Richard's Story

“When Richard Hirdler learned he had prostate cancer, he fought it with the same intensity he brings to the gym.”

In high school Richard Hirdler was a gifted athlete – a pole vaulter on the Cambridge High School track team.

He is proud that at age 69 he is still physically active, stating he can do 1,111 sit-ups in 43 minutes with a 90-pound weight on his chest. So when Richard learned he had prostate cancer, he fought it with the same intensity he brings to the gym.

Richard’s cancer journey began in 2008 with a routine physical at HealthPartners Central Minnesota Clinics. His provider, Barry Radin, PA, noticed Richard’s PSA had increased quickly and referred him to Christopher Boelter, MD, a urologist at Adult & Pediatric Urology, for a biopsy. The biopsy revealed prostate cancer. Dr. Boelter felt the cancer was fairly aggressive, and he recommended a da Vinci Prostatectomy.

A da Vinci Prostatectomy is a minimally invasive, robotic-assisted surgical procedure that removes the cancerous prostate gland and related structures.
Richard asked Dr. Boelter about postponing the surgery because of an upcoming wedding and a 50th class reunion. Dr. Boelter told Richard there was a 5 percent chance that the cancer would spread in that time. “I asked Dr. Boelter what he would do in this situation and he told me, ‘If I had a dent in my car, I would want it fixed yesterday,’” said Richard. Dr. Boelter’s reasoning greatly impressed Richard. “I liked that Dr. Boelter takes the time to talk to you and answer all your questions,” he said. “He is very professional, meticulous and precise.”

Richard had his surgery Oct. 3, 2008 and was discharged the following afternoon – only 24 hours after the surgery. Compared to previous hernia surgeries, Richard found that the da Vinci Prostatectomy left him with smaller incisions, less scarring, a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery.

Richard now feels great and believes his prognosis is good. He still works full time for the City of St. Cloud in the Street Department. He continues to work out at the gym, deer hunt, fish and read.

Richard credits his quick recovery to a lifestyle that includes exercise, the loving support of his wife and family and his faith.