I have been a patient of Dr. Elliot Cohn for many years. A few weeks ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Dr. Brett Jepson was my surgeon. During consultation, I had expressed how very important it was to me that I be continent and hopefully somewhat sexually active. Dr. Jepson explained that normally the surgery would take two and a half to four hours and hopefully he would try and save enough nerves and blood vessels to accomplish some of my wishes. Well, as I understand, there was a problem with extra blood vessels and tangled nerves so, the surgery took six hours. The results is after two weeks from surgery I have 95% bladder control and with some sexual activity at sixty nine years old. I will never be able to totally express my thanks to Dr. Jepson for all the extra time and effort he spent. Also, I would like to say how pleased I am with Dr. Cohn through all the years. But, not only that; from the front desk girls to the nurses Rachel, Sara, and Belinda. All your staff have always been very professional, courteous, and very kind to me. I am so very pleased to be a patient of your organization.
If you are reading this website, you have probably been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Maybe surgery is one of your possible choices, or as was for me, the only logical choice. I am writing this May 5, 2015. My radical prostatectomy was done April 23, 2015. I need to tell you that I have absolutely no personal or financial ties with or connection to Urological Associates whatsoever. The only reason I am willing to share my experience is that when I attempted to gather some information about the surgeon I ultimately chose, I found almost nothing about him except that he graduated medical school, and was a Diplomate, and a member of the American Board of Urology. I wanted to know what his outcomes were, how many procedures he had done, and specifically, did he know how to operate the Da Vinci Robotic machine that I had chosen to assist him. My cancer was found after my family practice physician, Matthew Young in Woodland Park, recommended an appointment for a follow-up PSA because mine had gone up since my last PSA was drawn a year earlier during my routine physical. I made an appointment with Dr.Elliot Cohn at Urological Associates, because he had done a vasectomy on me 25 years ago. I’m glad he had not retired, as he suggested a biopsy of my prostate, not because my PSA number was high, but because the percent of increase over the last PSA was significant (4.3 up to 5.6). All 12 biopsy samples came back positive for prostatic adenocarcinoma. At an appointment with Dr. Cohn after the biopsy results were in, he explained my options. My prostate was too large for the implantation of the radioactive pellets to eradicate the cancer. We could wait some period of time and monitor the cancer and do nothing right now. We could consider surgery with the Da Vinci machine which is currently the least invasive and has the best outcomes of any surgical alternative. My wife Andrea and I decided to pursue surgery because we both wanted the cancer gone, and now. Dr. Cohn recommended Dr. Benjamin Coons to me to perform my surgery. We made some jokes about Dr. Coons about being a teenaged video game wizard who had transferred those skills to the Da Vinci Robot. I made an appointment with Dr. Coons to discuss the surgery, which I had already decided to have, but not necessarily by him. If you have never been an active participant in your healthcare decisions, now is the time. This surgery can have major implications for the quality of your life for however long your life lasts. If you have trouble with the possible complications of this surgery (impotence, lack of bowel and bladder control, and other things), remember that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. Doing nothing was not an option for me. I need to tell you that I am a retired R.N. I have a leg up on some of you because I know a little about the medical industry, the medical terms used to describe illness, and how surgery works, and the possible complications of it. I also did high-voltage work with union contractors all over the U.S., so I know something about people who say they know how to operate heavy eqipment. One of the first things I noticed about a new employee on one of my crews was that when he got up on a piece of equipment, did he know which lever or button to move without looking at the sign on the lever to get the machine to do what he wanted? That was my first question to Dr. Coons. Do you know which knob or lever to pull on the Da Vinci machine to get it to do what you want without looking? He said that he did. When I asked him how many of these procedures he had done, he said over 400. I chose him to do the surgery. My urinary catheter was removed yesterday, along with the staples that had closed up the six small incisions in my abdomen through which the camera and the other surgical tools were inserted. The relief with the removal of the catheter that I felt was spectacular. I have to tell you that, out of all the discomfort I felt during the time after the surgery, the indwelling urinary catheter was by far the most problematic. You feel it all the time until it is removed. Take care of your catheter, the last thing you need is a urinary tract infection on top of everything else. I have to say that the pain I experienced with this surgery was just irritating rather than debilitating. I walked around everywhere, I carried wood, I pushed a wheelbarrow filled with dirt, and I transplanted 300 plants in my greenhouse, all while wearing a leg bag to catch urine. I took the pain pills, because I don’t believe that experiencing pain somehow builds character. I didn’t take the pills every day, but when I did too much I could feel it. You have to keep moving though, to prevent blood clots in your legs and atrophy of your muscles. I have full control of my bowel function, and I have some urinary leakage that gets better every hour. I will be impotent. My pathology report after surgery was clear. Dr. Coons said that I may not need further treatment, but if my PSA does not go to zero, meaning that there is still some PSA producing cancer left, I may have to have some radiation therapy down the road. I feel pretty good, and expect to feel better every day. I cannot fail to mention the office staff at Urological Associates. The surgeon you select is extremely important. Your life and the quality of it depend on his skills. But the surgeon does not answer the phone when you call his office. Your total time interacting with the surgeon is less than an hour. He may or may not remember your name without looking at your chart. That’s just the way it is. They are busy people. But the office staff and the technicians you deal with are the ones who really make the process work. This is an office that works. I have not had one unanswered question, nor have I had a call that was not returned. They know the ins and outs of the convoluted insurance industry (and it is an industry). They are compassionate. They will explain bladder spasms, and why your catheter is leaking. They will reassure you, and I needed that a couple of times. If you choose this group for your surgery, you are in good hands. Do your Kegel exercises, they will help you greatly. Get a good supply of adult diapers. (Yes you will need them for a while). Get a pair of sweat pants to go over your leg bag and catheter. Get a pair without a cinch at the ankle. You won’t want to go anywhere for a few days, so get some stool softeners and some Benefiber or similar to keep stools soft. Drink lots (and I mean lots) of liquids. Water is best. When you get your catheter out, pee like they vote in Chicago, early and often. Pee before you feel the need, it will prevent accidents. If you need to break the ice in an uncomfortable social situation, stand up and ask someone if they can help you change your diaper. Don’t despair, you can get through this.