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 even show through on my pants. Erectile dysfunction is still an issue. It’s getting better all the time, albeit painfully slow.

Initially it was very difficult in my relationship with my wife but we have opened communication now so it’s getting better there too. I actually think the whole experience has made me a better person, lover and friend.

I got a lot of support from different and unexpected places, including this Recovering Man blog. Here’s my tribute to them:

The Cupboard of Intimacy- twelve months on

It’s twelve months now,
My emotions are mixed.
Parts of me still lame,
Parts of me fixed.

Been a journey of discovery
To find out the new.
A testing of patience,
Of self through and through.

Was left by myself,
My research has helped
To find my way through,
Where my bad thoughts were shelved.

I put them on paper,
got them out of my head.
Let my mind move on
From the things that I dread.

I was lucky my dryness
returned before long.
About five months of fear
My mind had to be strong.

Just keep up the work,
Get the muscles down there
Working to keep
my sanity spare.

Anger, frustration,
The mental fatigue.
The things I found challenging,
I just didn’t need.

Cancer gone, cut out,
No longer there.
But the cupboard of intimacy,
was all but bare.

Looking and finding
Discovery of self.
There had to be things
To put back on that shelf.

Findings of newness
There is another way.
Just learn to accept it,
I heard myself say.

A lot between the ears,
It’s not down there below.
With hope and support
I soon said hello.

I’ve listened to stories,
I’ve focused on me.
I’ve learned from them all,
I’ve learned how to see.

I’ve pumped it and pricked it,
I’ve stretched it and bent.
I’ve learned that softness
Can be, well, heaven sent.

Who knew that the end goal
could still be achieved.
With a fella still soft,
A fella still pleased.

My repertoire of togetherness
Surely has grown.
Taken places to pleasure
I just hadn’t known.

There’s hope for the future,
eighty percent at times there.
Not there all the time,
But hope replaced fear.

Despair has been vanquished,
My mindset was wrong.
The tools that I needed
Were there all along.

I’m fitter and stronger,
Both body and soul.
I’ve worked them in tandem
To reach a new goal.

So, I guess in a thought,
My version today
Is better than before,
Some people would say.

Learned a lot about myself,
I’ve met some new friends.
The journey of newness,
Well, it never does end.

I’ve learnt to accept
That I won’t be the same.
There are parts of me better,
But there’s parts still lame.

I found comfort, support
From people around.
Some go out of their way,
Passion, empathy astounds.

It’s a touchy subject,
There’s recovering man.
I’ve found an intimacy OT,
Have all leant a hand.

I still do get down,
and I still do get lost.
Life’s thrown me a curveball,
There are lines I have crossed.

On my way to the newness,
I’ve not been there before.
But I sort of look forward to
new things to explore.

So, my story’s not over,
It’s far from done.
Many things to still learn,
I can still have some fun.

Who knows in twelve months
Just where I will be.
But I’ve learned this past year
A lot about me!

Steve and Robyn prostate cancer support

With my beloved wife Robyn

Celebrating the arrival of Tess Deveze’s new book A Better Normal