Month 23 – Itching Revisited

It was two years ago that I went in for my physical and my doctor felt a mass on my prostate during a DRE and kicked off this journey. Hard to believe.

As I’ve gained more experience blogging, I’ve noticed that the two most common sources of traffic for this blog are Google searches on:

1. “Bend over and spread your cheeks.” (I won’t even begin to wonder why people Google that…)

2. “Prostate cancer and itching.”

Looking back at my post on Day 70, I talked about the topic, but only superficially, so I want to revisit it and provide more details about what I was experiencing.

As a refresher, I had my radical prostatectomy on 4 January 2011. Through mid-June of 2011, I experienced a pretty constant itching sensation in my urethra that varied in intensity. Early on, it was pretty strong and nearly constant. As time progressed, the intensity would wane and there were periods where I would be itch-free.

The thing that bothered me wasn’t so much that the itching was completely driving me nuts, it was that it made me feel as though I had to urinate nearly all the time, even though I really didn’t have to go. That made me run to the bathroom much more frequently than I needed to. And when I did urinate, the itching sensation often returned shortly after.

There were no signs of any urinary tract infection at my PSA screening in late February and, I’ll have to admit, being a stubborn/foolish guy, I really didn’t pursue the issue with my urologist. I just endured it, thinking it was part of the package deal. I don’t recommend that approach.

In June 2011, it was pretty interesting in that the itching sensation pretty much stopped suddenly, as though a light switch had been thrown. That pleased me to no end.

So now, 21 months after my surgery, I’m 98.7% itch-free. The only time that I get an itching sensation in my urethra is after a stress incontinence event. (By the way, my stress incontinece has improved significantly as well.) If I have a substantial sneeze or cough, I can sense that a little urine will make its way into my urethra, but not all the way out the end of my penis. When that happens, I itch until I urinate and clear the urethra.

So I hope that provides some better and more meaningful insight into my experience with prostate cancer and itching.

Okay… So a little editorial venting here…

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and, if you watched any NFL football games this weekend, you saw many players and coaches decked out in pink Nike shoes, pink wrist bands, pink towels, and pink ribbons.

Don’t get me wrong. Breast cancer is a horrible disease and every effort should be made to eradicate it.

Yet the NFL didn’t do squat for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month last month. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nary a blue ribbon to be found let alone blue shoes, wrist bands, or towels.

Considering that about 10 men on each team will be affected by prostate cancer, it’s pretty sad that they don’t acknowledge it even exists. Imagine how many men they can reach with a message of awareness over the course of four Sundays in September?

Guys need to get much better at increasing prostate cancer awareness (the main reason I’ve kept this blog going) and do much better at marketing the issue and cause.

Alright. I’ll step down off my soap box now…

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