Prior to my robotic surgery procedure with Dr. William Huang at NYU Langone Medical Center, I’d had a number of procedures done to remove five cancerous tumors from my bladder. The first tumor was discovered when I was being treated for an enlarged prostate. I had the tumor removed and underwent a half-dozen chemotherapy treatments. The cancer was very low-grade, and everything looked fine. Then, four months later, another tumor was found, and was also taken out. This happened several times more. When the fifth tumor was discovered, my local urologist referred me to a urologist at NYU Langone, who in turn referred me to Dr. Huang.
Dr. Huang did a cytoscope exam that showed the latest tumor was a much more aggressive, high-grade tumor. My wife and I discussed with Dr. Huang what the best option was for getting rid of the cancer once and for all. He explained that he was pretty sure the cancer hadn’t gone into the surrounding muscle yet, which was a very good thing, but that it was getting closer. My prostate had also been bothering me quite a bit—I was getting up six or seven times during the night to go to the bathroom. So we decided to have both my bladder and my prostate removed.
The next thing we discussed was what sort of urinary reconstruction I would have done once the bladder was taken out. From the research I’d done online, I had been leaning towards the method where the urine passes out through a conduit in the abdomen and is collected in a receptacle that I would wear. But Dr. Huang convinced me that a surgically constructed neobladder—which he could do safely, since my urethra was cancer-free—would give me a much better quality of life.
Everything was done at one time: Dr. Huang took out my bladder and prostate robotically, then used tissue from my intestines to form a new bladder. It was a fairly large surgery to recover from. Dr. Huang explained that with such extensive surgery there was naturally going to be some pain, but I actually didn’t take much painkiller because the medications constipated me. I did get a staph infection about a week after I got home, which temporarily set me back. But now I’m pretty much back to where I was and feeling normal.
The neobladder is terrific—I can go into the bathroom and urinate just like the other guys. Dr. Huang helped me a great deal in making the decision to have the neobladder done, which was definitely the way to go. On my last visit to Dr. Huang, everything was perfect. He actually said that, based on my pathology report, I am cured of the bladder cancer—although, as a cancer survivor, I will have to be monitored for the rest of my life. So I feel that number one, my life is normal as it could possibly be, and number two, it appears that I’m cancer free. What more can you ask for?
I definitely feel that Dr. Huang saved my life. Plus, now I can go through the night without having to get up to go to bathroom constantly. My wife jokes that I’m making up for three years of not sleeping. I would definitely recommend NYU Langone Medical Center to anybody who is considering this procedure. I’m very happy with the way it all worked out.