Prayer Request ChooChooSnakeMan

ChooChooSnakeMan

Well-known member
CFF friends. I'm not a person who likes attention at all and to be honest I've went back and forth with should I post this or should I not. I have come to the conclusion that I have many Christian Brothers and Sisters who are strong in their faith as members of the CFF and I desire your prayers therefore I pass along this prayer request. I recently was diagnosed with intermediate grade prostate cancer. I want to also use this as a means to sound an alarm. Men, if you don't have a regular health check with a PSA screening and you are over the age of 50 please, please heed this warning and find out what your PSA number is. The PSA test isn't perfect but it is the best early warning test we have. For years my PSA number went up, even to the point that is 2020 I had a MRI of my prostate and a biopsy. In late 2020 both my MRI and biopsy were negative, no cancer. I and my doctor thought I was just one of those people with benign prostate enlargement. Well my numbers kept going up until my doctor in late 2023 said we need to get another MRI. That MRI showed a tumor in my prostate. All prostate tumors are not cancerous so knowing that prostate cancer is usually a very slow moving thing both my doctor and myself thought the tumor was benign. Thank God he suggested for peace of mind that I have another prostate biopsy. I had the biopsy just before Thanksgiving 2023. It came back with sad results. In just three years I had went from cancer free proven by a biopsy to intermediate grade fairly aggressive prostate cancer. The tumor was large and there were two other areas of cancer in the prostate as well. I say all of this not for pity, God is good and God is good all the time. Cancer happens way to often and instead of thinking why me, perhaps it should be why not me! I praise Him that my cancer was discovered when it was. I had a PET scan to determine if the cancer had already spread which my doctor had said was a very real possibility given what it had done in only 3 years. Thank God the scan showed no spread outside the prostate. I had to consider surgical removal of the entire prostate or 6 to 8 weeks of 5 day a week radiation therapy. The location of my tumor and the fact the cancer is already in multiple areas of the gland makes surgical removal the best option for me to be and remain 100% cancer free. It is a major surgery and it can carry some difficult long term side effects. My doctor has done over 1500 of these surgeries and feels that the location of my main tumor makes the chance to spare nerves and limit the severity and duration of side effects to be very good. My surgery is set for Jan. 31st as I want to get this taken care of as soon as possible. If all goes well I would be off my job for 2 weeks with a total recovery (physical healing) of 6 weeks. As you have time and are led by the Spirit please lift me and my wife up in prayer. Prostate cancer impacts husband and wife more so than many other conditions. Please pray that the surgery will not have any complications, that 100% of the cancer will be removed, that my discomfort and pain will be minimal with a quick physical healing, and finally that my side effects would be short lived. I belong to God, purchased from the penalty of sin by the blood of Jesus. I don't like this and wish it wasn't happening but I know God only means good for me and that even with this God can work it for good. For one thing it was discovered before it has spread and I am blessed to have an experienced surgeon with a good post surgery outlook. Thanks in advance and guys know what your PSA number is, James Dillard (ChooChooSnakeMan)
 
Prayers on the way, James. You now have 250+ cancer survivors pulling for you from all over the globe!

Your advice is on target and timely. One of my best friends is battling late stage prostate cancer (since made its way into his bone marrow). He didn't heed the warnings or pay attention to the signs. A situation that could've been easily rectified will likely take his life. Get the finger wave, do the full panel of blood tests, and if your doctor says get a scan get a scan. Real easy to get out in front of this. Also really easy to become overwhelmed by it if ignored.
 

ChooChooSnakeMan

Well-known member
Thanks Everyone, Prayer makes a big difference. I am just over a week from my surgery today. I have peace about it and only God can bring that. Keep the prayers going up.
 

fish

Member
I have been away from the forum for a long time, but you will be in my prayers, and thank you for the reminder that we all need to get checked out.
 

ChooChooSnakeMan

Well-known member
Thanks for all the prayers. Surgery is still set for Jan. 31st so we are just a couple of days away. My spirits are good with so many prayers going up for me. I have been asked, "well why does God have this happen to Christians, I thought God was good?". My reply is simply this. We are fallen people, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. We live in a sin cursed fallen world. When sin entered the world there are consequences. God did not send this cancer to me, of that I am sure. Did God know it was going to happen, of course, God has foreknowledge about everything because God is God, He knows the beginning and the end. We have to remember that God allows mankind to have free will, we alone were created in His image. Fallen mankind has polluted this world, we have chemicals in our food, our water, we have unhealthy eating habits. Diseases and health issues are the consequence of all that. We do reap what we sow. I am not my own, when I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior I was purchased from the slave treadmill of sin by Christ's blood. I belong to God. I don't like that this is happening and I promise you that I don't look forward to this surgery and some of the changes it will bring but God is in control and God loves me so God can make good things out of this and God can get glory and honor from it. Keep the prayers going up please, I will post as soon as I am able how I am doing. Last but most important, if you stumbled onto this thread and you don't know where you eternal destiny will be for sure then I beg you to seek to know God. Read His Word, find a Bible preaching / teaching church to attend. Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life and no man comes to God except through Jesus. Read it for yourself - John 14:6. Note that Jesus is THE way not A way. He is the only way. Read the whole chapter of John Chapter 3 and you will clearly learn what Jesus told a very educated religious man who asked him how to get to heaven. It isn't complicated, mankind has twisted and distorted the gospel many times adding hoops for people to jump through. Anyone who would like to discuss this further with me please send me a message and I will get back to you as soon as I am able.
 

