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For forty-six years I had strived to keep myself reasonably fit, indeed, it was a demand of my career. I had fallen foul of the odd ailment over the years, most cured with a couple of paracetamol or simply a good rest. Then in late 2009 I began to experience the occasional lower abdominal pain. A few tests later and still no answers, save one. My PSA was a little high for my age. It was in early 2010 that I was referred to a Specialist and from there to my first set of biopsies. The result of these was not conclusive and so a second set of biopsies followed. On an afternoon in the middle of March I sat down in a small consulting room to be told that a small cancer had been found in my prostate. I think I stopped listening at that point, or at least stopped taking in what was being said. Fortunately my wife was with me and she listens well. Everything had been done in such a caring way, something I reflected on later that same day as I sat in the bath. However, I still had cancer. It was time to make some decisions. What I had to consider was should I leave it and have it monitored? Have a course of brachytherapy? Or surgery? Many discussions would follow along with caring, knowledgeable and sympathetic professionals. I was also made aware of all the possible consequences and side-effects of each option. I have always been one for dealing with decisions head-on but this one needed careful thought and above all, time. The discussions I had were very helpful and finally a decision was made, it was to be surgery. In my mind, if my prostate was gone then so was the cancer. Believe it or not the one that concerned me most was the possibility of incontinence. The way forward was to stick rigidly to my pelvic floor exercises. My visits to Addenbrooke’s served to re-assure my choice of the way ahead and I was supplied with ample information about what would happen. It was the first time I had come across ‘Robotic Surgery’, save for the odd reference in an episode of an hospital drama. In early June I was admitted to the hospital and prepared for surgery the next day. There is not really much I can say about the surgery, I was obviously asleep. However, I do recall waking up in the recovery room and seeing a few tubes and things and a very caring nurse sitting beside me. I’m sure she missed her lunch break while sitting next to me. She was fantastic as were all the staff in the recovery room; total professionalism with the odd injection of humour, just what I needed at that time. I felt a mixture of emotions after the operation although the one thing that stood out for me was that I had nowhere near the pain or discomfort that I had expected and no big scar. The care that followed on the ward was just great, a constant striving to make me comfortable and just a day later, a successful walk down the ward and home. I took it easy at home, as directed, and made what I considered to be a reasonably quick recovery. I am fortunate that my work is not overly manual and as such I made a gradual return after just four weeks. As for the incontinence; after the removal of my catheter, I waited for it but it wasn’t happening, well perhaps a little if I sneezed or laughed too much. I did wear pads for a couple of weeks simply to gain confidence. In mid July I returned to Addenbrooke’s for a follow-up appointment and heard the words I had longed for, “I don’t need to see you anymore”. The robotic surgery had been a success and I was certainly healing well. Without a doubt, with the choices I faced in the light of my diagnosis, robotic surgery was the right decision for me. Life’s journey continues thanks to some incredible technology and some extremely skilled hands.

About the Author
The Robotic Prostate Centre Cambridge provides a professional and comprehensive service for the private management of patients with prostate cancer by robotic surgery. Our highly specialised and experienced team have worked together perfecting the da Vinci Robotic Prostatectomy procedure for over 10 years, performing robotic surgery for prostate cancer in both NHS and private patients, from within the UK and abroad.