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Preview: Dan's Journey

Dan's Journey through Prostate Cancer



Sharing my prostate cancer experience since November 2010



Updated: 2017-07-23T02:51:07.465-07:00

 



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2015-09-22T15:57:07.238-07:00

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Month 50 - Four Years Cancer-free & Cancer Death Rates

2015-09-22T15:57:07.397-07:00

Okay, I'm the first to admit, that's an odd combination of topics in the title.First, the good news: My PSA remains undetectable four years and three days after that prostate was plucked from my body.  My birthday was this week, so still being cancer-free is a great birthday present.I got my latest results online this afternoon, and I have an appointment with my urologist on Tuesday.  We'll see what she has to say about the frequency of monitoring.  This result was at an eight-month interval; prior to that, I was being checked every six months.  Who knows... Maybe she'll say come back in a year.  (Honestly, I'm not sure how I would feel about that.)Aside from that, my sexual function issues and mild stress continence remain the same as before--no real changes to my "new normal."  I'm generally okay with that.Oh.  I haven't had time to create it yet, but look for a new page on the blog, "Life After Radical Prostatectomy - 48 Months Later" coming soon.*     *     *As you can tell from my last post, I'm focusing a bit less on the physical aspects and a little more on the emotional aspects of being four years out.  I never really threw myself into the dating pool after the surgery, because I had it in my mind that I was "damaged goods" and that no one would want to deal with that.  It's taken me quite a while to beat that thought into submission, and I'm ready to try.Who knows what will happen.  I may get rejected 9 times out of 10 once the person learns of my issues, but it's the one person who says that it's not a problem that will likely be the best one to hang onto.So dating is one of my New Year's resolutions, and the other is to lose some weight.  I really think that's been a contributing factor in some of my stress incontinence issues.  Since 3 December 2014, I've lost 11.5 lbs / 5,2 kg.  Not bad considering the amount of food thrown at me during the holidays.  Will power.*     *     *On a different note, the Prostate Cancer Foundation recently published a story talking about the decline in cancer death rates over the last 20 years.Jemal also noted that during the past two decades, deaths from colon and prostate cancer have been nearly cut in half, and breast cancer deaths have dropped by a third."Really, it's due to screening, as well as improved treatment," he said. "It's really remarkable."It's interesting, but not surprising once the reasons were given, that there's a geographic component to the declining death rates.One thing that will be interesting to see is how the death rates are affected by the recent changes in prostate cancer screening guidelines.  I hope that there's not a reversal in that trend as a result.[...]



Month 49 - Dating After Prostatectomy?

2015-09-22T15:57:07.431-07:00

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Christmas isn't that far off.  The holidays are upon us.

Normally, I'd travel to see my sister and her family back in Chicago for the holidays, but this year, my new job has me working over Christmas and New Year's, so I'll be staying put.  Alone.

Sure, I'll spend time with old and new friends, but it's still not quite the same as being with family.  That brings me to this month's topic.

I was single when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and I'm still single now.  While I would like to be in a relationship--to create my own family--I keep getting hung up on the, "Who would want to date a guy who has difficulty getting it up and can't ejaculate" thought.  Because of that, I haven't bothered to jump into the dating pool.

Sure, sex isn't everything in a relationship, but it does count for something in most.

The other confusing thing to me is when in the dating process to tell a potential partner that all the bells and whistles in the sex department don't work as they should.  Early?  Late?  After you jump into bed?  "Surprise!"  I don't know.  (Feel free to post any thoughts in the comments section or send me an email through the Contact Me page!)

I guess perhaps the best thing to do is just throw myself into the pool and see what happens.  I may not need to say anything until I see that things are moving in the right direction but before they get too serious.
-     -     -

On the physiology front, I've had a couple of days since my last post where my body apparently got pretty tired and it didn't take much to set off my stress incontinence--even just standing up from a chair.  That was a bit disconcerting, but I really think my body was just telling me I needed some more rest.

I'll be going for my next PSA test the first week of January, and should get the results by the 13 January.  (I may delay next month's post a couple of days to get them.)  This will be 8 months from my last PSA, so hopefully all is well.

http://dansjourney2014.wordpress.com




4 Years Since Diagnosis

2015-09-22T15:57:07.311-07:00

It's been four years since sitting in my urologist's office and hearing those life-changing words: "You have cancer."

