Prostate Cancer Videos - Larry S



Watch as Larry S takes us through his journey with prostate cancer.

Do you have experience with prostate cancer? Join now to share your journey!

Video Transcription

Dealing with Anxiety

Yes there are times during this journey that you do become a little anxiety ridden, especially before a procedure or before a test and or after a test. You don’t know to what the outcome is, so kind of try to second guess yourself and stay up at night and it can become hard. But you know what, it’s like anything else in life. The only thing to fear is fear itself. Since I’ve been on this journey, I’m on a few prostate cancer support group websites on Facebook and sadly we keep welcoming new fellows into the group every day. And as their time comes around to make their decision for treatment and if some opt for surgery, they are concerned of what to expect and how it goes. And they say that they can’t sleep. I say guys just close your eyes, think about nothing. Think about something pleasant and once they put you out, when you wake up it’s done. You’ll be good to go. You’ll be going home and it’ll be okay. All of us that have had this have gone through and we’ve all ended up so far so good. On a day-to-day basis, I really don’t feel the anxiety. Only if somebody stops and says, “Oh, how are you feeling?” or “What happened?” That makes you think, well what does the future look like? Does anybody know what their future looks like? These are tough questions and if you stop and dwell, of course, your mind will run away with itself and play tricks on you so to speak. Excuse me, I’ve been losing my voice as of late. I think it’s allergies. But thank God it’s not affecting me in that way on a constant basis. And I just go about living my life. I have some nice friends and we go out to dinner a lot. I’m a foodie. I’m a bit of a chef. So, I cook and I present my creations on Facebook. It’s one of my hobbies and I’m a champion of the low and slow barbecue method. I do a lot of that. Life is good. Life is good. It’s not the same, but it’s good.

Change in Appetite

That’s another thing that wasn’t affected, my appetite. Thank God I can eat, and I’ve also been pleased with the skinny gene, so I can eat a lot and really thank God not get too fat. I stay in shape without exercise, although I do some exercise because as you get older if you don’t exercise everything starts to ache and fall apart. And since I worked and did a lot of physical labor during these years, I’m kind of used to it. I try to stay active.

Diagnosis

The third question is “Could you tell us about your condition?” Well, right now I’m hoping I don’t have a condition. I had robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy performed by Dr. Vipul Patel at the Global Robotics Institute in Celebration, Florida, an ultramodern facility. And from what I understand Dr. Patel is on the same plane as Dr. Sam D in New York. Dr. Patel has done over 5,000 procedures. And where most people take a few hours, he seems to bang them right out in about an hour and twenty minutes or so or an hour and a half from what I gather. So, he’s good at it. He did a nerve sparring technique, although I think part of my nerve bundle was involved in the cancer, so I still have sensitivity, but I’m still suffering from some ED issues. And other than that, I feel good.

Life Before Cancer

Hi, I’m Larry the wizard of Wesley Chapel. And I’m going to be discussing my journey. The first question is, “Describe your life before you had prostate cancer.” Well, to be quite honest, before I had prostate cancer my life was going along just fine. I have worked most of my adult life and retired about six years ago, moved down to Florida at the ripe old age of 55 and I was ready to start enjoying life. And for a short period of time I did until one day I was told that I had prostate cancer.

Metastases

I really don’t know what type of tumors I had and I’m hoping that I haven’t become metastatic. And my PSA was fine for about four months after my surgery, less than .01. But in September or October of this year, my PSA started to rise ever so slightly to about a .06 and then a .87. I went to my urologist and together we decided that I would get a team put together and go down to Moffitt Cancer Center here in Tampa, Florida. I went there and met up with a team and they did some further testing and they opted to start a salvage radiation, which I had 40 treatments. And during the course of those treatments my PSA did start to go down. And since then I completed that in March. They’ve been halving every since. Now I’m back down to a 0.14, which is pretty good.

Place of Care

Seems that question number seven was where I received care and how was it? I kind of mentioned that right up front. At the Global Robotics Institute in Celebration, Florida. Every room is private. The nursing staff and the physicians were amazingly, I shouldn’t say amazingly, they were genuinely appeared to really care about your well-being and the institution itself was absolutely immaculate. Everything was top notch. I really couldn’t complain or ask for anything more. And people say Manhattan, Manhattan, I tell you the truth, I’m kind of glad I did it in a semi-small town America. And just looking out of my window and seeing the palm trees was calming in itself.

Quotes

Well, in closing, I hope that everyone’s journey is as easy as mine was. And, again, one of my best sayings is the only thing to fear is fear itself. So, stay positive, listen to your doctors, but live your life. Good luck everybody. Peace out.

