About Alan S.
July 2017 I was diagnosed with LUTS, lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, the usual thing that happens as we get older, my Doctor said. We tried some medication but I had no relief, so I stopped taking it.
In October I had my annual blood screening, and my PSA had jumped a full point. I was retested, the test is notorious for reliability, and by three weeks it had jumped a full point, so I was referred to a Urologist. tested again at that appointment and it had jumped a full point again, now 5.7, and he did feel a small symmetrical lump on the top of my prostate. “Pretty good chance it is a cancer” he said, we should do an ultrasound or MRI to determine location and size. By now my heart was racing, I had lost several good friends to prostate cancer, and I knew how serious it could get. The only definitive test is a biopsy, so I asked him can we do that straight away and avoid the other imaging tests? “Sure, if you want to lets get it done.”
It took another three weeks to get that appointment, and the test was uncomfortable, but not to painful, more embarrassing than anything else.
What got my attention was the doctor calling three days later, its a cancer, and not a good one. Gleason score 4+4 and 50% involved. He immediately ordered a bone scan and CT scan, both were negative (whew). At my consultation he recommended removal of the prostate, or I could go with Radiation therapy route. He explained about the DaVinci Robotic Surgery, and he had done over two hundred surgeries, so it took five minutes to make up my mind. Being divorced, and unattached, made the decision much easier.
Surgery was successful, with the usual adjustments and time to recover, but then my pathology labs came back, and the cancer had escaped the capsule, right seminal vescules and left lymph nodes were involved now. And the final Gleason score on the whole prostate was Gleason 9, glad I had that sucker removed!
I was then refereed to the oncologist, and she was very good at explaining everything, and we began 40 days of IGRT, Image Guided Radiation Therapy, where the clinic folks were so helpful, and compassionate. I got to meet a lot of other guys going thru what I was, and we had some very good therapy sessions. I began to understand this Reluctant Brotherhood, and how many of us face these tough decisions.
I was able to do the Fast Track on my diagnosis, because it was just me facing these decisions, but I also was able to find some excellent web sites, books, and friends to assist in making my decisions.
Next month will be one year since my diagnosis, and my PSA continues to drop, now at .283. I am ready to carry on with my life.