It's been quite the journey, and this blog has helped me get through it.  Sometimes, I think that I should stop blogging and close that chapter of my life, but that chapter will never be closed.  I don't obsess about having had cancer, but I don't shy away from the topic either.  Increasing education and awareness is important, and I'm on a quixotic mission to do just that, one reader at a time.

*     *     *

Google's Blogger was a great way for me as a blogging newbie to get started, but I feel that my time on Blogger is coming to a close.  My creative juices have been flowing, and I've wanted to come up with a cleaner, fresher, more contemporary blog, so I've decided to move my blog to Wordpress:


Hopefully, you'll like the new look and continue to follow my journey there.  I'll probably run both blogs in parallel during a few month transition period before I stop posting here.



Month 47 - DNA Blood Test Might Identify Status of Prostate Cancer

2015-09-22T15:57:07.482-07:00

So Prostate Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone, and hopefully more than a few men got smarter about prostate cancer or, even better, got screened by their doctors.

Here's an interesting development in the research that may help better define the effectiveness of treatment options:

DNA Blood Test Might Identify Status of Prostate Cancer - Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF)

As far as my own situation is concerned, I'm just living life with my new normal.  Really, there haven't been any changes for better or worse, so not much to report.



Month 46 - Views on Cancer Awareness

2015-09-22T15:57:07.463-07:00

Okay.  Buckle up.  I'm climbing on my annual cancer awareness soap box.Seeing pink on the the Chula Vista Fire Department's Facebook page today made me see red.I want to see powder blue.  Especially in September.Why CVFD would post this during National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month is a bit perplexing.  (Actually, not really.  They just want to get a jump start on fundraising with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.)One in seven of those male firefighters will face prostate cancer, and they apparently choose not to acknowledge it; they choose not to spread awareness; and they choose not to fight something that can directly impact themselves.Why?I'm not a marketing guru by any stretch of the imagination, but the Susan G. Komen Foundation certainly has turned its cause into an empire through effective and ubiquitous marketing.  Everywhere you turn, there's a freakin' pink something-or-other reminding you of the scourge of breast cancer and the need to cure it.  Hell, watch an NFL game next month and you'll see 300-pound linebackers wearing pink shoes.Don't get me wrong. I'm not downplaying breast cancer at all, nor am I condemning the Susan G. Komen Foundation's success.  In fact, just the opposite.  Prostate cancer awareness teams have to take a page from the Foundation's marketing playbook.  But it may be more than a marketing issue.Is there a stigma associated with prostate cancer that prevents people--men--from talking about it?If so, how do we eradicate the stigma so that we can eradicate the disease?  How do we get men to realize that it's not only okay to talk about prostate health, but we should go out of our way to talk about it.  There's nothing embarrassing about it.Do we show them stories like this reporting the death from prostate cancer of San Diego's Bishop Cirilo Flores, who was diagnosed in April and died in September?http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/sep/06/diocese-bishop-flores-death-catholic/It's not all doom and gloom.  The Prostate Cancer Foundation and others like the Safeway Foundation have been more visible with their efforts to increase awareness, even since I was diagnosed almost four years ago.  That's good.  But we need more.  Much more.And this little blog with its almost 15,000 clicks isn't going to change the world of prostate cancer awareness by itself.  (Although I will keep tilting at that windmill...)Time to climb down off my soap box.  Thanks for letting me vent.Manhood for GoodFinally, lest you think I'm bashing our firefighters, especially today, I'm not.  I have a tremendous amount of respect for what our first responders do, day in, and day out.Remembering 9/11[...]



September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

2015-09-22T15:57:07.495-07:00


September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and even thought there's been a lot in the news lately about changes in screening and treatment options, it's still critical that men educate themselves about prostate cancer.

I had no clue that I would be introducing "cancer" into my vocabulary nearly four years ago, but I did.

It happened after a digital rectal exam during a routine physical that I had put off for a couple of years.  That day changed my life and was the beginning of this journey.

Please take time in September to talk to the men in your lives about this important issue, and ask them to learn a little more about it.



