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Prostate disease blog

Personal stories, advice and support from people with prostate diseases, such as cancer and BPH.
  • The tricky but fun subject of sex! My partner and I enjoy a close physical relationship and following surgery, and TWOCing, I was anxious to see what could be achieved. Being diabetic I was already familiar with ED and used Vardenafil, but unfortunately my surgeon had to remove one of the two sets of important nerves so expectations were not high. Additionally this was only a couple of days after the catheter was removed.

    Erection? No chance. Orgasm, yes thanks but with a side effect...... no seminal fluid but a leaking of urine! No one told me this might happen! Another side effect was a spasm in my bladder that had me back in hospital for a day as I found it very difficult to pass urine at all. Fear of being re-catherterised helped and I was allowed home again detirmined to be more careful!

    So what of now? My surgeon told me that it could take up to three years (!) to regain full erections, but given my diabetic state, I might never be as good as I was (that's me saying I'm good, not my partner!!). I invested in a suction pump but don't get on with that too well. I do get erections which is encouraging, but they seem to crop up spontaniously at the wrong time (not quite in Sainsburys, but when they are of no use) and are not hugely strong. Nice to get them though, it's like shaking hands with an old friend, and it gives me hope that one day I will be back on form.

    In the meantime, and I know it is not perfect and lacks spontaneity, but we use a strap on hollow dildo. It allows for all the old movements and the physical closeness and of course means I can last for hours(!!) My partner, who is a loving lady, understanding and with a great sense of humor, enjoys it too and I do reach some fantastic orgasms. Although with the lack of semen and seminal fluid they are meant to be dry, they are often not, but if you are prepared with a small towell, no one comes to any harm with a discharge of urine. I can say that most of my orgasms are better than before the surgery but there is one sometimes uncomfortable side effect. The rush and 'pressure' of the orgasm is so great that for 24 hours afterwards my bladder hurts so much I need to take a painkiller and that sometimes the bladder muscles react by me dribbling a bit more for a day, but hey ho, it's so good I am not going to stop!!

    Of the future I hope we will just keep practising but I am aware of what my Consultant told me early on.... 'sometimes you have to make the distinction between being stiff and being stiff!'

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  • Having heard various horror stories about catheter removal I faced TWOCing (training without catheter) with some trepidation! In the event the procedure was fully explained and skillfully carried out without any real discomfort and it was soooo good to get rid of the tube and bag!

    Of course the treatment for the cancer involved removal of the prostate along with, in my case, seminal vesicles and a number of lymph nodes. As a result the urethra was cut and re-attached to the bladder which causes trauma to the bladder and it's spincter muscle that controls the emptying of the bladder. Add to that you dont have to worry about it for a couple of weeks and you end up with a bladder that needs retraining and a new set of muscles to get control of!

    All of this starts on TWOCing day and after the catheter was removed you move into the nappy stage. During this you try not to leak too much and usually start by failing, but after a few hours with luck you start to get the hang of it and in my case persuaded the staff that I was minimally incontinent and was allowed home after six hours or so. During this time you are encouraged to drink lots of fluid, measuring the input and outflow, and weighing the nappy to see how wet you are! Having stocked up on a good supply of adult nappies I was pleased not to need too many ( and have the rest stored in the loft against my ultimate old age.... you never know!!) and quickly moved on to pads.

    Tena men 2 are the order of the day and they fit quite snuggly and are not obtrusive, but don't wear boxer shorts, you will fail! Doing the pelvic floor exercises is essential and after a while you might give up on pads altogether. I wish I could !!! As it is I have very slight incontinence, like a tap that drips once now and again. Sometimes without reason and sometimes because of a sneeze, or standing up etc. This is really only a drip or two now and again but the feeling is uncomfortable. Management of this is keep doing the exercises and I use half a small sanitary towell in my underwear, stuck at the appropriate place. Some days it is not used but on others it's useful! Still, it reminds you that you are still alive!!  

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  • Within 24 hours the small drain in my wound was removed and I was encouraged to walk as much as possible. Getting used to the catheter took a wee while (!) and I initially found the strap to the leg uncomfortable and sometimes the bag would slip out of the strap which was a bit unfortunate as it put stress on a part of me that had suffered enough, thank you very much!

    At night a larger bag was fitted with a frame that sat by the bed and the bigger bag was definitely needed! I was amazed at how much urine is produced overnight and was convinced that the bag would split (and it holds (?) 2 litres). Sleeping was not easy as I was aware of the bag during the night and was careful not to move about too much. However you do get used to it and once home the management of it all became easier, for example, I got into the habit of changing which side I'd wear the bag during the day to be more comfortable.

    Being discharged less than 60 hours after surgery was great and a boost to general wellbeing, after all, there is nothing like your own bed! Once home it was easier to manage the catheter and I was lucky in that I had no infections or pain from it during the two weeks it was in. I felt good to be home again but I did overdo it on the second day when I went for a walk with my partner and the dog. It was so good to be out that I insisted on walking too far and the following day I was sore and tired and felt like I had been hit by a train, so little and often is a better approach!

    Gradually things started to feel a bit more normal and I became more mobile. Resting at home helped recovery and it semed no time at all before two weeks were up and it was time for  a TWOCing session.... Training Without Catheter, a day of fun and frolics and an opportunity to get back into nappies!

