Prostate cancer recovery experiences2021-06-11T12:08:25+02:00

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.

9 months: a masterclass in softer pleasures

25 November 2020: It’s so good to get help with unavoidable sexual changes after prostate cancer.  My wife and I love each other as much as ever, but the way we make love has to change as a result of my erectile dysfunction. It’s difficult and confusing in the most intimate of ways. And it definitely affects us both. It’s 9 months since my radical prostatectomy and my wife and I are still trying to figure out how to behave with the floppy sausage between my legs that used to be hard.

Here’s how we got some affordable external help in […]

Guest poem: Finding the NEW

by Steve Jones

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer in October, 2020 I was scared, apprehensive and anxious. I didn’t really listen all that intently to the numbers. As soon as I heard the word cancer I just wanted it gone. My radical prostatectomy went well – the procedure was like clockwork.

But once I was discharged, the clock stopped. That’s when the real challenges began and I really needed support.

Now, a year later, my cancer is undetectable. Urinary incontinence was under control within five months. I still have random, very very light leaks sometimes – not wet enough to […]

Guest post 3: External Beam Radiation Therapy

By Martin Wells

After my radical prostatectomy didn’t catch all the cancer, I was prescribed 25 sessions of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) and two and a half years of Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). I call ADT chemical castration because that is what it is. The radiation would target what they call the “prostatic bed” – the area in which my prostate used to reside. Here’s my experience of EBRT back in 2009.

Three months after my radical retropubic prostatectomy my PSA was still consistently high (above 2), indicating the cancer was still present and had spread. A […]

Day 280: Open to outcomes, not attached to them

3 December 2020: Being open to outcomes allows people to address directions and issues that can’t be nailed down with firm definitions. Reflecting on the year that’s ending, I see that I am getting less attached to outcomes. This shift opens new doorways to explore what’s beyond my control.

My old, familiar motivation is about goals or defined outcomes, and it is powerful and valuable. I am really good at setting a defined goal and building steady progress towards it. But that is no longer enough as I age and with the onset of cancer and erectile dysfunction (ED). These are […]

Guest post: Getting over incontinence 8 years later

By GS, United Kingdom

For seven years after my radical prostatectomy, incontinence was an ongoing problem. It turned out I was doing my Kegels wrong. Here’s how learning to do pelvic floor exercises correctly made the difference, even after 8 years.

I was first diagnosed with a potential prostate problem by my GP at the beginning of 2013. At the time I did not have any prostate problems and was not aware of anything amiss. I actually went to see the doctor about a problem with my knee. I’m lucky he was alert and started the screening process. An MRI confirmed his […]

Day 320 – Losing my virginity all over again aged 62

12 January 2021: Let me share some joy in difficult times: I feel like I have lost my virginity all over again! It has taken a lot of love and awkwardness to bring the ungainly vacuum erectile device (VED) into the bedroom. At times it’s a struggle for erotic connection to triumph over all the mechanics. But it feels deeply worthwhile. My natural erectile function is healing slowly, but not yet sufficient for penetrative sex. I am grateful for a resilient, creative marriage and the simple drug independent support of my Vacurect pump.

More often than not, […]

Day 351: Eagerness emerging in new ways

12 February 2021: Nearly a year after my radical prostatectomy, natural erections are visiting on a rare, fleeting and unpredictable basis. How much I miss the eagerness of this body part that used so frequently to pop up of its own accord, regardless of the appropriateness of the occasion!

The legacy of a particular kind of eagerness

As my own erections return in fits and starts, I am reminded that for 50 years I have lived with the epitome of eagerness between my legs. I mean, it was always keen and usually ready to go, even if I tried to hide it. […]

One year after prostate surgery

27 February 2021: A year after radical prostatectomy, I am so glad to be alive. I’ve also realised it is time to tell my story.* In this post and short video, I reflect on the many changes in my life. There’s a lot I miss, but some of the changes are definitely for the better. And I celebrate a better outlook on life and love.

Not so invincible – in many ways

Until I was diagnosed with cancer, death and disability seemed far away. The myth of invincibility was easier to maintain. “Just train a bit harder and you will beat […]

Guest post: my experience of brachytherapy

By Trevor Pope

January 2022 marks ten years since my diagnosis and brachytherapy treatment for cancer of the prostate.

As anybody who has been given a dread-disease diagnosis will tell you, this can be life changing, even life-ending. So it is a BIG THING. There is a lot to deal with at various levels. Sometimes it can be helpful to read accounts by others who have made the journey, to be able to deal with the issues at various levels. Two of my neighbours were diagnosed in the last two years, (must be something in the water…) and one of them is […]

Brachytherapy side effects

by Trevor Pope

I received a diagnosis of prostate cancer ten years ago, and it was treated with brachytherapy. The treatment was a success and the outcome is that my cancer is cured. That is, if cancer is ever really completely cured? I do have some mild side effects of the brachytherapy treatment, but these are quite bearable, particularly when I consider the other possible outcomes.

If you are faced with the same diagnosis, and even considering treatment options, you may be feeling like a deer caught in the headlights. There may be a flood of information […]

Online course to navigate intimate connection after cancer

13 March 2021 (Day 380 after my surgery): This is about getting help with intimacy after cancer. I have a new body. For my wife it’s about having a partner with a differently able body. How do we connect intimately? We just completed Tess Deveze’s six week online course, Connection and Cancer. And it has been extremely helpful.