Month 45 - Living Life

2015-09-22T15:57:07.521-07:00

Wow.  I was so busy living life that I forgot to post earlier today!

That, perhaps, is the best indicator of how things are going a little more than 3.5 years out from the surgery.  Sure, I still have little hiccups along the way (occasional stress incontinence and some sexual function issues), but life is good.

So I'll try to do better next month and be a bit more punctual in my posting.



Month 44 - LARP at 42 Months

2015-09-22T15:57:07.225-07:00

On July 4th, I was three and a half years out from my surgery, so I added a new page:

Life After Radical Prostatectomy - 42 Months Later

It's pretty much a reflection of my new normal, so please check it out.

*     *     *
Interestingly, about a week ago, I had three consecutive nights where I was running to the bathroom to pee about 4-5 times each night.  I'm not sure what was up with that, but it made for some cranky, sleep-deprived days afterwards.  I wasn't drinking any more than I normally do, so it wasn't as though there was extra fluids to process.  Odd.  Oh well.  Back to sleeping through the night.





Month 43 - June Prostate Cancer Fundraising Activities

2015-09-22T15:57:07.339-07:00

It's been a pretty normal month since my last update.  That's good.  That means there is life after a radical prostatectomy.

But as far as this month's blog update is concerned, I got nuthin'.

There are, however, a couple of major fundraising activities going on in June to support the Prostate Cancer Foundation and its research.  And because those activities are ongoing or are about to happen, I'm going to publish this post a few days earlier than normal.

*    *     *

The first is the PCF Home Run Challenge, where you donate either a lump sum or a specified amount for each home run hit in 98 MLB baseball games between June 9th and June 15th, Father's Day.



*    *     *

Once again, the Safeway Foundation, part of the Safeway grocery store operation, is supporting prostate cancer awareness during the month of June.  Give what you can if you shop at Safeway or Vons.







Month 42 - PSA Results

2015-09-22T15:57:07.450-07:00

It's funny.

I didn't even think much of getting my blood drawn for my six month PSA test on 30 April.  Just went in, got stuck, and went on my merry way.  No biggie.

Or so I thought.

Afterwards, I was checking my online health record twice a day looking for the results.  Hurry up and wait.  I guess modern technology has all made us wanting instant gratification, and when we don't get it, we get upset.

Once a cancer patient, there's always that little cloud of "What if?" hanging over your head.  I don't get nearly as worked up about waiting for the results as I did for my first post-surgery six month check, but it's still there.

So the results?  Still undetectable!  :)

I actually have my appointment with my urologist on Tuesday to officially go over the results.  I'm sure we'll talk about incontinence and sexual function, too.  [Edit 5/16/14: The urologist doesn't want to see me for 8 months instead of the usual 6 months.  Next PSA: January 2015.]

Oh.  And Happy Mother's Day to moms everywhere--living and departed.

*     *     *

Note the new contact form to make it easier to shoot me an email if you have any questions about my experiences.





Month 41 - Biological Update

2015-09-22T15:57:07.284-07:00

We're going to jump right in with this post...

BIOLOGY AHEAD

My niece and her three and a half-year old daughter came to visit for their spring break, and we were able to get out and do a lot of fun things together.  By the second day, my niece was chiding me about how many times I was going to the bathroom, and that got me to thinking, "Am I going more than usual?"  Or was it just her perspective.

In retrospect, I probably was running to the bathroom a tad more frequently.  Mainly because we were on the go, outside in cool air a good chunk of the time, and I never knew where the next bathroom might be, so I took advantage of using the ones nearby.  (And, no, I'm not talking every 20 minutes.  It was every couple of hours.)

As I explained to my niece, it's more that I have the urge or sensation that I need to go, than I actually do.  When I get to the bathroom, not much comes out.  Fortunately, the urges aren't the, "Oh my God, I need to find a bathroom in the next 30 seconds or I'm going to pee in my pants," kind of urges.  But they're there and they're telling my brain it's time to go when my bladder really could last a bit longer.  That can be frustrating.

And on the sexual function front, I've been quite pleased there.  I've had much better erections (near 100%) in the last month--all without chemical assistance.  Not bad for having only one nerve bundle.  As I've said before, be patient; let nature do its thing.

