Prostate cancer recovery experiences2021-06-11T12:08:25-04:00

Prostate cancer recovery experiences

Experiences along the bumpy road to recovery from prostate cancer and its treatment. This includes my story in chronological order, and invites other men’s stories to be added.

Guest post: getting to dry(ish) days

By Dr Rhys Leeming

Bladder control is a big problem for prostate cancer survivors and here’s how I helped myself by doing Kegels after my prostatectomy. I felt lucky to regain night time continence within about a month of prostate cancer surgery. But the daytime bladder control problems remained. Six weeks after my operation, I was still leaking 150-300 ml of urine per day depending on how active I was.

Just imagine pouring a whole stubby of warm beer down your crotch during the day, and you’ll get the idea. Well minus the froth anyway!

Bush walks with wet pants

It was always […]

Day 115: Awkwardness and love intertwining

21 June 2020: I still have severe erectile dysfunction according to the International Index of Erectile Function. What a blessing to have a partner with whom I can laugh, cry, connect and learn. We have been fumbling, laughing and loving our way into the new normal in our lovemaking.

Here’s an extract from my journal:

“Really awkward conversations with Colleen about how our libidos are intertwined. What turns us on. How to be sexual without erections. Being with radical uncertainty and not blaming each other.” ( 21 June 2020)

Spontaneity when differently able

My first problem was wanting sex to be […]

Day 120: Easy ways to eat healthy organic food and resist cancer

26 June 2020: This is about the astonishing joy of eating easy anti-cancer food. Diet is not a panacea, but here are some practical ways to eat healthy organic food every day. I’m convinced it helps keep cancer at bay.

I am what I eat and I’m determined to eat healthy organic food. It’s time to stop putting everything from pesticides to artificial hormones from badly-raised and over-processed food products into our bodies.

My gut feel is that the best diet for me is to eat mainly vegetarian without giving up meat and dairy completely. My wife and I have identified five […]

Using a Vacurect pump to support sexual intercourse

Using a Vacurect pump to support sexual intercourse

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction can use a Vacurect or similar pump to support sexual connection. It’s the only completely drug-independent way I know to coax an erection out of a flaccid penis. For those recovering from prostate cancer, it is also an excellent part of your rehab programme – please read this companion article on penile rehabilitation.

Whether you use PDE-5i drugs (common brands are Viagra and Cialis) or not, a vacuum erectile device (VED) like the Vacurect can produce a firmer erection that is completely within your control […]

Guest post, part 2: Adult incontinence after prostate surgery

By Pramod Daya

Adult incontinence is an unpleasant and often undiscussable side effect of prostate cancer treatment. It’s a frequent consequence of prostate cancer treatment and affects about 40% of all men going through radical prostatectomy surgery for up to a year and sometimes longer. It can feel like the flood you see in the photo. Here’s my story.

Gushing urine

I had been looking forward to removing the catheter that was inserted during my prostate cancer surgery described in part one of my story. The catheter was not fun – changing the bag for a […]

Guest post 3: I like measuring things – Tracking urine control

By Pramod Daya

I like measuring things. Especially the reports on my health – cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight. And graphing them, to get a sense of whether my general health is improving, or declining. My brother died at age 57, and my father at 94. Who knows my life expectancy? These graphs are an attempt to get some measure of control over an unpredictable life.

As I have recounted, I found myself gushing urine in the weeks after my prostate cancer surgery. Here’s how I held onto my sanity and found some sense of progress through measurement. […]

Day 147: Discovering pelvic floor physiotherapy

23 July 2020: Pelvic floor physiotherapy was the missing piece in my recovery puzzle after prostate cancer surgery. Because of systemic weaknesses in post-operative care, I got minimal practical guidance from my medical team. But now I am on track. Here’s what I have found so far, nearly 5 months after radical prostatectomy, and some of the milestones on my journey of discovery.

