D. McGuire, Suffern, New York
My road to cancer and removal of my prostate began like that of many others. GP suspected prostatitis but did not like the PSA numbers so the next step was the urologist. His initial opinion was still inflammation but my fear was now mounting. I started to search web sites regarding prostate and my anxiety only grew. When the numbers didn't come down from the initial treatment a biopsy was the next step. At only 50 years of age my worst fears were then realized.
Still numb from the word 'cancer' the urologist met with me immediately and provided me with an overview of the biopsy findings along with a list of surgeons. The urology group is the top one in my area and the names on the list were accordingly the best surgeons in all of the best known hospitals -- Sloan Kettering, Columbia Presbyterian, Cleveland (not sure of exact name of hospital). As he reviewed the list he circled one name -- Dr. David Samadi. He assured me they were all excellent surgeons but that I should start my search with Dr. Samadi.
When I woke the next morning it was with realization that this was not a bad dream so I called Dr. Samadi. In full recognition of my panicked state his office made arrangements for my wife and I to meet with him that same day. We knew immediately we found who we were looking for. His immediate concern for us was our emotional state that needed to be dealt with before we could even begin talking about surgery. He discussed his background as well as the others on my list. He assured me I would be in expert hands with any of them as they are all at the top of the profession. As he explained the disease, my biopsy results and the surgery I was filled with a sense of caring, skill and well-earned confidence. For the first time in weeks the clouds lifted.
Unknown to me at the time a friend from the neighborhood had also been recently diagnosed and he then took full control of the situation and met with many of the surgeons on the list that his urologist had provided. His long search (Cleveland included) also ended with Dr. Samadi. Not surprisingly my friend from the neighborhood and I have become close as we have provided one another with support. The first thing we agreed upon was that we had found exactly what we were looking for regarding our doctor and medical team.
Because of my anxiety and generally good fitness Dr. Samadi scheduled my surgery as quickly as possible – 3 weeks after the biopsy. I cannot begin to express the relief I felt that this was going to get done. Along with the relief, however, was the normal fear of someone whose most serious medical procedure to that point was having a tooth pulled. On the day of the surgery each member of the surgical/recovery team met with me to put my fears at rest. While I knew they had done this procedure many, many times they knew I never had.
Never having been under anesthesia I had no idea what to expect when I would first wake up. I was surprisingly lucid and comforted as Dr. Samadi informed me that 3 lives had been saved that day. There is an expression that says ‘when you want the job done right find a busy man/woman’. I would categorize the feelings in my abdominal area more as discomfort than outright pain. I could feel it when I moved certain ways or took a deep breath but it was far less painful than I anticipated. After a full breakfast the next morning I was on my way home with a catheter that I would also categorize as more of a logistical annoyance than either pain or discomfort (although I was thrilled when it was removed several days later). The day after I came home, less than 48 hours after the surgery, I was out walking my dog. While I am still filled with anxiety it was my first recognition that life would some day become normal again
It is now 10 days after surgery and 5 days without a catheter. With each passing day I have regained my strength and the discomfort has abated in leaps and bounds. While there has been minimal incontinence requiring only one pad I am also beginning to sense control thanks to the Keigel exercises.
I’ve since discussed the initial pathology results with Dr. Samadi and the next step will be a PSA test in 30 days. Based on that discussion I am assured that Dr. Samadi made the best possible decisions during the surgery. While I have continued to improve below the neck I continue to struggle between the ears. This is scary stuff, especially to someone already prone to anxiety. I don't know where this road will lead but I do know I could not be in better hands. I will spare the personal details but there has also been some spiritual intervention that tells me a higher power led me to those hands.
D. McGuire, Suffern, NY
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