So that's it for this month.  Quick and simple.

*    *     *

Late update: I'd encourage those recently diagnosed to read a comment left by another reader, J.R., on the "Life After Radical Prostatectomy - 36 Months Later" page.  It's an interesting perspective, and I tend to agree with him.  Losing sexual function is more difficult to adjust to than many people, including myself, thought it would be.



Month 40 - State of the Science

2015-09-22T15:57:07.244-07:00


So I've been hopping on the Prostate Cancer Foundation's website a bit more recently, just to keep myself abreast of advances in research and what's happening in the world of treatment options.

Each year, they host a Scientific Retreat with doctors, scientists, and researchers from around the world, and they discuss what's currently happening in prostate cancer research.  Here's a link to the 2013 meeting's events and topics:

State of the Science Report

It provides a summary of what was presented and discussed in each session, much of it in medical mumbo-jumbo over my head, but there was one session's summary that caught my eye on pages 85-87:

Session 13: Measure Twice, Cut Once—What is the Proper Role for Surgery in Prostate Cancer 2013?

Obviously, having had a radical prostatectomy, it's an interesting read for me (not that I can change anything at this point).

I have to admit that there are days where I'm not so sure that I would make the same treatment decision if newly diagnosed today, given the recent advancements in the forty months since my diagnosis.

Don't get me wrong.  My quality of life, post-prostatectomy, is quite high.  My stress incontinence issues are a minor nuisance, and my sexual function issues would be a bigger factor if I were in a relationship, but I'm not.  I guess I'd be happier if I were 100% in both departments.

So I often weigh those nuisances against the larger picture.  With each six month PSA check-up that comes back "undetectable," I have peace of mind knowing that the cancer is no longer inside me.

The question becomes one of trading one set of concerns for another.

If I opted for some other treatment option and was 100% continent and had 100% sexual function, I'd be happy in both those departments, but then would I be trading that happiness for worrying every day that the cancer cells left inside me (even though they've been treated with chemo, radiation, hormones, or something else), are one day going to go crazy and ultimately do me in?  I don't know.

It's a tough call, and a very personal choice.

Again, I made my decision and am living with its consequences.  But the key word is living.



Month 39 - Encouraging News on Ability to Determine Aggressive Prostate Cancer

2015-09-22T15:57:07.477-07:00

For those who have been regular readers of this blog, I hope you like the new layout.  Things were getting a little too cluttered, so I added a new column just for the blog's administrative links (left column) and kept all the prostate cancer-specific links in the right column.  It should make it a tad easier to navigate.

*     *     *

Well, I'm past the head cold that I had and back to normal activity without pads.  I will have to admit, though, that even after the worst of it passed, I seemed to be a little more leak-prone for some reason.  But that's calmed down, too, thankfully.

*     *     *

There's encouraging news about having a better ability to determine whether prostate cancer is the aggressive type that can kill you, or the less aggressive type that can be observed under active surveillance.  You can read about that in the previous post (re-blogged from the Prostate Cancer Foundation site).

This is important.  It will help avoid over-treatment of prostate cancer, subjecting men to some of the side-effects of a treatment regimen that they may not have needed in the first place.  Of course, men will still have to overcome the thought of living with cancer inside them, always wondering if and when it may spread into something much more difficult to deal with.










New Look

2015-09-22T15:57:07.219-07:00

Welcome to the new look of my blog.  That foggy, misty background was getting a bit too depressing--there is life after prostate cancer, after all--so I decided to do a little mid-winter housekeeping and clean up the appearance and layout of the blog.

Enjoy!



Month 38 - Back in Pads (Temporarily)

2015-09-22T15:57:07.271-07:00

First, happy 2014!  A new year, and a new beginning.

January 4th marks three years since my radical prostatectomy, so I've added a new page: "Life After a Radical Prostatectomy - 36 Months Later."  You can access it from the link on the right side of the page.

As far as last month's post is concerned, I'll keep the blog going every month for now, and play it by ear as the year progresses.  Thanks to those who offered words of encouragement, either privately or through comments.