Distinguishing back, middle and front

It’s not enough to say “do your Kegels.” Our pelvic floor muscle system is rich and complex and until we have problems with it, it functions completely automatically and unconsciously. It includes at least […]

Guest story: Practical senior sex after radical prostatectomy

Guest story: Practical senior sex after radical prostatectomy

By Pratap and Jeannie Mehta

Here is some of the “nitty gritty” detail of practical senior sex: how we have maintained and extended our intimate relationship ten years after my radical prostatectomy, and into my 80s and my wife’s 70s. This is a companion piece to our relationship story of the ten years since radical prostatectomy.

We’re both retired and live on our own. Being together for 59 years has given us a lot of opportunity to enjoy a very active sex life (only with each other!) both before and after my robotic radical […]

Guest couple: Joyful and inventive sex into our 70s & 80s

By Jeannie and Pratap Mehta

Sex over 80 (for him) and approaching 80 (for her) “keeps us both young in many senses.”

A loving couple, together for nearly sixty years, looks back on the impact of a prostate cancer diagnosis ten years ago, and the ways they have sustained and reinvented their intimate relationship to cope with changing bodies and abilities.

Wife’s story: Jeannie writes

Cancer can change a sensitive and loving man through fear and pride, into a selfish version of himself. Normally a kind loving husband and father, he turned into a frightened, self-absorbed person. Fortunately we have moved on from that. […]

Guest couple: How our relationship was hurt, and recovered

By Jeannie and Pratap Mehta

Looking back after ten years on how prostate cancer affected our marriage, the big picture emerges. We have been together nearly 60 years, and the cancer, treatment and recovery were challenges for each of us individually, as a couple and in our wider relationships.

Here are some of our memories of how prostate cancer knocked us off our loving path and how we got back on track. The bonsai trees in our backyard are a metaphor for our lives interrupted, and how we adapted to and accommodated what life presents to us, as best we can.

Jeannie writes […]

Day 148 – Requiem for my prostate

24 July 2020: This is about, and goes beyond, my body changes after prostatectomy. I am healed on the outside. I can do everything I used to do out in the world. But something has changed deep inside.

A requiem is a musical act or token of remembrance. Here is a soundtrack to this post’s remembrance:

I ache in the places where I used to play – Leonard Cohen, 1988 (click link to listen)

Five months after my prostate was removed, the external healing is remarkable. Scars are minimal. My wonderful physiotherapist Hester is helping with deep fascia massage […]

Video documentary: David’s prostate cancer journey

Here is a remarkable prostate cancer survivor story documented live, as it happened, on video – with loving care and clarity.

“It’s an inner journey, deep in my core spirit, soul – and I have to walk it myself. I didn’t know anything about the journey with the effects it can have on you,” says David.

His gift to the world is that, with the help of an excellent film maker, he documents and shares the whole journey with us. The video includes live footage of just about everything. In-theatre video of the robotic machine in action, consultations with surgeon and physiotherapist, […]

Erectionless sex

3 August 2020: I still can’t get erections, but today I feel much more satisfied and less frightened. My wife and I are learning to navigate erectionless sexual connection. It’s day 158 after my prostatectomy, and a long time since I got anything like an erection outside of penile rehab exercises, but we can still make love.

To adapt, a lot has had to change inside me and in our relationship. My wife might choose to write from her perspective in due course. Meantime, here’s my take on how we are sustaining relationship and making love after my body […]

Month 6: Additional benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy

27 August 2020: Celebrating the benefits of pelvic floor physiotherapy with the wonderful Hester van Aswegen. Her specialist training and simple direct manner are helping me go beyond the basic penile rehabilitation and pelvic floor physio work previously described. Now we are working together on:

  • Going to the loo less frequently: rebuilding my bladder capacity;
  • Mobilising the deep tissues in my abdomen and groin to avoid the risk of dangerous adhesions;
  • Working pelvic floor muscles while moving and in different overall body positions;
  • Getting the penile rehab working in situations where it really counts (in […]

Day 187: New ways of making love with all kinds of fluidity

1 September 2020: Recovering from prostate cancer is nudging me towards greater gender fluidity and  my marriage toward more open-ended sexual experimentation.

