Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 84 Months Later

So it’s been 84 months since my radical prostatectomy. How am I doing?


With my PSA increasing steadily over the last two years to the point where it’s now at 0.10 ng/ml, it appears that I’m on the path to recurrence. Needless to say, that’s not the outcome that I had in mind when I started this journey, but my surgeon did warn that approximately 20% of prostatectomy patients have the cancer return.


My visit to the doctor in December went just as I expected it would, with one exception. I left the office feeling as though the wind had been knocked out of me. This whole notion of recurrence took on a whole new meaning when the doctor suggested that we’re going to have to start thinking about radiation in the future. It’s becoming real again. Since then, I’ve been doing okay. Not great. Not horrible. Okay.


I remain “dry” 98% of the time. There have been a few very long days at work where my body tired and, combined with the physical exertion at the end of the day, I was a bit more prone to leak. Rarely do I need to get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night—I can last 6-7 hours most nights.

Sexual Function

I continue to do so-so in the ED department. Remember, I have only one nerve bundle remaining, but I can get an 80%–90% erection most of the time. Some days are better; others are worse.

I do find that my libido is still there, and there are times through the day where I can feel things stirring down below. Not enough to obtain a natural erection—those days are gone—but enough that with a little stimulation, it would be much easier to achieve an erection.


Recurrence is the fear of every cancer patient because now your options become more limited and the costs of dealing with it—emotional, physical, and financial—begin to increase significantly. It’s time that I start seriously preparing for the trip down this fork in the road. The good news is that I have time with my PSA doubling time as long as it is.

12 thoughts on “Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 84 Months Later

  1. Al Barz

    Thanks once again, for keeping this blog going. It has been informative for me and I’m sure for anyone who reads your journey.
    It is sad and a little distressing to hear of the dread return and I wish you a very long, slow rise in the PSA, so that the effects are lessened. I know how I’d feel if I was at that stage. Let’s hope there’s a breakthrough in medical science!
    Best wishes for the new year, Dan.


    1. Thanks, Al. Yes, this rising PSA certainly has been a bit of a buzz-kill, that’s for sure. We’ll see what the next test in April brings. Happy 2018!


    1. Thanks, Jim. That’s the one thing that I’m really thankful for at the moment, and I plan on doing just that. At my doctor appointment in December, I told him I’m in no rush to start anything at the moment. Still, it’s impossible not to think about what’s ahead.


  2. Hi Dan,
    Fiest time in your interesting blog and learning of it. I had surgery, radiation, and ADT. My last PSA was less than 0.008 with testosterone less than 0.1. I had prostatectomy in June 2016. Since I am new in this business, what do you think of these numbers? Thanks.


    1. Hi Javier. Please keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, but after all that you’ve been through, I would say that a PSA that low is pretty good. I have to admit that I know very little about testosterone levels, so I can’t comment on the meaning of your number. Just out of curiosity, what was your pathological Gleason score? Did you have positive margins? Seminal vesicle or lymph node involvement? What was your post-surgery PSA?


  3. lufboro

    Hi Dan, Thanks for your fine, moving, and courageous blog. It seems to me when I read I take in words, and thoughts, and then actually rewrite, edit, and write anew within my own mind,,, I think that is true from Socrates to Pogo and everywhere else. Because reading is not passive;, it is creative. Moreover, when I myself write, my thinking is clarified, expanded, and refined. I think the word catharsis applies to both reading and writing; that is one reason I blog and am grateful for your blog.

    My father and his father had prostate ca and my urologist found it at my request when my PSA was insignificant. For two years it was Watchful Waiting until the PSA began to rise, I was biopsied, and this month started on the prostate Ca road. I know where it leads, and have no illusions that it will not lead to places I don’t want to go. But though I know it is one way, I find this part of the journey easy, almost pleasant; it makes me unwilling to worry about the end of it.

    I have blogged for years, and find that the most rewarding and impactful topics are those I don’t much want to confess, explore, those I don’t want to expose to myself or to others… like my poem about with external beam radiation. Which is not very understandable except to the radiated; and not exactly dinnertime conversation material.

    Even so, writing is both a joy and therapy for me, as you may guess from my posts of the last few years. Thanks to your example, I hope to continue with the prostate sketches from time to time, no matter where they take me. Thanks for your example, Dan. I wish you well and will follow you as far as you want to take me.


    1. Hi Lufboro,

      Thank you for your kind comments about my efforts over the years, and I’m sorry that you’re part of this club.

      Even though I have yet to go through radiation, I could empathize with your poem based on my knowledge of the topic gained in anticipation of the day when it may happen for me.

      Those of us on this path need to stick together, so I’m happy to have you along for the ride, and I look forward to learning from your experiences as well.

      All the best to you. —Dan


  4. Scott

    I’m 3 years post surgery.
    I should have just accepted the cancer. My life is worse than cancer.
    I’m not a man anymore. My penis is non functioning and has shrunk down to an embarrassment. I don’t know what I am anymore.
    I obsess over women. My wife and I don’t have sex anymore. I’m a eunuch. Defeated.
    I drink too much now. Depression comes up often and quick. I never thought losing the use of my penis would destroy my life but it has.


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