I am a married woman of 35 years. Not only do I love my husband but I like him too. It was a very big shock to us when Ken’s PSA tests were increasingly rising. His urologist did not think it was anything to worry about, but suggested a biopsy. Of course my husband did it, but it really was on the back of our minds as we planned our trip to Florida. So off we go on our merry way on a road trip south. As we drove down we received “the call”. The biopsy showed cancer. The doctor told us that when we came back to CT. we needed to see him. He said it was a slow growing cancer.
Now we began our reading, our computer work, and our discussions with people who have had or do have prostate cancer, or anyone they know in the position. Out of the woodwork people called and shared their experiences. There was a wide gamut of people’s reactions, treatments, lack of treatments, and their opinions of what the “best” course of treatment was. We were recommended to go to two of the master surgeons in robotic surgery. From December to April we sat on this information, ruminated about the situation, thinking all the while that there was no urgency. So all we knew at that time was that Ken had a Gleason 6 rating, with cancer in 5% of his prostate.
The first “well known surgeon” spoke to Ken and believed that, in his case, “watchful waiting” was the protocol. My husband loved that idea and practically came out singing and dancing from his office. I, on the other hand, thought that now, every 6 months, we will have this hanging over our heads. It was not what I wanted to hear at all. On other matters of such complexity, Ken and I always agreed.
The next day we went to see Dr. Samadi. In walked a tall surgeon, with a great grip when he shook hands. He proceeded to show us what the male body looked like around the prostate, and all of the work that had to be done to make sure that Ken would come out with a fully functional body, minus his prostate. By this I mean he would not be incontinent, and would be able to resume a tender loving relationship with me! The confidence that Dr. Samadi displayed did not come across as cocky, but rather a master surgeon who knew he could help us, and was raring to go. I felt in that hour, we had found our man, and the approach of robotic surgery was the technique. I was relieved that we were in a positive place now. Why on earth should a man of only 60 years old wait and wonder? Why should a wife have to worry that her partner is in jeopardy? Ken and I looked at one another and knew that we were “all in”. We booked the surgery that day. We told our family that June 15 was the day. Ken had the surgery, and Dr. Samadi said all went well. He came home the next day with an accessory that really needs to be jazzed up but we will talk about that at another time. He was healing, and not in too much pain. Our grandson thought that the catheter gave papa the medicine he needed. At 4 years old that was a fine explanation. Ken did experience a problem with his catheter, but that was cleared up quickly. He has finished his 6 weeks of no golf, or boating, and no picking up grandchildren, but now he is back. He did listen to nurse Ratchet(me) though and was such a good patient. When we went back to see Dr. Samadi, he said the biopsy reflected 30% cancer, and tissue at the rim also had to be removed. Lesson learned: no you cannot wait; prostate removal robotically is the way, perhaps the “best”. Now we are Holy Rollers telling all of our male friends (and especially the wives) to check their PSA’s, and if they are on the rise, run, do not walk to Dr. Samadi’s office.
As the wife, my role was to support, care for, give plenty of chicken soup, listen to fears and woes, and redirect the patient if I felt that his well being was put to the test. I stand beside him now, 50% of the team that hopefully has at least another 25 years to go.
Thank you Dr. Samadi, and your team, from a loving wife who needs her guy.
August 11, 2011