and to get another PSA test taken to confirm the accuracy of the first test," Glenn said. This time the PSA test came back with a score of 5.2.
"Dr. B stated that we needed to have an ultrasound test run. As a result of the ultrasound, three dark spots were detected on my prostate," he said. Immediately, Dr. B performed a prostate biopsy on 10 areas of the prostate. "I had a fear of 10 needles being stuck into me, so I wasn't looking forward to it, but the biopsy was done right then and there in the office," Glenn explained.
A few days later, after test results came back from Oklahoma City, Glenn learned though a phone message from Dr. B's office, that he had prostate cancer. "This was a devastating blow to me because I thought I would never have prostate cancer, even though my aunt had reminded me that my grandfather died of metastatic prostate cancer." Of the 10 areas examined, three of them tested positive with prostate cancer. Two of the areas had a Gleason score 6; the other area had a Gleason score 7. "A score like this is considered moderately aggressive," Glenn said. "Not a very good picture at all."
Dr. B outlined several prostate cancer treatment options. "His suggestion was laparoscopic radical prostatectomy surgery," Glenn said. "Upon Dr. B's advice, I had a bone scan and CAT scan test performed." The bone scan and CAT scan revealed problematic dark areas. A question arose: the cancer already metastasized to the bone? Or were the dark areas caused by arthritis?
"The bone scan of my hip and lower back revealed dark areas that were questionable -possibly there was prostate cancer spread from outside the prostate capsule to the bone," Glenn said.
Cancer of the bone and arthritis appear similarly on a scan. In fact, it's often not possible to tell the difference between the two. "As a radiologist said, 'Fleas and lice can live in the same place," Glenn said. The case was referred to Dr. C, who confirmed that the dark areas were caused by arthritis.
Glenn first found Dr. Krongrad through word of mouth. "I had a friend who told me about a television evangelist, Pat Robertson, who had had prostate cancer surgery," he explained. "Though my friend didn't know who Robertson's surgeon was, he knew he was from Florida.
And then Glenn heard about Dr. Krongrad again. "I had some cattle in a feed yard. The manager told me about the owner of the feed yard, named Mr. Williams, who had had prostate cancer. The manager said I needed to check with Williams to learn more about the procedure I needed to follow," he said.
"I visited with Williams, one of the members of the Amarillo LRP Fraternity. He said that Dr. K had removed his prostate and that things had gone well for him. Williams, owner of several banks and the feed yard, was back to work full time and on the road constantly," Glenn said. "Mr. Williams fully recommended Dr. Krongrad."
But that wasn't all. "Also, I learned from Williams that there had been two other attorneys from Amarillo, also members of the LRP Fraternity, who had been to Florida and Dr. Krongrad had performed the surgery for them. They are fully recovered and currently practicing law," Glenn said.
Glenn was convinced by the testimonials. "If these three people were satisfied, I felt it was okay," he said.
Next came the net search. "I went to the Internet and found Dr. Krongrad's web site and read about the procedures and a number of the prostate surgery patient stories from the other patients," Glenn said. "After doing this, I was confident that I wanted Dr. Krongrad to perform this procedure on me."
After making contact with Dr. Krongrad, plans were set. The prostate cancer surgery was scheduled for Monday June 30. The operation lasted for three hours. "I woke up in the room with my wife, LaWanda, at my beside. I wasn't in much pain at the time," Glenn said. "That afternoon, the nurses assisted me in walking down the hall."
Once the IV tube was removed that night, Glenn used no medication for pain - not even Tylenol or aspirin. However, it was necessary to stay on a liquid/soft food diet for a few days.
"Twenty-four hours later, Dr. Krongrad said that I was doing fine and that I could leave the hospital," Glenn said. "We stayed four days at the hotel before returning to Amarillo."
Glenn and LaWanda were impressed by Dr. Krongrad's personal attention. "Either Dr. Krongrad or his assistants checked on Glenn every day," LaWanda said. "He was very caring and concerned."
And things seemed to be going very well. "It was a relief to know that the pathology reported revealed that the surgical margins were free of cancer," LaWanda said.
Early Saturday morning, the Wilsons left Ft. Lauderdale, returning to Amarillo. "After arriving at home, the catheter was the biggest problem," Glenn said. Though there is the physical aspect of recovering from the surgery, the greatest issue for most men is that of being incontinent, and Glenn agrees. "The issue with incontinence has diminished, but even five months later there are still issues. I avoid caffeine," Glenn said. "But slowly, the healing is almost done."
Glenn would make the same decision over again in a heartbeat. "I would recommend LRP surgery with Dr. Krongrad and his group to anyone having this problem," Glenn said. "The nurses and the staff at the hospital were excellent."
Today, life has returned almost back to normal. "Five months after the surgery, I am 95% back to normal. I can do anything now that I want to do," Glenn said.
Glenn would like to express his appreciation. "I'd like to also thank Hope and Ruth for taking care of all the necessary arrangements before we arrived. They made us feel very comfortable in Florida with their assistance," Glenn said.