When my doctor informed me that the biopsy for Prostate cancer had come back positive, everyone kept telling me how easily cured I would be. Prostate cancer, if found early enough, is indeed highly curable. What they don’t tell you is the details concerning the operation itself or the side effects with which you will have to live.
A person has five choices for treatment of prostate cancer in the United States. They are: watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, seeds, radiation, or hormones. Each has considerable drawbacks. Who wants to live with cancer and be constantly monitored by a doctor. Radical prostatectomy, while highly effective, often leaves the patient incontinent and impotent unless he is lucky enough to have insurance that will pay for nerve sparing surgery.
Recovery takes a considerable amount of time. Implanted seeds mean the patient is full of radioactivity, and if they are not properly placed, they can affect bowel and bladder function. Who needs that? Radiation, while more perfected than previously, leaves one unable to ejaculate, possibly impotent, and once done, the patient is not a candidate for other treatments if the cancer returns. Hormones have their own side effects and require continuous monitoring.
My wife and I never even considered watchful waiting, hormones, or radical prostatectomy, so those were off the list immediately.
We began to look for the best possible cure with the least amount of side effects that would alter my quality of life.
The first doctor I saw recommended the seeds. He made the whole procedure sound like a walk in the park. We agreed and were ready to leave when he filled me in on the details. I wouldn’t be able to work or ride a bike for a considerable period of time. I would have to stay away from my small grandchildren because I would be radioactive. I probably would not be able to have an erection. I should consider the possibility of bowel or bladder involvement which might leave me incontinent or worse. Wow! This is a walk in the park?
We researched radiation on the computer and discovered that while it did not have the down-time of the seeds, it was an irreversible decision. When we saw a radiologist, he explained that I would probably not be able to ejaculate, and I would not be able to have further treatment if the cancer was not completely gone, because the damage to surrounding tissues would not allow the skin to hold together during surgery. A radical prostatectomy would not be an option if future treatment was needed. Nevertheless, I decided on this procedure and had scheduled an appointment to begin treatment when my wife said, Hold off. Call these people at HIFU. The more we read and learned about HIFU, the more convinced we were that it was the best option.
I sent my records from my disapproving doctors here in the U.S., the folks at HIFU made all the arrangements for my airfare, my hotel, and my stay in Puerto Vallarta, and I was on my way to Mexico. The hotel was beautiful, the scenery was magnificent, and the procedure went like clockwork. HIFU personnel picked my up at my hotel, took me to the American Hospital, which was clean and staffed by HIFU employees, and in a few hours, I was on my way back to the hotel.
We flew home the day after the procedure, and I was back at work in a week with no pain, no surgery, no radiation, no hormones, no down-time.
The only downside was having a catheter for twenty-one days, but that passed quickly and really didn’t interfere needlessly with my life. I found a doctor here in the valley who was willing to monitor my progress, and it seemed that each week I saw improvement. The urinary frequency which was caused by my enlarged prostate, has dramatically improved. My wife laughs and says I am no longer hunting for the nearest restroom when we are out shopping. My sex life is back to about what it was before; sometimes great and sometimes just so-so. Hey, I’m seventy-one. I didn’t expect miracles.
I was worried about the cost of the procedure, but when one considers the positive results, the price can’t be beat. People spend forty and fifty thousand dollars on cars and never blink an eye about the cost. This procedure saved my life, got rid of my cancer, and made it possible for me to retain the life-style I was enjoying before the diagnosis.
It has now been a little over three months since I went to Mexico. My doctor here in the valley says everything looks great and pronounced me free of cancer. I had my first PSA result two weeks ago. It was 0.6. How cool is that?