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Just beginning....a prognosis from very good to terrifying today

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

My name is Duane. My 81 year old father named Gary, next to me in a recent photo herein, and in magnificent health was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. A needle biopsy revealed an aggressive and nearly pervasive form of cancer in most of his prostate, with less than 5% in attached tissue. Six weeks later, and due to his exceptional overall health, he had a prostatectomy today. MD Anderson Houston, even robotic, the best in the business. He was in surgery for more than six hours. The primary surgeon reported to us that they found the cancer, in this short a period of time, had spread to (metastisized) a small portion of his rectum. A colorectal specialist was summoned, and those sections were removed as well. The overall report was the felt they 'got all of it', and a PSA in six weeks. If numbers are higher than zero, radiation and hormone therapy will begin immediately.

The speed with which this cancer spread, and reported aggressiveness, scares the crap out of me. I know the odds are exponentially worse in light of recent discovery, and the likelyhood of radiation therapy is almost a certainty. I entered the hospital filled with optimism concerning my father's past health successes, and left today feeling as though I am about to watch my father die. It is incredibly disquieting. His 'wife' divorced him on diagnosis, and he is alone. My heart bleeds. I am a Christian and a man of faith, but I also know life has certain realities. I thought I was prepared for a day like this, but I was wrong.

Anyone, at all, with advice or a similar situation? Please do not hesitate.

VascodaGama's picture
VascodaGama
Posts: 2958
Joined: Nov 2010

Duane,

I am sorry for the situation. From your limited descriptions I think that your dad is confronting a very aggressive case. However, by the actions of  his doctors, it seems to me that they knew more details than what has been told to you. I would think that they have withheld information on the advanced status for not upsetting the patient. No one doctor does robotic surgery and at the same time finds cancer in the collon. Probably there is a previous image study reveiling a localized lesion that was biopsed while at surgery (typical action at big instituitions), and once confirmed positive at their laboratory, continued the operation at the collom. I wonder if they also found infected lymph nodes.

Your first paragraph where you comment that your dad was "...  in magnificent health" contrast to the negativity of your second paragraph. We always look healthy until diagnosed with something very critical. PCa does not develop overnight. The bandit may have been living unnoticed in your dad's since 20 years ago. You too (and your siblings) are at risk (level 4) because of his diagnosis. Your children are at risk 2. You should check on the matter for not allowing it to advance to a similar status, if any.

MD Anderson is a famous institution with the best specialists in prostate cancer issues. I think you can trust them. They are providing the best option in the care of your dad's condition. I would think that radiation is unavoidable because of the extent of the infested area. In any case, surely they will allow for a period of healing before additional intervention. If the PSA comes above 0.05 then they will program to start hormonal therapy which side effects can cause more discomfort to your dad. I wonder about his initial makers. Can you share the results for; Gleason score, PSA, DRE, biopsy report, bone scan and any other image study?
His present pathological status is T4 Nx M1. Please ask at MDA for the other markers which may be for your own interest, in your future.

Nobody knows how long one can live once diagnosed with prostate cancer. In any case, there are a series of treatments, each one punching the bandit down, therefore prolonging the living of the patient. Cure in advanced cases is rare. One needs to adapt to survive to the effects from treatments, always looking to keep a certain quality of life. Many cases last years till the patient dies from other (directly related or unrelated) causes.

You are wonderful to care about Gary. His divorce will not help the situation.

Best wishes and luck in his and your journeys.

VGama

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

Vascoda, you are frighteningly accurate. Just the NATURE of the questions he was (drugged)askin my sister and I in post op concerned issues he had told us nothing about. That infuriated me. Always the consisten tale-bearer. I am taking a copy of your above observatons with me, and I am going to watch him read it. I have NO doubt you know exactly what you are talking about. I will post to you again this evening with more specifics. Thank you for the sincerity of your heart, and the gentleness of your words. Nobody wants to see their dad die. Including me. I have faith, but I have a VERY bad feeling about the short term outcome.Blessings

Duane

Grinder
Posts: 437
Joined: Mar 2017

I have to say, your affections and concern your father is a real blessing for him, and that is what being Christian is all about. My kids are the same way, not because I am such a good guy, but because they have such good natures. Sometimes people ask me how did I raise such great kids, and I say I didn't raise them... The Holy Spirit did. Not joking either. As a psych major, I would have been "modifying their behavior" and they would be in jail, or on meth, or whatever by now.

Strange to say, but I think because our lives end, and sometimes abruptly, makes the life we live here and now, and the relationships we form, all the way more valuable.

Hearing about the great relationship you and your father have is a blessing when reading this forum too. I like checking this forum out occasionally because I am stunned by the triumph of loving relationships even in the depressing darkness of PC and its related symptoms and often frightening prognosis. AND the expertise and experience of guys like VDG and Max are way better than many of the Urologists I have run into. And they do it without any recompense or reward. Not knocking all urologists though. Some are very expert.

Reading this forum beats the **** out of the angry diatribes on Facebook. I always come out the better person for it. Facebook, not so much.

DRJr's picture
DRJr
Posts: 9
Joined: Mar 2017

Grinder....my dad is not necessarily an altar boy, but neither is he a man of ethic. He left my sister and I with my mom in Puerto Rico and ran off with a 19 year old secretary when i was 2 years old. Bad reality tv.

Also absentee dad. I discovered alcohol early, and soonafter much, much harder narcotics and meth. I have flatlined twice, and lost several friends that never got second (tenth) chance. I am now 52 years old, with barely three years  of reality under my belt. If I even THINK about relapsing, my liver will simply tell me to **** off and quit. So.....the points you make about risk are serious concerns of mine. And, because of my three decades of self medication, I have created my own'control group' for falilure. Or success. As for dads numbers, I will ask this morninig as I am leaving for MDA now. I do know that they rocketed from zero to nearly 30 in no time. I have no idea what that meant.

My father was an executive for McAnn Erickson Advertising, is astonishingly adept on his feet, and can marry concepts and words that leave you speechless. But in his case, it also made him THE most talented and belivable liar on the planet. True 50 years ago, and true today.

RobLee's picture
RobLee
Posts: 259
Joined: Feb 2017

Duane I left a comment in your blog.

As expected, the first question always asked in a forum is what is his stage, Gleason score and pre-op PSA.

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