ChooChooSnakeMan

Well-known member
CFF praying friends, I am today (Monday Feb. 12th) 12 days post surgery. Thank you all so much for your prayers, God was and is faithful. My surgery was a Robotic Radical Prostatectomy. The surgery lasted just over two hours. My doctor reported that the surgery went very well. I stayed in the hospital for one night after my surgery and went home the next evening. My recovery has been text-book up to this point which I praise God for. My doctor said the pathology report from the removed prostate showed very good no-cancer margins so he is confident that my surgery removed all the cancer. He said that they can't clinically declare me "cured" and cancer free until I have a series of zero score PSA tests the first of which is coming up in (5) weeks. I ask that you please send a prayer up that those test will be zero. Once I have the zero score PSA tests I will not need any follow up radiation or chemo, again praise our great and good God. My recovery timeline is as follows in order to provide help for anyone who might be facing this surgery:

Removal of catheter - Depends on your specific situation but usually 5 to 7 days after surgery for a normal standard Foley Catheter (penile). My surgeon is a little different in that he uses a Suprapubic Catheter which basically means he makes an incision below your belly button and inserts the catheter directly into your bladder. The risk of infection and the comfort of having this type of catheter is much better than the standard version. I was told to plug (disconnect my bag and plug the line) my catheter on the 4th day after surgery and see if I would urinate normally. I was a little nervous about that and amazed it would happen so fast. I plugged it and within 1 1/2 hours I was peeing normally. It felt a little weird at first but not painful. The suprapubic catheter was then pulled in my doctor's office the next day. I've had both types and my experience is that the SP catheter is easy to use but the SP catheter is a little more painful coming out. Not terrible pain and it only lasts a few seconds but more pain than a standard catheter removal. If I had it to do over again I would choose the SP version.

Get up and walk, move around - This is very quick. Walking aids the healing process and helps your gut wake up. They got me up and walked me a little before my discharge the day after my surgery. By day 3 after my surgery I was walking a mile a day and it increased to 2 1/2 miles per day. I was cautioned to not overdo it and the sign you are overdoing it is an increase in pain and more blood in your urine. Blood in urine is normal and something that comes with this surgery for as much as several weeks. It will taper off and sometimes it seems you have none then it might come back as a light pink. Deeper red in the beginning but it cleared pretty fast. One note: If your urine pretty much clears and then gets darker don't be alarmed, mine did. Healing is a process and as stated as you move more it does tend to increase temporarliy the amount of blood in your urine. If you are just having a lot of blood red peeing session I suggest you contact your doctor to be on the safe side. Please understand, I'm not a doctor and what I'm writing is just my experience. Please, no one should endanger their health after this surgery. If in doubt call your doctor with any concerns.

Lifting restrictions - You can't pick up more than 10 lbs - A gallon of milk weighs 9 lbs for reference until you are healed which is usually 4 weeks.

Physical healing - 4 weeks minimum. My doctor said after 4 weeks I didn't have to be as careful but to still be careful! After 6 weeks he said if I hadn't had any complications then I would be considered fully physically (wounds, stitches) healed. He said it would take many, many weeks as much as 3 to 6 months to fully regain my physical fitness and to go slow.

Pain Levels - I've not experienced severe pain at any time. Of course there is pain and on day 12 post surgery I have pain but it is manageable and for me without any pain meds. My incisions hurt (I've got 8 total - 6 for the surgery and 2 puncture wounds for nerve blocks placed into my abdomen before the actual surgery started). I have discomfort and pain down in my core from all the cutting and from having my urethral stitched back together. Sitting straight upright is a not a good thing, it is much better to be in a recliner or a chair that you can for want of a better word, slouch. Sitting upright for any length of time results in increased pain and an increase in blood in the urine. AS your body heals and nerves reawake and find new paths there is a lot of just random pains that come and go deep inside your body. The pains haven't been too bad for me thus far and I'm told I will have these pains for many, many months as my systems heal and reconnect.

