Hurk, 54, lived a normal life with his wife in Murfreesboro, Tenn. until he began experiencing frequent urination throughout the night. Symptoms like frequent urination can be signs that there is something wrong with a prostate, and shouldn’t be ignored. Hurt took the first step of seeking help by having a conversation with his doctor to decide whether screening was right for him.
He had a scheduled annual physical and expressed his concern to his doctor. His doctor recommended a PSA test, a simple blood test that measures the amount of PSA in your blood. High levels of PSA can signal a variety of prostate conditions, including cancer. When the blood work came back, Hurk was diagnosed with diabetes and his doctor also found a high level of PSA related to his prostate.
His doctor then referred him to see urologist Chad Jackson, MD, at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford, for a biopsy. The biopsy results showed that Hurk had prostate cancer. Hurk discussed his options with Dr. Jackson on how to move forward with this diagnosis. He decided to get his prostate removed.
Prostate cancer is most treatable if it’s found early. At Ascension Saint Thomas, our doctors recommend that men age 55 and older talk with their doctor about screening for prostate cancer. Even if you don’t have symptoms, a family history may mean increased risk. “Ironically, my brother just dealt with the same diagnosis,” said Hurk. “The day I found out I had prostate cancer, he was getting his removed.”
While Hurk waited for his prostate removal, he focused on managing his diabetes by walking daily and trying to stay healthy. Within three months, Hurk was able to lose 30 pounds. He went back to his primary care physician for another checkup and discovered that he had high blood pressure. Hurk was then put on medication to control his blood pressure levels.
A week before Hurk’s scheduled prostate surgery, his doctor wanted him to come back in to check his blood pressure levels. “It turns out my blood pressure was higher while taking this medication,” said Hurk. “My doctor told me there is a possibility there could be a blockage in my heart and that my body was rejecting the medication. They recommended I see a specialist for this, but my main concern was to get this surgery completed and my prostate cancer removed.”
The day of surgery on January 25, 2023, Hurk’s blood pressure was at normal range, and he was ready for surgery. Within 15 minutes of the surgery, Hurk went into cardiac arrest. His team of doctors took quick action and performed CPR for 14 minutes and shocked him three times before they were able to recover him. “I went from undergoing prostate cancer surgery to now having this team try and save my life,” said Hurk.
Cardiologist, Hady Lichaa, M.D., at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Rutherford, was on Hurt’s care team when he went into cardiac arrest. He discovered that Hurk had a 99% blockage in his arteries. This new discovery would delay Hurk from getting his prostate removed until his heart and blood pressure could be managed. If you have advanced heart disease, you may be too high-risk for surgery or other traditional treatments.
Dr. Lichaa put a stent in his heart, which has allowed his arteries to stay open and avoid any more potential blockage. The heart care team at Ascension Saint Thomas Heart specializes in coronary interventions that open arteries, increasing blood flow to help relieve symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue.
“It was almost a blessing in disguise that I was in surgery for my prostate when I had this cardiac episode,” said Hurk. “If I were anywhere else and had this cardiac arrest, I don’t think I would have made it. My team at Ascension did not give up. They fought for me. They called me the ‘miracle man.’”
Since the stint was placed in his heart, Hurk has been back into his exercise routine and walking daily. He is now following up with Dr. Jackson to find next steps for his prostate cancer removal and maintaining his heart health with Dr. Lichaa.
Advanced care heart care in Murfreesboro
When you need more advanced heart care, your care team works together to monitor your heart health and deliver personalized treatment. Your doctor may also recommend medications, lifestyle changes and follow-up care to help manage your heart symptoms. Talk to a cardiologist today. ascension.org/SaintThomasHeart