Taking the Doctor Under the Knife

waterfallIt is just a bit ironic. This coming week I will be undergoing my first ever surgical procedure. True, I am not a surgeon, so there is no irony in that. The irony I see is that as the Medical Director for the laboratory of the biggest urology group in Chicago I deal with about 60 urologists on a regular basis, and yet have delayed this necessary urologic procedure for about, oh, 6 or 8 years!

As is common for men of a certain age, my prostate gland has been slowly encroaching upon and compressing the prostatic urethra, the tube that runs through the gland and carries urine from the bladder to “out there.” In laymen’s terms, it was getting pretty hard to pee. I had seen a few different urologists at about 5 year intervals, and all had told me that some day, probably sooner rather than later, I would need a procedure to get things moving again. Not seeing any benefit in doing today what I could put off until tomorrow, I ignored their warnings and just accepted the fact that I would be spending a few extra minutes each day standing in front of toilet, thinking of waterfalls and bubbling brooks, hoping that positive biofeedback would get things flowing.

And then about three weeks the flow stopped as permanently as if it had hit the Hoover Dam. Inconveniently enough, my internist was on leave, but I knew which of my 60 urologist buddies he sent most of his patients to, so I gave that doc a call and we arranged a way to give me some relief. Urologists can do a magical job opening the floodgates with catheter tubes and balloons. With a little training, I have learned to do the magic myself–something I do not recommend for the squeamish or for easy fainters. And it is only a temporary remedy.

So a permanent solution needed to be found. My urologist and I discussed a variety of options, from newfangled metal splints that shove the offending part of the prostate aside, to old fashioned scrape and burn treatments. In the end, we have settled on a newer type of procedure that vaporizes the obstructing tissue but does relatively little damage to the prostate that is left behind. I am set for Wednesday at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. LGH is the birthplace of Michael and Laury, so I will have happy memories to focus on while the anesthetic scrambles my brain. Recovery should be quick–no worries about being ready to dance at Laury’s wedding two months down the road. You may remember Barb had major surgery a few months before Michael’s wedding. It makes us glad we don’t have a another kid to deal with. Who knows what medical emergency would proceed a third wedding?

On a related note, my regular readers know of my interest and involvement with the diagnosis of prostate cancer. Fortunately, the area of the prostate that grows in my current condition is not the part of the gland that is the common site of malignancy. Although I have had a small spike in PSA, it is probably related to some inflammation. Nevertheless, I will keep a close eye on the values, and as always, I recommend that you, your spouse, or your partner have at least an initial PSA screen.

I can’t say whether there will be another blog before my big day, but if not, keep me in your thoughts and I will catch you on the flip-flop. We gone.

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photo credit: MashrikFaiyaz <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/144410977@N03/32861108973″>Tiny Waterfall</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>


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