When suddenly faced with a diagnosis of kidney cancer, the world could have stopped. It did for a few days until I had the great fortune to meet Dr. Gholami, who saw me immediately, studied my case, and with care and respect was articulate in helping me understand his approach to resolve my problem. His positive attitude and skillful approach addressed my medical issue with a minimally invasive medical procedure, allowing me to be in and out of the hospital in two days. Dr. Gholami also communicated with my wife throughout the process, lessening her fears and anxiety. I am very thankful to Dr. Gholami and his professional staff. Bret M
I have a family history of cancer, but was not even thinking of cancer when I was diagnosed at my age 50 physical. My father was diagnosed with PC at age 65. I had no symptoms or PSA elevation since my last physical at age 45 to signal that I had PC in 20% of my prostate. I eat well and exercise diligently. My internist Dr. Yamouti, discovered a nodule on my prostate on Dec 5, 2009. The urologist found the same nodule, scheduled a biopsy and the results showed PC stage 2a with a Gleason of 3+3. The left side results were 6 of 6 cores with cancer. It was scary to realize that if my internist had not paid attention and found my PC at this physical, my next physical and chance of discovery would have been 5 years later!
At my young age, and from our extensive research, long term survival was best if I followed a surgical path. I met with 4 urologists/surgeons over an 8 week period. I met Dr. Gholami and found him to be the most experienced with the Da Vinci "miracle" machine. He told me and my wife that we should not rush into anything, answered a long list of questions, and referred several patients for further info. He also insisted waiting for the prostate to calm down after the biopsy before any surgery - very important for nerve sparing success. Something other doctors failed to mention.
The first 2 weeks after my March 31 surgery were difficult, but I was walking laps in our back yard the day after surgery. I extended my walks further each day. Once the catheter was removed, I started to exercise on my stationary bike and returned to work. I ran a 10K at week 7 post surgery. Plumbing was back to normal quickly. My pre-op energy level returned about 7 months post surgery. Lucky for us all, we have this technology and medical talent in our country.
Advice for those considering Dr. Gholami and surgery:
If you have a family history and ignored it, tell your friends to learn their own family history. You could save their life with that simple advice.
Douglas C – high tech sales exec, surgery March 31, 2010
Dr. Gholami, In the summer of 2009 I learned that I had moderately aggressive prostate cancer. At that point the only thing I was sure of was that I wanted the cancer OUT. I had never had a major surgery and now was diagnosed with cancer. I was, to put it mildly, scared stiff. I have repeated the sequence of events in my mind so many times it is almost second hand… 7:00 am Wednesday went to operating room.. 24 hours later I was walking in the hall and I went home. By Monday I was feeling pretty good. Less than one week after surgery I was working from home and moving around comfortably. About three weeks after surgery I was at work and noticed that my “pee” pads had been dry for a several days. I stopped using them after that. I never had a problem with continence overnight.
I’m sending you my story to share with your patients in hopes it will help someone overcome the fear that takes over after you find out you have cancer and that you need surgery. One year after surgery my PSA is less than 0.01 and I am 100% continent. Oh there are times when I pass gas or cough very hard that I dribble a little – to be clear a few drops. The one thing that has amazed me the most is how my live is literally the same today as it was before the procedure.
No one could believe I was only off work one week, worked from home one week and then returned to my 10 hour days at work.
You deserve a big congratulations for getting all of the affected area out and for cleaning up behind yourself so my life continued as if nothing had been done.
I would recommend you and your robotic assistant Da Vinci to anyone requiring prostate surgery. Thank you very much. TB
In October of 2009 (following a progression of higher PSA tests), my doctor referred me to Dr. Gholami.
Starting with the first visit, I was impressed by Dr. Gholami's direct and confident demeanor. It was clear that he knew what he was talking about. He explained the fact that, in the past, there was a tendency to watch the PSA until things reached a critical point before taking action. We could wait and watch, but the PSA would likely continue to rise with the possibility of real trouble ahead. He went on to say that I should not worry and that we should take things one step at a time (this was a consistent theme throughout the process).
