Laparoscopic Prostate Removal
for Severe, Treatment-Resistant
Chronic Prostatitis

                                                                            

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Gerry: Pain despite a spine injury.

Gerry Nishikawa
Davis, California


A farming accident in 1979 at age 28 left me a T8 paraplegic. For 20 years, I enjoyed good health relative to my injury.

In 2001, my prostate problems began with enlargement, which caused retention, resulting in urinary infections that infected my prostate. Later, it brought relapses of acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis. The only effective treatment was a 90-day course of Ciprofloxacin, which has well documented side effects. Compliance was always arduous and difficult. In 2006 an acute case progressed to sepsis, which resulted in two seizures and lowered my cardiac ejection fraction to 23. I was fortunate to survive.
 
Cipro cleared up my chronic bacterial prostatitis for the last time in 2007. In 2009, I began to experience constant UTIs from recurring multi-drug resistant E coli. No doubt my prostate was infected again and this time by bacteria that were no longer sensitive to Cipro. I was paying the price for taking too many antibiotics, Cipro and Bactrim first among them.

The discomfort and pain from my prostatitis was always bad, but off the chart with the resistant bacteria. My mind was in a fog, I had no energy or desire to do anything other than survive, and life was barely worth living. I hoped having no sensation below T8 would mitigate the pain, but it didn’t: The pain was unbelievably intense and debilitating.

My prostate for 9 years was the source of most of my health problems and I started wondering if it would be more beneficial not to have one considering my paralysis, which had rendered me impotent, infertile, and partly incontinent. My doctors told me surgery isn’t indicated with chronic bacterial prostatitis, even with resistant bacteria.

There were no effective antibiotics after Cipro left to prescribe for my prostatitis, so it seemed I would have to learn to live with the condition. The E coli were still sensitive to a number of antibiotics, but none could penetrate the prostate. They continued to be effective for the bladder and kidneys infections, so I would take them for UTIs, but the prostatitis pain never diminished in the least. I would get another UTI with the same E coli within as little as 3 days, at best 3 weeks, of stopping an antibiotic. Life was getting unbearable and after talking to my doctors, and every relative and friend who is a doctor, I concluded surgery was the only option.

Reading everything I could find on the internet about bacterial prostatitis, I found in extreme cases surgery could be considered. I found Dr. Krongrad and after reading his prostatitis patients’ stories, I contacted his office.  Their reputation for promptness is well deserved. I had a surgery date within 3 weeks, with Hope handling everything from insurance to correcting mishaps on my end. Hope is a real jewel.

Without my wife of 35 years, I couldn’t have made the trip to Florida, much less gotten to and from the hospital and appointments, and managing in the hotel room, without her. I feel grateful for all the times she’s had to care for me. She and I flew in from California on a Tuesday, Wednesday registered at the Aventura Hospital, and were interviewed by its wonderful staff regarding my next day’s surgery, followed by a pre-op at Dr. Krongrad’s office.

Meeting Hope, Ruth, and Dr. Krongrad was a real pleasure. I suppose this is never a surprise to anyone after reading the patients’ stories. Early Thursday morning we met the anesthesiologist, surgical nurse, and assisting surgeon, who surprised us with his knowledge of Napa wines! We found them professional as well as very easy and enjoyable to talk with. Before going into surgery it’s no small thing and something I really appreciated.

Despite my paralysis and heart failure, surgery went very well, which is not surprising when the surgeon was Dr. Krongrad. The moment I regained consciousness, I knew there was a huge change: The pain and discomfort were much better, my mind was clear of the fog, and I felt healthy in a way I had forgotten. What was the reason? My prostate turned out to be full of abscesses. Later, in California, my internist remarked: “Ten years of antibiotics wouldn’t have cleared it up.”

As typical of Dr. Krongrad’s patients, despite my added complications, I spent one night in the hospital, taken care of wonderfully by some of the best nurses I’ve ever had. After my post-op a few days later, my wife and I flew back to California. Family and friends couldn’t believe how much better I looked returning compared to leaving.

Paralysis is terrible, there’s no question about it. Paralysis with heart failure is worse yet. Even so, I’d never lost the desire to live. Not so in conjunction with acute and chronic bacterial prostatitis. It was and can be that bad. Take it from someone who knows what bad is.

I filled out my first Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index (CPSI) questionnaire today, a mere four weeks after surgery: It was 2, down from 34!

With an injured spinal cord, increased incontinence was unavoidable, but it also reduces the risk of kidney damage and UTIs, a very good trade off from what I’ve experienced so far. I’m using a recently developed Gee Whiz external condom catheter that works well, and the only issue is determining the amount of time my skin can tolerate it.

I haven’t had a UTI or needed antibiotics in over a month. Before surgery I was barely surviving. Now I have the health to participate in life again.

From my first email to the present, I couldn’t have asked for a better experience and outcome. I’m extremely grateful to the chronic prostatitis surgery patients who posted their stories and to Dr. Krongrad, Hope and Ruth. Without all of them, I have no doubt that others would still be suffering, without their lives, with nowhere to turn.

Thank you for reading my story.

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