Happy New Years

prostate-cancerLet me wrap this up with an end of year summary of my experience with prostate cancer.  I could have written more after that last blog but really, I don’t think about this much anymore.  That might sound odd but it’s true.  Eight months after my prostatectomy, my recovery is complete enough that I am no longer preoccupied with thoughts of cancer or measuring my recovery progress.  Only one relative asked me about it over the holidays and I was fine with that.  I’m done bringing it up.

I should relate my experience with the penis pump.  I asked my Urologist for one because I wasn’t satisfied with my erections.  I began to obtain erections fairly quickly after surgery.  They grew more robust with each passing month.  I only took the 30 day sample of 5 mg Cialis and never asked for refills because I believe my extreme running has my blood flowing strong.  My issue with erections has been two-fold.  I had not been able to obtain a boner without a helping hand.  As in physical stimulation.  And it would not remain hard during intercourse.  Talk about frustrating.  I got over my initial immature concerns with the pump and determined to try it in an effort to avoid prescription medication.  I’m not totally against meds but I do feel they should be a last resort.  Also, I never noticed any benefit from the 5 mg sample of Cialis.

I found the pump to be a bit of a process.  It’s fairly simple if only using the vacuum to create an erection.  But much more complicated if you apply the ring to clamp the blood flow.  And good God is that ring ever uncomfortable.  I could never imagine actually having sex with that rubber band around my shaft.  Maybe if I was into S&M, but I’m not.  It works fine though to spring a stiffy.  My Urologist suggested therapy to me during our last visit when I related my requirement for physical stimulation.  I declined.  I can’t see myself in therapy.  And I really do improve measurably each month.  In fact, I woke up with a boner on Christmas Day.  Talk about a Merry Christmas.  This was a first since surgery and a very welcome gift.

I wouldn’t say I’m 100%.  I’ll never be 100% again.  I aged from this, both physically and emotionally.  It still bugs me not to ejaculate during orgasm.  That takes some getting used to.  But I do orgasm.  There are worse things.  Overall, my quality of life is fully back and probably better than most men my age.  In my first race after the surgery, I ran a PR 3:31 marathon.  One minute shy of qualifying for Boston.  After ten years sporting a buzz cut, I’ve purposely grown my hair long.  My bangs are down to my nose.  I’m not stupid, I know I’m compensating for having lost my prostate to cancer.  But after all this, it feels good to know that at 52 my hair still grows like a weed.

At the end of the day, I feel very fortunate.  I am 100% cancer free.  I don’t consider myself at all unlucky to have prostate cancer fifteen years below the average age.  My youth made surgery an option and enabled me to recover much quicker than average.  I won’t have to worry about prostate maladies when I’m 65.  I’m good.  I’ve been able to advise a couple of men after they read my blog, and several more have thanked me for chronicling my story.  Happy to share.

Fitness & Health

Cialis film-coated tab 5 mgI met with my Urologist today for a post-surgical progress report. My PSA levels are fine. At .3 ng/mL, they could be lower.  It will probably never be zero because of how these tests work. I’ll have these reviewed quarterly for the next two years. I’m good on urinary continence, and of course have started my physical therapy for that. I have three more PT visits over the next two weeks on that topic.

My incisions are also healing well.  In fact, I escaped my prostatectomy without any infections period.  Feeling good about that.  The next focus area is erectile dysfunction.  Sonofagun, if I’m not ahead of the curve in that area too.  I am having erections already.  They have not been sustainable for actual sex, but they are a start.  Dr. Webster offered me a choice of Cialis or the erectile vacuum pump, or both.  I declined the vacuum pump.  I’d rather my kids find my collection of vibrators in the house than that.  I did research the pump online and am just not comfortable with it.  At least, I’d rather try the Cialis first.  Remind me to clear my browser search history.  He gave me a 30-day supply of low-dose, 5 mg samples.

We talked further about my running and his belief that even for my age, Dr. Webster believes I am recovering stronger than his typical patient.  I think the standard idiom is “health & fitness” but I reversed it for my blog title because Dr. Webster made the point that he credits my fitness being largely responsible for my rate of recovery – for my health.  He described how the effect of good blood flow and other healthy body conditions lead to a stronger recovery.  This made me feel pretty good.

He then tempered my enthusiasm to ensure I didn’t push myself too hard.  He suggested I keep my runs at 3 miles for the next month.  That was actually my game plan so we’re on the same page.  I’m not in a hurry to get back into racing shape.  I just want to show progress.  And I have some events I hope to be ready for.  I’m confident I will be without over doing anything.  I expect to report next on how this Cialis works out.