Friday, March 16, 2012

My Prostate Cancer Ordeal - by Joe

At Heidi's weekly chemotherapy at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
On top of my bladder cancer, a biopsy on January 10 by my famous Urologic Oncologist showed Stage 2 prostate cancer.  The last thing we needed - 3 cancers between us!

After thinking about the options Dr Dalkin gave me, I decided my survival and ability to best support Heidi would be with an open radical prostatectomy.

March 11 was so much fun(ha!), limited to 'clear liquids' and several nasty 'cleaning' meds, like Magnesium Citrate. I alternated between stress and calming contemplative prayer.  Heidi was such an anchor that day/night!

About to enjoy gournet Chateaux de Mag Citrate :-)
On March 12 I had the surgery, which included a few extras:

  • A cystoscopy to check for new bladder tumors (none found)
  • A repair of an inguinal hernia I was not aware of
  • A mesh inserted to fix a hydrocele
  • Some sebaceous nodules removed. 

Along with removal of the prostate, lymph nodes and vesicles were also removed and sent to pathology. Dr Dalkin joked with me afterwards that he had done a complete 'overhaul' of my abdomen.  He was able to spare both nerve bundles next to the prostate, which will reduce my odds of longterm impotence.

On the day of my surgery, Heidi had her Oncologist appointment at SCCA and her weekly chemotherapy.  The next day, during my first day of hospitalization, she had an MRI and met with a bone Oncologist to find out if he saw hip tumor progression on the MRI; thankfully none found!

But her last tumor markers were elevated, after getting 2 rounds of her new chemo adriamycin.  Scary.  The next tumor markers will hopefully show a drop, which will mean the adriamycin is effective.

Heidi spent that uncomfortable first night with me in the hospital, a comfort during my wracking pain.  The next night she caught up on sleep at the SCCA Guest House.

Recovering from my prostatectomy and Heidi's scans & chemo
After 2 nights in the hospital I was sent home.  Because of the added procedures during surgery I'm now in a slow, painful recovery; and stuck with drains for at least 10 days. And Heidi is exhausted from her intense 2 days of MRI/chemo/appointments.

Pathology checked that no cancer was in the nodes or on edge of the prostate, which would mean remaining cancer after surgery. Completed today, March 16, the report showed all was clear, giving me a 95% survival prognosis. And as long as I keep followup cystoscopy appointments to check for new bladder tumors, I have a great prognosis for that cancer as well.

We are so grateful for God's love during this, for the amazing SCCA/UWMC medical teams and of course for your compassionate support.

We hope to fight this monster and have a long life together serving God, building relationships and hiking/kayaking our butts off!

Thanks for caring.

Love & Blessings,
Joe (& Heidi)


  1. Praise God! So happy to hear your results, Joe. The SCCA is an amazing place. I know they are taking good care of the two of you. Of course, the Great Physician is the one in charge. Keep trusting Him!

  2. Keep on hanging on, you two are something special, a blessing.

  3. Prostate Cancer Treatment is Pain or burning during urination. Prostate removal surgery reduces the risk of metastasis by 65% over radiation.


  4. Admin, if not okay please remove!

    Our facebook group “selfless” is spending this month spreading awareness on prostate cancer & research with a custom t-shirt design. Purchase proceeds will go to, as listed on the shirt and shirt design.