I was going to make the title for this post, The Pros And Cons Of Living Without A Prostate, but could not, because there just are not any pros; there is just a life threatening reason, (Cancer) to take it out. Unfortunately you will not find your life has improved in any way except for the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the total prostatectomy has left you cancer free. If you are like me and like to see progress you will start to see progress where there has been very little and begin to push yourself too hard before you are ready and get angry with yourself for what I called set backs with incontinence, or sexual desire and erectile dysfunction, when in reality you are progressing faster than your doctors wildest dreams.
Sex: I think most men give up on things like sex, because they like I want it to happen yesterday and do not want to remember what our doctors said about it possibly taking up to a year and a half before the urge to have sex comes back and the nerves effecting erection heal completely, or the possibility of not being able to get an erection without the help of and aid and so we set unreasonably goals, get discouraged and quit, or set unreasonable goals and get angry at our doctors, neither thing getting us what we really want,”Sex”. I guess sexual prowess makes a man feel like a man and although most men hate to admit it we rate our manhood in that sexual activity all the while boasting about being the family protector, the bread-winner and the head of the family; let our penis not function for a while and our self-confidence in all that we do flies right out the window and we begin to imagine the worst things possible. We begin to think that our mates see us as unmanly, not attractive and think that they may seek sexual fulfilment elsewhere. Worst of all we begin to think that our mates will lose, or have lost respect for us on all levels, because we are only half the men we used to be. In most cases nothing could be further from the truth, but our lack of effort to get better, our quitting, or our bad moods often drive our mates first crazy and in the worst of cases out the door, or into someone elses arms , not for sex, but for peace of mind. I have noticed however that these problems can be solved by men being open and inclusive with their mates. Men seem to take on this problem as if it were only them going through these type of things alone and as though everything only affects them. Men are for the most part not talking to their mates about anything to do with the operation, or the effects of the operation is having on them, choosing instead to internalize their doubts and fears. This type of behaviour often leads the mate to wash soiled clothing, getting no answer to questions and being told not now honey. I would guess this leaves the mate feeling left out, rejected and used, this is not conducive to having a long , happy marriage.
Incontinence: I know that incontinence will make a man and his mate shy to be in the same bed together let alone be intimate together. Incontinence will make a man feel like a baby and strip him of his dignity if he is not careful to practice the exercises he was given before his operation so that his muscles are strong enough to hold his urine from leaking out as his only sphincter left learns to react automatically and replace the missing one that used to perform this function. As in everything else 90% of men figure they can do as they please not do the exercises and achieve full continence, or lift heavy before recommended time and not leak. Some like myself think that because they are wearing protection they can drink beer and get away with it, but all of these scenarios will not end in a good way. getting your incontinence in order is the first step to getting back your life after a prostatectomy. It will not be rushed, but can be controlled and the exercises do allow you as sense of freedom that you will not enjoy if you do not do them. It has been 6 months since I had my prostatectomy and I no longer need to wear any protective wear no matter what I am doing, or lifting. I have taken up the protective pads on the furniture and I can enjoy a 5 kilometer walk outdoors and fell safe that I will not have any accidents. Importantly that this security has boosted my desire to have sex. I no longer have fear of leaking when aroused by my mate and that is such a relief. Getting my incontinence in order has also put the spontaneity back in my sex life leaving me able to attempt sexual activity without fear of being soiled.
How Am I Doing: I am doing just fine. I believe that you get out of life what you put into it and life after having a prostatectomy is no different. The length of time before you are able to have an erection hard enough to penetrate varies from patient to patient depending on a lot of different variables, but quitting and not talking about it to your mate is not the answer. To be mentally, physically and emotionally ready to resume a normal life in all ways after having a prostatectomy one must get the problem with incontinence in order and I say is priority one. I can say that finally I have my incontinence under control and to where I am confident at work, taking long walks and attempting sexual activity and wearing no protective wear at all at anytime. After 6 months I have recovered my ability to sustain an erection hard enough for penetration, ejaculation is dry and internal and I find it is a little painful, but I will deal with that.
Advice: If you are looking to have everything the same as it was before you had the prostatectomy I would advise that you do not have the operation because it will not be so, but if you can deal with change and are willing to work hard and like me found the comfort of knowing I was cancer free was worth certain risks and changes to my life, then life after having a prostatectomy. with all of its challenges will be okay, but believing in yourself and in the possibility of success and working hard is 90% of your full recovery.
Studies: There are so many different studies asserting so many different things that one feels confused before, during and after the prostatectomy. Why the medical profession has decided to make a difficult decision more difficult for the patient is beyond me. Have it, do not have it, it is a waste of time, you can wait, what is a patient to think or do. If the studies have not done the job on men bad enough the same medical professionals have decided to make women, lives more confusing by stating that pap smears are not trustworthy and should not be given and in fact could be as bad for women as getting PSA testing is for men. Two trusted ways to uncover or detect cancer shot down by the very same profession that pushed them, so how does the patient know who to believe? Why should a patient trust anybody in the medical profession when they keep changing their advice? Is the sudden change of heart have anything to do with the escalating cost of running this kind of testing? Is this just a way to try and bring down the cost of budgets and insurance costs? All I know is that at a very difficult time in a cancer patients life these type of conflicting study results and suggested treatments add to the stress and confusion that leave a patients unsure what to do and may in the future lead to needless suffering and possibly death.
- StopYourDrip.com Highlights Male Incontinence Treatment After Prostate Surgery in Recognition of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month (prweb.com)
- Urinary Incontinence and Your Sex Life (everydayhealth.com)
- Early PCa surgery does not save lives (kingvalley.wordpress.com)
- Prostate Cancer Surgery May Not Always Up Survival (webmd.com)
- Post Prostate Removal Blues / The Road To Recovery