Life After Radical Prostatectomy: 18 Months Later

So it’s been almost 18 months since having that pernicious prostate plucked from my pelvis.  For those who have read the entire blog (thanks!), you’ve been following my status all along.  For those new to the blog, here’s kind of where I’m at in key areas.

Status

First and foremost, my PSA readings have remained undetectable meaning that there are no signs of cancer within me.  

Incontinence

This has been a rather long road for me to travel, but I have constantly progressed towards being “dry” over the last 18 months.  Am I 100% dry in every circumstance?  Nope.  But where I’m at makes me feel very comfortable and highly functional.

Up until about a month ago, I was essentially dry except for some stress incontinence cause be sneezing, coughing, or bending/squatting/lifting.  But within the last month, I remain pretty dry even with a decent sneeze or cough (I seem to do better when seated versus standing, but even at that, things are improved).  I can still experience a leak when lifting or bending or squatting, but typically the volume is very small and won’t be noticed.  If I know that I’m going to be very active doing any of those activities for an extended period of time, I just may put a pad in my underwear as insurance.

The other thing that I noticed was that I might leak some urine on having a sexual orgasm.  That was a little disconcerting initially, but it’s stopped altogether now.

Sexual Function

Keep in mind that the surgeon was unable to spare both nerve bundles given the size and location of my tumor.  That said, things are improving in the sexual function department even without one nerve bundle and without chemical assistance (e.g., Cialis).

I’m beginning to have better erections.  They’re still not good enough for penetrative sex, but they keep moving in the right direction.  I suspect that Cialis may be in my future at some point, but I’m willing to continue to let nature try on its own for a few more months.  (Those little pills are expensive, and my insurance plan only pays for 6 per month.  Not the ideal situation for a pill that’s required daily.)

Orgasms are different.  First and foremost, it does take some adjusting to the fact that nothing–zip, nada, zilch–comes out when I orgasm.  On the one hand, they can feel less intense than a pre-prostatectomy orgasm, yet on the other hand, I find myself more sensitive to touch immediately after.

Summary

On the whole, I’ve probably been slower than average compared to the recovery of other patients.  But I have made constant progress over the last 18 months, and that keeps me going.  I’m pretty pleased with my current status and, if the sexual function continues to improve, I’ll be even more pleased.

To those going through this, please just remember to be patient.  Your body is different from everyone else’s out there, so that means that your recovery experience will be different, too.  For some, it will be better; for others, it may be slower or not as full.

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