Steve B’s Story
“My journey to find Dr. Sperling started with the fateful words: You have cancer. I was fortunate to get hooked up early-on with The Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition whose mission is to help newly diagnosed individuals understand what treatments are available. Their members helped me talk my way through the options—which all sounded terrible—without being judgmental. I also found an UsToo support group in Mobile, AL. A speaker did a presentation on FLA (Focal Laser Ablation). Being still in my dream world, my wife bopped me: “You need to listen to this.”
Up to that point, I was leaning toward treatment at the Radiology Clinic of Georgia, but at last something made sense. I prepared materials on FLA for my Urologist (who had told me he would not recommend surgery—God status) and my Primary Care doc. Neither responded (mortal status again).
So I was left to be my own advocate, like so many of us. As lay people, what do we know about medicine? After reading thousands of pages of material, we still don’t understand which option is the best. Few of the medical specialists I talked with really understood the nuances of another specialty, so that was useless.
I researched what I could find on FLA, downloaded every available article, and educated myself. I called Dr. Sperling’s office and spoke with his staff members and a doctor to round out my online information. I was PSA 6.5, Gleason 6 (3 + 3) and Gleason 7 (4 + 3 later revised to 3 + 4). I considered waiting for an NIH clinical trial, but I’m not a wait-around kind of person. I scheduled my FLA with Dr. Sperling for November 2014.
My wife and I traveled to Ft. Lauderdale where Dr. Sperling goes once a month. I went in on Sunday morning at 7 am, did the usual basic tests and an MRI, then waited while they planned my FLA. The good part is that Dr. Sperling brings his own well-knit team from NY. The worst part was the prep—you know, enema…
Once the plan was in place, he did a DRE, inserted the guide tubes, numbed me up and put me back in the MRI bore. Maybe an hour or so later, I was in recovery. There was no catheter, no real drugs other than the Valium they gave for relaxation. My wife brought me the best cup of coffee I had ever had. Dr. Sperling then brought the before-and-after image DVDs and showed me where the tumor was and then where it wasn’t. Nice to see. I even got a set of DVDs to take home!
The care I got throughout by all the staff was just outstanding. Post recovery was spent at the local Apple store, then dinner. We left the next day on a cruise. Except for a couple of drops of blood on day 2 or 3, and a little internal pressure, there were no other side effects! They put me on Rapaflo for BPH and for a month, I had dry ejaculations (a very strange feeling but it was good to be feeling for sure)!
I have not had a single doubt that I made the best decision for me. The couple months from the fateful “you have cancer” until my FLA decision were most difficult I have ever experienced. Finding Dr. Sperling and his super crew was one of the most fortuitous discoveries of my life. The ultimate test will be sometime in the future that includes the hoped-for “you are clean” after each follow-up MRI.
It was a blessing having had the treatment that immediately allowed me to return to all the activities I do on a daily basis with the one exception of having to skip a round of golf in Grand Cayman two days post treatment. Truly, that’s taking one for the team! But for me, it was the very best option.”