After retiring from work, Bill contacted his doctor regarding concerns he had about limited and slow urine flow. His doctor referred him to a urologist. The urologist advised that the problem might be resolved with a TURP (re-bore) procedure, which would involve a one-night hospital stay. Whilst this resolved Bill’s urinary flow issue, pathology testing indicated the presence of cancer.
Bill’s urologist arranged for a biopsy and this showed low-level non-aggressive cancer with a Gleason score of 3. The advice was that there was no need to act, but to engage in a process of active surveillance with monitoring of PSA and Gleason scores. Bill and his wife Jeanette were attending Geelong Prostate Support Group meetings, but, engaged in active surveillance and with no changes occurring, they ceased attending.
At age 73 after about ten years of actively monitoring PSA and Gleason scores, Bill’s urologist informed him that his Gleason score had risen to a point where something needed to be done. “What do you want to do?” he asked Bill. “If you do nothing it’s only going to kill you.” Bill was advised that a robotic radical prostatectomy was the best option, and he had this in September 2017. He spent two nights in hospital and returned home with a catheter in place – “… an awful thing; it leaked a lot.”
When the catheter was removed Bill remembers the urologist telling him that now it was out, he was still going to leak. “And by hell it leaked! I was shocked when I went through four pads on that first night.”
For the next eight months Bill sought to resolve his post-op incontinence. He saw three continence physiotherapists and applied himself fully to pelvic floor and other exercise programs provided. He had no success. He was referred to the Grace McKellar Continence Clinic and attended several times working with nurses, receiving advice and engaged in various flow and retention testing. The problem was still not resolved.
Bill and Jeanette re-commenced attending meetings of the Geelong PSG and joined in discussions with members who had experience similar problems over an extended time.
Bill saw his urologist early last year. “He told me that he’d better check my bladder, and boy! Did he check it!! He proceeded to fill my bladder with water as I shouted “No. No… But he just continued.”
Bill was told that he had a ‘bladder problem’. He told the urologist that he had spoken with others who had successfully had a sling fitted to resolve their incontinence. The urologist informed Bill that rather than resolving his problems, a sling was unsuitable and might create more.
Bill had also talked with of one member of the Geelong PSG who had had a surgical implant of an artificial sphincter. He wondered about the relevance of this device to his situation, and once more saw his urologist. He was told that this might help. He went ahead with this in August last year, the procedure requiring one night in hospital and then a return to hospital one week later “to turn it on.” Bill reports that it “works marvelously, though I still wear one pad a day, for security.”
Bill appreciates the fantastic support that Jeanette has provided, and continues to provide, throughout his journey with prostate cancer.
Bill and Jeanette especially enjoy time together travelling interstate.