The next step, he said, was to have me undergo a biopsy and then we would take the next steps. The biopsy took about 30 minutes and then we waited for the results. About two weeks later, the results were in and indicated that I had stage 1 prostate cancer. Again, Dr. Gholami emphasized that I should not worry and following a discussion surrounding treatment options we decided on removal surgery. He said that if I were his brother he would recommend the same approach. There were the possibilities of side effects, but the odds were low and we decided to move forward with the incredibly advanced daVinci surgery.
I was fortunate to have a very good friend who had undergone surgery with no issues and he encouraged me to do the same. As the Holiday season was just ahead I decided to wait until after, and underwent the surgery in late January 2010. I spent one night in the hospital and then I was released to recover at home with a pain medication, which (as Dr. Gholami predicted) I did NOT need.
Bladder control was not a big issue with only a handful of very small incidents when sneezing or coughing. A catheter that had been inserted was removed after two weeks. After 5 months, I was able to have sex just as I had before surgery. And today, after 7 months I feel better than ever.
The above, represents the facts of my journey to date.
The back story is that this was much more of an emotional than a physical ride for me and my wife. Note: My wife was very supportive and encouraging. Dr. Gholami was very patient with my occasional hand wringing and answered all my questions.
Prostate Cancer is scary and the treatment is not pleasant. But, as Dr. Gholami stated, the minutes of pain and the inconvenience of having a catheter are significantly outweighed by the fact that the cancer is removed. Wanting to get better is half the battle. Not worrying, taking one step at a time and trusting your Doctor is the advice I would give anyone diagnosed with any form of cancer or illness. Don't worry, take one step at a time and trust those around you.
DF Age 56 Engineering Manager Santa Clara, Ca
Dear Doctor: When I thanked you for my surgery and results you replied "that's what I do". In my opinion, based on my experience and research, you are probably the best in your field. My great fortune was being able to meet up with you! I could elaborate on all the elements that make one superior in their endeavors, but that's all encompassed in best. I wish you a long and energetic life, that you can help a great many and derive a great satisfaction from that. Once again, Thanks!!! Doug
Dr Gholami, When my family physician recommended further testing of my prostate and gave me the name of two Urological Surgeons I feel blessed that I was guided to make the choice of you to come and visit.
I found myself to be uncharacteristically at ease when consulting with you about my problem and you gave me a feeling of "we're gonna beat this thing" right from the beginning.
After the biopsy showed cancer, you recommended that I undergo a radical prostectomy using the DeVinci Robotic System. Being a person that has never been admitted to a hospital in my life, I was, to say the least, scared. Although scared, I also felt somewhat at ease because I felt I had chosen this areas best Urological Surgeon.
Now, almost 5 months after my surgery, I am totally convinced I selected the absolute best surgeon. You made me and my wife feel that you truly cared and that, together, we were going to beat this thing. About the surgery itself, the worst part was undoubtedly having to wear a catheter for two weeks. Not so much that it's painful, just quite uncomfortable. I spent one night in the hospital and was home 30 hours after the surgery. Each day I experienced significant improvement from the previous day and once the catheter was removed I didn't experience any significant discomfort. I have complete urinary control and my ED is a nonissue with the help of ED medication.
I just had my first PSA since the surgery, and when you came in the office and said "what are you doing here, your PSA is "0" and it's raining outside, go home", my wife and I both felt nothing short of elation.
To you I would just like to say once again, "Thank you for doing what you do". You are a magnificent surgeon. And to those who may be considering going through a similar procedure I would just like to say "God has blessed you by sending you to Dr Gholami. Rest assured you are in the hands of the best!" Sincerely, Steve
In May of 2008 I underwent a DaVinci Prostatectomy and wish to share my experience with you. After having been diagnosed of prostate cancer, I did considerable research and consultation and opted to have the surgery performed by Dr Sharham Shawn Gholami, of Urology Associates of Silicon Valley.
Since my initial interview with him, I felt that I was in good hands. He spent a long tome with me and my wife explaining the various options available to me, describing each one in considerable detail. He inspires confidence, one feels that he will take care of your condition.
The surgery, which I feared, was not at all what I imagined. In fact, I was home after two nights at El Camino Hospital. I felt no great discomfort or pain; in fact I refused pain killers after the first night.
