Dr. Aharon Manes, senior Urologist, surgeon from “Hasharon” hospital in Petah Tiqwa, Israel, my doctor, a professional, attentive, patient physician, had sent me to have a blood exam on 1/9/2010, to establish my PSA level. The PSAresult was 19.5.
I was sent for a biopsy exam, following which I received a call from Dr. Manes, asking me to meet him at his clinic. I knew what he had to tell me, and Dr. Manes indeed told me in his considered yet precise language: “I have to tell you what I did not want to”.
It was decided that since I am not very old and in general good health I will undergo a Prostatectomy.
I did not hide my illness, to the contrary – I told all my friends, hoping to gain some insight from others’ experience.
And so, the very next day I received a newspaper clip (I still have it) about Dr. Samadi’s SMART Prostatectomy procedure. A robotic surgery, lasting about an hour and a half, with opening of the abdomen, no blood lose, no pains. The story was published following Dr. Samadi’s visit to Israel, during which he performed surgeries and trained Israeli doctors.
I met Dr. Manes, showed him the story and asked for his advise. His answer was “if I was in your shoes, I would fly to New York and undergo the surgery in this manner”. Now, how do you reach Dr. Samadi? My son in law, who speaks fluent English, called Dr. Samadi and set a meeting in the Tel Aviv Dan Hotel, where he was staying.
The meeting was warm and pleasant, Dr. Samadi was attentive and answered all my wife’s questions as if he had all the time in the world. And she asked and asked, and my son in law was translating… before we concluded, Dr. Samadi cordially said “you need to drop at least 20 Kilos (45 pounds)”, which I did but it did not make me much thinner…
Then there was a series of tests, which was the reason why it took so long from the meeting until the operation. Some of these tests are done on short notice, some take weeks of waiting.
This is where I got anxious (not justifiably, as I will soon clarify). I met my family physician, who prescribed some tranquilizers. My anxieties stemmed from my fears that one of the tests’ results will prevent me from undergoing the procedure. With every day passing, after paying the hospital, airline tickets, hotel, my concerns grew even stronger.
Thank god everything worked out fine. We landed in New York City, and arrived at Dr. Samadi’s clinic in Manhattan. In Dr. Samadi’s waiting room I met a gentleman who had a Prostatectomy a week before. Despite the fact that 5 doctors did not consent to his operation, as he (age 60) was meant to undergo chemo therapy, as he had a cancerous kidney removed, and was treated by a Hematologist, post a heat attack. This is where I understood my concerns were futile.
We met Dr. Samadi that day, for what was mainly a calming conversation. Beyond giving us a thorough explanation of the procedure, he gave us full confidence we were in good and capable hands. We met Ms. Rosie Fodera, the administrative manager, with whom my son in law was in daily contact for the past months. Things got very familiar and we felt at ease. I went into a 24 hour pre operation diet, which included only transparent foods (like soups, jelly, etc.).
The next day we arrived at “Mount Sinai” hospital in the Upper East Side. From the moment we registered at the desk I was never alone – always with a hospital staff member. While I was being prepped for surgery, Dr. Samadi met my wife, Pnina, at the internet post. He patted her on the shoulder and she up and gave him a hug. He asked her to wish him luck, and went into the surgery room. My wife wiped her tears and still tells it was one of the most emotional moments in her life.
I met the two anesthesiologists, who also promised me all will be fine, and that they will anaesthetize me and also wake me up. I had an excellent feeling; this is the moment I was waiting for.
An hour and a half later, and everything was behind me. No opening of the abdomen, no pains, 24 hours and we should be back at the hotel. For the night spent at the hospital, we booked a private room at the 11 west wing, This is highly recommended (although not covered by the insurance). My daughter Hilla stayed the night with me, I had a very comfortable bed, nice meals and a complimentary mini bar. We arrived at the room at about 5pm, and I waited anxiously for 12 midnight, so I could call back home (7am Israel) to my many friends and let them know I am fine.
The following day Dr. Samadi attended a conference in Miami, and nevertheless called every 2 hours to see how I was doing. Before we were discharged a doctor from his clinic arrived and instructed us regarding the coming week and the relevant instructions. We were invited to Dr. Samadi’s clinic every 2 days, including a Friday, when the office is closed, when Dr. Samadi came by and opened it especially for us. On the 7th day after the operation I met Anne, the head nurse in Dr. Samadi’s clinic, who removed my catheter. Gentle and kind, she was delighted to hear the removal procedure was painful. I surely hope Rosie and Anne come to Israel, as they wouldn’t need to book a hotel or a tour guide. I will be delighted to show them around the country.
I owe many thanks to Dr. Samadi for his warm and caring treatment, to Rosie Fodera whose without her charm and pleasantness the operation would have never had taken place, and of course to Anne for her dedication. Also, to Dr. Manes and my family, first and foremost to my wife Pnina, my son in law Yaniv who made this happen, and my daughter Hilla who was by my side the whole time. And finally to Avi Ratzon, who got this whole process going, as well as to many other who helped and supported along the way.
We will be happy to assist in every way we can,
Arie A. 050-2080015
Pnina A. 050-9328690
Yaniv S. 054-2428122