Well-prepared for prostate cancer surgery and beyond

My husband is 57 years old and is a fairly fit man because exercise has always been of importance to him.  We make it a habit, every January to schedule our annual physical exam. This year his PSA had doubled from last year from 3.0 to 6.0 (absolutely no symptoms) and the doctor immediately recommended a biopsy and the worry began.

We independently scheduled a PCA3 urine test (Kaiser does not cover it) which indicated there was a 25% chance of probability of having cancer, which gave us some peace of mind while the biopsy was scheduled, but not for long.  We decided, the 25% was still high, so we decided to go ahead with biopsy to make sure.  Turns out 5 out 6 lobes of the prostate showed cancer Gleason 6, Stage 1.

To make a long story short, he had the surgery 3 weeks ago (Sept 17) and I would say the first 2 weeks he was in significant pain which was managed with Norco every 4 hours and Ibuprofen (to help inflammation), in between, every 6 hours.

The other things that helped are that he only had liquids for the first 5 days, although, they said he could have a regular diet.  I made chicken broth loaded with vegetables and beef stock also loaded with vitamins. Jello, applesauce, Gatorade, iced tea /lemonade, sorbet etc. Keeping a liquid diet helped him not stress his bowels, which would have otherwise caused a great deal of pain.

Ahead of time, I ordered online “basketball (snap off) pants, which were extremely useful and the best purchase for the situation for ease of changing, comfort and passing through the catherer tube.  We also borrowed a mechanical Lazboy Recliner Chair, which allows him to sleep very comfortably and it helps practically stand up fully, when necessary.

We also bought a shower chair, which was very helpful, (use saran wrap to protect catheter strap from getting wet). I also bought various types of diapers/pads online, for after removal of catheter.  Online you find much better quality than the store bought) and they deliver free to your doorstep.

Now at 3 weeks he is walking around almost back to normal and is able to hold most of the urine until he goes to bathroom and the minimal leaks when he walks are managed with pull-ups, pads and man briefs with absorbency.

Today, (Oct 11) we actually went to lunch and the movies (3 weeks, 3 days after surgery). The pathology report came back Stage 2T, Gleason 7 but doctor said it doesn’t appear anything went out of prostate, nerve bundles were spared and no lymph nodes required to be removed.  Surgery was done with DaVinci Robotics, which is the latest technology and even HMOs have it, you just have to research to be informed and ask.

A month before surgery, he exercised more than usual to feel strong, did Kegel exercises to strengthen internal muscles and we had sex as often as we could, kind of like training for a marathon.  I am very optimistic with his recovery and I believe everything plays a role to get over these types of difficult situations victoriously.

After he reaches 100% dry, hopefully in 6-8 weeks (no more urinary leaks) we’ll work on getting our sex life back with the aid of anything that can help motivate and cause that physical response to arousal.  We’ve never been fans of porn, but maybe this will be a good time to start using it as an aid.  That’s our goal for next year.

Submitted by Maria on October 13, 2015.

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