September 10, 2018
Patient Perspective: Biff Kinney
My name is Biff Kinney, I am 57 years young and live in Atlanta, Georgia. For 32 years I have been employed by a major Japan-based company and am responsible for business development globally. I have worked in most Asian countries and travelled Europe, South America, Canada and the United States extensively. I ride Harley Davidson Motorcycles which are customized to my designs. In addition I am an avid roller skater and design all of my own skates. Most importantly I am married to Tracy, the love of my life since we met in 1977. I have a big and beautiful life, it is like being in a custom built mansion where the sun always shines.
During a routine physical in August of 2017, the doctor found that my PSA, which had been on the rise, had spiked to a level in need of further investigation. In November of 2017, I underwent a prostate biopsy. Then on November 22nd, I received a call from the doctor. I was informed that the biopsy results had come back positive. Out of 12 samples, 1 of the samples came back positive and of that 1 sample only 10% contained cancer. My cancer was caught very early and the affected region of my prostate was very small in size.
On November 29th, I visited my Urologist to discuss treatment options. Since I am 57, I decided active surveillance was not on the table, because at some point I would be forced to take action. Besides, why play with fire? We discussed radical prostatectomy; the process and long term side effects were unthinkable. Next we discussed radiation, again the process and long term side effects were not even worthy of consideration. Both of these options would require destruction of the entire prostate. Additionally, there is no place in my life for chronic fatigue, incontinence or impotence. I wondered, “why destroy the whole prostate if my cancer is so small and confined to a specific region?” I asked if there were options to treat only the cancer, leaving the healthy portion of the prostate intact, but the doctor explained that he had none. I felt demoralized, sad, and deflated…but not defeated.
Dr. Kassabian and HIFU
I made it through the holiday season of 2017 as best I could which includes our December 1st wedding anniversary. The dark cloud and dread of making a treatment decision always loomed over my head. Then in January 2018, I was in my car and heard a radio advertisement for Dr. Vahan Kassabian of Georgia Urology and a treatment technique named HIFU. The ad stated HIFU is a non-invasive treatment for prostate cancer for qualified patients, resulting in lowered risk for long term side effects and swift recovery. The following week I found myself in an exam room for my first meeting with Dr. Kassabian. After his review of my case and an MRI it was quickly determined that I would be a good candidate for focal HIFU treatment. Dr. Kassabian is all business, he walks fast and thinks fast, I admire his analytical and direct approach to patient communication. With the assistance of his highly professional team at Vituro and Georgia Urology, Dr. Kassabian scheduled my HIFU treatment for April 12, 2018.
“It will be a piece of cake” – Dr. Vahan Kassabian, March 1st. 2018
On April 3rd. 2018, Tracy and I were in Dr. Kassabian’s office conducting my final pre-op appointment. During the visit, he explained how the procedure works and what I could expect. There would be a short recovery period, which includes the implementation of a catheter for 5 to 7 days. At the end of the meeting, Dr. Kassabian looked at me in the eyes and assured me that the entire procedure would be a “piece of cake.”
I reported to the Northside Decatur Surgery Center promptly at 7:00 AM on April 12th, 2018. I was taken to the pre-op preparation room and the miracle was underway. Let me tell you, these people are of a special breed, they go about the business of preparation, anesthesia, recovery and release with the precision of a Rolex watch. These people do not drink at night nor do they take a long lunch. They are up early every morning (actually up in the middle of the night). By 7:00 AM these folks are already halfway into a very busy day. Not only do they perform very complex and specialized procedures, they did so while they called me by name and were interested in who I was. I actually had a feeling of complete comfort and confidence. I knew instinctively that I was in good hands and that I could let them do to me as needed for a successful HIFU procedure. After confirmation of recovery by Dr. Kassabian I was released and on my way home all by 11:30, some 4.5 hours later. For the next 6 days I rested painlessly and comfortably at home. Tracy waited on me hand and foot, I wanted for nothing. The catheter was an inconvenience that I quickly grew accustomed to and it really was no big deal. On April 18th, it was time for my post op appointment at the Georgia Urology Glenridge office. Six days had just flown by. As always, Dr. Kassabian was all business (the word precision comes to mind). Two of the angels quickly removed the catheter and it was just Dr. Kassabian and I left in the room. He said to me. “Wasn’t that a piece of cake?” It could have been prostatectomy, it could have been radiation, it would have been life long side effects, “BUT NO” it was HIFU and it was finished.Back to my custom built mansion where the sun always shines. “Best cake I ever tasted!”
2 months later in June I saw Dr. Kassabian again for my checkup. I have no doubt that this bump in the road of life is firmly in my rear view mirror. I will continue seeing Dr. Kassabian in the future for regular checkups, as long as he is in practice. I hope my journey serves to express the gratitude, respect, admiration, appreciation and love I have for this man along with his angels of life and the miracle of HIFU.
To learn more about HIFU treatment and becoming a Vituro Health patient, call 866-4-VITURO or visit www.viturohealth.com