Thursday, May 02, 2013

Prostate Surgery Update

Me early this morning for my surgery at the outpatient center

Okay folks, let's see how much of this I can get through.  

I had my brachytherapy prostate surgery this morning.  My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 a.m.  Of course Bill and I were early risers, about 3:30 a.m.  We arrived at the surgery center about 6:45 a.m.  They took me right away.


Beyond this door - surgery (you can tell I was nervous when taking this iPhone photo, hands were shaking)

First of all I cannot praise the folks at the cancer surgery center enough.  They were friendly, welcoming, efficient and professional.  Couldn't be better.  But of course why I am there is for a very invasive procedure with the possibility of numerous, undesirable side effects.  


My short wait in the waiting room of the surgery center before the process started - sorry I'm not smiling, not a happy time

I won't go through the step by step procedure at this time (perhaps at a later posting) but I will say that I was given enough anesthesia that I don't even remember going out.  In fact, I don't even remember going through any of the humiliating procedures that led up to today's surgery.  Of course I did wake up with my first ever catheter which was very uncomfortable (I expected that). You feel like you have to pee all the time.  They didn't keep it in too long.  When they took it out......WHEE!  Wow, I don't want to experience that feeling ever again in my lifetime.  Thank goodness it only lasted less than a second.


My "bed" for the next few hours (after I took off all my clothes which is what the "Patient Belongings baggie is for - "strip down Ron" - something that I am NOT unfamiliar with but usually not under these circumstances)

Bill was with me most of the time, except for the surgery itself.  That was a big plus.  I am so glad the medical establishment recognizes the need for those undergoing surgery to have their loved one near them (including gay loved ones) during a scary time like this.  

We didn't get out of there until a little before noon.  I was groggy.  In fact they wheeled me out in a wheelchair.  No pictures of that.  In fact, I only asked Bill to take a few pictures.  I really wasn't in the mood for picture taking but did take a few to give you all an idea of what it was like this morning.


After the surgery - I wasn't in pain here but very uncomfortable with the catheter in - I felt like I had to pee real bad which I did - blood clots and all - this is the last photo - I wasn't in the mood for any more photos

So we left the cancer center.  I was armed with four prescriptions.  I usually get my prescriptions though the VA but my urologist told me these didn't cost that much and just to get them at my local pharmacy.  Well, that turned out to be wrong.  One of them cost $177.99 which I didn't get.  It was Roboflo which "relaxes" the prostate. And them to top it off the pharmacy didn't even have it in stock and was going to order it due in my Monday.  That's too late for me, I need it now. I told them that.  In fact, I guess my doctor could of ordered Roboflo or a generic equivalent from the VA before today but I digress.

The other prescriptions were for Advil (inflammation), Cipro (antibiotic) and Oxycodone (pain).  I don't like to take Oxycodone because it makes me nauseas and constipated.  

So here I am about twelve hours after my surgery. I do have a problem.  I'm going to get graphic so if there are children in the room, please ask them to leave.  Ready?

When I pee (urinate) it feels like razor blades.  Man it hurts!  I have a fairly high pain threshold but this hurts like a (pardon the expression) MF.  

Here is the second problem, I have a discoloration which looks like bruising below the head of my penis.  I'm wondering if this is a normal side effect of catheterization or has something to do with the painful burning during urination.  It looks like burns.  I hate to think it but it looks like radiation burns, whatever THAT looks like.  

Of course by the time I got back from the pharmacy the outpatient cancer center was closed as well as my urologist's office.  I'll call tomorrow.  

I am concerned because I went on a website for prostate brachytherapy surgery for side effects and the "burning, razor blade urination" is experienced by quite a few men who undergo this surgery.  Some for days, some for weeks, and some for months!  God, I hope that's not me.  I've always had good urination.  Now I'm dreading it.  

I envy those few who said they had no side effects after their brachytherapy. At least one side effect I don't have is the soreness in my scrotum where my doctors stuck all those needles to implant the radioactive seeds.  I've read quite a few comments from others who underwent this procedure that they have pain.  I am very thankful that it appears that I will miss this side effect.

Today was an absolutely beautiful day.  I wanted to work outside but my post-operative instructions instruct me to "not exert a great deal of physical activity."  I can do that.  In fact I'm very good at that.  Also, the post-operative instructions advise me not to drive for two days. I can understand that because I am still groggy.  That was some kind of anesthesia they put my under, I still feel the effects.  Sort of like a two martini high.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to take a pee.






