Ever since his youth, Elliot Roberts has lead an active lifestyle filled with football, baseball and other sporting activities. At age 66, he still exercises regularly, doing both elliptical cardio and strength training five times a week. Being athletic has always been an important part of his life, so when Roberts started not feeling so well in late 2011, he knew he needed to see his doctor and pinpoint the problem.
After a check-up and some tests, his primary care physician, Dr. David Norene, suggested he see an urologist. That's how Roberts first met Dr. Jonathan Eandi. "At the start, my attitude was upbeat. The last thing on my mind was that it would be cancer," Roberts says. Dr. Eandi started by running several tests, and Roberts remembers that after each test, "nobody seemed satisfied with the results." In January 2012, after some scans, Dr. Eandi took a biopsy and the results came back positive for prostate cancer.
"My wife and I were devastated, but Dr. Eandi's approach helped us through the process," Roberts says. "He doesn't panic and doesn't make you panic. It's almost like he's discussing chores – actions you just have to take to get healthy." The open, honest discussion about his diagnosis made Roberts feel more positive. "Dr. Eandi talked about my diagnosis, what was happening and what my options were. He put my scans on a screen and walked me through everything. He never tried to steer me in one direction and always gave me options and educated me," he says.
Dr. Eandi mentioned the da Vinci procedure, a type of minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgery that Roberts had never heard of before. He went home and researched the process and discussed it with his wife. Roberts says he remembers asking himself a lot of questions, such as "Are you doing the right thing? How will this impact your life and your marriage?" Roberts' wife was supportive through his entire diagnosis and treatment, and they decided the da Vinci robotic procedure was right for him. "If you have something like that, cancer, you just want it out," Roberts says.
The next step for Roberts was to mentally prepare for the procedure. He used his athletic discipline to run through all the "plays," and figure out what needed to happen before the surgery, what would happen during the procedure and what he needed to be prepared for after his discharge from the hospital.
The morning of his surgery, Roberts says he remembers being impressed by the hospital staff. "The receptionists, nurses and doctors were great and made me feel comfortable," he says. A few hours later, he was in the recovery room with Dr. Eandi and his team. "I felt great," Roberts recalls, "If he said I could've gone home right then, I would have." He had minimal pain and got up regularly to walk around the hospital ward and stretch. "Right after the surgery, my attitude was 'I don't have complications,'" Roberts says. He was discharged the next morning at 10 a.m.
Rehabilitation is an important part of recovery, and Dr. Eandi made the steps very clear to Roberts. A few days after his discharge, Roberts says he could feel his body healing and getting stronger and stronger. He remembers his body feeling differently but that he "never had any reason to panic because Dr. Eandi always described exactly what to expect."
Support and encouragement were vital during Roberts' diagnosis, treatment and recovery. He credits his wife for being "very supportive and there every step of the way." In addition, he thanks his Sutter care team for their excellent services. "Dr. Eandi's staff was supportive and positive. They gave me confidence. They kept me mentally focused during the entire process," Roberts says.
Roberts is back to the healthy lifestyle he's always lived and says he would "absolutely recommend this procedure." He knew he was going to have to go through some changes no matter which procedure he chose, and he would encourage others to consider da Vinci rather than the alternative of prolonged radiation treatments.