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Patients speak about prostate cancer and laparoscopic radical prostatectomy

Phil Croghan, St Cloud, Florida

It was a matter of when, not if, that I was called at work by my wife to advise me that my urologist had said he wanted to see me right away regarding my last prostate biopsy. Both my father and grandfather had prostate cancer, and I had been getting regular test of my PSA prostate specific antigen and prostate biopsies for the past few years; but when I heard the results came back positive it hit me like a bad dream. The next day after getting off shift, I made a bee line to get all the gory details on my options.

Of course being a surgeon, my urologist recommended radical prostate cancer surgery but he also gave me the other usual prostate cancer treatment options of radiation treatment, freezing as a prostate cancer treatment or the chicken "wait and see" option. Here I am , a 62 year old fireman, still quite active and in fairly good shape for an old man (as they call me at the firehouse) with a PSA of 5.5 and a Gleason score 6 sitting in doctors offices with men that look to me to be on their last legs.

After many consultations my extremely supportive wife and I decided that surgery was the prostate cancer treatment for me since all other options had the same side effects and not the almost guaranteed result of complete removal of the cancer. But I was not wild about the "autopsy" radical retropubic prostatectomy that my surgeon was pushing, so off to the internet I went where I discovered laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP).

Enter Dr. Krongrad. After pouring over all the information on the net and Dr. Krongrad’s web site, I made an appointment. Upon meeting him and his wife Ruth I was amazed that he did not enter the room on a cloud and wearing long robes and a halo. Dr. K. was very straight forward, extremely professional and reassuring, and Ruth was also very helpful.

Returning home I contacted my insurance company and was appalled to find they believed laparoscopic radical prostatectomy was "experimental surgery" and would not cover it. After an epic four months battle with Dr. Krongrad at the forefront and Hope, the ever calm, understanding and diligent worker calling, writing, e-mailing, and probably muttering not so nice words, they finally elected to allow the surgery.

On Monday, the day before surgery date, my wife and I checked into a hotel within sight of Aventura Hospital. After my last full meal for a few days I downed the most powerful three ounces of a chemical that would have me depositing what I felt was my entire body into the sewers of Miami Dade County.

The next morning we checked in at Aventura, was greeted by and prepped by a very professional and courteous pre-op staff, moved to the operating room and, off to sleep.

After about five hours I woke up in recovery with my mouth feeling as dry as the Sahara Desert. The most refreshing glass of water was sneaked to me by and angel of mercy in a white uniform (who will forever remain unnamed and in my prayers). I was then taken to my room where I was greeted by my wife and two good friends. We talked and drank and drank and drank for a few hours, ate, or I should say drank my dinner and hit the sack for the night, except for these blood pressure checks every few hours.

Before dinner I called Hope to try to find out when Dr. K. would be in to release me tomorrow, but unfortunately she did not know. She did say that he did have surgery in the morning, sometimes arriving as early as five A.M. Being extremely anxious to take my catheter and leave, I advised Hope that I would make sure I was up and ready to see him at five.

The nest afternoon, after getting dressed and walking the halls of the hospital and visiting my new "brother" that had the same surgery after mine, Dr. Krongrad came in and released me after a good laugh regarding the five A.M. appointment.

My wife and I spent the rest of the day walking the pier at John Lloyd Park in Hollywood and eating my first semi-solid food, a milk shake. The next day we visited Dr. Krongrad who removed my stitches, ate a real solid food meal and the next day headed home.

A week later I removed my catheter myself since my local urologist advised me that he felt "uncomfortable" removing it because he did not put it in.

Six months after the surgery everything is pretty much back to normal except for the incontinence, which is getting better by the day, and impotence which seems to be improving.

All in all I would highly recommend this type of surgery and would highly recommend Dr. Krongrad as the surgeon of choice. Both he and Hope made a very scary unpleasant situation easy and bearable.

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did not choose freezing as a prostate cancer treatment