Pappy's Prostate Treatment

Posted by David Pickard on

 Well, if you're between woodworking or honeydew projects, I'm sure  you will be thrilled to hear about my treatment for prostate cancer.  You need to read "Pappy's Prostate" before reading this to get the  complete story. Anyway, if you look at the picture in this post, you'll  see where this is going. I survived the biopsy. This I wasn't too sure  about. After visiting with my urologist, he sent me over to his  associate that treats prostate cancer with radiation. I had checked into most treatments before going, even Loma Linda University in California where they do radiation treatments (with minimal intrusion into your body parts). It came down to radiation treatment or having it removed. I just knew I didn't want to have my prostate removed. It had the highest risk for being incontinent (a fancy word for leaking you know what). As a side note, for Christmas my funny daughter-in-law gave me a box of Depends (her family is a bit nuts in the Christmas presents they give). I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of having to use them. In her defense, she gave them to me before she knew I had prostate cancer. I adore her....most of the time. Continuing on, the radiologist doctor proceeded to explain to me how the radiation procedure worked.  Well, his first move was to pull out the pad and needle you see pictured.   This wasn't too convincing nor a good way to begin the conversation.   He then proceeded to tell me how they stitched the four corners of this pad smack-dab in between your legs and then inserted the needle about eight inches into your prostate.  I was sweating profusely at this point!  Now that wasn't good enough so he went on further to explain that 18-20 of these needles were inserted up and into and around my prostate.  To this point, I don't remember him telling me that I would be put out during the procedure. Next he explained that during the procedure my legs would be put in stirrups....just like a woman having a baby!  I would even be given an epidural.  My urologist and radiologist would be there carefully inserting these needles watching every move on a monitor.  The only things I could think about at this point was that they had better be paying attention and the routine that Bill Cosby does about  natural child birth flashed through my mind.  Once the needles were placed, the procedure was over and my wife could wait for me in the recovery room.  Several hours later I would be back in my hospital bed laying flat with the pad sewed between my legs and 18 needles stuck in where nobody in their right mind would stick them.  I hope you've got the picture to this point.  I don't think they would have though of this during medieval times. The doctor next explained that in the afternoon you receive your first treatment.  They wheel you into the radiation room where a computerized machine with a number of tentacles connected to it is located.  Each one of these tentacles is hooked up to one of the needles sticking between your legs.  If you look at the other post picture, you will see that the white needle is an outer case and the steel needle fits inside of it.   The steel needle is removed during treatment.  When I actually saw the machine I was convinced it was a distant relative of R2D2.  This crazy looking machine based on a computerized map of your prostate then goes to work.  It stages a small highly radio-active particle at various points in each tube for a predetermined amount of time based on the location of the cancer in your mapped prostate.   Two more treatments the next day and you can go home. After all this explanation, I reluctantly agreed to the procedure.  At the time, it seemed it was better than having your prostate removed but not much.  But wait, there's more!  The doctor then told me I had to come back 2-3 weeks later and have the same procedure again.  Great!  If R2D2 was taking care of it, I know he could have figured out a way to fix it all at once.  I never saw him do things twice in Star Wars. After worrying about the procedure for two weeks thinking I would never be able to walk normally again, the day finally came to do it.  Why are the doctors always smiling when they come in to see you before they put you out?  If they were laying on the table as I was, they wouldn't be smiling.  I was just praying for plenty of anesthetic.  I didn't want to remember any of this.  Having your head cut off with a guillotine didn't sound too bad at this point. Much to my amazement, when I woke up from the procedure, there was no pain.  Feeling that pad and the needle ends down between your legs was a little strange.  Likewise, laying on your back for 36 hours was a little uncomfortable but nothing I couldn't tolerate.  However, I have always thought it a little suspicious when they wheel you into the radiation room with protective padding on the wall and thick doors.  They hook you up and then everyone scatters before they close the doors behind them, leaving you as the only person in the room.  Somehow it must be safe for you but not for them.  Finally after the last treatment, they remove the stitches holding the pad in place and pull all the needles out at once.  Holy Cow!'re thinking.....but I didn't feel a thing.  However, if you ask my wife, I probably walked a little strange for a few days after I got home. All in all, this high tech procedure worked well for me.  As much as I've kidded about it, I am grateful for highly-competent doctors and advanced technology.  After 1 year my PSA dropped from 4.1 to 1.0, a remarkable improvement.  Best of all, I haven't had to use any of those Depends my daughter-in-law gave me although things feel a little different down where the sun doesn't shine. If by some chance, you are facing prostate cancer and are interested in this kind of treatment, email me at and I will be glad to provide you with further information.


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