Monday, August 27, 2012

Da Vinci Surgery, lies, dam lies and statistics

With the advent of Robotic Surgery the majority of men who are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer are choosing this option. Here are some of the claims:
1. One Day Hospital Stay
2. Rapid Return to Work
3. Rapid return of urinary control
4. Rapid return of erectile functioning

17 months post surgery he's my experience:
1. My one day hospital stay turned into two since I threw up after breakfast. I was in more pain on the morning I was supposed to be discharged than I was the night following my surgery. I needed a 2 day stay. My 90 mile ride home was unbelievably painful. A shot of  a narcotic, and a donut pillow should be given to any man who has a long ride home from the treatment center

2. It was 3 months before I returned to work

3. That's because I didn't get a "rapid return of urinary control" I was going through 15 diapers a day for 12 weeks. Now I still have stress incontinence, meaning I'll leak urine if I sneeze, bend down, laugh, or cough. I need to wear a pad every day.

4. Climacturia-leaking urine during (or before an orgasm) has been an issue for me since surgery. While the volume of urine is less. I still leak. No one mentioned this side effect to me prior to surgery.

5. While some men have immediate urinary and erectile functioning after surgery, there's a large majority of men like me, who will not have a return of functioning for 18-24 months. Is there any man who thinks 18-24 months represents a "rapid return" of erectile functioning?

6. The necessity of penile rehab. It's very possible that simply waiting for the nerve bundles to heal can result in permanent impotence. Without a good blood flow to the penis, it is possible to develop a venous leak.
If a man cannot get an erection with ED meds post surgery, as awful as this sounds, penile injections will prevent venous leak.

These are just a few things men should know before they go under the Robotic Knife.  My wife and I wrote a book titled "I Left My Prostate In San Francisco-Where's Yours? which should be released in December. In this book we go over these and many more issues men and couples should be prepared for if Robotic Surgery is your treatment choice.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Receiving the Diagnosis Of Prostate Cancer

About 20 months ago I went to my Urologist to get a prescription re-newed.  As I waited for my name to be called, I used to that time to thank God for the good health I was currently blessed with.

Little did I know how quickly things would change. When my name was called I went into the exam room expecting to get a prescription refill and then go on my merry way.

The Doctor said he'd be glad to re-fill my prescription, but first he wanted to examine my prostate. Since I had that exam 8 months ago and wasn't due for another exam for another 4 months I declined the exam.

He said "No prostate exam, no refill." After much thought I agreed to the exam. Little did I know my life as I knew it was about to change in the span of a few seconds.

After the exam, the Dr told me he felt "a suspicious lump" and he wanted to perform a biopsy.  That's how my journey with prostate cancer began.

I have a Masters Degree in Social Work, and worked as a Medical Social Worker. My wife is an RN who worked in Oncology. At the time I naively thought our education and professional training would make this journey easier for us. It didn't.

We were so unprepared, that we decided to write a book so others taking this journey would be better prepared than we were. The book should be available in December.

However my wife and I decided writing a book wasn't enough, we wanted to create a place where men and couples who are thinking about surgery as a treatment option could find a place to go to talk with people further along the road as well as find sources of information.

As I write this blogg, our website is still under construction. Additionally, I must to learn how to add resources to the site. I've never managed a website before. I've never blogged before. However, as I went from the shock of the initial diagnosis through 16 months of post surgical struggles I posted an on-line diary at the prostate cancer support group at My diary received approximately 22,000 hits.

This made me realize how great the need is for information as well as support. It's my hope that becomes a place where men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer and their partners can visit to get support and information.

Feel free to comment here or contact me at My wife can be reached at