I knew that all men had a prostate, just as I knew that I had an appendix. They each had their functions and never featured in my consciousness. Some of my friends, generally somewhat older than me, would say that they were having problems with their prostate and sometimes go into graphic details. Later they would then go into hospital and disappear from the scene for 5 or 6 weeks.
Prostate problems happened to other people and I pursued my career in blissful ignorance. However I then started to have discomfort and this progressively got worse and also interfered with my sleep. At this point I remembered my friends and realised that they had had exactly the same symptoms.
A rapid exercise in understanding what the function of a prostate was, and the problems that could occur, then became a priority exercise. The first point of call was the internet – this helped a lot, but the solution of laser treatment or a TURP (transurethral resection of the prostate), and the stated after effects, did not fill me with enthusiasm.
The day was saved when my wife gave me a copy of an article that appeared in the Daily Express on the 11th February 2014 with the eye catching title “Waterworks up the spout? Try an implant”. This highlighted an alternative. A relatively new procedure had been approved by NICE, the health watchdog. This was UroLift. A visit to the UroLift website itself made the whole thing clear.
UroLift effectively moved the prostate out of the way to remove the pressure it put on the urine tube that in turn resulted in a flow restriction. It did this by the use of small implants, and left the prostate intact. This sounded good. The procedure was quick, and the known after effects of other traditional treatments were claimed to be avoided. I was sold.
I went to see my GP who gave to me a referral letter to Mr Barber, consultant urologist at Spire Clare Park hospital in Farnham.
I met Mr Barber who took me through the pros and cons of all the treatments available and I chose the UroLift solution. It was then necessary for me to attend at hospital for a series of simple tests and for him to checkout my prostate with a cystoscopy using local anaesthetic. This required inserting a very small camera via a flexible tube into the bladder to then look at the prostate, its size and positioning. Had Mr Barber not been satisfied that the proposed procedure was possible with a good chance of success then the operation would not have happened.
Stage three was the day of the operation. Here I had reconciled myself to the idea that this was not going to be a pleasant experience, however I was very pleased with the efficiency of the hospital and the support given by the nursing staff throughout my stay. The operation took place under a general anaesthetic in the late afternoon and I stayed overnight in the hospital. The next morning I was able to get myself up and walk over to the bathroom. Here came the first big test. I was tremendously pleased to find that everything still worked –only better than before- and it was not as painful as before the operation.
My wife drove me home once the hospital had conducted their tests to ensure they were happy to release me to the world and given to me a supply of anti-inflammatory and painkiller tablets. Instead of being bed bound, as expected, I was able to walk around the house perfectly OK. The only self imposed restriction was avoiding lifting heavy weights immediately as I had four implants inside me and I did not want to undo anything that had just been done.
I found that, for very practical reasons, it was safer to be in the house and garden for the next two weeks and not to stray too far away. At no time did I feel the tiny implants which were obviously doing their work. By then my system had settled down, a progressive improvement all round had been experienced, and the old symptoms disappeared. My life had been reset. I could concentrate on my business activities again and I am immensely grateful to everyone who made this possible.
Obviously no two people are the same and different people will have different experiences, but for me I consider this procedure to have been a great success and would thank Mr Barber and his team for their skill in achieving this.
UroLift was definitely the right decision for me.