Mar 09, 2012 - 12:13 pm
Hi all. I was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, at 42 years old. The news has been somewhat of a shock, though I'm guessing everyone reading this note has gone through that. I think my first reaction was similar to many others: I want to be able to see my kids grow up.
I had a PSA of 6.2 last September. Two follow up tests showed a PSA at 2.x and 3.x. For reasons that are not important (work, etc.) I delayed the meeting with the Urologist for a few months. The DRE indicated a possible problem so I went back for a biopsy. Normally, my Urologist prefers to have in person meetings to deliver the news, but I was scheduled to leave for a 1 week business trip on the day the results came back, so he gave me the summary version over the phone: 1 of the 12 samples was positive for prostate cancer. I guess it could have been a lot worse. I meet with him next week to get the more detailed report and discuss treatment options. The week has allowed me (and my wife) to research the issues (we both know a lot more about the male anatomy than we ever thought we would). While we will keep an open mind, I believe surgery is the best course of action for me. The peace of mind, knowing that the cancer has been removed, is extremely important to me. Given that the first high PSA test was 6 months ago, I'm hoping to schedule it as soon as possible. I guess the point of this note is two fold. First, thank you all for the information you have shared on this forum and others. The amount of available information has helped me understand the disease, treatment options and what to expect. Second, to ask for your help and collective wisdom with a few questions:
There is very little public information about urologists/surgeons. Other than asking them about their experience, success rate with removing the prostate and sparing the nerves, etc., is there any independent way to research this information? I don't expect my urologist to lie to me (I have a lot of respect for him, and the limited information I've found is very positive), I'd just like to have the ability to research him and all other available specialists.
Is it common to have a bone scan, ultrasound, MRI or CT prior to surgery? I'm not sure what my urologist will recommend, but right now my biggest fear is that it has spread. It may sound a little crazy, but I think I'd feel better going into surgery believing that it hasn't spread instead of not knowing.
As i look ahead to recovery I know I will need to deal with a host of issues, emotional and physical. My job requires me to make difficult judgement calls on a regular basis. I'm struggling to do that now and imagine it will be even more difficult in the weeks following the surgery. Is it completely unrealistic for me to plan on being out of the office for 8-10 weeks, or more? Short term disability insurance will cover 75% of my salary for 90 days. Is it absurd for me to want to use all of that time to recover? I'm an emotional wreck right now and don't see that changing for a while (maybe the first PSA test post surgery--when is that?).
Any help is greatly appreciated.