Nine days ago I had my prostate removed by robotic keyhole surgery.
I was lucky. I went to the doctor with a totally unrelated problem and after a blood test he decided that a prostate investigation would be useful. I went to the hospital and had not only a biopsy that found cancer in the prostate but a full radioactive skeletal scan that located no further cancer but arthritis in my shoulder, which a specific x-ray search failed to find last year.
After investigating the alternatives I had two choices:
- Surgical removal. This would involve keyhole surgery, followed by some weeks with a catheter and daily self-performed injections against blood clots. Afterwards an appraisal of the results as to incontinence and the actual removal of all cancerous cells. Potty training required, which I was not good at the first time around!
- Radiotherapy. Four weeks of daily hormone injections, followed by 4 weeks of daily hospital visits for radioactive beaming, followed by up to three years of hormone therapy. Effectively I would become a eunuch with all female menopausal symptoms, and the possibility of double incontinence.
Unsurprisingly I opted for the first option.
So, after nearly an hour cruising the Royal Surrey Hospital car park in convoy fruitlessly looking for a space my wife dropped me off at the nearest bus stop in time for my 10:30 am appointment. 10 minutes later I was able to attract someone’s attention to let me into the building and 15 minutes after that someone unexpectedly found the queue of patients at reception.
I was taken to a waiting ward and at around 1:15 pm was visited by someone with a patient survey form to complete before and after surgery. I duly completed part 1 but never saw the documents again. At 1:30 pm I was gowned up (has anyone ever seen a worse garment?) and taken for anaesthesia. After basic numbing I had a spinal injection followed by full knock-out around 2:00 pm.
I woke up at 8:00 pm and was taken to the ward at 10:00 pm. About an hour later I managed to accidentally rip out one of the needles in my right hand and bleed all over the bed, necessitating a complete change of bedding and gown, whilst still attached to drips and drains.
Next day I was hauled out of bed to move around, still attached to various inputs and outputs. At around 5:30 pm I was discharged.
Since then I have been pottering around at home. Each morning starts with an injection to thin the blood, followed by disconnection from and emptying of the night urine bag. During the day I am now free to go to the toilet when I wish to rather than when I need to. I am finding the catheter and bag option very user friendly.
I hope to be free of the catheter on 13th December, after which I will need to be “potty-trained” again. On 12th January I will have a review and hopefully know if I am free of the “big C”.
Life is looking more positive. Christmas is cancelled, but here’s to 2018.