Click here to read more Quest articles. print | Print this page
18 Holes of Golf and a Radical Prostatectomy
or (Obi-Wan, Me, and a Radical Prostatectomy)


By: Stephen G. Avgerinos


One year after my radical prostatectomy, I was driving home after 18 holes of golf and a wonderful dinner.

Dr. Catalona, who I now refer to secretly as Obi-Wan, had removed my prostate with nerve sparing surgery.

What was running through my mind was how I had gotten to this place from where I had been the year before.

My first memory was from the local clinic where I had my biopsy. When I didn’t hear from them for a week, I called my doctor’s office.

When I met with my doctor and was told the diagnosis, I asked about incontinence and impotence after surgery. She said my chances were 50/50 for both. When I asked her how many times she had performed this operation, I received the curt answer of “a lot.”

I was in total shock. I cried on the way home.


When I calmed down, I was able to remember what one of my friends taught me: Future events aren’t real.

I was grateful not to face this crisis alone. I was fortunate to have my wife do the necessary research, and then guide me to Dr. Catalona and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Her love was the driving force in our decision to get a second opinion and not settle for anyone other than the best doctor available.

Dr. Catalona is a champion of early detection and my case is an example of why he’s right.

I started checking my PSA at age 45 and it was 0.0. When I was 48, the value started to rise and in the ensuing six years, it went from 0.0 to 2.0 to 4.2. I had red flag symptoms long before a diagnosis.

Before my consultation with Dr. Catalona, I have to say that I had some doubts about RRP, but when I heard the confidence in his voice for the potential success of nerve sparing surgery and his belief that my cancer was confined, I was convinced RRP was the only real choice.

My ultimate relief came when he stood at my bedside and gave me the results. When I made the decision to place myself in the hands of “Obi-Wan,” the only fear I had was that the cancer had spread. He told me that the nerve sparing had gone well and my lymph nodes were clean.


My recovery was excellent. I followed his instructions and walked every day. Soon, I returned to work and was able to do all the things I did before surgery.

Occasionally, I experience what’s known as stress incontinence, but it’s something that will likely resolve with time.

My wife has been very patient and helped me learn quite a bit about real love. I’m still using Viagra but if I continue to recover as well as I have so far, I should be free of it in the not too distant future.

Last but not least, for those of you who were wondering, I shot a 117. Obviously, I can hope that sharing my experience with prostate cancer helps others, but I can’t give any golf tips.

Close this window