It’s been several months since then I have resumed all my activities, including carrying my clubs on my back and walking 18 holes, which I started after only four weeks after the operation.
Good luck with yours! R. B. Monterey, CA
It has now been 10 weeks since my prostrate surgery and I couldn’t be happier to know I am cancer free. I have regained most of my erectile functions and would put my recovery at about 92% after a short ten weeks. I was up and feeling well just 60 hours after the operation. The catheter was in place for 10 days but once it was removed I felt great except for my incontinence which to this day is the last area of concern. I have monitored my recovery using Monday’s as my reference day. The first week I wore pads that needed to be changed about every 90 minutes. Today I wear the pad for precautionary reasons and it lasts the entire day. To this day I have a tendency to drip once in awhile when I sneeze or cough but I suspect another week from now I’m 100%.
I was back to work 14 days after the surgery but I took it easy. I am proud to say I played 18 holes of golf 21 days after the surgery but again took it easy not to strain anything. I’m now able to travel and do anything without worry. The fear of having a surgery of this magnitude was minimized when I talked to others who have gone through this surgery. I was directed to use the De Vinci method for the procedure which led me to Dr. Gholami. Dr. Gholami is an expert in this field and I couldn’t be happier about the outcome and those he surrounds himself with at the office. I hope Dr. Gholami shares this information with any patient that might be worried or has concerns. If anyone would like additional information or someone to talk with before making a decision of this magnitude I please don’t hesitate to ask. I would love to talk with anyone who needs to know what to expect from this surgery. In the end, I look forward to living a long healthy life and helping others that carry the fear of cancer with them. J.M. Surgery performed on July 31st 2008
I spent a lot of time investigating the myriad of possibilities for treating prostate cancer.The robotic laparoscopic procedurelooked to offer not only the best possibility of eliminating the cancer, but also, given post operative pathological analysis and PSA tests, could offer more definitive evidence that the mission was accomplished.The possibility of long term side effects from the surgery was a concern but paled in comparison to having a high probability of totally eliminating the cancer and having a “cure”.
The key question for me was: how doI find a great surgeon to do the job?Fortunately I was introduced to Dr. Gholami. His reputation, considerable experience and success at the leading edge of prostate surgery, along with his straight forward confident demeanor, convinced me he was the one for the job.Dr. Gholamiwent through the treatment options with me and confirmed my feeling that the da Vinci laparoscopic procedure was the best choice for my case. Hemade a statement something like:“Have the surgery, get this behind you, and get on with your life. The primary objective is to get rid of the cancer, this is the best way to do it, and any post surgery side effects can be dealt with.”
I had surgery and it was extremely successful. The cancer was confined to the prostate, the pathology report showed negative surgical margins, and my 3 month follow up PSA reading was “zero”.Discomfort from surgery was minimal and only lasted a couple of days. I startedtaking long walks and chipping golf balls within a week, and was lifting weights, golfing and running again within 6 weeks of surgery. R.B., High Tech Exec, retired
Dear Shawn Gholami MD, Thank you very much for the support you gave me during my recent surgery. Receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer is not an enjoyable experience and has had a very strong impact upon my life; however working with a surgeon who is respectful, thoughtful and extremely competent has helped me to get through the process.
After my initial diagnosis I was in a state of shock/denial but after this brief period I decided to get as much data as I could about my prognosis and options for removal of the cancer. I discussed my prognosis, stage of cancer and options with no less than 6 different doctors including my general practitioner, other local oncologists and Stanford University.
I considered the following options to eliminate the cancer; radiation using radioactive seeds, external radiation with hormone therapy, prostrate removal using a large incision in my abdomen and prostate removal using the Davinci method which uses laparoscopic techniques to remove the prostate.
I chose Dr Gholami because he was very experienced with the Davinci method and he made me feel the most comfortable in his ability to achieve my objectives of removing my prostate with the minimum of risk and discomfort. I did not make this decision lightly and after the surgery I feel that my confidence in Dr Gholami was justified and I am feeling very confident about living the rest of my life to my full potential.
