My Prostate Cancer Adventure, and the Lessons Learned
My Prostate Cancer Adventure, and the Lessons Learned
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An estimated 1 out of every 6 men will have to come to grips with prostate cancer, and while there is abundant clinical information about prostate cancer available, we don’t hear much from the men who have actually been through prostatectomy surgery or what they’ve experienced during recovery.

In My Prostate Cancer Adventure and the Lessons Learned, I take the reader through my experiences from the time I first learned of my cancer, my thoughts of how to deal with it, and what I experienced during my recovery. I tell my story on a personal level. I’m direct and to the point. So if you’re looking for a politically correct discussion of the topic put this book back on the shelf and look elsewhere. I talk man to man about a man’s problem. My goal in writing this book is to let guys know what they can expect if they choose to undergo prostatectomy surgery. There’s not a lot of drama in this book. You may have to forgive my French because I tell my story without a lot of embellishment – mostly.

And the Winner Is… A little more than a week later I returned to the urologist’s office to discuss the results of the biopsy. I suspected the doc would make a good poker player, because when I walked into his office I couldn’t tell by looking at him if he had good news or bad news. Frankly, I was fairly certain, based on what I had read about PSA test results that I didn’t have prostate cancer. The odds were on my side - or so I thought. I was disabused of that notion shortly after I sat down. Dr. U swung the computer monitor around on his desk so that I could see the display. He showed me pictures of the microscope slides containing the samples he’d taken during the biopsy. Most of the samples showed a nice uniform pattern of cells, all about the same size, nicely snuggled together. Then he showed me two other slides which showed a few cells which were somewhat misshapen. There was no doubt about it, the biopsy revealed the presence of cancer. I honestly have to say that I was more surprised than shocked or dismayed. There was less than a 30% chance that I had cancer based on the PSA test results, and yet there it was! I bought a couple of lottery tickets on the way back home that day. I didn’t win. One interesting fact that I had come across is that prostate cancer is generally a very slow growing cancer. The course of action taken in dealing with prostate cancer generally depends upon one’s age, general health and how advanced the cancer is. I was 55 when all this happened. If I had been 75, I very well might have decided not to have surgery. In fact, men in their 70s and 80s or older who are diagnosed with prostate cancer may not feel compelled to do anything about it at all. This is because there would be a good chance they wouldn’t be around long enough for the cancer to become a serious issue.

On November 5, 2009, I underwent radical prostatectomy surgery in order to free myself from living with prostate cancer. Essentially everything in this book is based directly on my personal experiences before and after my prostatectomy. If you are planning to undergo another type of cancer treatment, your postoperative experiences may be very different from mine, and much of what I have to say about my recovery in the second half of this book may not apply to you.

When I was told that I had prostate cancer, my first thought was to find out what my options were. I didn't ask “ Why me?” or begin wringing my hands about bad luck or attempt to apportion blame. None of those things would stop my cancer. Worrying only invites misery and oft en delays taking action, providing time for the cancer to grow and spread. I found myself in a bad situation, and I set out to deal with it.

In the first part of the book, I talk about how I came to the decision to undergo radical prostatectomy, and I describe my thoughts on the subject. My decision was based on my personal understanding of the therapies and treatments available at the time. Your decision should be based on your own careful consideration of the therapies available to you.

I am not a doctor, nor have I had medical training of any sort. Under no circumstances should the reader presume that I have expertise pertaining to any of the therapies I discuss in this book. I relied heavily on my urologist’s suggestions and guidance. He gave me the basic information I needed to begin researching my condition and to reach a decision on how to deal with it.

I spent a lot of time searching the Internet and investigating the possibilities open to me. In addition, I searched out men who have had prostate cancer. I found that the men who have weathered this storm were eager to talk about their experiences when they realized that I was asking for myself. Aft er all was said and done, I decided to go with a relatively new approach to prostate surgery: robotic prostatectomy.

Although I believe that my decision was the right one for me, this book is not an endorsement for robotic prostatectomy or any particular surgical procedure or therapy. My chief purpose in writing this book is to give the men who are considering radical prostatectomy a look at what they might expect during their own recoveries. The important thing to remember when dealing with cancer is that regardless of what you decide to do, your decision will come with consequences that will remain with you for the rest of your life. And so it is up to YOU to make the best choice that you can.

I urge the reader to consider the reasoning I present in this book as a sort of “devil’s advocate” argument. Be critical of what I say and discuss your ideas with your doctor. By questioning everything I say in this book, you may gain a better understanding of the facts involved in your own situation.

Best of luck.

Craig Johnson


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