Community Spotlight: Surgery
For Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, community members Pete and Steve opened up about their experience with prostate cancer surgery.
How did your expectations of surgery compare with reality?
The prostatectomy surgery was relatively painless thanks to the meds that I was given my only mistake was weaning myself off the medication too early the first night after my surgery. Before my prostatectomy, I believed I would be down for 3 to 4 weeks physically and just pick up my life again, I couldn't have been more wrong. A little thing called incontinence totally disrupted my life for the first 4 months.
How have you been doing with recovery and side effects?
It's not too bad at 12 months, but my thoughts for the first few weeks: pain and blood urinating and bowel movements; incontinence not too bad; drinking alcoholic drinks increases incontinence; leaking after zipping up a problem!; erections zero. Everything gets better with time. I’ve seen some bad outcomes too amongst my friends and don’t mean to be painfully Pollyanna. Just saying, I’m doing ok at the moment and wishing everyone the same.
The recovery process has been incredibly frustrating for me. When doctors discuss the side effects such as incontinence with you and if you've never experienced incontinence before you really don't understand what a challenge it can be in your day to day activities. My urologist referred me to a Physical Therapist after 8 weeks of doing Kegels on my own, with her help and biofeedback things changed for the better quickly.
What tips would you give to others having surgery?
1 week off work isn’t enough afterward! The days with the catheter post surgery are a pain. It’s really uncomfortable but at least you don’t need to get up for a pee during the night 💁🏻♂️ My advice to my friends is get checked regularly and keep on it. For the best outcome, you want to treat it before any cancer leaves the prostate and possibly spreads. I also recommend listening to your urologist and not your expert friends who often quote, “men die with it, not from it”.
I would recommend joining a support group such as UsTOO or any other cancer support group. Listening to others in the support group 2 weeks after my surgery, I realized that I rushed into having surgery without exploring other treatment options. Some in my support group were referred to a physical therapist before surgery, I wish I would have gone that route it may have made a difference with dealing with incontinence.
How much do you worry about prostate cancer coming back after treatment?