RARP Part 2: Beginning My Journey for Relief

A robot-assisted radical prostatectomy (RARP) in March of 2018 forever changed my life and became my worst nightmare. Even Gleason 4+5=9 cancer took a backseat to finding a way to repair what had been done to me. Because of my condition, I retired less than a year after the surgery and increased my research time.

When I found my “cure,” I was afraid to tell my wife, fearing it might end my marriage. I searched for other possibilities and left no stone unturned. I watched prostate and implant surgeries online and learned all about implants. I talked to way over a hundred people.

Post surgery I went from having a somewhat average penis length to an almost nonexistent one, as I explained in Part 1. It retracted to the point of pain whenever I bent over or sat up straight. I wore Depends continuously because of incontinence at night, in addition to wetting myself when I sat down. I am not a doctor, but I believe the problem sitting down was caused by the tension on my urinary sphincter.

Trying different things

After about a year I realized aggressive stretching was not enough. I eventually got to within almost an inch of what I had pre-surgery inside the vacuum pump, but it would retract even under vacuum if I raised my legs or moved at all. After awhile the gains stopped, so I decided to add a penis ring inside the pump. I then raised my legs slightly while using full vacuum.

Although there was no immediate pain, within an hour I had shooting pain in my gut that lasted 2 days. It felt like something in my gut was torn for well over 2 weeks. Because of that, I stopped all ED therapy.

Falling on deaf ears

At my next urology appointment I complained the entire visit, and didn’t give my urologist time to talk. It seemed to fall on deaf ears. The following visit, I started up again. He told me if it was this bad, I should have mentioned it sooner. I went off the deep end and told him I was ready to have everything below removed. I didn’t know what else to do because I was obviously not reaching him.

Because of that visit, he tried to get my PCP to put me on an anti-depressant and also set up an appointment with another urologist who does implants.

It was a good thing that I had known my PCP for over a decade, and he was already up to speed. He didn’t prescribe the antidepressant and said my case depressed him. When I went to the implanter’s appointment, the doctor started telling me about one brand of implant, so I started talking about the other one. He quickly realized he didn’t have some bozo to impress and did an exam. His face told me all I needed to know. I was above his pay grade.

Repairing the damage

By the time I was positive my urethra was my problem, my PSA had started climbing and I knew I needed radiation. Although I was certain my urethra was too short, it was also possible that my bladder had an adhesion or was somehow obstructed so it couldn’t drop after my prostatectomy. It was obvious that God had closed all doors for me but one, since internal surgery after pelvic radiation was not a good idea to me.

What became my only option to repair the prostate surgery damage is something called Zero Depth Vaginoplasty. It makes you female externally without the possibility for penetration, but works with a short urethra. I researched several transgender surgeons’ websites, and several advertised this surgery for post radiation or prostatectomy. This made me wonder if I was not the first cancer survivor to seek this option.

An emotional time

My wife and I have been born again Christians for over 40 years. When I told my wife about the surgery I needed for relief, she was not impressed. She told me she was not a lesbian. She did say she understood and would not leave me. I cried quite a bit for several days, but I just couldn’t continue to live this way much longer. She struggled with this as much as I did.

I am aware that I may receive tremendous backlash for my story, and some will not be able to accept it. The “cure” I required is performed by surgeons who treat transgender individuals. I followed a link from the eunuch forum where I found the surgery to a transgender forum so I could learn more about the procedure and how to get it. I learned a lot about a world that is totally misunderstand by almost everyone. The people I talked with were not what I expected.

I wanted to live

I continued searching the transgender forum to learn about the surgery, what was required to get it, and the satisfaction rate afterwards. I ended up reading some of their online stories. I found that, although most of the world thinks their regret rate is high, studies have shown high satisfaction rates for individuals who underwent transgender surgeries.1,2

I had no other choice if I wanted to live – and I wanted to live. So I started the required therapy before my first day of radiation to get the process moving.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

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.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.
poll graphic

Community Poll

Are you intimate after prostate cancer treatment?