My cancer story

I was diagnosed with early stage (Gleason 3 + 3) prostate cancer in July of 2017. I went to work reading all of the research & treatment options. At the suggestion of a close friend who had just navigated where I was going (same exact diagnosis), I changed urologist(s) and had a second biopsy. My score changed to a (Gleason 3 + 4) and they recommended some type of treatment, sooner than later. I had two genetic tests performed on my biopsy tissues and both indicated an early stage, slow-growing cancer, which was backed up by the experience of my grandfather and father who both had this disease.

I was comfortable waiting a year before choosing surgery and had seriously considered AS and radiation as treatment options before making a decision. My friend made his decision quickly but we choose the same surgeon and right now I am glad I did. I had my surgery in June and am about 2 months post surgery. I have quickly regained some additional control of my urinary function and am encouraged by positive signs of a slow but positive return with sexual function. I want to be clear, I still have a ways to go but am convinced that I will overcome both of these issues with time. Having a supportive partner that you are willing to talk with helps a great deal and having a sense of humor helps.

What I learned

I would like to share what I have learned so far, take the time to do your homework, educate yourself and become an active partner with your care provider. It is your cancer and your treatment decision to make. If your doctor does not like this, then you have the wrong doctor! If you are having surgery, get a first, second and even third opinion. If you are having robotic surgery choose a surgeon who has done thousands of them and comes highly recommended by many satisfied customers. I am convinced that the quality of the surgeon is directly related to the quality of the outcome. It is your body and future. You are the best, so why not have the best operate on you.

It takes time

I have learned that healing is a process and you will have good and bad days. This is a natural part of the process and maintaining a positive attitude and a busy schedule helps you to focus on other things as opposed to your pain, urinary & sexual issues. I have always believed that I would be cancer free and would overcome the built-in side effects of surgery. I feel my attitude has helped in my healing & progress to date. I have learned that it is important to have a close friend to confide in related to this diagnosis. Mine was a male who had gone through this before me. There’s no one like someone who has experienced this to ask questions of. Men don’t like to talk to anyone about their prostate, urinary issues, and especially sexual issues. My son in law and my daughter both highly intelligent, college-educated people asked me, “Dad what is a prostate, where is it and what does it do? I learned, all of this “will not go away” just because you don’t want to or won’t talk about it. Having someone to confide in will help you and I encourage you to find that person.

On regrets

Don’t look back once you have chosen your treatment and put your energy into getting back to “normal” as soon as possible. Your “normal” after treatment may be a “new normal” but you will eventually get there.  I have been fortunate (blessed) in that my pathology from my surgery has come back completely negative. I know I am “not out of the woods” yet but have reason to be encouraged. I also feel a responsibility to help others as I have been helped by my close friend. I encourage anyone who is newly diagnosed to reach out via this wonderful website because when you are feeling fearful and most alone is when you need to ask questions of someone who has been there. Most of your care providers, surgeons and other care professionals are wonderful but how many of them have experienced “Prostate Cancer” first hand? Help is available, information is available and if you are newly diagnosed, this is what you need. God Bless, be well and live each day to the fullest.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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