We thought we were getting intimacy after cancer figured out, and yet it is still awkward. I am glad we took Tess’s introductory offer to try out this course. Every week you get a new series of short videos, a workbook and […]

Guest post: I just wanted the cancer out!

By Paddy O’Brien

Whatever my Gleason Score was, I forget. It is written down somewhere. When urologist Dr Moolman told me (in May 2017) that 75% of the needle biopsy samples from my prostate were cancerous, after a TURP op, I just wanted my prostate OUT and ASAP.

(TURP=Transurethral resection of the prostate, an operation commonly performed to help men pee more freely)

To me, then and there, secondary considerations like urinary continence and erectile dysfunctionality could be dealt with later. I just wanted the cancer to be completely removed, and quickly. [Editor’s note: for a contrast, see Gavin’s […]

Day 417: Revealing interview: sexual recovery after prostate surgery

19 April 2021: I was interviewed today by my hero Dr Jo Milios and the wonderful Melissa Hadley Barrett. It was edgy to be so frank in telling the story of the first year of my sexual recovery after prostate cancer. I think they pointed the way for me to go deeper in this blog, too.

Here are some of the highlights.

From a young age my penis became the most exciting part of my body

Maybe my brain is more exciting. But I admit: all those jokes about men’s brains between their legs have more than […]

Partner Story 3: what is “natural sex” for a woman

By Colleen Dawson

Being a woman means that sex is inextricably linked to careful preparation. Spontaneity happens when the planning allows it. While many men are averse to anything “artificial” in their own sexual performance, I have always had to deal with paraphernalia and medical interventions to live a “natural” sexual life.

Here are my reflections on my fifty years of sexual activity, forty of them with Mish.

Addressing ED and penile rehab doesn’t feel natural to him

Mish recovered well from the operation itself, but inevitably was suffering from ED. We cuddled, touched and were intimate to some extent. Having erections is important […]

Day 418: Energy changes after prostate cancer

20 April 2021: Losing my prostate has brought energy changes. It’s also got me exploring where my energy really comes from. When I say “energy” I mean something less tangible than the literal physical energy we get from eating food and burning it in our muscles. Here’s my broad distinction:

Energy in physics

Not created or destroyed, merely transformed in our bodies from food into muscle movement.

Calilbrated in Joules or Calories

Energy in living experience

Rather a remarkable gift of life. Comes and goes with health, moods, relationships and more.

Calibrated in enthusiasm, creativity, libido, mindfulness, drive […]

Hardness: the last 5% can be the sweetest

Hardness: the last 5% can be the sweetest

Many men, including prostate cancer survivors, struggle to achieve and maintain full erectile hardness. But how hard is hard enough? If you have suffered from erectile dysfunction (ED), you probably know that semi-hard penetration can be disappointing. (And it can also be lovely!) After more than a year of ED I have learned a lot about that last 5% of erectile hardness:

  • The exquisite sensation of an erect penis increases enormously when it’s fully stretched. At 95% erection many men report that they feel more rubbery than before, less sensitive, and struggle to […]

PSA rising after treatment: like snakes and ladders

My PSA has started to rise, 18 months after my prostate cancer treatment.

Guest Post by Dr Rhys Leeming

I’m beginning to see later life in general, and Prostate Cancer (PC) in particular, like a game of snakes and ladders. Getting PC at all was like stepping on a tiger snake and getting bitten on the balls. You have to tie a tourniquet around them to stop the poison and then you notice you don’t feel like “sexy time” quite the same as before.

Today is the 18 month anniversary of the urologist trying to suck the poison out of my balls and […]

Day 497: Non-surgical treatment for Peyronie’s disease

8 July 2021: Prostate cancer treatment increases risk of Peyronie’s disease which leads to bent or misshapen erections. This is caused by the buildup of a hard knot or lump, known as plaque, in the membrane that surrounds the erectile tissues of the penis. Because this plaque can’t stretch, it produces a bend in a man’s erection when the remainder of the penis expands. I noticed a small (and new) bend in my own erections recently and was able to get self-help advice from a physiotherapist. For more serious cases, thank goodness there is now solid evidence for non-surgical treatment […]

Guest poem: Caught in a shock

By Wayne May

Caught in a shock that interrupts routines

Caught in a shock that interrupts routines
life and death play tennis with my feelings.
My body tries to respond and finds it’s not able
Strangely aware, hyper uncertain
I look for time to help me: give certainty in an uncertain new world.

Where is my manhood now? Where did it go?
I touch myself and try to remember to reclaim my member
to stretch my timber and make it limber pull it out of the cinders

and yet I find it is weak and responds unwillingly
like a plant that needs water and light to spring […]

Guest post: emotional impact of ADT

By Adrian

When my prostate cancer came back in 2020, I had salvage radiation for six weeks and now I am on ADT hormone suppression treatment for three years. It has changed me big time. And it has motivated me to write about the emotional impact of ADT for me and my relationship with my wife.

When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2018, it was a shock but not a surprise – my father died of prostate cancer in 1991. My wife and I cried in the car park after our consultation.

Initial treatment: robotic-assisted radical prostatectomy

By the time I […]

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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