iStock climaxMy story is nearing the end.  I doubt I’ll have much more meaningful content to share with you regarding my experience with prostate cancer. I completed my final physical therapy followup this afternoon with Jenn. I would consider continuing to see her for running-related injuries and whatnot. She’s good. And after our initial encounter, I feel sort of close to Jenn now. Her specialty though is pelvic floor related health issues, not aging runners.  I know because I asked.

Turns out Jenn has quite extensive experience in a number of PT disciplines including spinal hip abductioninjuries and head trauma.  She spent some time reviewing my leg muscles and determined – big surprise – my left side is weaker than my right.  Either from or as a result of that, my right leg is shorter due to a maladjusted hip.  She recommended some hip exercises: the hip abductor, hip adductor and clam shell.  All seem relatively simple.  I plan to try them out to strengthen my left side in an attempt to mitigate future running injuries.

With my urinary continence now under control, I intend to speak to my urologist about where I am with ED on our next visit. I forget when that is exactly but we are to meet quarterly for the next two years. Essentially, I’m fine with erections. Well, marginally functional. I’m less fine on the topic of climax. I actually can’t tell you if I’ve had one or not. I believe I have but the experience is that slight.  My penis experiences contractions, but they generate only a fractional sensation of what I remember an orgasm feeling like. It makes perfect sense to me that my nerves need to fully regenerate throughout my pelvic floor, which I am told will take a full year. But I still would like to understand more details on this topic. The one thing I have learned is my Urologist tends to share information with me as he thinks I need it. That’s probably fair because if he told me stuff too far in advance, I would not be focused on it and would forget half of it. Considering I have erections though, working toward a climax seems like the logical next step.

In fact, I’m in the mood now for a thorough understanding of the post-prostatectomy experience. And I’d rather the information come from my doctor because googling this topic is polluting my computer with nefarious URLs in my browser history. I bet you didn’t know about prostate massages. I do now. Seems like the sort of thing that would have maybe been useful to know about before I had my prostate removed. Nurses advertise online to provide this milking service. Well, at least I think they are nurses. They say they are nurses and that a prostate massage promotes good prostate health. That and Saw Palmetto should keep your prostate cancer free. Seriously, click on that link above and look into it.  Become an expert on the topic.

I bought a book two weeks ago on erectile dysfunction and post-prostatectomy orgasms from Harvard Health Publications.  Ironically it just arrived in the mail today.  One might think you could only read about such topics on the Internet but Harvard is bold enough to write on these topics in hard copy.  Not so sure I’m comfortable letting the book sit out on the coffee table.  I’d prefer to download a copy to my Kindle so I could read it more privately.  Looking very forward though to the content in order to become more informed on the topic.

If this does in fact turn out to be my final story to this blog, I hope you do well.  And I hope you found some of my stories useful.  I will know when I have comments and will of course reply back.  You can remain anonymous.    Don’t hesitate to reach out.

Physical Therapy

Pelvic FloorIn retrospect, I’m not sure I should have expressed such enthusiasm over my first PT visit.  I envisioned learning some useful exercises to control abdominal muscles.  I was told to expect kegel exercises.  While I wasn’t experiencing huge issues with incontinence, I was in fact starting to have more incidences of unintended dribbles after coughing, sneezing and flatulence.  And based on my experience, PTs just know lots of cool muscle information.  To my surprise however, this turned out to be the most exhaustive rectal exam of my life.  Part of my consolation from surrendering an organ to prostate cancer was in the misguided belief that I would never again require a rectal exam.  Ignorance is bliss.

I will say, my rectum seems less sensitive these days.  Not that it’s any more receptive.  Perhaps there is more room sans prostate.  Or could be the deadened nerves.  Beyond the waning physical sensation, any pride I once had is now increasingly desensitized as well.  I wore sweat pants with an elastic waistband.  On a certain level, I probably knew what to expect.  I’m telling you though, because no one told me.

My PT, Jennifer Davia, was highly professional and knowledgeable; and despite the circumstances I enjoyed talking with her.  Jen is CAPP-pelvic certified and specializes in pelvic dysfunction.  My Urologist sends all his patients to see her.  She explained the pelvic floor muscles to me.  A group of 3 muscles actually, puboco-this and ilioco-that.  I didn’t take notes but she showed me a model of the pelvic floor muscles as she talked.  She had me lay on my side and perform a series of kegel-like exercises for 10 or 15 minutes while she probed my pelvic floor muscles.  She determined my left side is a bit weaker than my right.  Big surprise.  Every running injury I ever incur is to my left side.  The series of exercises I performed, quick contractions and long contractions, are what I now have as a twice daily routine.  Should be more pleasant at home without half of Jen’s digits up my arse.  Jen emailed me the exercises from a site she subscribes to – PhysioTools.  I’ll return weekly three more times to check my progress and learn more advanced exercises.

After having my catheter removed on April 10th, my only other medical visit was Tuesday for a blood draw to record my PSA score for next Monday’s Urology consultation.  A full month on my own.  I did nearly call my Urologist several times about my burning meatus.  I expected my penis pain to subside much sooner and wondered if I didn’t have an infection.  But I was conflicted.  I also didn’t want my doctor scolding me for being a hypochondriac, saying, “Of course your penis hurts, it was recently impaled by a catheter for 8 days!”  So I took advantage of my blood draw to also have a urinalysis performed.  That’s the sort of thing a medical assistant can do in any office.  I learned from this that I don’t have an infection.  I do have blood in my urine still.  However, at a level that is to be expected after my surgery.  So all is good and I was able to stealthily learn this without bothering my Urologist.

Last point is I’m starting to really feel recovered.  I intend to try running tomorrow, which would be a full six weeks ahead of schedule.  Probably just 3 miles since that is what I currently walk.  Not sure if I’ll share that story in my running blog or here.  Maybe both sites.