My blood work shows a PSA of 12.9 not good! My urologist recommends an Ultrasound- MRI-Guided Prostate Biopsy, which I schedule immediately. I am later diagnosed with two areas of prostrate cancer. The Gleason Score measures the severity of cancer in the prostate and I had a score of seven and eight on the left prostate and a six on the right side of the prostate. Oh Boy, what a blow! I had just sold my business and was looking forward to going ahead and purchasing a catamaran. The dream was to sail around the world with my partner Jennifer. For the past 30 years I have always wanted to pursue my life long dream of sailing around the world. Nearly five years ago, Jennifer and I starting discussing the idea of embarking on this journey together.
What to do? Treatments offered were Hormone Therapy and radiation (in reality chemical castration) which I decided there and then no way. My urologist in Vero Beach suggested that I consult with a Urologist in Sarasota Florida who specializes in an alternative non invasive treatment with good results. HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound)
HOW HIFU WORKS
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a precise and targeted non-invasive therapy for localized prostate cancer. This groundbreaking technology uses ultrasound energy, or sound waves, to heat and destroy specifically targeted areas of tissue. During a HIFU procedure, sound waves pass through healthy tissue without causing damage, but, at the focal point of the sound waves, the tissue temperature rises to 90 degrees Celsius, destroying the targeted, diseased tissue. Picture a magnifying glass focusing the rays of the sun to burn a leaf and you’ll get a good idea of the principle behind HIFU and how it uses accuracy to specifically destroy prostate cancer cells.
Interestingly enough my father who was living in France 22 years ago had been treated for prostrate cancer with Proton Radiation Therapy and was cancer free for about 4 years, but unfortunately the cancer again manifested itself. At the time his urologist mentioned a new non-invasive treatment called HIFU. My father opted for this treatment and was cancer free until his death.
Even though this treatment is not covered by insurance and has not been recognized in the USA by the FDA I decide to go ahead with the procedure. I am fortunate because not everyone who has prostrate cancer is a candidate for the HIFU procedure. If the cancer is too far into the prostrate the ultrasound cannot penetrate. My urologist recommends that we treat the most aggressive cancer and monitor the less aggressive side of the prostate.
After burying my head in books and researching the topic, I decide to make a conscience effort to change my lifestyle. I consult with an herbalist who is designing a program specifically to target cancer in my body and will help build up my immune system. On October 17, 2017 we drive to Sarasota to undergo the HIFU procedure. Several hours later I come out of anesthesia blabbering the same nonsense repeatedly. I am able to walk out with a catheter, which I will have to wear for 5-6 days. Having a catheter attached is annoying, but at least I can get around. When the catheter finally comes out I have some difficulty urinating due to some scar tissue blocking the urethra, which is normal after this type of treatment. Several weeks later, urination becomes easier and life becomes somewhat normal.
September 2018. I am back at the urologist for another biopsy. My PSA level went up since the HIFU procedure the previous year, so we wanted to make sure the cancer didn’t get worse. The bad news is that the area of my prostate that wasn’t treated by the HIFU has progressed from a six on the Gleason score to an eight. That news was certainly a blow, however there was some comfort to know that there was no sign of cancer in the area that had been treated last year. I decided to go ahead and have another HIFU procedure, so on November 30 I was back in hospital.
As I write this blog 5 weeks later I am feeling well, apart from a few minor discomforts. I am also optimistic about the future and ready to begin our journey. Today I got confirmation that we will be taking delivery of our catamaran on February 15, 2019. The boat is one month behind schedule for reasons we don’t know, but we intend on taking advantage of the extra time. Our house in Florida has sold, personal items have been shipped to France and in a few days we begin our Scuba certification course. Our days are spending checking things off of our to do list and working our way through sailing courses we are taking online.