Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
Alfredo Sagastume, Miami, Florida
Last July, I was surprised to learn that my prostate PSA test was 4.1; it had been only 1.5 just one year ago. A bigger surprise came when my prostate biopsy showed that I had a Gleason score 8: a very aggressive cancer.
My urologist told me I had to have prostate cancer surgery right away. He told me to prepare for incontinence, erection problems, and a recovery period of about 6 weeks . At 65 years old, I still consider myself young, healthy, and very vigorous. What struck me the hardest was the idea of being out work for so long.
I did not need too much advice on potential problems with surgery. As it is, I have 4 zippers on my tummy and am an expert on after-surgery pains, bloating, coughing, and staying home for long recovery periods. I was very unhappy about facing these problems again. So I went browsing in the internet for the state of the art in prostactomy and there it was: laparoscopic prostatectomy.
Dr. Krongrad explained that with all the open abdominal surgery I had had - exploration for trauma, exploration for intestinal adhesions, appendectomy, ureteral stone removal - he could not guarantee that laparoscopy would be feasible. He had told me that he had never had a conversion to open surgery, but that I might be the first, in which case I would again face long recovery. I took my chances.
The LRP went perfectly. The previous scars did not present a barrier to its successful completion. I was walking the hospital corridors with my wife 6 hours after surgery and went home next day. My pathology report showed that, despite the Gleason score 8 prostate carcinoma and the fact that the tumor had grown into the fat outside my prostate, I had no involvement of the pelvic lymph nodes, seminal vesicles, or surgical margins.
I don't know what more I could have asked ... except, as you see in the picture, to surprise the hell out of everybody when I showed up to hold a safety meeting at the construction job site on the 7th day after surgery!