I would have no hesitation in recommending Mr Sooriakumaran and the Santis team.
I was rather foolish but was saved by sheer good luck. My grandfather had treatment for prostate cancer but I had never considered the possibility and only went to have a blood test at my local surgery because I was worried about my cholesterol level. A locum GP simply ticked all the boxes on the form and when the results came back my cholesterol level was fine but I had a PSA level of 5. The GP was pretty casual about it and said that there was probably nothing to worry about. He did a quick digital examination but was not able to feel anything, but fortunately he suggested a retest three months later. That came back with a level of 5.7 and at that point he told me to have an MRI scan and a biopsy.
I was so much in shock that it was only three days later that I remembered that I had a private health insurance policy paid for by my employers. To start with I thought of having my treatment locally in Gloucestershire. I had my biopsy and MRI scan in a local private hospital and when these came back positive I was eager to have a robotic radical prostatectomy as soon as possible. However, the lack of a local private hospital with the necessary equipment led me to look further afield. Very quickly I found the Santis website and within 24 hours I was booked in for an operation at the Princess Grace Hospital. I was most impressed that the surgeon, Prasanna Sooriakumaran, took the trouble to ring me in the evening to talk me through the process, and I enjoyed meeting him for a preoperative assessment where he gave me plenty of time to understand what my options were. I was delighted to learn how many of these operations he has done as the level of experience is clearly of the utmost importance to getting the best possible result.
Not having had an operation since my tonsils came out in childhood, I was moderately apprehensive. This proved to be quite unnecessary. Mr Sooriakumaran and the anaesthetist Dr Sultan, were both very reassuring and I woke up feeling a little groggy but in no pain whatsoever. Mr Sooriakumaran took the trouble to call my wife after the operation to let her know that all had gone well. I chose to spend two nights in hospital, which was not totally necessary but which gave me a chance to learn how to use the catheter and to get used to walking about. A lovely physiotherapist made sure that I was confident on my feet and encouraged me to walk up a short flight of stairs. I enjoyed a very comfortable private room and some delicious food. Before I left I took a shower in the en suite bathroom so I returned home feeling quite civilised.
For the first couple of days I stayed at home and wandered about the house, but by the end of the first week I was walking slowly around the village for half an hour at a time. Giving myself the injections of anti-coagulant was unnerving, but once I had done the first it was much easier. After a week I had a call in the late evening from Mr Sooriakumaran to let me know the marvellous news that the pathology report showed the cancer was contained in the prostate and that my chances of being totally cancer free were very good. One of the best phone conversations of my life.
I returned to the Princess Grace to have the catheter out after a fortnight and had the pleasure of meeting Mata, the specialist nurse. She laughed at the ridiculously large pads I had come with and gave me a large cup of tea. To my absolute amazement not only was I able to pee quite normally but I was also able to control my bladder with no problem at all. I had anticipated months of incontinence, but I have been able to sit through two hour theatre performances with no difficulty whatsoever and am completely dry both night and day. I still do my pelvic floor exercises to be on the safe side.
The nerves on one side of the prostate had to go due to the cancer but on the other side they were spared. Even at four weeks I am capable of a semi erection without the use of drugs and I am hopeful that in time this will improve. If I need some extra help with a few pills that really won’t be a problem.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Mr Sooriakumaran and the Santis team. The operation could not have gone any better, and the tiny scars left after four weeks show how well my body has healed. The pre-care and aftercare have been superb and have always made me feel that my well-being was at the heart of everything.