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7, 17, 2024
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Each man's Journey is listed under his BASIC treatment. When you click on one of the names to read a particular Journey, you may see one or more different treatments in bold lettering immediately above the Journey text. You will see (Recurrence) if they are due to a recurrence. Otherwise, they will be treatments used in conjunction with the basic treatment, i.e. Lupron with External Beam Radiation or External Beam Radiation with HDRT/Brachytherapy, etc.

Active Surveillance
Gary Sanders
Len Lindstrom

Alternative (Natural) Therapy
Allen Titmus

Cryoablation - Freezing
Paul Niblock

Hormone Therapy
Arthur Case
Duke Best
Fred Thorngate
Guy Waller
Rick Lopez
Rommie Overton

Radiation - Brachytherapy
Denny Shields
Wayne Miller

Radiation - External Beam
Armand Chichmanian
Jim Wilkinson
Joe Henderson
Lance Stoddard
Rich Gordon
Rick Dancer
Rommie Overton
Tom Wilson
Warren Davidson

Radiation - HDRT
Clint Sherburne

Surgery - Open
Anonymous Part 1
Anonymous Part 2
Bob Hefty
Bob Horney
Bob Thorp
Debbie Daugherty
Jim Buch
Joel Peterson
Tim Daugherty

Surgery - Robotic
Anonymous 2, Part 1
Anonymous 2
Bill Force
Bob Peters
Christopher (Christo) Schwartz
Lowell Bublavi
Ray Barba
Roger Straus

Bill Force

My prostate cancer journey began 10 years ago when my younger brother, a family physician, reported that he had an aggressive cancer. He was 58 and had his prostate removed. He wanted me to be certain that I received an annual PSA screening. My PSA scores were regularly in the 1.2 to 1.3 zone over the years until March 2009 when the score increased to 2.8. My doctor in Central Point raised concern and stressed that I get another test the following year.
After moving to Florence we found a new family doctor and made our first visit in April 2010. My wife and I always accompany each other to our doctor appointments and at my first appointment we shared my family history and prior PSA scores and asked for a new screening. The week following this simple blood test, I learned that PSA score jumped to 4.9. The doctor said that at my age I had a 55 percent chance of having prostate cancer, but not to worry. I asked about having a biopsy and he said he didn't want to put me through that right then and to return in mid-August for another PSA screening.
Not being happy with the rather cavalier attitude of the doctor, I shared my concern with a friend. The next time we met, my friend handed me a slip of paper describing time and place of a prostate cancer support group here in Florence, then called Man to Man and now called Us TOO. My wife and I attended the May meeting and met several men with a variety of experiences with prostate cancer, which they openly shared. Bob Horney discussed my PSA scores with us prior to the meeting and indicated that the doubling of a PSA score within a 12-month period is a red flag. Mine had doubled twice, in two consecutive 12- to 13-month periods. Dr. Bryan Mehlhaff, a urologist from the Oregon Urology Institute, was a guest at the meeting. We talked and he said, "Come see me."
Dr. Mehlhaff did a DRE (rectal exam) and described a slight abnormality in the prostate. After discussing my PSA scores and family history I was told that I was a candidate for a prostate biopsy, the only way to actually diagnose prostate cancer.
Biopsy results revealed moderately aggressive cancer. However the six inner portions of the prostate were clear of cancer.
The options for dealing with prostate cancer are many and thanks to a plethora of reading material from our local Us TOO Support Group, my wife and I had done our homework. Our main question was what if radiation does not work and the cancer comes back? As we had suspected, surgery following radiation has a high risk of complications, including impotence and incontinence, and Dr. Mehlhaff refuses to do it. Therefore, we opted for robotic removal, knowing radiation could be a backup if the cancer returns. We scheduled surgery for Sept. 30.
The surgery lasted about three hours. I remained in the hospital overnight and was released the following day. I've had hernia surgeries that were more painful. The entire surgery was done through five small incisions in the abdomen. I used pain pills for a day after surgery and then found I didn't need them. The surgery is described as "curative." Early detection may have saved me.

Part One of my Prostate Cancer Journey primarily covered my PSA history, biopsy/diagnosis and surgery. In completing the details of my journey thus far, today I will get into how I'm dealing with those potential side effects of incontinence and impotence. But, first, I want to share the experience my wife and I had with the people at Oregon Urology Institute (OUI). As a retired professor of organizational development and leadership, I observed that someone in a position of authority at OUI has emphasized the importance of a friendly, helpful, client-first attitude in training, supervision and selection of employees. Every staff member treated us in a highly professional, kind and helpful manner. That's unusual in this day and age.
Now, to those previously mentioned side effects of prostate cancer treatment that every man just knows are going to rob him of his quality of life, leaving him in diapers and unable to have sex for the rest of his life. Are degrees of incontinence and impotence valid concerns? Of course, but they pale in importance when considering one's life as a trade-off.
Let's talk about incontinence or, looking at it from the positive side, becoming continent again after treatment. First of all, each man's response to treatment is very individualized.
All the reading and research won't guarantee how a quickly a man will regain his continence. In my case, I was told I'd probably go through about three diapers or pads per day for a couple months following surgery.
Well, I started out using about one per day which rapidly became only a minor inconvenience. And, within 10 weeks I was home free no pads at all. Here's my helpful hint: Anyone considering surgery as prostate cancer treatment can speed recovery of continence by faithfully doing the recommended Kegel exercises prior to the surgery. You may not ask, but wonder about sex life after my kind of surgery (robotic). I was lucky to have been diagnosed with early disease that was contained in the prostate. There are nerve bundles on either side of the prostate and if they can be saved (as in early diagnosis), the return of sexual function is greatly enhanced. Both of my nerve bundles were spared, so there is every reason to believe that a normal sex life will return in time. It's too early to expect perfection. If anyone needs a good reason to be screened annually for prostate cancer, here it is. Early detection is the key.
At the Oct. 12 meeting of Us TOO, Roger from Bandon shared his dilemma in deciding how best to attack his prostate cancer. A bit later I gave a brief progress report only 12 days after surgery. Roger approached Dr. Mehlhaff after our meeting and said, "I want what Bill got and I want his results."
We've all learned we cannot compare ourselves with others and expect identical results, but our Us TOO group is about sharing and helping. I only hope that my sharing helped Roger make his own decision in his journey with prostate cancer. Copyright © 2010 - 2024