Finally, another birthday has come and gone since last month's post, which is just fine by me.  They're only numbers, and it sure beats the alternative.  :)

Remember, the American Cancer Society's motto is that they are "The Official Sponsor of Birthdays," and they're a great resource to use.


BIOLOGY (AND PHYSICS) AHEAD

Okay.  It's been a while since I've used that little warning symbol.  

On a return to visit my family over the holidays, I managed to pick up a head cold as a nice supplemental Christmas present.  Of course, with most head colds, there's sneezing, coughing, and just plain misery. 

It's the sneezing and coughing that reintroduced me to Newton's third law of physics: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Big time.

Let's just say that every big sneeze and violent coughing up of mucus that had drained into my throat or lungs, caused enough urine to leak out the other end that I found myself back wearing pads for the worst days of the cold.  Not fun.

So my advice to you is to keep that package of pads handy for just such situations if you still suffer from stress incontinence.  (I still have a package of the standard men's pads that Depend put out, but now I see they have smaller, thinner pads, too.  It may be worth giving them a try.)







Month 37 - Value and Future of this Blog

2015-09-22T15:57:07.515-07:00

Finally.  November / "Movember" is over!

I'm glad to have supported the cause, but I'm even more glad to be rid of that itchy, two-toned beard and moustache!  (My moustache and the top half of my beard were a reddish-brown, and the rest was snow white.  Ugh.)

*     *     *

I have to admit that I'm struggling over what to write for this month's update.

When I began this blog three years ago, it was meant to be an easy way for me to keep family and friends informed of what was happening immediately after the diagnosis.  I figured that I would let the decision be up to them to follow along, rather than me fill their email in-boxes with something they may not have felt comfortable reading.

Over time, the mission of this blog was to educate others about prostate cancer from the perspective of just one person who went through the diagnosis and one treatment option.

This blog served both purposes quite well.

But I always wanted the blog updates to bring something of value to its readers, and that's where I'm beginning to stumble a little.

Is it of value to you to hear month after month that nothing has changed?  If it is, then I have no problem continuing monthly updates.  But if it's not, then perhaps it's time to shift to "as needed" updates--update the blog when I hear something in the news about prostate cancer that's of interest, or if something changes significantly with my own status.

Perhaps I'll let you, the readers, answer that question by completing the poll at the top right of this post.  Or, if there are specific things you'd like me to address in my monthly updates, leave a comment in the comment section below.

Don't worry.  I can't see myself abandoning the blog altogether or taking it down.  I've put to much energy and soul into keeping it going, plus I know that it's been a good resource for some newly diagnosed guys along the way.

I'm open to your constructive comments and feedback.  What do you want to read about in these monthly updates?





Three Years Since Diagnosis

2015-09-22T15:57:07.278-07:00

Three Years

So it was three years ago yesterday that my urologist confirmed what my gut had been telling me for 5 weeks--I had prostate cancer.  Kind of hard to believe that it's been that long ago already.

Looking back on the experience, I didn't realize how much it would impact others.  My sister had a melt down when she heard the news.  Friends that I thought would be there for me couldn't even bring themselves to be in the same room with me, let alone have an open discussion about cancer.  And acquaintances that I barely interacted with prior to the diagnosis became my staunchest supporters.

The biggest lesson that I learned was that I, as the cancer patient, would have to take the lead and guide those around me through example as to how and when it was okay to talk about the diagnosis.  People were afraid to bring up the topic or simply ask, "How are you doing?" for fear that it would send me into a tizzy.

So for those of you reading who may be newly diagnosed, remember that even though it's primarily about you, it's also about everyone you come in contact with as well.  Look at the world through their eyes.  (Or, perhaps, even how you yourself acted when you learned that a friend or family member was diagnosed with cancer.)  And, if you do have a close friend or family member who can't be there for you, don't push it and don't judge them.  Accept it and move on.

Latest PSA Results

My latest six month check-up shows that my PSA remains undetectable (<0.03 ng/ml) which is great news, of course.  No signs of little cancer bugs.  Next check-up: 13 May 2014.

More Men's Health Awareness

To promote men's health awareness as a part of Movember, Matt Lauer and Al Roker had DRE prostate exams done live on the Today show (don't worry, you don't see the actual DRE being performed):

Matt Lauer and Al Roker have prostate exams

It's great that we continue to increase awareness, but I really wish the men's health community would be more consolidated and more focused in its efforts.

