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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

Michael Thompson, West Plains, Missouri

I am 51 years old and live in West Plains, Missouri. The picture shows me and my guitar back home 2 weeks after my laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and this is my "show me" story.

I have been married to the same wonderful woman for 29 years and have two grown children of whom I am very proud. I have taught middle school math for the past 28 years, and plan on retiring in two more. My hobbies are working out, playing guitar, yard sales, and e-Bay.

In July of this year, from a prostate biopsy done after an abnormal prostate PSA test, I found out that I had prostate cancer. After getting over the feeling like I had been hit by a truck, I started praying and checking the internet for anything I could find out about my prostate cancer treatment options. Since I had undergone a laparoscopic gallbladder operation a year earlier and it had gone so smoothly, I decided to see if laparoscopy was available for prostate problems. My internet search revealed Dr. Krongrad's site and I'm so thankful that it did. I believe my prayers were answered

I emailed the doctor from his website and he called me to discuss my situation. It really impressed me to have the doctor call me, but that's the way he is.

After hearing my numbers, Dr. Krongrad decided that I would be a good candidate for laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery. After the preliminary paperwork, I called Ruth and scheduled my surgery for September 10th, 2002. I had to get all of the pre-op tests done before I went to Miami. The results and a surgery clearance from my family doctor were faxed to Ruth. In the meantime, I talked to a couple of Dr. K's former patients. They were thrilled to have chosen LRP and especially from Dr. K. This made me feel even more comfortable with my decision. I was ready.

Early Sunday morning, September 8th, my wife and I drove to Memphis and from there flew to Miami. The next morning we went to North Shores Medical Center to fill out all the necessary paperwork before surgery. I then visited the doctor at his office for the first time. After Dr. K examined me, we went into his office to discuss my surgery. The doctor seemed to believe that since almost all of my cancer was located on the left side of the prostate, only the nerves on the right side should be spared, and I agreed.

The following morning, Tuesday, September 10th, I arrived at the hospital bright and early to be prepped for surgery. Everyone was very nice and professional, which immediately put me at ease. The surgical team all came by to see me and explain exactly what was going to happen. I found out that the anesthesiologist was also a cardiologist, which made me feel even better.

I was then taken to the operating room at about 7:00 AM and that's about all I remember. The surgery took about 3 hours and recovery about an hour. I was in my hospital room by noon.

By that evening, I was walking in the hall. The only pain medication given to me after surgery was Tylenol, and that's all I needed. The worst part of the whole ordeal was the catheter. It didn't hurt, but was a necessary nuisance, one that I removed myself 8 days after surgery.

The next morning I was released from the hospital. My wife and I went back to our hotel room and napped for a while....it's not easy sleeping in a hospital room. We then took a stroll on Miami Beach. That evening I ate almost a whole large pizza ... I was starved.

We stayed until Friday and Dr. Krongrad called our room a couple of times a day to check on me. On Thursday, we went back to his office for him to look me over one final time. After he determined I was doing fine, we left and went to Aventura Mall (nice mall) near his office, had lunch, then did a little shopping.

That evening the doctor called and said my final pathology report looked good, clear margins. That made me feel better. He stressed the importance of me getting my PSA checked on a regular basis.

The next morning, Friday the 13th, we traveled home. That long trip pretty well exhausted me, so I rested up for the next couple of days. I kept in contact with Dr. Krongrad through emails, to let him know how I was doing. He and I still exchange emails on a regular basis.

If you are reading this, you or someone close to you probably has prostate cancer. Let me say this: Dr. Krongrad is, without a doubt, the most caring and concerned doctor I have ever dealt with. I truly believe that he is on a mission to rid as many men of this dreaded disease as he possibly can. LRP is a wonderful procedure and from my research and personal experience, no one does it any better than Dr. K ... he is an artist.

If you or someone you know needs treatment for prostate cancer, you will be doing yourself or them a favor if you contact the doctor to discuss having this procedure done. It is now a little over three weeks since my surgery and I don't even feel that I have recently had any kind of surgery......much less a major one like a prostatectomy.

Thank you, Dr. Krongrad, for being there when I needed you. Thank you, Ruth, for being so pleasant to talk to and taking care of many of the necessary arrangements before we came to Miami. Thank you to my wife ... I couldn't have gotten through this without you. Thank you to my family and friends for your support.

I am from the "show me" state and Dr. Krongrad showed me that there is at least one truly caring doctor left in this world. I certainly didn't want to get prostate cancer, but since I did, I feel that I am lucky to be a member of the Miami LRP fraternity.

After I got home, I wrote the lyrics to a song I call "I Left My Prostate in Miami." Here they are, to be sung to the tune of "Sweet Home Alabama."

(Verse 1)......It all happened in September
On the 10th in early dawn
Took 3 hours of expert surgery
Then my prostate it was gone.

(Verse 2).....Two days later the doctor called me
Said my margins looked pretty clear
I sure was glad that he told me
Seems that cancer is outa here.

(Chorus 1)....I left my prostate in Miami
Dr. Krongrad took it out of me
I left my prostate in Miami
Thank you doc for learnin LRP

(Verse 3)......Goodbye you ole prostate
I sure am glad to see you gone
Adios you ole prostate
Now my life is moving on.

(Verse 4)......Thank you doc for all you did for me
Thank you Ruth for all you do
A special thank you to the love of my life
For helping me see this thing through.

(Chorus 2)... I left my prostate in Miami
Dr. Krongrad took it out of me
I left my prostate in Miami
Bless you doc for learnin LRP

Good luck and God bless you all.
after prostate cancer surgery