My Father's Journey – Surgery To Remove Prostate
I wanted to know more about my father's journey with this disease. I’m 63 and he’s 88, but there are still things he just doesn’t want to share with his baby girl, but I let him know how important it is that what he went through could help someone else.
Here is his story in his own words.
Reacting to my diagnosis
When I talk to people about my prostate cancer, they’re quite less concerned, but they do understand. However, they don’t want to talk about prostate cancer; either they don’t find the right vocabulary, or it’s a stigma for a man.
Though I was symptomless, I had heard so much about prostate cancer. I had always talked to my GP about it. However, in 2005 when I was 72 years old, I did a couple of tests that were a bit weird. A biopsy was done, and it turned out I was in the early stage of aggressive prostate cancer.
It was a shock at first, but I had done my research, so I was able to handle the situation. I didn’t react horribly or aggressively. Though I was a bit disappointed that it could affect my sex life. See, I had only been married a few months at the time, and yes, we were sexually active.
Going for surgery
After a few months of analysis, I decided to go for surgery to have the prostate removed. I was very nervous about the surgery, but it went very well. After surgery, I stayed at the hospital for two nights. They wanted to send me home in one night but thought it would be wise to monitor my situation. They kept me in the hospital for another day because of my age.
I felt good after the surgery. After a few weeks of rest, I was able to return to my work; yes, I was still working. After the catheter was removed, it stayed continent.
Thinking about sex differently afterward
Though I lost my sexual function. I was referred to an erectile dysfunction clinic that put me on drugs, and later tried injections. But neither of them worked that great for me.
Surgery, to me, can impact the relationship and sex life. I think this could be difficult for a young person to handle. Things can change completely, and I think about sex in a completely different spectrum. I had to approach this from a different angle to be romantic.
Turning to a support group
I joined a prostate cancer community support group, which was very effective for me in my life.
These groups are very helpful for me to regain confidence in life. They make you comfortable around them, since we all share the same experience, and it becomes very easy to talk about different things. And it’s a relief to know that I am not alone in this struggle and journey. Though I never discussed my sexual life, I believe all the other discussions have made a great impact on me.
Making an informed decision
Surgery worked for me, but I think it may be harder for younger people to go for it, since they have their whole lives in front of them. The most important people in my travels are prostate cancer patients, doctors, my family, and friends. I find they can support you if you feel too much pressure.
Do your research and make a quality decision after gaining complete information about everything. Never think someone’s life is easier than yours. No one is going to have a perfect life. Every individual goes through struggles, but none of them are the same.
Were you aware of family history of cancer, prior to diagnosis?