Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy
Paul Blackhall, Tallahassee, Florida
This has been a momentous year. For me, it started with a circumcision, followed shortly thereafter by a laparoscopic radical prostatectomy, and, in the fall, ended with a coronary bypass. I can say without qualification that the laparoscopic radical prostatectomy was the easiest and least painful of the three. This is that story.
I was 68 years old and still working when I was first informed that the biopsy of the prostate showed I had prostate cancer. My first reaction was panic and fear. Frankly, I was scared to death. If only I had known then what I know now, it would have been a lot easier to deal with.
My initial fears were eased when I returned to the doctor who discovered prostate cancer in the first place. He told me that my condition was not life threatening. He said the cancer was discovered in time for a variety of prostate cancer treatments ranging from medication to prostate surgery, an operation. My wife and I discussed all the prostate cancer treatment alternatives and decided upon a radical retropubic prostatectomy. What convinced me to have prostate removal was the fact that the cancer was still contained within the prostate and by removing the prostate I would be removing the cancer. This decision gave me the most peace and assurance that I would be much less likely to be troubled in the future.
I was in the process of making arrangements for a radical prostatectomy when a doctor friend of mine gave me an article describing a procedure called laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. I read the article with great interest and, in addition, downloaded all the information I could find from the internet. I was even able to find a complete description of the procedure. I next made an appointment to see Dr. Krongrad. He explained the procedure to me, pointing out the differences and advantages of an LRP over the RP. I was convinced that due to the fact there was no cutting, therefore no big scar, a shorter recovery time, minimal loss of blood, pain and shorter hospital stay, this was the best way to go. I was not disappointed.
In addition to learning all I could about the LRP before the procedure, I called a number of men who recently had had the procedure. These men offered to share their experience with others and it proved to be very valuable. I knew that to expect, so that there were no surprises and the fear of the unknown was removed. I called these men on numerous occasions and found their information and support very important to my understanding and feeling of support from them.
The operation was a success. I had no pain to speak of, except from a circumcision I had had ten days earlier. In no time I was on my feet and running around. I got good news from the pathologist and, as my PSAs have shown since then, it seems I'm done with prostate cancer as a health issue. Within weeks of surgery I had gone with my daughter to Disney World and, with my wife, went touring and camping in a recreational vehicle. The LRP was the best decision for me. It was effective and it was easy.