Bob Bolgard Battles Prostate Cancer
After Bob was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, we contacted a number of the members of the Class Caring Committee, including Dr. Tom Williams. Tom talked with me about the latest treatment, which is robotic surgery. He then talked with Bob at length about various websites which we could use to obtain more information.
We found the Mayo Clinic (mayoclinic.com)andNational Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/
sites to be the most helpful. Tom also suggested other doctors in the class whom we might contact.
Whereas some friends (including doctors) recommended that Bob go to Sloan Kettering in New York or Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for the surgery, many others recommended Dr. Vincent Laudone of the Connecticut Surgical Group at Hartford Hospital, using the DaVinci robot. As we knew Dr. Laudone from our church, we were very comfortable with this choice.
January 31- Dr. Laudone performed the robotic radical prostatectomy.There were five portholes (about 1/2" each) in Bob's abdomen, through which the surgeon and assistant performed the procedures, and a small incision (1.5") above the navel, through which the organ was removed. Some lymph nodes were also removed, and they were found to be cancer-free. The doctor also inserted a catheter connected to an exterior bag to collect urine. The operation lasted almost four hours, followed by four hours in the recovery room, and Bob was able to receive visitors the same evening.
February 1- The next morning Bob was able to walk around the entirehospital floor. He coninued on a clear liquid diet throughout the hospital stay.The surgical resident removed one of the two drains from a "porthole" that evening.
February 2- The resident removed the other drain, and Bob left the hospital that morning. He was able to walk from the front door of the hospital to the car, and had only a little difficulty getting into the car. He had a small catheter bag attached to his thigh for moving about for the first few days, and a large bag for overnight use.
February 3- Bob was "starving" and began to eat real food right away. He stopped using pain-killer pills. He took a sponge bath. Four of the five holes in the abdomen, plus the incision, were tender, but healing well. One developed a hematoma, with significant internal bleeding/bruising, which the doctor said was not unusual. They will heal gradually.
February 4- Bob took his first shower. (He could have taken one sooner, but decided to wait until feeling completely steady in the shower stall.)
February 5- Bob drove to the surgeon's office, where the doctor found no complications present, and the nurse removed the catheter. No radiation would be necessary. Both the prognosis and the removal of the catheterwere big reliefs. All "plumbing" was working fine. Bob was able to drive home.
February 7- Bob reduced his naps from two a day to one a day. We began going out to restaurants for meals whenever desired.
February 13- Bob plans to return to work for at least 1/2 day. He will drive (it's only a 10-minute commute).
February 16- We shall gratefully celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary.
I have been on the Class of 1957 Caring Committee as an active member almost from its inception. This was our first experience with the committee on the side of being beneficiaries, and we found it to be very helpful. It works. It's great. More power to it!
Nancy Utman Bolgard S '57
Caring Committee Member