36 comments:

  1. We're glad you made it through OK. We were thinking about you this morning.

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    1. Sean,

      Thank you. Much appreciated.

      Ron

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  2. I bet you're glad this step is over. I hope you heal quickly and that the side effects dissipate quickly as well. Take it easy and do what you feel like when you feel like it.

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    1. Sean,

      Thanks! I am glad I'm through this surgery, which actually wasn't bad because I didn't know anything. It's just this side effect that has me concerned. I have to pee right now and I'm dreading it. I will call tomorrow just to make sure this is "normal." I am so looking forward to getting back to my old mean, annoying self. :)

      Ron

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  3. Anonymous10:53 PM

    Congratulations! It's over. A friend of mine, 94, had the proceedure
    about 6 months ago. He had the burning razor blades too but it
    faded. The discoloration is blood/bruising. I recently had a large
    hernia repair and testicular tumor removed and had that same
    discoloration. It did take about a month to go away. Alls well now.
    In fact all my pipes are working better than ever!
    These seeds are supposed to slow tumor growth? Do they stay
    in your prostate or will they have to be removed later? How long
    before you know that they have helped? Do they watch your
    PSA level for each month afterwards or do ultrasounds to monitor
    tumor growth? I'm asking all these questions because I fully expect
    to have prostate cancer since my father had it.
    After my surgery the doctor really wanted me to take Oxycodone
    but I told him that I experience the same side effects from it that
    you have experienced. I told him that a prior hernia repair on my
    other side I only used Ibuprofin. He said OK take 4 every 4-5 hours
    the first night and then taper off to 2-3 4 times a day after that.
    I did that but the second night I did add two stiff cocktails for a
    little numbing.
    Since I started reading your blog this surgery has been an anxious
    undertone/theme and I'm so glad it's now in the past. Now get well!
    Let the healing begin !! Hey you may very well have a wedding
    coming up. A Gold Wedding at that!
    Stuart

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    1. Anonymous,

      Your friend at 94 years old had this procedure? I'm surprised that the doctor's permitted it. I'm 71 and the doctor said I was right on the cusp for having or not having the procedure because he said I would probably die of something else than prostate cancer. Of course his statement really made me feel like an old man but I decided to go with doing something about my prostate after thinking about it for a year. I just couldn't shake that feeling of doom by not doing anything.

      Yes, the seeds are supposed to slow the cancerous growth and eliminate then. My prostate cancer is localized, in that it is only in the prostate gland and hasn't spread to any other organ or my bones. My doctor said I was "an excellent candidate" for brachytherapy surgery.

      I will have visit my urologist every six months for the rest of my life though. That's all right, twenty-five years ago when I had my first incidence of keratosis (pre skin cancer growths) my dermatologist said I would have to be checked out ever six months which I have done. In fact, I have an appointment coming up. They usually find something. No skin cancer yet but still those annoying acitinite keratosis growths keep popping up. Always something isn't it, especially when we get older.

      Your statement "this surgery has been an anxious undertone/theme" is the way I've felt for over a year. Last year when informed of my high PSA score I decided not to do anything, the prospect of prostate cancer just hung over my head like a dark cloud. I couldn't see living the rest of my life like that. Even though we all know we're die of something, knowing the specific cause of death did bother me. I am so glad I got through the biopsy and the surgery, which actually wasn't too bad except for this burning I have now when I pee. Now if I can just get rid of that.

      Ron

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  4. Sylvia10:53 PM

    Well, Ron, you still have your sense of humor. Love seeing "The Scream" after your peeing announcement.

    Try hard to lounge around for a few days. I know that's not like you, but resting now may prevent complications later.

    I am glad for you that the scarey part is over.
    Good luck with your recovery.

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    1. Sylvia,

      You picked up on my "Scream" humor. :) That's what I feel like doing now when I take a pee. Man oh man. What else can I do but see the humor in it and hope it dissipates soon?

      I'll put my best effort into lounging around the next few days. I've been out of practice recently, what with all my activity, but I hear lounging around is just like riding a bicycle, it comes back to you automatically.

      Yes, the scary part is over. Now for the recovery and to bring my PSA level down to a safe zone. That's what my urologist said will happen. I hope he's right.

      Ron

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  5. Sorry you had to go thru that but isn't it nice to have it all behind you? Lets hope for feeling better every day!

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    1. Karen,

      Thanks for your good wishes. That's what I'm looking forward to.....feeling better every day.

