May 28, 2009
My Battle with Prostate Cancer
I am an active healthy athletic white male who turned 49 this past October. In September my family physician, whom I have been seeing for years conducted a PSA blood test on me. He said that he recommends to all of his patients to have a PSA test performed around the age of 50. His information is based on the best recommendation of the American Cancer Society. The test results came back as a 34 with the normal being less than 4.0. Nonetheless, the test result number did not mean anything to me at the time as I felt great. I was however, concerned with the message from the doctor’s office which alarmed me, so I decided to have the test performed again. The test came back with similar results. I was referred to a local Urologist and told to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
I was able to get in to see the Urologist within a week or so. The Urologist explained the serious nature of the high PSA number and informed me that he needed to do a biopsy right away to determine if cancer was present. I was told it was the only way to determine exactly what was going on within my prostate and the procedure was routine and would be performed in his office. I agreed to have it done and had it scheduled within a couple of days. I now know, I should have asked more questions because the biopsy was not what I expected. The procedure involved having 10 needles shot into my prostate through my rectal wall with only a local anesthetic gel applied to the prostate area. The pain was far greater than I had imagined and so were the long lasting effects. I had blood and brown goo in my urine, semen and seepage from my rectum for nearly 6 weeks.
The results from the biopsy came back as cancer noting a Gleason score of 7 (4+3); not favorable to me. Subsequently, a consult with the Urologist and my closest family members was scheduled. During the consult my Urologist informed me that he strongly recommended a radical prostatectomy to be performed in the very near future. Other options were available including radiation, radiation seeds, and cryotherapy however, he explained that the radical prostatectomy was “the gold standard” and it offered me the best chance of cure and for extending my normal way of life. He made a strong case for scheduling the procedure promptly as my disease would most assuredly kill me if I didn’t act immediately.
My family and I left the office stunned and in total shock. They urged me to have the procedure performed immediately. Something told me however, that I was not getting the whole story and I should continue searching for more answers. I did not like the statistics that I was given without any meaningful discussion given to the cause of this cancer and real chance for cure. He made me feel like a radical prostatectomy was truly my only option. I felt that there should be something outside the traditional impersonal big money institutional thought process that only looks at you as a statistic. In my search for more information, I finally came across a name from a person I knew at a local health food store…his name, Dr. Ronald Wheeler, a Urologist from Florida.
My research and telephone conversions with Dr. Wheeler made me confident it was worth the trip to Sarasota, Florida to let him take a look at me in a second opinion. Once there I quickly saw the Diagnostic Center for Disease as a first class operation with a first class staff. I was treated as a person from the first time I walked in the door. I knew quickly that Dr. Wheeler was committed to giving me the best care and insuring I was well informed. He began with his MRI-Spectroscopy procedure which I learned could have saved me the pain and problems related to the biopsy, not to mention preventing the possibility of needle tracking which can spread the cancer cells during the barbaric biopsy procedure. Dr. Wheeler also started me on a regimen of natural supplements to assistant my body in strengthening itself as well as a protocol to clean up the spill of cells from the needle biopsy procedure. After the MRI-S scan had identified the cancer as confined to my prostate, my wife and I decided to have a new procedure called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) performed. This procedure has not yet been FDA approved and is only in clinical trials here in the United States . I was surprised to hear how long Dr. Wheeler had been successfully performing HIFU, a procedure commonly available around the world.
Dr. Wheeler performed the procedure on me in concert with the International HIFU team in Cancun, Mexico in February. The procedure was well orchestrated and was handled exactly like it was explained to me. I only had mild discomfort from the procedure and was walking around sightseeing the next day with my wife. The only issue whatsoever was a small catheter inserted just above my pubic bone during the procedure that I had to remain in for three weeks until I was urinating normally through the normal channel. There was no removal of body parts or major cutting and/or surgical complications or extended hospital stays that are commonly related to the other options listed for me early on.
Now to the great news! I have just received my PSA results three months after the HIFU procedure was performed. The results showed a PSA value of 0.1 ng/ml, consistent with an absence of disease. I am unbelievably relieved! Clearly, I am on the road to overcoming this devastating disease and hopeful the disease is gone forever. Physically and mentally I feel stronger than ever; thanks to Dr. Wheeler’s skill and management decisions. I am so thankful and blessed that I was able to find the best treatment option out there for me and my family. I encourage anyone with questions or concerns related to prostate health to contact Dr. Wheeler and his staff at the Diagnostic Center for Disease in Sarasota, Florida. Their commitment to providing personalized state of the art patient care is a cut above the traditional methods that we have become accustomed to.
Greg L. O’Haver