Robert Hammar

Robert Hammar – TPCSG (Tacoma Prostate Cancer Support Group)

My PSA went up a few points in early 2005 (at that time I was 72), so I had a biopsy done. After my samples were examined by three labs cancer was discovered in one sample. I chose to have my prostate removed via laparoscopic surgery at Virginia Mason.

For the next three years I dealt with incontinence. I am a motivated patient. I tried physical therapy (PT) first with only very modest results. After that I had “sling” surgery and had more improvement than with PT, but was still dealing with incontinence. Just over a year ago I had artificial sphincter surgery and I am dry at last!

Here are a few things that helped me and may help you:
* I maintained open communication with my wife and family.
* Being hard of hearing never helps. I asked my wife to attend appointments with me in case I missed something and so two sets of ears could hear all of the instructions and information.
* I attend support groups, which I continue to find tremendously helpful. Even if you think you are not a support group kind of guy you may want to give it a try. Or, find out when certain topics will be covered and attend when something is of interest.
* From time to time I called members of the support group. It helped to have someone listen and sometimes steer me in the right direction.
* I paid out of pocket for a one-time consult with a urologist at an academic medical center. She was able to give me helpful information and referrals to clinicians that felt like a match for me.
* I created a notebook where I keep information about my medications, medical history, surgeries (including those not related to prostate cancer), reports, test results and resources.
* I spent time researching incontinence products (from clamps to pads). I kept trying different products until I found what worked for me. I am happy to share my resource lists.
* I worked in partnership with my providers. At first I was frustrated that they did not know much about products that might be helpful. They were focused on diagnosis and treatment. The nurses were focused on post-surgical care. Nobody was focused on care issues after the post-surgical period. When I went for a checkup I shared my feedback with the providers and the results of my research. I hope they are doing a better job of providing care for the entire journey of each patient. Be proactive – ask questions and speak up – for the health of it!
To download my Tips and Products for Dealing with Incontinence Related to Prostate Cancer, click HERE.

Jack Sellers

Jack Sellers – TPCSG (Tacoma Prostate Cancer Support Group)

June ‘ 04 – PSA 0.5 -Doctor felt a lump during my annual DRE (digital rectal examination)

• Had 4 section biopsy and one of the 4 sections was diagnosed as positive
• Scheduled laparoscopic prostatectomy with Dr Gill at the Cleveland Clinic
• Sent biopsy slides back to Cleveland prior to surgery
• Cleveland pathology lab could not confirm presence of cancer
• For the tie breaker, slides were sent to John Hopkins Medical Laboratories, Baltimore, MD.
• John Hopkins Medical Laboratories found no presence of cancer
• Another biopsy was recommended
• I wanted to try the uPM3 urine-based genetic test for detecting prostate cancer.
If it came back positive, I would have another biopsy.
• uPM3 test by Bostwick Laboratories, Richmond, VA came back positive
• Color Doppler-aided 8 section biopsy – results = negative
• Getting PSA levels every 6 to 9 months – ranges from 0.7 to 0.5
• Changed diet to high fiber, low fat with portion control awareness
• Exercise = walking 3 miles/day 4 times/week
• Getting annual DRE

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