      Ron

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  6. Ron, I hate to think of you in pain. But it's necessary --alas. As to the discoloration "like bruising" you're experiencing. Ask your doc if it might be subcutaneous bleeding leeching around away from the operation. If you consult my blog in March, you'll see I turned all sorts of impossible colors after a pacemaker change-out (happens oftener to us thin people). Above all DON'T Overexert yourself. And say appreciative things to Bill in advance, because you might get a bit grouchy later. Best speed feeling better!

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    1. Geo,

      Thanks for the helpful information about the bruising discoloration. I will still ask my doctor tomorrow. By the way, that's a good suggestion to be nice to Bill. I was a bit grouchy with him today. He is so patient with me. He waited through my whole procedure (four hours) this morning. Then he waited all those hours yesterday while I was testifying at the state house in Dover. No one else would do that for me, no one. I will thank him again tomorrow. Thanks for the reminder, sometimes I need that.

      Ron

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  7. I hope the burning sensation... will subside quickly! I am so glad the procedure is over with and you are home. Get some rest and eat healthy food.

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    1. Nadege,

      I'm hoping that burning sensation dissipates soon. it is very painful. I will definitely get some rest.

      Ron

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  8. been thinking about you all day. went to bed at 9p and figured you would not post until the morning. so now I'm up at 1a and LOOK, HERE YOU ARE! in all your glory!

    so happy to see you on the other side of surgery. your body just went thru trauma, so yeah, it's gonna hurt a bit and be bruised a bit. and who knows what those doctors did to your "naughty bits" whilst you were knocked out!

    rest, do what the doctors ordered, listen to bill and be kind to his nursing you back to health. only 342 days til...the next blogger meetup; keep your eyes on this prize!

    ron lives to write another day! :)

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    1. Anne Marie,

      I wasn't going to write a blog entry yesterday because I wasn't feeling good. I was just going to write that I wasn't going to write but you know me, once I get started writing everything just "flowed" unlike my pee stream now. At least I'm not peeing blood and blood clots like I was yesterday. Also the "razorblades" feel is down to "tacks" now. As long as things are getting better. By next year's blogger event I should be good to go!

      Ron

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  9. Congratulations on getting through it. Hopefully the bad effects will wane away soon. Hang in there!

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    1. Thank you Walt! I'm hanging in there. At least I can pee now without feeling like I'm going to faint.

      Ron

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  10. I am glad you survived; and with our wits intact - sounds like the oxycodone hasn't kicked in yet.
    BTW < my mouse pad at work has "The Scream" as in this photo.

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    1. Dr. Spo,

      I didn't take the oxycodone. Would that help the "razorblades" pain of urinating? The razorblades are tacks today. Still painful but at least I don't feel like I'm going to faint when I pee.

      Great minds think alike - "The Scream" painting. So appropriate in so many situations.

      Ron

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  11. So good to know that you're home safe and sound and that the worst is hopefully over. I appreciate the graphic descriptions because it's a learning experience. I remember my father going through many of the same things. His prostate procedure was different from yours, but he was in agonizing pain afterwards. It takes quite awhile to heal.

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    1. Jon,

      You and me Jon! I am glad I'm home now too. I was peeing razorblades yesterday. Today I'm peeing tacks and no blood. Still have bruising on the bottom part of the head of my penis. I talked to the outpatient center this morning and they said that was normal. First time I've ever been catheterized. Oh yes, "agonizing pain" is the perfect description. I will be SOOO glad when this settles down. Thanks for your concern.

      Ron

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  12. Yikes, this is gruesome! So much so that I had to glide over the more graphic details - and only know what happened by reading the comments from others. But praise be that it's over! Now you can get back to finalising the details of the wedding ceremony.

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    1. Ray,

      The worst part was the "razorblades" feel of urinating. I almost fainted a couple of times. It really was almost unbearable. This morning it wasn't as bad, instead of peeing razorblades I was peeing tacks. Yes, I've been thinking about what kind of wedding Bill and I will have. He insists on wearing his jeans to any ceremony. No tux or white tie for Billy.

