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 your personal best running time over 5 km,” I would tell myself. And each year I would bump up the weights I lift in the mornings by 1 kg.
Now, a year after my prostatectomy, I realise that I probably won’t get much fitter than I am. And I am constantly aware that cancer can re-emerge at any point and drain the life out of me faster than I would have ever believed.
For the record:
- My PSA remains undetectable (below 0.02 ng/ml) for the time being. Unlike before treatment, it is now an excellent indicator for cancer returning.
- My urine control is excellent for a prostate cancer survivor. I only dribble a few drops in a week, not enough to wear pads.
- My erectile function is partly recovered, good enough for many forms of lovemaking, and still improving at a glacial rate.
Broadening my masculine identity
A year ago I was so worried about “losing my manhood.” Now I am pretty clear that my manhood is not defined by my sexual behaviour. And, for that matter, that I don’t depend on a masculine identity to be fully human. It feels much easier to be open about my own gender fluidity.
And I am just grateful for the energy, the life force in me, without actually having to give it a gendered label.
Opening up to new ways of making love after radical prostatectomy
I really get that love making is not just about erections and penetration, and that libido is more than just wanting sex. My wife and I are able to deeply connect and literally make love. This doesn’t necessarily depend on my rather erratic erectile function. More about the Connection and Cancer online course we are about to complete, in my next post.
Waking up to the gifts of life
Here’s a 90-second video, recorded live as I celebrated a year after my surgery. Giving thanks for so many gifts:
Click to play the video and feel the heart behind the stories
* Editor’s note: The video was recorded, and this post refers back to the time, when at the end of February 2021 Mish decided to start this Recovering Man blog. This video was posted nearly a year later because of the time lag between events (which he records in his journal and sometimes on video at the time) and actual posting online.