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prostate cancer surgery

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?

Pete

I had expectations of incontinence, pain, and erectile dysfunction. That pretty much happened initially but incontinence didn’t last long. 7 Holes and 10 days catheter – blah.

Steve

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?

Pete

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.

Steve

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?

Pete

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”.

Steve

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.

Share your experience with prostate cancer surgery and hear from others who’ve been there by submitting a story or connecting in the surgery Q&A.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ProstateCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Potsy112
    2 months ago

    To all those currently going through prostate cancer now or are part of the group that celebrates being cancer free I ask that you spread the word about following any testing that your doctor recommends. Early detection is key! I’m a 2 time survivor. Had prostate removed 13 years ago and 3 years ago cancer came back and I completed 39 radiation treatments. Tomorrow will be my 3 year anniversary of being cancer free for 2nd time!

  • ninaw moderator
    2 months ago

    @Potsy112, I really appreciate your comment here, and I know our advocates do too. Some folks really do have the misconception that it’s cut out and done – in this community that’s often NOT the case. Sharing Len’s article, as it happened to him too: https://prostatecancer.net/living/psa-undetectable/. Congratulations on three years! Did you celebrate?

    – Nina, ProstateCancer.net Team
    Want to hear more from the community? Join us on the Community page: https://prostatecancer.net/community/.

  • Will Jones moderator
    2 months ago

    Here’s a link to the article I referenced in my first comment: https://prostatecancer.net/living/hope-expectation/

  • Will Jones moderator
    2 months ago

    Thanks, Pete and Steve, for your candid responses. Both incontinence and ED are part of my post-surgery life. The first is manageable and doesn’t really slow me down, and on many days isn’t a problem at all. The second has led to some creativity in my intimate life with my life. Fortunately, I’m still able to have an orgasm, so, other than adjusting to the new normal, life is good. My article, Hope vs Expectations, elaborates on what I’ve written here.

  • Potsy112
    2 months ago

    I just wanted to share my post prostate removal side affects. I never completely got rid of incontinence but it’s manageable wearing Depends. As to ED issue I was never able to get a full erection or have a orgasm so my life changed drastically. Early on I tried the “penis pump” and ED medications to no avail. I’m a single man so it didn’t quite have the impact it would have had if I had been in a relationship. This was 2006 so things may have changed dramatically in treatments. At times I briefly question my choice to have prostate removed but I was only 49 and the whole thing was cancerous. At time only treatments were removal, radiation implants, radiation treatments or nothing. Due to my age at the time all doctor’s told me if it was them or their loved ones they would go with removal. I trusted their expert advice. It’s been a major side affect but I’m alive and don’t have Cancer and now part of the Two time survivor group!
    Being alive beats side affects in my opinion.
    To all those going through Prostate Cancer now keep fighting and know that there are many of us that have been there and are rooting for you!

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