      Ron

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  13. Anonymous5:00 AM

    Hi Ron, greetings from Madrid. Time ago, I run into your “no-biopsies” entry and I am following your blog lately. I appreciate you are not continuously writing about this prostate business since you have many other interesting things to share. I guess you are right since this disease is being artificially exaggerated by some doctors, patients and the media. I am 62 and have my PSA highly elevated since last October. I have been through two biopsies (one in January, one last month) because the first one showed a small “atypical” focus. Second one was negative so that I can relax until my next PSA test (now I have accepted that I will keep being followed up on this for the rest of my life). I have made a lot of “research” and I would also probably opt for brachytherapy as well if I have to be treated and I meet the conditions. I guess it is the optimal procedure for most of the PSA-detected not so worrisome cases. According to what I read, you should expect to improve from these first problems soon, but you feel similar (I hope weaker) effects when the seeds begin their work. If the seeds are Iodine they will last for a couple of months. The nice part of brachytherapy is that it only needs a single minimal intervention, but remember that the real treatment will be working inside you and it starts right now. By the way, this is my first comment ever on prostate issues by the internet, but you deserve it, your blog has helped me a lot. All the best.

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    1. Anonymous from Madrid,

      Hi, good to hear from you. I feel comfortable that I made the right decision by choosing brachytherapy surgery for my prostate cancer. I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of men who had prostate cancer and treatment. I was told by my urologist that I was an "ideal" candidate for brachytherapy because my prostate cancer was localized and my Gleason score 3-3. However, he put no pressure or suggestion to me as to what kind of treatment I should choose. I choose brachytherapy from weighing all the facts and testimony of the men I talked too.

      I'm on Day Two now after my surgery. Yesterday I was peeing razor blades. Urinating was very painful. Today, less painful but urinating is still painful. At least there is some improvement.

      I wish you the best on your prostate situation. My doctor told me that most men, if they live long enough, will develop prostate cancer and die WITH (and not OF) prostate cancer. And if you're going to get a cancer, prostate cancer is the slowest growing. I guess that is information that is of some help. I feel fortunate to have lived as long as I have (71 years old) so I'm not at all surprised that I developed prostate cancer. I'm glad I don't have another kind of cancer. I am thankful.

      Ron

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  14. Anonymous6:52 AM

    Ron, So glad to hear your update. I hope you really take it easy so you can recover soon. Lynne

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    1. Thank you Lynne. I'll be so glad when this drama is over and I can go back to my old, boring ways. :)

      Ron

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  15. Except for the razor blades part--and that line made me grab my junk--it sounds like it went well!

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    1. Bob,

      Well, I've now experienced the two most painful forms of torture, "razor blades" pee and passing of kidney stones. Thankfully, the "razor blades" weren't as intense today but still very painful. And I remember when I used to enjoy a good pee. Now I dread it but I have no choice. A few times there I thought I was going to faint.

      Ron

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  16. Feel better Ron.....

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    1. Thank you slugmama. Pretty soon I hope the drama of the past several months in my life slows down. I've had enough of it for this year.

      Ron

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  17. I felt for you as you described the painful post-op procedures! Hope your bodily functions are on the mend.

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    1. Paul,

      Thanks for your good wishes. Today wasn't as bad as yesterday. Still very painful but a little improvement for which I am thankful.

      Ron

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  18. I'm not a big fan of oxy-anything drugs, opiates, or anything else remotely addictive, however, I take them after my surgery on my wrist. It was worth it. In general, these painkillers are pretty broad-based in effect. Yes, they leave you a little numb or groggy, but that beats razor blades or tacks or the pain I had - a red hot poker starting at my wrist and running right up my arm through my shoulder to my jaw. GIMME THOSE PERCOSETS DAMN IT!!!! Sometimes, I think pleasure (or at least no pain) beats principle. Why suffer if you don't have to?

    Anyway, perhaps by the time you see this, you'll be down to dull throbbing or better. But look at the discoloration this way: you'll stand out in a locker room, and no one will mistake yours for theirs! HAHAHAHA (Sorry, I had to throw in a little deathly poor humor after my lecture.)

    I hope you heal quickly, and I am bringing my Geiger counter to the bloggerpalooza next year just so we can hear you CLICKCLICKCLICK all weekend long!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,

      I haven't taken any of the oxycodone, it makes me too nauseous. I would rather endure the pain but I will say that this "razor blades" is some of the most excruciating pain I've ever had. I used to enjoy a good pee, but now I dread it but can't put it off. The pain isn't as intense as it was yesterday but still pretty bad. I'm counting on each day to lessen the pain.

      I'm pretty sure by the time of the next bloggerpalooza my radioactive crotch will be inactive. No glowing crotch in the dark.

      Ron

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