Sleeping positions - I found that sleeping on my back in a recliner or bed that allows for the head and feet to raise is by far the best and is recommended and I would say mandatory. I couldn't imagine sleeping on my side for the first many days with all the incisions across my middle and just how fragile your insides feel. I always was a side sleeper so this was hard on me. After 7 days of sleeping only on my back with the head of the bed raised about 40 degrees and the foot of the bed raised about 40 degrees I couldn't take it any longer and tried sleeping on my side. It was a little uncomfortable but didn't really increase my level of pain so since then I have been sleeping on my side at night and resting in a recliner. My advice is to get plenty of rest after this surgery. Your body has been traumatized and needs extra rest to heal.

Now for the side effects: Anyone facing this surgery or radiation for that matter knows that incontinence and ED usually comes with the surgery. Most of my doctors patients (he is very skilled in nerve sparing and also in supporting the bladder as much as possible) do recover continence or at least to a very manageable level along with minimal sexual function problems. The ED issues usually take longer to resolve than the incontinence. My experience has been miraculous in terms of incontinence. For the first few days your system is so injured and swollen that you are going to leak urine and blood after your catheter comes out. I did but only for a day or so. After that I have 100% control of when I pee and when I don't. Now it is different. I don't have a prostate anymore and the prostate is one of a man's "gates" to control urination. I did the pelvic floor exercises per surgery as I was instructed and I went into the surgery very physically fit (I play competitive tennis every week and hike. I just stay active) and am at a proper body weight. I don't leak, I don't have any problems at night, I praise God for not having a problem with the majority of men with this surgery battle. It is too early to tell about ED. My doctor said my cancer was positioned so that he was able to do a "nerve sparing" version of this surgery and he thinks I will regain function soon. Right now everything is swollen and stunned although I can tell that the nerves are starting to wake up as I have some pains (which are normal) that come in go in my little buddy:) My doctor as part of his rehab process started me on generic low dose cialis (5mg) every evening as soon as my SP catheter was removed on day 5. He said the medication would increase the blood blow and help everything "down under" heal faster. As a side effect I would also list digestion disruption. Being put to sleep and then using strong pain killers after the surgery puts your bowels to sleep. It is just a fact. I'm very prone to this so after my surgery I didn't take any of the opioid by mouth pain killer I was given for use at home. In fact since I got home I have only take 2 Tylenol and one ibuprofen. That is all. Did I have to endure a little more pain because I didn't take the pain killers, yes I'm sure but it is bearable and my gut woke up on day 4 after the surgery. Walking really helps your digestion to wake up. I suggest you eat a very light diet such as clear soups, puddings, and Jell-O until your gut wakes up. Drink a lot of water, it does your body good. If you don't eat light and drink a lot of water you may regret it.

I hope this helps someone. I want to go on record that God honored all the prayers sent up for me. My experience I don't think could have been better. This is a very difficult, hard surgery, one of the hardest for men. God has always been good to me, I knew that I would be healed from the cancer and I without hesitation testify that my trust in God has never wavered. Did I have moments of anxiety over the unknown and the pain I would experience, yes I'm human but never any doubt that I would be in God's hands. I knew He would heal me and I await confirmation that I am healed. God can use science and technology along with the great skills of people and I think that is my path, but if God choose to heal me by taking me home to be with him then so be it, blessed be the name of the Lord. He is good all the time. Thanks again for your prayers, please keep them going up. If anyone reads this and has any questions about my diagnosis journey, the surgery, my recovery or just how we are forgiven and reconciled back to God please just send me a message, I will get back to you. Last thing, Over 50, Please know what your PSA score is. It is a simple blood test, the doctor isn't going to "probe" you. Don't have a regular doctor, get to a walk in clinic and tell them you want a blood workup that includes a PSA score. God Bless, James
 

ChooChooSnakeMan

Well-known member
Richard, thanks for your kind words, coming from a journalist it does make me feel good that what I wrote is at least somewhat understandable:) I'm glad you don't have prostate issues and I pray you never do. This is not something I would wish on anyone. Once prostate cancer is confirmed and it is not just low grade then there isn't any good options, the challenge is to choose the best, least bad one, sad to say. I feel so blessed that my cancer was caught before it could spread outside the prostate gland. Catching it before it spreads means it can be cured. Once spread and prostate cancer tends to go to bones where is it then considered incurable it becomes a much more difficult to treat situation. One thing all men need to know about the PSA score is this. A common criticism of the PSA score is that it is imperfect. It is true that over the years many men have undergone tests such as MRIs and biopsies because of an elevated PSA score only to endure the test and find they don't have cancer. That was me as recently as 2020! The facts are this:
True - many high PSA score do not mean cancer. Today's better non invasive follow up tests reduce the need for biopsies.
This is the key fact about PSA scores that men need to keep in mind. While a high PSA score can mean no cancer, very seldom does a man have prostate cancer WITHOUT a high PSA score. That is a key fact. The PSA score is just a red flag. But it is a red flag that is almost always present if there is cancer. To not know what your score is means a man doesn't have the opportunity to see that red flag before the situation becomes much more dangerous.
 
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