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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

David Kehoe, Moline, Illinois

I liked my life as a Midwestern businessman. But, at age 53, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I was a bit overwhelmed, to say the least. Cancer was in the family, my uncle having succumbed as a result. For me, this was more personal.

After learning of the diagnosis, I began to research my prostate cancer treatment options. I learned about such prostate cancer treatments as radiation and surgical procedures. I had an appendectomy as a teenager and certainly was not thrilled about another surgical procedure. A friend of mine told me about Bob Garner, a friend of his from Texas who had a new procedure called laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. The procedure was performed in Miami. Bob had not been in the best of health and he told me how fast he recovered and was soon back to work. This conversation made me even more curious about laparoscopic prostate cancer surgery. What I learned about the small amount of bleeding and the quick recovery made me even more interested.

My first contract with Ruth in Dr. Krongrad's office gave me some basic administrative suggestions. Dr. Krongrad explained the medical aspects of the surgical procedure. I was initially unconvinced and spent the next two months making many calls to Ruth.

One very important concern was my size. I am 6'5" tall and weighed 330 pounds at the time. My size mattered in that open surgery would have required a very large incision that probably would have been very painful in itself. At the same time, the heaviest patient ever done laparoscopically by Dr. Krongrad weighed a mere 260 pounds. Our concern was that the instruments might not reach the prostate. Dr. Krongrad and I agreed that if the laparoscopic technique turned out to not be feasible once started, the operation would be aborted and I would go home without it.

On August 24, 2001, I had my LRP. I lost maybe 150 ccs of blood, despite the fact that they removed an 82 cc size prostate. I think I had given more blood just getting tested for the surgery. In fact, my blood count after surgery was the same as before.

All the travel from Illinois and the anxiety of cancer and surgery had left me drained and, the day after surgery, I was too exhausted to go anywhere. I stayed an extra day to sleep and went home the day after that. Three days later, I was out to my favorite restaurant having dinner.

The operation produced a Gleason score 6 cancer with all negative margins. They tell me I am basically done with prostate cancer. I have no pain, no incontinence, and no PSA in my blood. I cannot imagine a better way to have dealt with my cancer.

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David Kehoe - Illinois