Today is the first day of spring. But we woke to a cold, grey morning and snuggled back under the covers. Our cuddles emerge into a lovely gentle sensual pelvic massage for me from my beloved. There is no big sexual energy to it, just loving kindness and a little bit of swelling on my part. Maybe we are finally getting tuned into that non-goal-directed sexuality advocated by my cryptic friend Andrew three months ago.

It feels sumptuous, loving […]

Day 227: Still yearning for recovery roadmap and integrated care

11 October 2020: I’ve spent the last month as chief nurse and assistant physiotherapist to my wife after her knee replacement operation. She’s been given a crystal clear recovery roadmap with a detailed management plan for painkillers, stretching, rest, ice and exercise. The quality of her integrated care and clear roadmap to recovery is a joy to share.

It’s also a stark reminder of what is often missing in prostate cancer recovery care.

Pre-hab, rehab and close cooperation between surgeon, physiotherapist, patient and home care team

Long before her surgery, she was sent to a specialist physiotherapist for “pre-hab” and given a strict programme […]

Day 260: Yoga for the penis, Part 2 | Real time biofeedback

13 November 2020: Here’s how real time ultrasound biofeedback is helping me fine tune my urine control and penile rehab programme after prostate cancer surgery.

It’s hard to keep on board with all the rehab activities after prostate surgery. My recovery from erectile dysfunction (ED) has slowed down in the last couple of months. Doubts have crept in about the effectiveness of pelvic floor physiotherapy to support erectile function. I also still dribble urine every now and then.

Too many people simply tell prostate cancer survivors “remember to do your Kegels.” It’s time to fine tune that with the aid of […]

Day 264: Yoga for the penis, Part 3 | Integration

17 November 2020: Practical ways of combining penile rehabilitation with sexual play are finally dawning. What were a disparate set of decidedly unsexy rehab exercises can actually be integrated into something both shared and also more sexy. And this integration actually improves the rehabilitation process!

I’m referring to it as a form of yoga because this is a deep mix of physical stretching, loving engagement, acceptance of limitations, resilience and mindfulness.

I got the basics of yoga for the penis already six months ago and it has helped. But I’ve been finding it all rather clinical and lonely. This applies equally […]

Unique prostate cancer research study in South Africa

By Pierre Röscher

The single most inspiring moment of my life as a physiotherapist happened in 2015. I was there when world renowned  Australian prostate cancer specialist physiotherapist Dr. Jo Milios was presenting her PhD research at the World Physiotherapy Congress in Cape Town. Jo had also been presenting the first men’s health course in Africa along with her friend and colleague Gerard Green. It started a chain of events towards the launch of my prostate cancer research study.

I had lost a grandfather in 2009 due to complications from prostate cancer. The year after Jo’s electrifying speech, I had set myself […]

Guest post 2: what can happen to sex after ADT

By Martin Wells

“No sex after ADT” – the biggest fear of many men with prostate cancer. Here’s how my sexuality adapted to Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). Along the way I have learned a lot about testosterone, about relationships and about myself.

As a younger man, I thought I was in charge of being sexually available, having a hard on, wanting sex, doing really sexy crazy things. My sexuality was all about feeling very horny, wanting to shoot my load, wanting to penetrate and be penetrated, wanting to have orgasms. It felt fantastic!

Testosterone drove me

I hadn’t realised how testosterone was in charge […]

Diagnosis and treatment

You are welcome to visit these pages to read more about how I found out I had prostate cancer and prostate cancer treatment – radical prostatectomy surgery experience itself. These posts include my own story, other men’s stories, and my wife’s commentary.

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