Prostate Cancer – What Doctors Do Wrong, part 9

Today’s the day. It’s 5:30 AM and I’ve had my shower and put on clean underwear as instructed by the emmi video.. Yesterday I got calls from the hospital, a very competent-sounding nurse who answered almost all my questions and one from the anesthesiologist. Both asked me a nearly identical set of questions such as what previous surgeries have I had, do I have any drug allergies, and so forth. The nurse’s list was somewhat longer. One question she asked that surprised me was whether I had been taking my Flomax. I told her no and asked if I was supposed to. She seemed surprised I hadn’t had any instructions on that and said “It’s too late now, but you can still have the surgery.” So I guess I was supposed to start using that back when the pharmacy filled it. I just double checked the instructions I received from the scheduler and there is no mention of that prescription.

I’m not allowed to have anything to eat or drink, so I’ll just sit around and watch the morning news until my son arrives. To be continued ….  I hope.

Okay, I survived. Except for the waiting and answering a zillion questions (mostly the same ones repeated), it wasn’t any worse than the biopsy. It ended up being 57 seeds, not 33. I never got an explanation as to why that number. The recovery room nurse said it was pretty standard. She gave the normal range as 30 – 60, but the product website said average was around 80. One nurse told me 17 were in the interior region, the rest on the the perimeter. Maybe when they decided not to do the EBRT they increased the number of seeds. Dr. K said he would insert the protective gel to prevent rectal damage from the radiation and I had to initial another release in the operating room. This gel shield, called a SpaceOAR, is really just a spacer. It doesn’t block the X-rays; it simply makes use of the Inverse-square Law to reduce radiation to the rectum by increasing the distance. Dr. A used the same line as after the biopsy, telling me right before the surgery that he would call my son in a half hour or so and “give him the good news.” That seems to be his shtick whether or not he is expecting good news. I won’t go into all the grisly details but the bottom line, no pun intended, is that they won’t release you until you can pass at least 100cc of urine. It took me a while, but I made it there and was sent home with my son. The nurse freaked out a bit when she used ultrasound to measure how full my bladder was, and it was almost at 500cc. She threatened to call Dr. A come and catheterize me, which seemed to be all the motivation I needed.

I can walk around without significant discomfort, although I have to plop down carefully. The biggest surprise in my post-op instructions was that I am not to have my cat or other pet on my lap for 30 days. I don’t glow in the dark, but I am somewhat radioactive. Also no pregnant women or young children within six feet for that duration. I am not to ride a bicycle or do other activities that cause vibration for that same period, so running is out. I am supposed to avoid orange juice, tomato juice, and spicy foods because they can cause bleeding. So I guess that’s it for now. I do not have that “severe pain” the scheduler mentioned, nor was any pain medication prescribed. The post-op instructions just say to avoid Ibuprofen, which I would do anyway since I’m allergic. They didn’t even say no aspirin, but I’ll stick with acetaminophen for now. I’ll update the blog when something happens worth reporting, but that may be a few weeks away.

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