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Paul’s Story

Paul’s Story: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Paul is a healthy and pretty typical 57-year old. He volunteers at his son’s high school, enjoys outdoor sports and adventures, and is involved in his community. Over the past few years, Paul has suffered from prostate issues, specifically an enlarged prostate also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) that was curtailing his ability to fully enjoy the activities he loves.

“When you live with BPH, your life starts to revolve around your bladder and the closest bathroom,” Paul explains. “You get uncomfortable standing for a prolonged period of time waiting to use the restroom, get up several times a night, and have to modify your intake of liquids because you won’t be near a bathroom for a few hours.”

Paul’s health condition came to a crux while he was on vacation with his family. Paul and his son were on a whitewater rafting camping trip, when he started feeling increased discomfort when he needed to use the restroom. He remembers the constant need to use the restroom, but whenever they stopped for a rest, he could barely urinate. After a day of this, his symptoms increased to the point where even when he was in extreme distress, he could not make himself urinate. After another painful 24 hours, Paul was med-evacuated to an area hospital.

“We take things like breathing, eating, sleeping, taking care of waste, for granted,” Paul says. “Until you’ve been on the other side, you don’t really appreciate what it’s like for one of those functions to not work as it is supposed to. Even though I had become used to having difficulty urinating, it was shocking to suddenly not be able to use the restroom at all.”

In order to address his immediate issue, the doctor Paul saw while traveling inserted a catheter as a temporary measure until Paul could return home. Once he returned home, Paul immediately met with his doctor. Two months into living with a catheter, Paul’s doctor referred him to Dr. Frank Lai.

“My doctor told me Dr. Lai was wonderful and crazy-smart. He said Dr. Lai was the person to see when it comes to urology,” Paul remembers. Following their initial meeting, Dr. Lai recommended him as a candidate for AquaBeam® Waterjet Ablation Therapy. Within a short period of time, Paul was scheduled for the minimally invasive procedure at El Camino Health’s Los Gatos hospital.

Aquablation therapy is a surgical technique used to treat lower urinary tract symptoms due to BPH. Dr. Lai was one of the first urologists on the West Coast to perform the procedure that combines multi-dimensional imaging and surgical robotics to deliver a heat-free waterjet to remove the enlarged prostate tissue. The therapy reduces the risk of complications arising from a thermal injury.

After the procedure, Paul spent one night in the hospital. “I will never forget the experience I had with the doctors and nurses who helped me. Following my surgery, I was entirely dependent on them and they were so wonderful. I could tell that they weren’t just doing it because it was their job, but that the really cared about me and how I was doing,” says Paul.

Upon discharge, he was sent home with a urinary catheter which was removed at a follow up appointment. After a few days, and after discussion with Dr. Lai, Paul was able to resume his normal activities. Paul is now nine months post-surgery and feels like he has completely regained his life.

“Aquablation is a complete game changer. While it is not life and death, it has certainly been the difference between a life not worth living and a life you’re very happy to be living,” Paul says. “I would tell anyone suffering with BPH not to wait. I am so thankful for what Dr. Lai and the El Camino team did for me. They gave me my life back.”