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Pittsburgh, PA survivors

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2010

I've been reading the different posting but most seem to be from other states. Are there any survivors in the pgh area that could give some advise on their decisions/experience. Can't seem to find support groups that meet on Saturdays...

gumbyrun's picture
Posts: 58
Joined: Dec 2009

I had my daVinci on Feb 26, 2010, at Allegheny General Hospital. Surgeon is with Triangle Urology. I live in State College. How can I help?

Posts: 5
Joined: Feb 2010

wondering if you would be willing to provide info - age, diagonsis, reason that you decided on the davinci. Seems there's a number of people that aren't from around here and although the info is helpful. we were still trying to get feedback from people who've dealt with doctors and hospitals in the area.

gumbyrun's picture
Posts: 58
Joined: Dec 2009

Here we go.
I had a life insurance physical on 9/29/09 including a full battery of blood tests. My PSA came back at 5.64. I was denied insurance.
I contacted my Family Practice guy who ordered the full PSA battery, including the free PSA %. ON 10/21/09, my numbers came back as follows:
PSA 5.95
Free PSA 0.55
Free PSA Percent 9
On 10/29 I met with a Urologist here in State College to review the results. He also did a DRE and his notes were: "Prostate is about 30 grams in size and slightly asymmetric but otherwise normal in consistency. No other rectal masses are palpable."
Transrectal guided ultrasound guided biopsy scheduled.
11/24 - Biopsy. (A biopsy was scheduled sooner but I was not given the prep instructions on my 10/29 visit because it was late in the afternoon, 5:00 PM, and the "scheduler" had gone home. Whatever.)
9 specimens were collected. I was told "going in" it would be 14, then during the procedure 12, but he stopped at 9. I was very uncomfortable. Maybe I'm a whimp...
Results: of 9 cores, 4 were diagnosed as "Adenocarcinoma." Of the six cores on the right, 1 was not benign; all 3 on the left.
Left base, 3+4, 50
Left midgland, 3+3, 20
Left apex, 3+3, 10
Right lateral apex, 3+3, "Focus" (Not sure what this means now...I probably asked but don't remember.)
Clinical stage T1C
Based on age, he recommended external beam or surgery.

Urologist in State Collge did not do surgery but recommended that I consider Geissinger in Danville, Pa. if I don't find someone in Pittsburgh.

I have a close relative that is a highly placed and well respected physician at a hospital in the Pittsburgh area and he asked around and everyone suggested Dr. Ralph Miller with Triangle Urology. They do their procedures at AGH.

I made an appt with them and had my slides sent to the pathologist at AGH.

In the meantime, I continued my research and reading into the various procedures. I am from the Cleveland area so looked at the Cleveland Clinic as well as HIFU trials at the Clinic.

One of the first realizations that I came to when faced with PCA was that everyone makes there own decision on treatment for their own personal reasons. I vocalized this to a few people, even a guy with PCA, before ever finding this message board. I am tickled to say that I have never felt challenged by anyone about my choice, especially the people in this group. I cannot verbalize everything that went into my decision. I'm a type "A" salesman (as well as others on this board) but sell with emotion and relationships. Yes, I looked at the facts, but I made a spiritual and emotional decision with the information provided by my doctors, this board, books that I have read, and of course, my wonderful wife Becky.

OK Back to the timeline.

On January 6th, I met with Dr Miller and a Oncology Radiologist at AGH. They both examined me separately, including a DRE, and then conferred and I met each individually. The Oncology Radiologist recommended the daVinci based on age, extent of cancer, etc. Dr Miller did the same. We discussed the various options including HIFU. He was very professional and did not bad mouth HIFU or any other procedures. He spent about 30-40 minutes answering all our questions and explaining the procedure. He gave me his number and told us to think about it and let him no.

Becky and I thought about it for another few days, though our mind was made up before we left, and I called for an appointment. I could of had the surgery on 2/19/10 but I had tickets to see John Prine in Philly for that night. Hey - I have my priorities - I was taking my oldest daughter for her 26th birthday. And I wanted to be there to say "ssssiiiiiizzzzzzlin'" when he sang "Lake Marie."

The surgery was performed on 2/26/10. I was discharged on 3/2/10 and had my cath removed on 3/9. The pathology discussion was that the cancer was contained and had not spread to the seminal vesicles. I have requested a copy of the final report and will share these numbers if everyone isn't ready to shoot me by now or at least banish me from this discussion group!

In summary, I hope this helps and I didn't provide TMI. If my experiences influence your decision, well, please bear in mind that that was not my intention. You WILL make the best choice for you. I am forever grateful for the good vibes and prayers sent my way by my family, friends, and members of this incredible resource. OK everybody: Group Hug!

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