At 78, Marvin Herring Is Still Running Thanks to Dr. Scott Thurman

Marvin Herring loves to run. The 78-year-old has been known to knock out a 5K in 28:50—thanks  to a dedicated fitness routine that includes regular laps around the TCU track and light weight workouts at 24 Hour Fitness.  

“I’m a proactive guy about my health,” he admits.

With a family history of prostate cancer and an enlarged prostate, Marvin had been having quarterly PSA tests since 2009. A biopsy in 2009 revealed he was cancer-free, but his PSA level had been steadily creeping higher and higher.

“It went to 9, then 10,11,12,13 and 14,” Marvin says. “I was urinating a lot—seven, sometimes 10 times a night. My prostate was really swelling. I said something is wrong and went to see Dr. John Pumphrey with Urology Associates of North Texas.”  

A 26-core biopsy in June 2015 revealed Marvin had cancer in three of the cores.

“Dr. Pumphrey couldn’t tell me if the cancer was contained to my prostate,” Marvin recalls. “I thought this could cause my death if it’s out of my prostate and all over my body. I was very upset. I’m a runner, I lift weights, I’m not overweight. I’m in excellent health.

“Dr. Pumphrey asked me if I wanted to continue as I was and hope for the best, or have the cancer removed,” he remembers. “I told him I wanted it removed. He asked me to read Dr. Patrick Walsh’s Guide to Surviving Prostate Cancer before I decided on whether I wanted to undergo radiation treatment or surgery.”
After reading about both treatments, Marvin decided a robot-assisted prostatectomy was the best option for him.

“Radiation would take three months, five days a week, and I didn’t want to put my wife through that, so I asked Dr. Pumphrey to recommend a doctor I could speak with about a robotic surgery. He suggested Dr. Scott Thurman,” Marvin explains.

“When I went to interview him, the first thing I asked him was how old he was and what physical activity he was involved with. He told me he was a runner. I said I was a runner too and we talked about that for a little bit. He said he runs in Foster Park like I do. Then I asked, ‘How many robotic surgeries have you done?’ If he had said 10, I would have walked out. But he said over 1,000. That gave me confidence in him and USMD Prostate Cancer Center—a lot of confidence.”

Dr. Thurman told Marvin he usually doesn’t perform robot-assisted laser prostatectomies on older men because they often aren’t in strong enough physical condition to undergo the surgery.

“He said he was making an exception for me because I appeared to be in very good health. I told him, ‘I am. I run every day. I can outrun you.’”

In fact, Marvin couldn’t imagine his life without running, so he was concerned about recovery time and post-surgery side-effects.  

“I asked him, ‘How much will I leak after surgery?’ He said, ‘You’re going to leak for a little while. It depends on you and what you do. I want you to go to rehabilitation afterward. The physical therapist will give you some exercises that will help stop leakage.’ It made me feel good that we could talk about it,” Marvin says.

On July 28, Marvin checked into USMD Hospital at Arlington.

“I had the best doctors and nurses,” he says. “And scheduler Brittany Woodruff was excellent. The hospital really takes care of you from the moment you walk in until you leave. I really appreciated that more than anything.”

It was during his surgery prep that Marvin met Karen Hand, a registered nurse he affectionately calls “The Nurse Whisperer.”

“I have a low tolerance for pain and when she began to set up my IV, I told her I preferred not to have it in my hand. She really listened to me and alleviated my stress. I didn’t have any fear or apprehension. On the way to surgery, I went to sleep and didn’t feel anything. When I woke up, it was 7:20 in the evening.”

Marvin’s surgery went very well.

“Dr. Thurman said I had the second largest prostate he’d ever taken out. I asked him if he had to use a chainsaw and he jokingly said, ‘No, but I really had to bear down on that laser cutter.’”

Marvin found his overnight stay at USMD Hospital in Arlington to be very pleasant.

“I give the two nurses who took care of me—Cheryl and Judy—an A*** rating,” he says.

While Marvin’s prostate cancer was originally diagnosed as low-grade, the post-surgery pathology report revealed his prostate actually contained medium-grade cancer.

“I’m glad it’s out. I was having a lot of problems due to my extremely large prostate,” he says. “Surgery gave my running life back to me. By August 20, I was jogging and running again. By September 20, I was in race form. I got my 5K time back to 33:05—pre-surgery it was 28:50—but I don’t have any leakage running or walking.”

Marvin does have to be careful about a few things.

“I don’t jump out of my recliner quickly and I don’t lean over at my gate to pick up my paper quickly—that presses against my bladder. But I met with a physical therapist four times during rehab and learned exercises that help with bladder control. The main thing was I didn’t want to leak when I was running or walking and that doesn’t happen.”

Marvin calls himself the “poster boy” for enjoying life cancer-free.

“I would tell all men, do your homework about the different treatment options, read and talk to your doctor. If you’re thinking about surgery, go robotic—but get in shape. And go to USMD Prostate Cancer Center. I recommend Dr. Thurman very highly.”

If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer and would like to know more about your treatment options, please contact USMD Prostate Cancer Center online or at 1-888-PROSTATE (1-888-776-7828).

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