My Journey Through Side Effects

Prostate cancer diagnosis

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Gleason 4 +3, in January 2020, age 64. I opted for robotic radical prostatectomy. I was aware of the possible side effects, including incontinence and erectile dysfunction, but figured these would be temporary and I would be back to my old self fairly quickly.

My urologist and surgeon indicated there were three concerns to deal with; the removal of the cancer, incontinence, and sexual function, in that order. The good news is that the surgery successfully treated the cancer, and my PSA continues to be undetectable at this time.

The incontinence issue proved to be a struggle. I did two rounds with top notch physical therapists and faithfully did my kegel exercises, but could not get dry. This did improve, but never stopped. Finally, after two years, I began to look into the male urinary sling procedure. I decided my problem must be physical, and no amount of kegels would change that. I found I was a good candidate for this, leaking about 30ml/day, which was well within the range that the sling procedure has good results. In November of 2022, I had the surgery done. It was same day surgery, and I was quite sore for a week or so, but the results were almost immediate. Since that time, I am nearly always dry, and no longer have to wear any pads during the day. The only exception is if I come down with a cold and develop a bad cough. Then the force of coughing is too much, and I do have to go back to wearing some type of pad until the cough clears. Other than that, it's been a great success and would recommend this procedure to men who might find themselves in similar circumstances to me. 2 1/2 years post surgery and I was finally dry!

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction was another matter. I was confident post surgery that this sexual function would come back, as this had never been a problem for me. But, as with incontinence, this did prove to be a problem. The pills, along with various kinds of stimulation, did not produce a firm erection. I thought that after my sling surgery, this would actually improve, but, if anything, it went in the opposite direction. By now I was age 68, but not yet ready to give up my sexual function. I had such good success with the sling, that I decided to look into having a penile implant. I decided to have this done in October of 2023. I had the Boston Scientific AMS 700CX implant. This surgery was more sore than the sling surgery, the worst of it being the first two weeks. I could get around, but it was pretty uncomfortable. However, once the swelling subsided and things healed up, I must say it was totally worth it. It is easy to both inflate and deflate, and has made sexual intercourse possible again. Medicare, along with my insurance supplement, paid for the procedure.

Happy to be in the community

Would I rather have not had to go through these procedures over the last 4 years? Of course! But, since prostate cancer entered my life, I feel I have had a good outcome under the circumstances. I realize I am fortunate we caught it early, and my heart goes out to anyone who is being treated for more advanced stages of this disease. I feel I am one of the lucky ones. If anyone is struggling with issues of incontinence and ED, and has questions for me about the sling or implant procedures, I am happy to be a resource from my experience. Feel free to contact me. Wishing good health to all!

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

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