Stories

A routine check-up saved my life!

My name is Max from Vordemwald, Switzerland and I’m a 57-year old grocery-shop owner. My story began in May 2016 when I had a routine check-up with my family doctor. I go every two years because I have been taking medication for over a decade due to my high-blood pressure and heart trouble.

At that time, I did not feel sick nor felt any discomfort. I was shocked when I learned I might have prostate cancer. In the first test, the PSA value was 10.1. My doctor advised to wait another month before another test. In the second test, the PSA value increased to 10.6. I was then referred to a urologist.

Results from the ultrasound and the scans showed nothing suspicious, so further observation was done. MRI recordings were made but unfortunately, these were not reliable because of the titanium in my artificial hip joint, which affected the recordings. A rectal ultrasound and a prostate biopsy were the next steps. Although I was anesthetized, the whole experience was very unpleasant. I was glad when it was over.

Waiting
Out of the 19 tissue samples taken from my prostate, 18 were infected. I received the diagnosis at the end of November 2016. It was very difficult to deal with the uncertainty and the waiting.


The urologist informed me about the findings and explained various treatment methods. Radiotherapy or doing nothing about it were not the solutions I was looking for, so I decided to go for radical prostatectomy.

In good hands
From the examination phase to the discussions with the urologist, I always felt uncomfortable and that I was just another patient. So I sought a second opinion from Prof. Thalmann of the University Hospital of Bern. I was surprised and pleased to have received a quick reply from him via e-mail wherein he explained his views regarding my situation.

On December 28, I consulted with Prof. Thalmann in person. He had informed me about the procedure and the possible consequences after the operation in detail. On the same day, I had arranged for my operation date, which was January 24, 2017.

My gut feeling told me “You are in good hands.” The operation went very well and I could leave the hospital after seven days. Then four days after that, my catheter was finally removed.

I might not be here today
After my hospital stay, I went to the city of Bern for pelvic floor exercises and for consultations with Ms. Marti, Advanced Practice Nurse in the department of Urology. The hospital staff has helped me a lot with the appropriate exercises, and with plenty of conversations regarding my life after the surgery. I felt well taken care of by the entire team.

The first urological exam after the surgery was in March. The results showed a low PSA value of 0.1. The second exam was just in August, which showed a low PSA value of 0.5. The next exam is in February 2018.

My advice to men who are 50 years old and older, please have regular check-ups and have your PSA values checked. I’ve never felt sick but if I hadn’t gone for check-ups then my illness wouldn’t have been discovered. I might not be here today.

Posted: 14/09/2017