Treatment – radical prostatectomy surgery experience2021-06-11T13:16:41-04:00
  • Typical operating theatre with robot at centre and surgeons console on the side

Treatment for prostate cancer

Here’s what it was like to me to experience robotic assisted radical prostatectomy surgery, and the immediate aftermath. Also included: other men’s stories and my wife’s commentary.

Partner story 1: From diagnosis to surgery

A cancer diagnosis affects the partner and the marriage about as much as the patient. Big thanks to my wife Colleen for sharing her side of the story. Here is Part One:

This journey started for me with Mish complaining of his penis not feeling quite right. Perhaps it was thrush which we’d both had previously, passing it back and forth before getting rid of it. But this time I had no corresponding itch. As he has described, he went to a GP who felt something not right in his prostate and sent him to a urologist.

Being […]

Guest post: Prostate cancer treatment affected by prior cancer and COVID

By Pramod Daya, Founder and CEO, Mindspring Computing

Here’s the story of how my prostate cancer treatment options were affected by prior cancer experience. I’m a business leader and founder of Mindspring Computing. My prostate cancer story started as a sidenote in my life.

When I visited my excellent GP, Dr Anna Frost, in February of 2020, she mentioned that we had not done a PSA test for a while. Good idea, I thought. I did not know too much about it, nor was I overly concerned.

PSA test and digital examination

The test came back with a level of 4.15 […]

Research part 2: Prostate surgery details

24 January 2020: Part of what I like about my surgeon is that he can explain so clearly what my options are and how it all works. Once I made my choice of Radical Robotic-Assisted laparoscopic Prostatectomy (RARP), he also backed that up with a comprehensive written treatment plan with prostate surgery details.

My surgeon sent me a leaflet from the British Association of Urological Surgeons where you can read how radical prostatectomy surgery works in plain English.  There are also some risk assessment numbers that sound OK (and I later find probably overly optimistic):

Day Zero: radical prostatectomy surgery

Radical prostatectomy operating theatre with robot at centre and surgeons console on the side Imagine being on that table: Operating Theatre with Robotic Surgery Machine

27 February 2020: Up at 4 am, Uber to hospital in the dark for my radical prostatectomy. I’m so scared and yet something is reassuring about all the rules, uniforms, gleaming corridors of the hospital.

I am inviting a surgeon to make half a dozen holes in my tummy and insert robotic arms with lights, cameras, tweezers, mini-chompers like crocodile clips, and scalpels right to my core. Scared, but […]

Day 6: Robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery is magnificent treatment

4 March 2020: I am hugely blessed to have gone through such major surgery so easily and to be quite obviously on the mend. Robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery is absolutely magnificent treatment. It is indeed minimally invasive – given that they are cutting out an organ that is deeply buried in a particularly inaccessible part of my body. I am truly grateful for the technology and the remarkable team that cared for me so skilfully.

I am also deeply blessed to be getting so much loving care from so many family and friends. Later today my catheter […]

Day 7: Cancer close to spreading beyond prostate

5 March 2020: Yesterday my surgeon told me just how close my cancer had come to spreading beyond my prostate gland. It’s a huge relief to know that my doctor’s hunch last November and a quick response to her initial warning have probably saved my life.

In my first post-op consultation, my surgeon removed the catheter and the surgical clips, and gave his post-operative report. He gave me the all-clear to walk as much as I like, run when I feel ready, but no heavy lifting till 6 weeks post-op. Going home in a kind of adult diaper was a […]

Guest post: The road to dry nights after prostate surgery

By Dr Rhys Leeming

Without a doubt, of all the medical interventions I have had, my prostatectomy has left the deepest scars. Thrown instantly into erectile dysfunction and bladder incontinence, my world was thrown into a deep turmoil.

This is my story of how I navigated the night time aspect of the bladder incontinence that hit me immediately after surgery. My following post explores the longer road towards dry days.

Not my first medical intervention

I reluctantly joined the band of prostate cancer survivors in November 2020. Prior to that, I felt I’d had a slightly above average association […]

Month 6: Additional benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy

27 August 2020: Celebrating the benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy with the wonderful Hester van Aswegen. Her specialist training and simple direct manner are helping me go beyond the basic penile rehabilitation and pelvic floor physio work previously described. Now we are working together on:

  • Going to the loo less frequently: rebuilding my bladder capacity;
  • Mobilising the deep tissues in my abdomen and groin to avoid the risk of dangerous adhesions;
  • Working pelvic floor muscles while moving and in different overall body positions;
  • Getting the penile rehab working in situations where it really counts (in […]

Guest post 1: When prostate surgery doesn’t catch all the cancer

By Martin Wells

Not everybody gets to have their cancer cut out and then stay in remission. Here’s the beginning of my story of ongoing cancer after prostatectomy. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer 14 years ago, and it is still with me now. I had a radical prostatectomy that didn’t catch all the cancer.

Looking back, I see that I prepared myself internally for this journey. Before being diagnosed, I was already on a personal growth journey. I had learned to explore what the things inside me were that were keeping me stuck.

I had also unlearned that typical male thing of […]

3 years in my new body

27 February 2023: My experience of life after prostate cancer: loss is inevitable. Adaptation and recovery are possible.

This morning I am celebrating exactly 3 years since my radical prostatectomy. I have no regrets. I’m lucky that my cancer is still at bay. And I test my PSA regularly, knowing the cancer can still come back at any time.

I invite you to tap below and watch my 3 minute video, taking stock of 3 years without my prostate:

Below are some notes from the video.

Healthy lifestyle gives my body its best chance against the cancer

My main defences against the […]

Guest interview: penile prosthesis aged 68

When I interviewed Johann about his penile prosthesis, he was just back from work, and on his way out to dinner with his wife and children to celebrate his 70th birthday. I was blown away by his positive energy and love of life. Here’s a bit more about his story:

Timeline: early onset ED, penile prosthesis aged 68

1979 – 1991: Happily married with normal sex life.

1992-2009: Serious erectile dysfunction problems, first treated with surgery for a venous leak, also with testosterone injections. OK for some periods but each time the ED returned.

2010: Diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 57, treated with […]

Treatment is just one part of a longer journey

You are welcome to explore stories from prostate cancer diagnosis to treatment, and the long and complex process of recovery after treatment.

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