Read about Len's pre-surgery thoughts here!
It is now late afternoon on 6/5/13, and I’m in my hospital room at Penn with the mandatory catheter implanted in me. About the only positive I can think of about having a catheter is you don’t have to ring the call button at night because your bedpan is full.
My wife Patti comes in and we’re able to spend a few hours talking. Both of us agree that this is A LOT BETTER post-op than open heart surgery (aortic valve replacement) is. But because surgery was late afternoon, I won’t see the surgeon until the morning, so we don’t know how successful it was. And I have a fidgety roommate who’s up and down like a yo-yo virtually all night. Ugh, but that’s the only negative so far.
Waking up to good news
The next morning my surgeon and 4 or 5 residents (at least I assumed they were residents because this is a teaching hospital) come in the room, and I get the good news:
- It appears that all the cancer was in my prostate, i.e., no metastasis.
- I’ve always known I’m a little different in a lot of ways, but the surgeon tells me one of my nerve bundles was outside the prostate bed so he left it in, e.g., “not where it was supposed to be”. Wow!!!
Next, I’m released and go home with the catheter in for nine days, i.e., it’s coming out 6/14/15. So while the rest of the U.S. celebrates Flag Day, I’ll be celebrating “No more catheter Day!”
My catheter experience
A little history of my catheter experience—-like the biopsy, I hope I don’t have to do it again but it’s not the end of the world. The biggest thing is, once the bag is reasonably full, remembering to let the tube down and emptying it in the toilet periodically, and unfortunately, no bike riding while the catheter is in!
By now it’s 6/14/13, and back to Penn [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania] we go (Patti did all the driving for all this procedure), and my catheter is removed, and I’m free to go. Yea!!! A couple of weeks later (after having to heal properly) we find I don’t have ED in any way, shape or form. (In a later blog I’ll talk about my summer of radiation and its effect on ED).
I have two important points of interest I want to highlight:
- A friend who’d had a prostatectomy 6 years before In Philly said to have a plastic bottle to pee in “just in case”. In his case, he had to go over the Walt Whitman Bridge out of Philly. Unfortunately for him, the bridge was backed up and he didn’t make it. Happy to say I made it to the second Wawa (for those not familiar with it, Wawa is the largest convenience store chain in the area and they have the cleanest bathrooms, and there were 4 I could stop at on the way home). So have a plastic bottle with you after the catheter comes out “just in case”, and know where public toilets are for the whole trip home.
- Let me repeat—I still have a nerve bundle in me. And a couple weeks later after I was somewhat back to normal, Patti and I found out I was functioning normally sexually after all this.
And a week or so later I went back to Penn to meet with both a medical and a radiation oncologist as a precaution in case not all of the cancer had been taken out. As I mention in my bio, this proved to me very fortuitous almost two years to the date later.
My urologist has insisted on PSA’s being done every 3 months for two years and then every 6 months for the rest of my life since prostate cancer can lie dormant for many, many years before it starts growing again.
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?