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Archive for the ‘Good news recovery stories’ Category

PROSTABLOG NZ: John Montgomerie had his prostatectomy via robotic method in Auckland, NZ,  in mid-February and we asked him to report progress.

His report shows he is recovering well…and he has some revealing comments about insurance:

I am doing well. Had to use incontinent pads for four weeks and still not 100%, (maybe I should try the ones with wings?). Have a  problem with leakage when I cough, sneeze, etc.

We have a spa, which is set at 41.5 degrees and it has proved to be a Godsend. Use it several times daily.

I can now use the motor bike without too much pain, and I’m walking 2-3km twice a day, which is a big help,

At two to three weeks after the operation, I was able to do a lot of farm jobs, which was a big help for my dear wife – and my self esteem.

At six weeks post-op, I’m back into full-on farm work, and able to drive a tractor for a few hours at a time.

Had a good PSA result, 0.2, which is a lot better than 5.8 before the op.

Insurance paid all of the costs ($45,000 plus) without stuffing me about, which was great. I am insured with AA Health and they were very helpful.

I  would be happy to recommend them. Some insurance companies do not pay for the full cost of robotic surgery (Southern Cross is one such company). And the patient has to pay $12,000 to $15,000 before the operation’

Good one, John. Glad to see you’re progressing brilliantly. Interesting stuff about the iunsurance cover, as well.

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My PC Adventure – PART 24:

Cliche is true – cancer makes you re-evaluate

April 13, 2010

A year ago, I lay in bed at home in the mornings and stared out the window at blue skies, wishing I could be under them.

I’m looking through a different sort of bedroom window as I write this – the window of the campervan, and we’re parked beside Orewa Beach, north of Auckland.

Pohutukawa boughs frame a view beyond green and straw-coloured kikuyu and marram grass, out to the end of Whangaparaoa Peninsular, Tiritiri Matangi Island and the hill tips of Great Barrier Island popping up into the horizon of the Hauraki Gulf.

OREWA SUNRISE: Portents of rain over Great Barrier Island.

It’s a year post-prostatectomy.

We’re on holiday for a few weeks, and this April there is the same Indian summer weather, but no catheter, no bright new scar slashing the lower abdomen, no need to hold back from coughing, laughing or leaping off the bed to go for a walk.

The only “slashing” these days is at the urinal, when the flow never fails to mimic that of  mythical 18-year-olds.

The year has passed with many highlights:

  • The birth of Oliver Thomas Tucker, first grandchild (thank you Megan and Kirk).
  • Two PSA undetectables.
  • A journalism graduation dinner I was actually able to attend last month (rather than imagine from the haze of anaesthetic recovery, as happened last year).
  • A return to fitness, following walks and a change of diet to reduce red meat.
  • A couple of months’ membership of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of NZ.
  • Six months of blogging about prostate cancer, then “retirement” apart from occasional blogs. The site had 70,000 hits in the year, with about 20,000 people reading My PC Adventure.
  • Many kind messages from readers, who seem to appreciate the candour of my account.
  • Selling our house and buying a campervan, and so far several tours to beautiful parts of NZ.  We may never own another property, having fallen in love with being on the road.
  • Most important – the support of friends, colleagues and family.

YOUNG OLLIE: Me and Lin with Oliver Tucker - grandparenthood is such a bonus.

I’m now more aware than ever how widespread is the prostate cancer “epidemic”, and without compunction will ask every 40-plus male I meet  whether he gets himself tested.

An early stop on this current trip was at Palmerston North (the place John Cleese said made him suicidal) to visit my mate Lance, who is halfway through external beam radiation treatment for low grade prostate cancer. His prognosis is good.

I have one disappointment – lack of news about the NZ Parliament Health Select Committee inquiry into prostate cancer detection. It started with a hiss and a roar in September, but nothing has been heard so far this year.

My state of mind is rarely troubled by thoughts of whether or not I am “cured” of prostate cancer. It just doesn’t figure.

What scar?

However, now and again there are reminders. An acquaintance who had his prostatectomy a decade ago told me recently he was suddenly suffering peeing problems, apparently caused by scar tissue resulting from radiation he had all those years ago.

And just yesterday I had to sit down for a few minutes after feeling a bit dizzy. But that may have been an over-zealous intake of resveratrol (erm, pinot noir) the night before, and absolutely nothing to do with anything else. But you do wonder for a moment.

For those who are curious but too polite to ask, “functionality” is fine. Erection firmness is as good as ever, although the lost inch is still a little disconcerting.

Libido is normal – ie, it disappears with work stress and goes berserk during holidays.

Orgasms are just as enjoyable and intense as before, and a lot less messy, of course. No more careless maps of Asia on the bottom sheet.

The only bad in my life is stress from work. I continue the task of rebuilding Whitireia Journalism School into a half-decent hall of learning, but at times the workload is immense.

In February and March this year I found myself toiling seven days a week every week just to meet the demands of graduating 28 diploma students.

As I enter the last quarter of my life, I’m thinking seriously about how to avoid doing that for too much longer.

That’s one of the upsides of getting cancer: you take a hard look at your lifestyle.

And the view. There’s a couple of kite surfers out there on the sea. Our spell of 15 straight days without rain is about to end, by the look of the gathering nimbus and the feel of the breeze.

Bugger cancer – I’m off for a walk.  See you later.

READ the full story here: MY PC ADVENTURE

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PROSTABLOG NZ: Wellington freelance writer Ruth Nichol has published her investigation into cancer screening in the latest NZ Listener magazine.

It’s an excellent read.

Buy the mag to read it all. Here are a couple of pages:

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mikeleenzpaPROSTABLOG NZ: Why would anyone say that getting prostate cancer was actually good for them?

In his speech to open a Blue September event earlier this month, Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee (left) said just that.

Talking about his experience with prostate cancer, he described trying to ignore his rising PSA levels, finally being diagnosed, making drastic changes to his lifestyle and diet, and undergoing brachytherapy. Then he made this comment:

“In some ways, in terms of all-round health, in a funny sort of way, getting prostate cancer was good for me.”

READ MORE>

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BUZZ MACHINE: It has been a week and a half since my prostate surgery and I’m doing great, writes media blogger Jeff Jarvis. READ MORE>

I’m walking a couple miles a day (can’t run for a few weeks but even when I do run it’s not running), eating normally, sleeping well, now able to sit and stand and cough and burp without feeling as if I was hit in the belly with a Volkswagen.

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DOMINION POST: In this personal account, a Lower Hutt man recalls the dire effects on his life of an enlarged prostate – and how he finally got it fixed.

When prostate rules it’s not OK

…was too late. I was in trouble again – this time on an island miles from a hospital. I returned in some discomfort to the company and tried to act as if everything was OK. We left soon after. When we got to the cottage I sat on the toilet until I got…read more…

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NZ HERALD: He’s a doctor who has written a book on prostate cancer, he’s built a wellness retreat at Abel Tasman National Park and his hobbies include nutrition. READ MORE>

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