Paging Doctor Octopus

The surgery is tomorrow (Wednesday). I should get a call today between 1:00PM and 5:00PM to find out exactly what time. So it’s a little like waiting for the cable guy, but not quite that bad. It’s not like they told me to lay myself out on a table, make my own incision, and wait for them to come by sometime during the day. Actually tomorrow’s service should be well above the average cable company. I’ll be vacationing at the Henry Ford West Bloomfield facility. I understand it has been transformed into a gorgeous place. It will all look the same to an unconscious person, of course, but hopefully Sarah and my Mom can enjoy the waiting room. If there are no significant complications I can expect to be released to the care of Nurse Sarahjane the next day. 

If you’re the exceptionally persistent, sadly inefficient kind of thief who scans random blogs looking for news that the resident will be away for prostate surgery, keep moving. The kids, cats, and house will be well taken care of while I’m gone. We’ve grown an extended family of friends, sitters, and drivers, so the kids will be taken care of, busy, and having a good time. Also I’m a big home automation geek so if someone tried to break in I would know about it and have their picture and probably their social security number before they even left.

I’ll be having the robotic “da Vinci” surgery that’s all the rage now. I wasn’t so much committed to the type of surgery as I was to having a skilled, experienced surgeon. The surgeons who were recommended in this area (and we have more than our share of good ones at Henry Ford, U of M, and probably elsewhere) all appear to use the robot. So I get to have surgery via a tool that can truly be called a “gadget”, albeit a very expensive one (that’s the best kind of gadget, BTW). 

This type of surgery was written up in a Time magazine article in January. The surgeon they interview is Dr. Menon of Henry Ford Hospital. My surgeon trained with and works with Dr. Menon. This is the link:,28804,2032747_2033111_2033133,00.html

Our best news recently was that my bone scan on Friday was clear. Odds were good that it would be clear, but if it had not been the surgery would likely have been cancelled and I would have moved immediately to a later part of the prostate cancer treatment process. Just the fact that the doctor thought it was necessary (it’s not usually done in people with PSAs like mine) scared Sarah and me.

We are still scared, of course. This will be major surgery, even if it is done by a fancy robot through a bunch of little holes. After that, there is a less-than-50% but still frightening chance that the cancer has spread. The major indicators of that will be:

  • What the surgeon sees during the surgery. It’s unlikely but possible that he would see an extended tumor or enlarged lymph nodes.
  • The post-op pathology report, expected about a week after surgery. We want clean margins (no cancer on the edges of where they cut), nothing in the seminal vesicles (if cancer is living there it is more likely to be living elsewhere, too), and nothing in the lymph nodes (that’s a favorite route to the rest of the body). 
  • PSA tests starting four weeks after surgery. The PSA should be undetectable and stay that way.
And obviously, I want to wake up to the news that he was able to spare as much nerve as he expected!

So this is likely my last post before Doctor Octopus (Sarah’s name for the bot) does his thing. I’m hoping Doc Ock takes it easy tonight and shows up tomorrow ready to do his best work.

3 thoughts on “Paging Doctor Octopus

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Scott,

    My best to you tomorrow!

    I had surgery with the Da Vinci robot in 2009 to remove a very cranky uterus! Our local hospital and Dr. Burke (no joke, my surgeon's name was Dr. Burke) performed the surgery while on a teeter-totter (I'll explain that some other time!). All went well and I was up and around pretty quickly, but tired easily. I went back to work after 3 weeks, but really could have gone 4 weeks. Don't push yourself too hard, no matter what my sister says! Love from Emily, Mike and the girls.

  2. Anonymous

    Will be sending you all the positive thoughts, vibes, and prayers I can muster tomorrow. Stay strong and keep a happy heart. Smiles and chuckles can do a lot of good, too. Not to mention all those little faces at home.


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