My local grocery chain highlights prostate cancer in June; there's National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, and there's Movember in November.  Perhaps it's good that there are year-round activities, but by being somewhat disjointed, we lack the higher profile and oomph that the breast cancer awareness campaign has.

*    *     *
Finally, for those readers in the U.S. about to observe Thanksgiving, I hope you have a great holiday with family and friends.




Movember

2015-09-22T15:57:07.508-07:00

I forgot that November is "Movember."  Men grow moustaches to support awareness about men's health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health.

You're supposed to start the month clean-shaven on 1 November and grow and groom a moustache through the end of the month.  Moustache-growing teams raise money to support cancer research and men's health.  You can read about it here:

Movember

It's been decades since I last tried growing a moustache, and when I did, the light blond whiskers on my upper lip were barely visible, so you really couldn't tell it was there.  Maybe I'll give it another shot this month and see what happens.  I'm guessing it may be more gray than blond, and will still be barely visible.  Oh well.



Month 35 - No News...

2015-09-22T15:57:07.257-07:00

...is good news.

I really don't have anything to report this month.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Nichts.  That's good. 

The only thing that I can offer up is the little trip down memory lane.

It was three years ago this week that I went for my routine physical and my doctor felt the mass during the DRE, kicking off this journey.  It was an unnerving day that began a whole series of wait-and-see events--appointments, tests, waiting for results--and trying desperately not to let my mind try to get too far ahead of the facts.

Other than that, everything else is pretty much status quo.

Next month's update will be on 12 November instead of the usual 11th.  That's because I'll get my next PSA results on the 12th, and I thought I'd just consolidate the updates into one.

Keep your fingers crossed...



Month 34 - Perspectives on Prostate Cancer

2015-09-22T15:57:07.352-07:00

September isNational Prostate Cancer Awareness Month Well, I really don't have much of an update from a personal perspective.  Things are pretty much status quo, which is good.I was amazed, however, that since the last post, this blog has surpassed the 10,000 page views mark, with readers from around the globe.  It's astonishing to me given my original intent when starting this blog.Speaking of readers, one of the blog readers (a fellow prostate cancer patient and now friend), forwarded me the article below shortly after my last post.Again, there have been so many changes in guidance on testing and treatment in the last year that it will make your head spin.  If I were newly diagnosed today, I'm not sure what I would do.I take that back.  One thing I would do is slow the decision-making process down and research, research, research.  But even at that, at some point you and your physician(s) are going to have to make a decision based on the best information available to you at that point in time, and there will always be some element of risk in whatever decision you make, no matter how thoroughly researched.Does that mean that I rushed my own decision and regret having had the radical prostatectomy?  Generally speaking, no and no.  Yes, I could have kept on researching, but near the end, my head was ready to explode from all of the information that I had gathered, and that was taking an emotional and physical toll on me.And, had my quality of life post-prostatectomy been not as good as it is, then I may have had a bit more regret about having had it.  Of course, any man would like to have full erections without drug assistance and no stress incontinence.  But my issues are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things and have little or no impact on my daily life.  That's pretty good considering...So read the article for a thought-provoking perspective, and use September to educate yourself and the guys in your life about prostate cancer.*    *    *From BloombergWhat If What You "Survived" Wasn't Cancer?What If What You ’Survived’ Wasn’t Cancer?By Virginia Postrel - Aug 18, 2013 You’re feeling fine when you go for your annual physical. But your mammogram looks a little funny, or your PSA test is a little high, or you get a CT lung scan and a nodule shows up. You get a biopsy, and the doctor delivers the bad news: You have cancer. Because you don’t want to die, you agree to be sliced up and irradiated. Then, fortunately, you’re pronounced a “cancer survivor.” You’re glad they caught it early. But maybe you went through all that pain for nothing. For decades, the reigning theory has been that the earlier a cancer is spotted and treated, the less likely it is to be lethal, because it won’t have time to grow and spread. Yet this theory infers causality from correlation. It implicitly assumes that cancer is cancer is cancer, even though we now know that even in the same part of the body, cancer is many different diseases -- some aggressive, some not. Perhaps people survive early-stage cancers not because they’re treated in time, but because their disease never would have become life-threatening at all. This isn’t just logical nit-picking. Thanks to widespread screening, the number of early-stage cancers identified has skyrocketed. In many instances -- including types of breast, prostate, thyroid and lung cancers -- more early diagnoses h[...]



