By Catherine

I’m a 59 year old French woman Professor of Medicine. My husband, who is 12 years older than me, had a cystoprostatectomy on 12 August 2022 due to (initially misdiagnosed) bladder cancer. The operation was on the 40th anniversary of our meeting – somewhat cruel for both of us. However, we are lucky that all the cancer seems to have been removed. Here are some entries from my diary as we have grappled with the challenges as a couple during the month before and after his surgery.

Urologist avoiding direct conversation about sexual side effects

Before the surgery, we read that the side effects of cystoprostatectomy are the same as those of a “simple” prostatectomy with risks of incontinence and erectile dysfunction (ED). So we asked the urologist about the risk of ED. He did not give a clear answer. The truth is that after prostatectomy all men are impotent (for a short or long period or the rest of their life). But he just said “the sex afterwards will never be like before.” He did not ask how it is before!

The surgeon did not ask. But I decided to explain how it is (my husband was totally mute at that time): we love each other deeply and have marvelous sexual life. Up till the surgery we enjoyed sexual activity with a lot of tenderness 3-4 times a week, and every day during holidays.

Then the urologist announced that if sex is important for us, he will do everything possible to preserve the nerve bundles and will prescribe Cialis 5mg per day.

Cystoprostatectomy progress report – soon after surgery

Cystoprostatectomy is a major operation and my husband had to stay in hospital for 3 and a half weeks afterwards. However he had very little problem with incontinence after the surgery. And just after catheter removal we noticed that his ability for orgasm was not lost, at least something was left to us!

Since then we continue to have intimacy as before. Of course without penetration and much more oral sex than before. My husband has nice swelling erection since two weeks but no hardness. I am wondering if we can hope for some more progress in the rigidity.

In summary, miraculously the bladder cancer is behind us but we have to overcome the side effect of the prostatectomy. For me it’s quite difficult to accept because of the initial medical error. If the diagnostic of bladder cancer would have been performed 18 months sooner probably the intervention would have been avoided.

Seize any occasion to express love

I have a message that concerns everybody who has the big chance to have a loved man (or woman) who shares his life: never wait to be sick to develop an enormous quantity of tenderness in your couple, seize any occasion to express your love.

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