Side Effects

As far as my side effects from the robotic prostatectomy, I really can’t say that I had any. I was in confident for about three weeks. I wore pads and after that I was doing my Kegels beforehand and afterwards, and during that recuperation period. I was good to go. No pads within about a month. As far as frequency, it was back to normal. I never had to get up before my prostate surgery in the middle of the night to urinate, and I didn’t have to afterwards. I was like good to go as they say. I can’t complain about that. The only thing is the ED issues are still sort of there. They kind of come and go, but I’m alive. And if I can keep working on it, I haven’t started injections or anything yet. I use oral medications, Viagra, Cialis. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I do have a VED, a vacuum erection device. And it is what it is, but I’m waking up every day and enjoying Florida lifestyle. Bought myself a new car and hey, life goes on. And most people that are in my life understand some of my physical limitations and seem to accept the fact that I’m not as strong as I used to be, and I can’t do as much outside I used to do, but I’m still here. I’m still funny. I’m still kicking. As far as being a recipient of a robotic laparoscopic prostatectomy, no adverse side effects. I was up and going the next day. I was kept in the hospital a day or two extra because I had a little bit of vertigo, which does happen to me sometimes after surgeries. And other than that, I was good. I came home after the weekend and went back on Monday or Tuesday. The healing process seemed to have been moving along properly. They were able to remove my catheter. And I came home and that was it. I was good to go.

Conditions and Treatment

As far as my condition now, I would say that I’m in the downhill road meaning that my PSA is going downhill not up. So, my next test is in another two months or so and at that point, if it’s gone down more or half my radiation oncologist feels that salvage radiation of my prostate bed was effective and that at this point in time there’s nothing showing up. I’m going in for a thoracic scan at the beginning of December just to double check that area because I did have pneumonia when I was in the army and they saw a little nodule there on my lobe of my lung, but a year ago and a year and a half before that, it still seems to be the same. Nothing’s changed, so they just want to follow that up and make sure. Other than that, I think I’m really quite fortunate and lucky. And as long as it stays this way, he said that the PSA check will be at six months and then at a year. And God willing, I’ll have a clean bill of health and I can look forward to many more years.

Symptoms

I really didn’t have any symptoms of prostate cancer. One day I was urinating and I felt a sandy gravel that looked sort of brown or red in my urine, so I urinated through a piece of tissue and felt that they were granulated. And it burned a little bit when it was coming down, so I decided I’d go to the doctor. I went to my internist and he just said listen don’t waste your time here. Go straight up to the urologist. So I took a ride up the street to the urologist he recommended and very nice young man. His name was Dr. Bertram Lewis out here in Zephyrhills, Florida. And he gave me a DRE and in the middle he said, “Oops.” And I said, “Doc, oops does not sound like a very positive medical term.” And he turned a little red in the face and he said, “Well I kind of feel something here protruding on your prostate and we’ll have to test this further. But don’t be alarmed. It could be nothing.” I said, “Okay.” And he proceeded to make me three more sets of appointments. One for a sonogram and one for assistascope and then of course in the outside case, the worst case scenario, he set up an appointment for a biopsy three weeks down the road. In any event, I came back the following week. On Wednesday is when he did his in-office procedures and we proceeded to go through the tests. And he felt that actually I was fine. My PSA was only at 1.4 for the last few years. No changes and of course when he opted to continue with the biopsy that came back with about six out of the 12 cause positive for prostate cancer. Unlike a lot of other men, I really had no signs of prostate cancer. Physically I was in good shape. I’m not overweight. I’m not diabetic. Emotionally I was fine. Sexually I was active. I really had no idea. And luckily I looked into it on the first sign because if not, it’s two years down the road, by the way since I was diagnosed, I probably wouldn’t be here.

Treatment Decisions

It looks like I jumped the gun there a little bit. The question number five was after being diagnosed with prostate cancer and asking what next, what decisions did I make and treatment options I decide on? Well, I kind of told you what the treatment options were. I was thinking about proton therapy, but I just couldn’t seem to tie all that together with cost factor and my insurance and location. I did opt for the radical robotic prostatectomy figuring that if I could remove it, I’d be ahead of the game. Also, my urologist felt that since it possibly broke through the capsule of my prostate that it might be a good idea not to waste time and not to give it a chance to spread to lymph nodes and other areas in the prostate bed. So that’s why I opted to remove it.

Patient Doctor Relationship

The relationship I have with my radiation oncologist is pretty straightforward. He’s a no nonsense kind of guy, which I prefer rather than somebody that beats around the bush, because you want to know what’s going on when, how, where, what to expect. So, I was quite lucky. I had a friend who hooked me up so to speak with the doctors at Moffitt. He’s a religious leader in my community who had a few strong connections or ties with some of the physicians in the radiation oncology department at Moffitt. And he introduced me to one of the heads of radiation oncology. Unfortunately he specialized in pediatric radiation oncology, but he referred me to one of his colleagues Dr. Randy Heysek, very nice gentleman. Been there quite a while, knows his stuff, mapped out my treatment program. And we got right to it. I didn’t miss any days except maybe one for a holiday where they were closed on a Monday. And other than that 40 treatments Monday to Friday right through, I also didn’t really suffer any side effects during the treatments. I had no skin rash.I had a little bit of a bowel issue as far as frequency or looseness. But Lomantole seemed to have corrected that. And I was good. I met some other fellows there. My treatment buddies and I every day we would wait for each other to get done within that hour period. They do one every 15 minutes or so. Then the three - four of us would head out to either a bagel shop or a hamburger joint and have a little late breakfast or early lunch and a cup of coffee and talked about our lives and everything. It definitely helped pass the time. A great bunch of guys and God willing I hope they’re all doing well.