Runner Competes in Marathon 3 Weeks After Robotic Prostate Surgery

11/11/2011

If you want to discuss the benefits of robotic prostate surgery, you'll have to catch up with Paul Kuligowski, 52, of Washington Township. Just three weeks after his minimally invasive procedure, he was part of a relay team that competed in the recent Detroit Free Press Marathon.

His competitive running days go back to high school. Paul, a former member of the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep cross country and track teams, loves a good run no matter the cause. Ironically, it was shortly after he ran in a Father's Day run this past June, promoting prostate cancer awareness and research efforts, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Like many men, Paul did not experience any prostate cancer symptoms or warning signs. He recalls, "I felt fine." But the word "cancer" brought back painful memories of his mother's experience with breast cancer. She died when he was a young man. Says Paul, "They caught my prostate cancer early."

According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 250,000 American men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer nationally among men. The prostate is part of a man's reproductive system.

In a short period of time, the self-employed attorney and computer engineer, set out to learn all he could about prostate cancer- including treatment options. He credits his family physician- Marcia Kling, M.D. and urologist Jason Hafron, M.D. for his fact-finding process and eventual surgery.

"At first, when diagnosed there was some fear, however the more information I gathered and more people I spoke with, it took the scare out of it," says Paul.

Prostate cancer treatment options include:

  • Active surveillance
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Hormone Therapy
  • Freezing
  • Chemotherapy

After talking with Dr. Hafron, a surgeon who specializes in robotic prostatectomies, he decided his best option was minimally invasive surgery. The benefits include:

  • Smaller incision
  • Less pain
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster return to daily activities

Regarding recovery, Dr. Hafron tells his patients, "If you feel like you can do it, go for it."

Paul heeded Dr. Hafron's advice. He had his surgery on Sept. 20 at Beaumont Hospital, Troy and was up and walking within 12-14 hours. He was discharged within 24 hours and walking on a treadmill at home three days later.

"The whole experience was just great. The hospital staff put me at ease. Beaumont has an amazing network of support," explains Paul.

When Paul's son, Paul James, 16, learned his father would most likely not be able to compete in the Detroit Free Press marathon he told him, "Not a problem. I'll put a relay team together to help you out."

True to his word, Paul James, a student at St. Mary's Prep, recruited members of his cross country team to run. Each ran from three to six miles, including father and son. They also raised money for prostate cancer awareness and research.

Says Dr. Hafron who went downtown to the watch the team run, "This is one of the more touching moments of my career. An awesome experience."