G. P.

United States

I am a retired federal law enforcement officer, retiring after 27 years service. When I retired in 1999 I was 50 years young and supervising young agents and loving my job but I remembered that one reason I signed up in 1972 was the promise to retire at an early age to start a second career or just sit back and watch the grass grow. I chose a new career and started a litigation support practice that became successful beyond expectations and took in other former agents to work with me. I was in excellent health thanks to Uncle Sam. I was given a free physical with blood work ups every year since 1988 and in exchange I had to be in top shape and run 1.5 miles in less than 12 minutes. I trained continuously during my career and did this run consistently under 10 minutes. One measurement on the annual blood tests was PSA. My first PSA was 0.1 in 1988. I kept all my annual blood tests and summarized key results on an Excel worksheet. I was never really concerned with PSA since it was always less that 4.0. In December 2005 I went for my annual physical, a practice I continued after retirement with my own doctor instead of a government doctor. When I received the lab report I noticed my PSA had spiked to 3.65 from 2.93. I called my doctor and he apologized for not picking this up. He referred me to an urologist.

The urologist performed a digital exam and said the prostate was not enlarged and felt fine, but she was concerned about the sudden spike and had me take a Free PSA blood test two weeks later. The next test showed a PSA of 3.6 a little lower but still not good. She performed a biopsy. The 48 hours for the result turned out to be four days because of a weekend. This was a rough time for me, I was hoping for the best but expecting the worst.

I will never forget the day I found out I had cancer. I was crossing the Throgs Neck Bridge, returning home from a client in Long Island when my cell phone rang. It was the doctor, she said the biopsy was positive and wanted to see me the next day a 1PM. I was numb; feeling like somebody knocked the wind out of me. I don’t remember the drive home. For the first time in my life, I was afraid. I have been in some tough situations and never felt this fear. Going through a door on an arrest did not compare with this adversary. Cancer is an equal opportunity killer, homeless people to heads of state. Cancer does not like loosing. Neither do I, but I needed help.

My wife and I met with the doctor. The doctor stated that my Gleason Score was 7 and that doing nothing was not an option. She explained the seed implantation and radiation. She recommended prostate removal. As it was explained to me, the cancer was found in one of 14 panels’ dead center in the prostate and removal would result in a 93% survival rate. She explained the mechanics of the surgery to me since she is a surgeon and does this type of surgery. She then did a very ethical thing when she said to me that I should seek the best surgical method there is for this procedure, Laparoscopic Robotic. She told me that the hospital she is affiliated with does not have the da Vinci Robotic Machine. The robot is very expensive and in most hospitals will not generate a return to cover its cost. She gave me the names of surgeons and hospitals employing this procedure and one important bit of information; she recommended selecting a surgeon who had performed at least 50 operations using the robot to be considered proficient. She gave the names of several surgeons who have robotic experience. The doctor sent me for x rays and scans which were negative; the cancer was not in my bones.

My wife did the research on each doctor. As soon as I met Dr. Samadi he examined my files and performed a brief examination. I had an appendix removed as a child with a pretty nasty scar. The other surgeon I consulted had with was concerned with the scar and explained to me that he may start robotically but if there was significant adhesions he may revert to conventional surgery. Dr. Samadi had no such concerns and I asked him why. He confidently responded, “I have performed over three hundred robotic procedures and have handled this before”. This goes back to my urologist’s advice of over 50 operations. Dr. Samadi is years ahead of that milestone. Dr. Samadi assured us that I would be fine and he gave me his cell phone number if I had any questions.

My surgery date was set for 4/28/06. On the day of the operation I went to the surgical reception area and was escorted to a cubicle where I was given a hospital gown and briefly interviewed by nurses regarding allergies, dentures, loose caps and anything that could cause a problem in the operating room. The anesthesiologist visited me with two other anesthesiologists. Since I have a heart murmur they were going to monitor me closely. Dr. Samadi came out to greet me and we walked into the operating room. All the prep was done while I was under.

I was awake three hours later in the recovery room being monitored by a nurse. Dr. Samadi came to see me and said that everything was fine with no problems encountered. He had given my wife a more detailed report in the waiting room.

I went to my room for an overnight stay. I had a little discomfort, no pain. The catheter was an annoyance but painless. The removal of the catheter five days later was so smooth I did not know it was out and felt nothing. The nurses were all great people and treated me like family.

I walked a ¼ mile the first day home with the catheter and ½ a mile for the next four days. One week after surgery I am back to my three-mile walks. The first few days I leaked after a sneeze or cough. I have been doing my kegal exercises and one week after surgery I am not wearing a pad to bed with no problems encountered.

I am truly grateful to Dr. Samadi. The path he took from the Middle East to America enabled me and many others to have the opportunity to be helped by this caring man. A man I now call a friend. I will take a PSA in the end of May. I am confident the result will be OK just as Dr. Samadi promised.

G. P.
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