My name is Kelvin Slaton. I'm from New Orleans, Louisiana. With some place around the age of 52, maybe 51, I started going each year for what I call the mini physical. And we would go to the doctor, he would do the blood test and check the prostate. And around that same time I was having problems with getting up at four or five times, maybe six times a night. It was really affecting my sleep. And he kept telling me, this was my primary physician, he kept telling me that there was no problem that he could feel, but that was not his field. So it went on for a good while. And it seemed like it slacked off at times, but that it would pick back up that I was probably five or six times a night again getting up to go urinate. And he finally told me, he says, "I can no longer help you with this. You need to go see a urologist."
So my wife had already seen a urologist, Dr. Bell. And so we went to him and he checked me and then he decided he wanted to do another PSA that would be free and clear I believe it was. And when we did that, the PSA numbers were up high, to me they were high. They weren't extremely high by any measures. They were probably between two or three, maybe even a four. But at that time he did that and then when we came back, he wanted to do a biopsy and we did a biopsy. And at that time, after the biopsy he called, and he called me at work and told me he needed to see me, that the biopsy came up positive. So at that time I called my wife when she was at school working and told her that I had a one o'clock appointment because he had called me about 10 o'clock.
I had a one o'clock appointment with him that it seemed urgent that he wanted to talk about it. And we went, he did another digital exam and then we talked some more. He gave me a book to read about it and he also encouraged me to get a second opinion if I didn't like anything he was saying. And not that I didn't like anything he was saying, it's just that I've always believed in second opinions about everything, whether if it be a health issue or a job that had to be done around the house or something, you'd always get more than one estimate. So I did do another opinion after finding about Dr. Thomas and looked up some of his background information on him. We decided we'd call him and get an appointment and we went from there and we had a six hour wait to see Dr. Thomas. That was his first day back into the country because I found out later that he went home every year to do free medical work for patients in his homeland.
But I was afraid at that time that we were going to go in there, he was going to see me and shoo me out the door. Well that never happened. He took his time with me. We probably stayed with him any place between 45 minutes to an hour. And I found out at that time, that's why he was running so far behind because he did that with every patient and he gave me all the information I needed. He did do a digital exam at that time and he told me I probably had any place between 30 and 60 days to make up my mind because he could feel it bulging on the prostate. And he offered all the solutions but he encouraged the prostatectomy at my age and that's what we elected, the prostatectomy. And I didn't know a whole lot about it but as time went on, I did.
Now after talking with other friends of mine that I found out had a prostatectomy, I don't blame Dr. Thomas in any form or fashion. I felt that the clinical area failed me in that because I don't believe I was totally prepared for what to expect. The other friends of mine, they would deal you about 30 days out from when you decide to have your surgery. And during that time they probably went back and forth to the doctor, not to see the doctor but to see the nurse and the nurse would fill them in on all what they had to do with however you want to pronounce the Kegels or Kegels, and how important they were. That was never stressed to me and I don't know if it really made a difference or not.
After the surgery I did do the Kegels as often as I had to and that was the two places I had problems with were incontinence, which I knew was coming because he explained that to me in the meeting we had.
And the other problem I had was the Viagra would work, it would cause an erection, but it would not keep an erection was the problem. And I tried for years with that and then I had an artificial penile implant and the only problem I have with that was during the time I didn't know anything about it.
When you do have an implant like that put on, it does shorten the length and the girth. But I would say it is probably well worth the sacrifice of losing a little of that to be able to control what you need. And my wife was always supportive of everything I did and a lot of it I did because of her and I couldn't thank her enough to be standing by my side. That really supported everything I did throughout then. She helped me with the decision of the prostatectomy. She helped me with the decision of the artificial sphincter and she helped me with the decision of the penile implant, which was probably the most important to her, but it's very important to trust your physician. Dr. Thomas did lead me to what ... He was always discouraging to get in the artificial sphincter to begin with.
He thought I should try more and then he could see in my eyes at the times that I was frustrated with it and he said, "Maybe it's time now." And that was when we went into the artificial sphincter. I can't say Dr. Bell wouldn't have, I didn't have that many meetings with him, only two or three. And maybe he would've gone in more depth if I would've said, "Okay Dr. Bell, this is what we're going to do." I went with Dr. Thomas and Dr. Thomas's meeting, he discussed all that. Yeah, he gave me the options of what to do and what was going to happen during that time. I had the artificial sphincter done in January probably of 2018 or maybe 2019 and it was probably about a year and a half later that I had the penile implant. I didn't know a whole lot about it other than I thought it was something very simple, and in reality it is simple.
They go through your scrotum and they implant everything they need in there and then they tape it up with glue and tape. There's no stitches involved, at least not with me. And then you waited a six weeks for all that to heal and then they would activate it and it's simple enough that you pump it up with your index and your thumb and you let it release it with your index and thumb with a button on the side. Everything's very simple about it. There's nothing complicated about it. The only thing with that, there's no spontaneous deal about it.
You do lose some spontaneous with it, but that is probably well worth losing that little bit of time that you have to do, personally the doctor told me that sometimes they have their partners pump it up for them. I could not get into that. But the implant at that time for me was a very good decision and I would think it would still be in the good decision making realm. And with the robotic surgery now, there's very little scarring and on my body you would have to look very hard to see where they went in and did anything. They had two in the front right around your naval and then they had a drain on the side. And those scars are so small that they're almost undetectable. So it's not like you're not going to want to put your bathing suit on because you got that scar across your mid, that's not happening, not with the robotic.
And it was an easy experience and I'm glad that I went with the robotic instead of the old fashioned, let me cut you from stem to stern. There's nothing I can't do as far as movement pertaining to the abdomen? Now, I do have some leg issues but that has nothing to do with my prostate surgery. And I get around very well. And when I first had the prostate surgery, now I was sore. There's no doubt about it. They give you a six week healing period. And at the end of the six weeks, I was still hurting. But it did me better to go back to work that I think that it would've been done just staying at home and taking it easy. To get moving around was, because he would not sign off for a longer stay. He said he thought it was important for me to get going around, even though I did feel sore.
He said it would do me better to get moving around and just if I got too sore during the day, then relax. But I think he was right on that point. My PSA is non-detectable and I'm alive today, 10 years later and I expect at least to live another 10 years and not have any problems. Having this done gave me more of a positive outlook on some things as far as living. You could take the negative route and say you're sorry for yourself or you can get something done and take the positive route and continue your life, whatever you want to do.
We're in retirement age now. We've done a few trips at all. Not everything's been perfect, but I also believe that they probably wouldn't have been perfect anyway. I have a granddaughter now that I want to see all the time. I have a wife I love very much. I want to see her as long as I'm alive. And like I said, I expect to live at least another 10 years. If I die, it won't be from the prostate, that's for sure. As long as you've got good support all the way around, I don't feel you can miss out on anything. You just make up your mind. And once you make up your mind what you're going to do, then go at it. And the more you go at it, the easier it will be. And you'll understand life a lot easier.