I am Phil Lavender. My age is 68. I got diagnosed, believe or not, April the first, 2014, and that's April Fool's Day, as I tell everybody. In my particular case, I have a great primary care doctor and for about what, 10 years, we were doing a PSA. People have to realize that you need to have a baseline. So they saw that baseline of mine had went from two point something to a little over four. And when it went over four, my primary care doctor said, "We need to check this just to be sure." And I had just turned ... I think I had just turned 60, and I'm saying, "Oh my gosh, what's going on now?" So he suggested I do another PSA and that was elevated. So we went to my urologist and we did a biopsy and the biopsy came back positive that I had stage one prostate cancer. And my PSA was, at the time was like 4.79, I recall.
That reality set in on me and I was just hearing the word "C" kind of freaked me out in a sense, because didn't know what was going on and I was diagnosed stage one prostate cancer. So I immediately started doing some research. By the way, my wife is a registered RN, so she was able to kind of consult me a lot, some of the things that we would do. Also, during this time, my oldest daughter was getting married that following month, so we had a lot of pressures going on with that. With that, we went also to get a second opinion. I think I went up to Emory University and talked to some doctors up there and they made some diagnosis and also said, "Yeah, it's real. You have prostate cancer."
So from that on, I started doing research with my prognosis and saying that with, like I said, I had type one prostate cancer, so other big question is what should I do? Should I have the radiation or should I have it removed? And we started talking about the removal aspect of it. So we went through the robotics. Sounded pretty scary at the time, but as I looked at it, I started to look at all the pros and cons of each one of them. The radiation had its problems and the robotics also had its problems. So, Phil, what do you want to do? I'm a spreadsheet guy, in a way. I read all the things that I could about it, talked to the doctors, and I put on a spreadsheet some of the ... well, diagnosis, and the cures, and the methodologies that they did with the radiation, the waiting and the laparoscopic treatments. And I had a column for that. Then I had about what was the symptoms, what was the downfall and stuff like that.
So I kind of weighed each one of those and we came up with the computer type of deal that I wanted to do. So we thought about it and we prayed about it and we looked at the robotics. So in July of that year, we went through that procedure and we decided to do the laparoscopic surgery. I was in the hospital for, I think, maybe a day and it went pretty good. I was surprised that I really had not that much of a pain, didn't have that much of a bleeding aspect of it, so I was pretty comfortable with that. The things that affected me as it do over prostate cancer people, is that you have the incontinence, of urine incontinence. You have some sexual ED problems that we went through.
So we went back to the doctor's and started talking to Dr. King and she became my doctor and we went through certain things. I told her about the problem that I had with my incontinence and the incontinence that she addressed with me, and we did a sling. A sling is a mechanism that they put into your urethra that kind of lift that lifts it up and helps you with your incontinence and it has done some help to that. We've gone through some changes on that. I'm still using some pads for my incontinence, but all in all, it has not really slowed me down that much. I'm a tennis player. I play tennis two or three times a week, and has not stopped me there. I swim, that kind of stuff, so it has kept me pretty much in my active life, still cutting my grass, that kind of stuff. So it hasn't really slowed me down.
There are times that I have had ED. I've done all phases of it with the pill, with the pump and the shot. That's one of the things that most men fear, because you get to a certain age in life and we don't realize the fact that just like a car, you can drive a car so long, but somewhere down the line that car is going to fail, so you have to go in for a repair. So, that's my analysis of it. That was a progression for me that I had to come within my mind and say, things just aren't going to work the same way they did when you didn't have any operation. So, that was the phases on that you had to do.
And there was concerns about each phase of them. The pill had certain things with me. I had headaches, maybe stuff like that. With the pump, the ability that you had to get up and use the pump and that, too, had its painful side effects. With the shot, most definitely had side effects. And I just don't like shots, to be honest with you, especially down there. But it had a problem. Now with the penile implant, it too, had some fears that we had to think about. Some infections that I read about that was very concerning about it that you had to do. The penile implant is more spontaneous. You don't have to get up and do things with the penile implant. It's all in one motion. You can just use it there more in a romance stage that you can work with that.
But that way it's been very helpful and the erection lasts a lot longer than that. So we've been very comfortable and very happy with that during the time that we've had it. It's still in a trial basis, but it's fine. Your support system is very important. Certain things that you had to do. I couldn't lift nothing more than a gallon of milk for two months. I really enjoyed that. So then, with my support system with my wife and my daughters, they make sure that I did the right things. So having a good support system is very, very, very important. Not only from an educational standpoint, but from a spiritual standpoint, also.
I had people from my church praying for me, that kind of thing. And those are the sort of things that you need when you're going through things like that. That support system is very, very important. I had God on my side and helping me come through this journey, because it, too, had put me in another realm of my faith that I had to, in other words, test your faith in a sense and put your faith in something that you can't really see, a person you can't really see, but that was one of the biggest things. Other thing I would say that I talked about that support system, the support system of mine were very good. I can't say enough about that.
In my research, I found out that dieting is a big part of the prognosis of prostate cancer. Also learned that certain cultures, for example, Africans in the continent of Africa, prostate cancer is not really known in that continent. The same thing with the Asian people, and may have something to do with their diet. Understanding that more about it would probably help us help people or help me in this situation, because we have also fatty diet here in this country. So that was a big eye opening for me.
I've had people from all sectors of the country have heard about my diagnosis with prostate cancer and they've asked some of my opinion, and my opinion is that you have to make the final decision in which you want to do. But there are a lot of treatments out there for prostate cancer. It's a disease that is curable or you can work around it. So it's a part of you being a man in life, but understand your diagnosis and get all the information you can about it. Again, like I said, I went and got second opinions and make sure that you understand what's going on, understand the numbers. The numbers are very, very important. They're there for a reason and ask questions. Don't be scared to ask questions and find you a support group. There are things across the country that you can go ask for support on from, even from an education standpoint. Don't just wait, make some kind of action. And if you wait, have the knowledge and knowing what you're waiting for and how it affects you. So you get educated about it.