Allan's Story: Getting past cold feet. Getting past cancer.



Allan is the type of guy that seems to be in control of everything. As a high-ranking employee at a uniform supply company in Atlanta, he makes sure public safety officers from policeman to fire fighters in Sandy Springs, Atlanta, Dekalb, Gwinnett and Roswell are suited properly for the jobs they perform. Even in his personal life – whether it's a common cold or a leaky faucet – he gets problems fixed right away.

"I'm the type of person that if I have a problem, I don't wait," he said. "I take care of it."

When Allan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in fall 2006, there was no quick fix. There was no one person to call and no next-day service to rely on. But there was Northside Hospital. Allan first got to know Northside during the birth of his two grandchildren.

"Basically, up until that time, I had my yearly physicals and my (Prostate-Specific Antigen level) checked, and it was always within a healthy range," Allan said. "When I went in for my yearly check-up in January 2006, my doctor said my prostate was enlarged. I asked him what I should do."

Without hesitation, he explained the options and recommended an urologist. "I went, and they took blood," Allan said. "At that time, my PSA had gone up to about nine. Dr. Scott Kleber said I needed a biopsy, so that's what I did. Of the 12 samples they took, one was positive for cancer."

"Because only one sample came back cancerous, Dr. Kleber said I could just wait and see what happened, I could volunteer for radiation or go ahead with surgery," Allan said. "And if I wanted to talk to a surgeon, he had one that he highly recommends. I went that day, made an appointment with Dr. Scott Miller and instantly felt I was in good hands. I decided to go ahead with surgery so I wouldn't wait and have something worse later on."

Dr. Miller, one of the country's leading robotics surgeons, recommended a robotics procedure because of the quick recovery time. "What I remember most is him saying that with robotic surgery, I'd be back at work in two weeks. He said I'd have to stay at home for one week, wear a catheter for a week and probably be able to go back to work at the end of the second week," Allan said.

Aside from surgery, another alternative was brachytherapy, a procedure in which doctors implant tiny permanent radioactive seeds into the prostate to kill cancerous cells from the inside. Over the course of several months, the seeds work to destroy prostate cancer until they are removed through surgery. Although patients rarely feel the seeds, Northside's groundbreaking da Vinci® Robotic surgery made that a better option for Allan.

What I remember most about the people there. They always give it to you straight without making you feel uncomfortable.

The surgery uses high-definition full color vision technology and small, computer-enhanced arms in procedures like prostate cancer, endometriosis, cervical and ovarian cancers to name a few.

"It was a bit strange to think that he was going to be sitting at a monitor and I was going to be lying a few feet from him on a table," Allan said. "I did have some reservations, but then again, he had done it enough that he was teaching other doctors. Sometimes you just have to put your faith in people that do that type of thing. And that's what I did."

Allan underwent surgery in February, four months after doctors at Northside found the cancer.

"Everything that he said would happen, happened," Allan said. "I went on medication immediately because he wanted the blood flow to help me heal. I had a little irritation with the catheter, which was probably the worst part of the experience, but other than that I recovered as fast as he said I would."

"What I really appreciated was that he presented robotic surgery in a way that gave me options," he said. "And the fact that with that surgery, they're able to spare a lot of nerves because they are able to magnify the area being operated on, it's allowed me to be able to do everything I was able to do before."

"What I remember most about the people there. They always give it to you straight without making you feel uncomfortable," he said.

Now, Allan is enjoying being a grandfather and husband again.

 

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Listen to Allan's story of survival.


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