7 March 2020: It’s only nine days since radical prostatectomy and my basic physical and mental functions are coming back. I am down to one strong painkiller per night. Yesterday my wife and I walked our normal 3 kilometre morning walk around our neighbourhood at almost normal speed. Urine control is better than 95% and bowels are back to normal (which is unusual after a long operation like mine). Sleep is still a bit difficult but improving. This is my progress report.

Recovery big picture

Physical healing is proceeding very well and yet I realise the finer aspects will take a long time. My energy is good for a few hours every day, but the afternoons are toast – thank goodness for lightweight TV to watch. My spiritual attention is foggy and it feels like time to open up. Returning to morning yoga the last two days has helped.

The cancer makes me much more aware of the deeper vulnerability in my body. It is time to reach out to experts and consider what changes to make, now the immediate urgent bit has been cut out. I start making lists of people to call.

Urine control – early experiences

In these early days, if simply feels as if the link between brain and bladder control is a bit disturbed. I tend to dribble a bit when there are double signals, for example while I am walking towards the loo and part of my brain is anticipating emptying my bladder, while the part that is supposed to “hold on” till I get there seems to just go offline for a moment. Another time while I was on the phone – as if I lost awareness and attention.

Simple bodily functions require a lot more attention at the moment.

Erectile function – signs of life

OK, so of all the aspects of recovery, this is actually pretty near the top of my list of concerns. I am feeling hopeful – noticed some nocturnal erections returning, if a bit feeble. And with a bit of attention I get some swelling down there during the day. My whole groin area is still sore enough that I don’t want to explore my sexual function any more than this brief check “are you still there?”

[Editor’s note: things got a bit more complicated in the months that followed]