I was in good health and in my mid-40’s. I ran regularly, ate well, and had a healthy body weight. At a regular check-up, my doctor suggested that I have a PSA test; I thought it a bit early but said sure. My wife and I were shocked when the first test came back as positive, resulting in further testing. Those tests lead to the confirmation that I had prostate cancer at 45. We were scared. Not only with the diagnosis of cancer but what the treatments traditionally mean for most men; reduced urinary control and greatly reduced sexual ability. At such a young age we were not willing to accept that fate. Luckily my doctor, Dr. Stephen Paulter suggested I would be a good candidate for a new procedure he and his colleague, Dr. Joseph Chin were working on. They needed a fairly healthy person as this new procedure required that the patient be upside down for 7 to 8 hours on the operating table. Most older men would have difficulty with that length of time. This new procedure used the da Vinci Robot, more commonly used for heart procedures. However, they had been experimenting with it for prostate removal and it was giving great post-surgery results. Less nerve damage or interference, less blood loss, and a quicker recovery were the main benefits. I was sold and was booked in as the third Canadian to have a full prostate removal using the da Vinci Robot.
The surgery went well and took over 8 hours (currently they have perfected the process and are now completing these surgeries in under 2 hours), but now I wondered what my quality of life would be like afterwards. Thankfully, after surgery, I showed no signs of cancer and I was able to forgo the usual radiation treatments. There was regular follow-up testing; every 3 months, then bi-annually, and then yearly. Finally, at 8 years post-surgery with no signs of an elevated PSA, I was discharged from Dr. Chin’s care. It’s been 15 years since my surgery and I have had a clean bill of health and am enjoying life.