I would have no hesitation in recommending Dr. Gholami to anyone who finds themselves diagnosed with prostate cancer. Sincerely, P.G.
Radio announcer at 107-7 The Bone, San Francisco
That picture was taken a few hours before Lance Armstrong won his 6th Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It was one of the great times in my life, riding my bike every day, following Lance around the spectacular French countryside in the summer of 2004.
Shortly after I returned home, I knew it was time to finally look into a problem I was having with frequent urination. That’s when I made an appointment to see Dr Gholami. Ironic, but I found out that he actually studied medicine in Paris not far from where I was standing in front of The Arc de Triomphe. Well, I found out that I had an abnormally high PSA level. I had to have a biopsy. Then Dr Gholami gave me the chilling news - "You have prostrate cancer.....but it's highly treatable." Wow.
Dr Gholami carefully explained to me my options and encouraged me to get a second opinion. I did. And I got a third opinion as well. My decision was to have Dr. Gholami remove my prostate laparoscopically.
I was so impressed with Dr Gholami's measured approach, his skill at having performed so many hundreds of these surgeries, and his care and concern for me as a patient. The surgery went flawlessly. I was in the hospital for 2 days and back at work on the radio in exactly one week!
The Arc de Triomphe was built by the great Napolean to honor those who fought in wars and, as corny as it may sound, I really feel that thanks to Dr. Gholami, I am celebrating my own personal triumph over cancer.
Livestrong. That’s my motto. S.S.
Dr. Gholami, It’s been five months since I had my prostatectomy with the DaVinci Robotic System and wanted to thank you and give a testimonial about my experience and recovery.
I had my surgery in late September 2008 and spent one night in the hospital. I experienced very little pain after surgery, only slight tenderness at the incision sites. By far the worst part of the recovery is living with the urinary catheter. There was no pain associated with the catheter, just an inconvenience, and although it was only ten days it seemed an eternity.
I was able to get erections and have orgasms starting about a week after the catheter was removed, however not very strong and certainly not sufficient for penetration. The strength of the erections are continuing to improve, although still not quite strong enough for penetration. As far as the bladder is concerned, I wore a small pad 24hrs a day going through maybe three or four a day for the first month, but was down to two pads by the second month. I continued to wear a pad for about 3 ½ months, mostly for “insurance” rather than necessity and have been “pad free” for about six weeks. I had my first PSA a couple of weeks ago and the count was “0”.
One of my big questions for you after surgery was, when could I play golf? You gave me the go ahead after about four weeks and I played my first round at Spyglass Hill exactly five weeks after surgery, here’s a picture of me teeing off on the 4th hole.
At 49 years old I certainly didn’t expect to have prostate cancer, I’m lucky it was discovered and treated early. Thank you, not only for your expertise in performing the surgery, but also for how expeditiously my case was handled. Sincerely, W.B.
Dear Doctor: When I thanked you for my surgery and results you replied "that's what I do". In my opinion, based on my experience and research, you are probably the best in your field. My great fortune was being able to meet up with you! I could elaborate on all the elements that make one superior in their endeavors, but that's all encompassed in best. I wish you a long and energetic life, that you can help a great many and derive a great satisfaction from that.
Once again, Thanks!!! Doug
Dear Dr. Shahram Shawn Gholami, M.D.
Re: Successful Prostate Cancer Operation
Kindly allow me to pass my warm regards to you and your entire staff for having carried out a very successful operation on 21 January, 2009.
On behalf of my family and on my own indeed, may I take this opportunity to really thank you most for a job well done, as your gentleness, kind words of encouragement and personal attachment in relation to my welfare during and after the operation made me feel myself and hence responded positively to medical treatment. The moral encouragement extended to me and my family in general was really touching and very wonderful.
In the same vein, I would like to advise that I am making a steady progress and as advised I will only start taking the half tablet regarding the blood circulation next week.
In view of the above and your personal humanitarian approach to my well being , may I on behalf of my family and on my own indeed extend our whole hearted invitation to our home whenever you may happen to visit this part of the world. Please feel free to do as this is now your second home. Please keep it up and may the Almighty God bless you all. Yours Sincerely A.S.Thakur and Family