The Dreaded “C” Word, But A PSA Test Saved My Life
I am sharing my story as a wake-up call to all men. Talk to your doctor. Find out when you should get a PSA test. It’s important. It saved my life. A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in your blood. The prostate is a small gland that is part of a man’s reproductive system. A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
I am going to get right to the point. Back in May of this year (2021), I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was quite a shock. Here is my story and what all men should be doing.
I had an appointment for an annual physical in early February 2021, which also included blood work. When I met with my primary care physician, everything was pretty normal, except my PSA score was kind of high. I am not giving out the numbers. He seemed concerned and had my records forwarded to my Urologist in Bradenton, FL.
I spoke with the Urologist via phone, and he did not seem overly concerned. There could be many reasons for a higher PSA, and suggested we wait a month or so and do another test. That too came up with an elevated PSA. He again did not raise an alarm but suggested that I go for a biopsy.
Biopsy was done in early May, and I waited two weeks for the results. Finally, I had an appointment the third week in May to go over the results. I was so confident that everything was fine and I would get a clean bill of health. Well, that was not the case. My Urologist said the big “C” words, Prostate Cancer. Well, that wasn’t anything that I expected. I took a deep breath as the doctor talked with me about the different treatment methods. It was a lot of information to take in.
My decision was to have the prostate removed. I have had issues in the past and did not want to go through extensive treatments. My doctor recommended Dr. Trushar Patel in Tampa, Florida. He does robotic surgery, which is the least invasive way to do the surgery. Weather Person Al Roker of NBC Today Show had the same surgery last November. I also went for a complete body scan and cat scan and both came back showing no spread of the cancer to other parts of my body which is a great thing!
Two weeks later, I drove to Tampa and met with Dr. Patel. His office is on the campus of the University of South Florida, USF Health. What a facility! We went over my information, and he again explained to me what my alternatives were. Again, I said to him that I wanted to have the prostate removed surgically. (Prostatectomy) He agreed with me. Robotic-assisted radical laparoscopic prostatectomy is accomplished using the da Vinci® Surgical System, a sophisticated robotic surgery system that allows surgeons to operate on the prostate with enhanced vision, control and precision. (from hopkinsmedicine.org)
The surgery was scheduled for July 21st at Advent Health Facility but got postponed for another week until July 27th. Both of my wonderful children, Lindsay and Bryan, and my son-in-law, Rob, flew in from NY to be with me. We stayed overnight in Tampa the night before the surgery and had some special time together bonding, talking about my grandkids, and just had some laughs!
The surgery went well! Almost 5 hours. Several robots were inside my gut doing it all, removing the prostate and surrounding lymph glands. The surgeon said that everything is looking good. I will be doing a PSA test on a scheduled basis for a while to make sure all is ok, and that will tell us if any additional therapy is needed.
I hope this is a wake-up call to my guy pals and all of the other men out there. Please, please get a PSA test. It can save your life.
And, I’m doing good. My recuperation is going well, and I am not pushing myself. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. “Mookie” gives me more therapy, love, and affection than I could ever have imagined. Thank you, Lindsay, Bryan, and Rob, for coming down and a few of my pals and family members who knew what was going on. You’re the best.
Photos from Sande Caplin