February 17, 2014
Successful surgery gives IT specialist 'a life after cancer'
Tom Bowling visits the da Vinci operating room suite where urologist David Kaplan, MD, performed his prostate surgery.
Determined to conquer his prostate cancer, Anthem resident Tom Bowling explored all his options on the Internet and sought advice from family, friends and colleagues who had the disease.
Tom and his urologist David Kaplan, MD, discussed his options, including a wait-and-see alternative. Tom didn't even consider it. "I had cancer," the IT specialist said. "I wanted it out of me.
We decided to do the surgery at John C. Lincoln Deer Valley Hospital, which had one of the latest da Vinci Surgical Systems" — robotic surgery.
"We had a great outcome," Dr. Kaplan said.
Factors to Consider
Urologist David Kaplan, MD, considers these factors when discussing prostate cancer treatment options with a patient:
- The patient's prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level.
- The stage of the cancer.
- If the cancer has metastasized (spread), in which case surgery is no longer an option.
- The patient's other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney problems that would affect the treatment choice.
- How the patient would tolerate a treatment, based on age, medical conditions and lifestyle.
"We got exactly what we hoped for." He was able to save both of Tom's nerves, enabling a post-surgery sex life. Also, incontinence was not an issue beyond two months post-surgery.
"I got a life after cancer," Tom said. "With the other options, my life as I knew it would be over. My doctor informed me of everything I was going to experience. While he exuded confidence in his skill, he did not hide anything from me."
Tom raved about the care he received at Deer Valley Hospital. "I've been a visitor in a lot of hospitals," he said. "I've never seen anybody treat patients like they treated me there! Everyone had the same attributes; they were professional, friendly and pleasant. I felt like a person rather than a client."
Frightened by the thought of general anesthesia — "I'm a big old baby," he readily admits — he found comfort in his anesthesiologist's jokes.
Nauseous the night after surgery, he was repeatedly reassured by his nurse that she was calling a doctor about medication. "She had me fixed up in short order. A bedside nurse at night can inspire fear, annoyance or confidence," Tom said. "Mine took care of me like I was her own father. When I looked at her, I could actually see empathy and kindness in her eyes."
As he walked the hallway the next morning, he said "everyone on the floor looked after me." Every staff member he passed asked if he needed anything. When he said he was a little cold, a nurse quickly brought him an extra gown.
"I tell everyone how good the care was at Deer Valley, from the start at Admitting to the OR to care on the floor," Tom said.
The best part? "Now I'm cancer-free!" Tom said.
For more information, please visit JCL.com/robotic-surgery.
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