Special Post

2015-09-22T15:57:07.443-07:00

September
is
National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month
 

Take time this month to learn more about prostate cancer, its effects, and the treatment options.

Much has changed in the last year concerning prostate cancer testing and treatment, and you need to be aware of those changes.  Get the latest information and guidelines from your personal physician, especially if you're in an at-risk group.

It's too important not to educate yourself about prostate cancer.  It's your life we're talking about, after all.

 
 




Month 33 - Bladder Endurance

2015-09-22T15:57:07.437-07:00

So here's an interesting story on some research showing that men who take fish oil supplements for heart health may be putting themselves at increased risk for prostate cancer.Fish Oils May Raise Prostate Cancer RiskGranted, it's only one study, so it's something to take with a grain of salt, but it's also something to keep an eye on for future studies.*     *     *Remember that next month, September, is...National Prostate Cancer Awareness MonthGiven all the changes in testing recommendations since last year's Prostate Cancer Awareness month, it's even more crucial to become educated about diagnosing prostate cancer and treatment options.  Make sure you spread the word and tell the guys in your life to take a few minutes to learn about prostate cancer in September.*     *     * BIOLOGY AHEADSo a couple of weeks ago, I had a couple of surprises in the bladder control department.  Since the surgery, I have to admit that I get to be a bit more tactical and use bathrooms a bit more frequently than I should.  Typically, I'll last 3-5 hours but may urinate a bit more frequently when I'm not sure when I'll find the next toilet.A few weeks ago, I was at a friend's annual summer barbecue party, and I lasted just over 7 hours before having to go to the bathroom (and that was on a hot summer day when I was drinking plenty to keep hydrated).  So that was the first surprise.  I couldn't recall the last time I went 7 hours during the day without using a toilet.  (I can sleep through the night fine most of the time.)But at the end of the 7 hours when I did stand up to head to the bathroom, I sprung a leak.  This was more than the standard couple of drops during stress incontinence episodes, this was probably a good spoonful or so that left a two-inch diameter wet stain on my jeans.  Thankfully, by then, it was dark and my jeans were dark, too, so it wasn't obvious.  Still, it was completely unexpected.I guess the lesson learned is to keep emptying my bladder more frequently.  I really wasn't conscientiously trying to set a "hold my bladder" record with the 7 hours; it just happened that way.[...]



Month 32 - Robotic Surgery

2015-09-22T15:57:07.318-07:00

Those more astute readers of this blog may have noticed that I've added a new page, "Life After Radical Prostatectomy - 30 Months Later," to give a quick overall update of where I'm at.

Check out the link to the right under the "Pages" section.

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Here's an interesting article about robotic surgery in general, its success, and its complications:

Robotic Surgery

The article is a bit alarmist, highlighting one really bad case, considering the thousands of perfectly good outcomes from a robotic surgery each year.  Still, it is good to see that perspective.

For me, one of the main and obvious take-aways from the article is that the surgeon's experience level using the robot matters.  But then again, I already knew that when I drove myself nuts trying to find the best, most experienced surgeon possible.

If you're having surgery at a teaching hospital, you may want to consider asking if there will be any "student drivers" at the robot's wheel and, if so, for what parts of the surgery.  Because once you're in anesthesia la-la-land, you won't have a clue as to who's doing what to your body.

Bottom line: research, research, research. 

And don't be afraid to question your doctor about his experience level.  If he or she hesitates when answering, or seems offended by the question, it's time to look for another surgeon.  Which surgeon would you choose?  The one who says:

"I've performed 743 radical prostatectomies in the last 6 years, with the last one on last Thursday, and I have a 1.6% complication rate."

Or the one who says:

"Well, um, I really don't keep count, but I'm checked out on the robot and I know what I'm doing."

It's your body.  It's your life.  You have every right to ask those questions before "hiring" your surgeon.