                                                                     

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  • Having experienced the initial examinations, Biopsy, MRI, Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and diagnosis with just about every professional in a white coat putting their finger up my bottom (dignity leaves the stage early in in this production!), Christmas 2010 came and went in anticipation of surgery in January 2011.

    Unfortunately I had the first cold in about four years the week before surgery which left a question mark over the procedure which was not satisfied until about an hour before I walked to the theatre. My ECG was a bit erratic and pulse rate was high (fever and nerves) and so I was called in front of a cardiologist 3 days before surgery to ensure that I my heart could stand the stess of surgery. All was o.k but a cold and bad cough meant that the anaesthetist had to confirm I was fit for the anaesthetic, which happened on the day scheduled for surgery.

    Because of delays in the theatre before me, my surgery was put back from 2.00 p.m till 7.00 p.m, although we all thought it was going to happen 'soon'. So at 6.30 I was prepped and promptly fell asleep in the anti room to the theatre and remembered nothing more till I was brought round at about 11.45 pm. Drifting in and out of conscousness I was aware that during the early hours I was returned to my own bed and was fitted with a cuff etc for monitoring blood pressure etc, and a flow of oxygen which dried my nose out uncomfortably.

    With the current enthusiasm for getting you up as soon as possible, in the morning at about 9.00 a.m I was given a bed bath and put in a chair. The mysteries of the catheter were explained to me and I was given breakfast. Apart from resembling a very old man and being sore, nothing much happened until after my surgeon visited to tell me that all had gone well and with a bit of luck I would be discharged after another 48 hours. The only problem I experienced then was still coughing from the cold, and holding a pillow across my stomach to hold in my insides, which I was convinced would burst through one of the five small holes made in me during the operation, of course they didn't but it's a very real feeling! 

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  • Between the 25th of November and 1st December, we're running an online clinic on prostate diseases which will enable anyone with a question about themselves or a friend or relative to get an answer from a specialist in the field. You can ask about anything, from the symptoms which might indicate a problem to how you might get diagnosed, or about an ongoing condition and what treatments are available.

    So if you've got a question, follow the link to the online clinic on prostate disease to put your question to the experts.

    We're running the clinic with our regular partners, talkhealth, with the support of two charities, Prostate Action and The Bob Champion Cancer Trust.

    Thanks

    John, NHS Choices

  • As a result of a routine check in the summer of 2010, my GP informed me that I had a raised PSA and suggested that I had a re-test in a couple of months on return from a trip abroad. I was not too worried as I had experienced no symptoms other that getting up once a night, which I seemed to have done since I was young.

    I was 57 and although diabetic, and received successful treatment for Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2003/4, felt quite good about the world!

    A re-test in November confirmed a PSA of 6 (from 5 three months earlier) and I was referred on to a Consultant for a biopsy and a diagnosis was
    confirmed in December. A Laparoscopic prostatectomy was scheduled for mid January 2011 and I am now just ten months post surgery. My story is as follows:-

    I suppose the word cancer did not really fill me with terror, I had heard the words before in 2003 when diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and I had survived that, thanks to some good chemo (like a human Domestos, killed all known germs etc). I had an inkling of the problem when the Consultant carrying out the biopsy suggested that I 'bring someone with me ' to the follow up appointment and of course had done a fair amount of research on the web so had an idea of what might be happening.

    My Consultant, having confirmed the diagnosis and informed me that my Gleeson score was 7, told me that these things tended to move slowly so I could take my time in deciding the best course of treatment, but that I had to have some. Being a positive sort of character I was anxious to get on with the next step of the treatment, thinking that waiting wont cure anything. I spoke to a friend who had previously undergone Brachytherapy who told me that given his choice again, he would have opted for a radical prostatectomy, so having read more detail and discussed it with my GP and Consultant, I opted for a laparoscopic prostatectomy.

    Decision made, we enjoyed Christmas away in Somerset before surgery in January 2011.

  • I haven't posted since January when my PSA had reached 5.24. That was bad enough when you consider I had had a prostatectomy and 33 sessions of radiotherapy. Worse was to come.

    At my next blood test in March it had nearly doubled to 10.2. The oncologist was still all for waiting before starting further treatment but after a sleepless night I decided I wanted to go ahead immediately.

    I was all for being as aggressive as possible and going for what is called a triple androgen blockade. I could not persuade the oncologist to agree to this so we went ahead with standard ADT. This involved starting bicalutamide (Casodex) for two weeks to prevent a flare-up in the micro-metastases (which I presume I have somewhere) and then injections into the stomach (monthly) of Lupron or something similar to bring about chemical castration.

    In the event my GP practice asked if they could use triptorelin (Decapeptyl). This is injected into the buttock quite painlessly and causes no skin reaction unlike the Lupron which can be pretty nasty. Apparently it does not cause testosterone flare either so there is no need to start Casodex first although neither the doctor nor the oncologist seemed to know that.

    The only side effects so far have been hot flushes - you suddenly feel as if you are blushing violently. This is a nuisance but nothing worse.

    Thankfully I am still full of energy and my little software business is thriving. The best news is that my PSA count in June was down to 0.43 so the treatment seems to work. Watch this space.

  • At Prostate Action, we celebrated Men's Health Week (13 - 19 June) and the run up to Father's Day by launching our Facebook TOP DAD campaign to raise awareness of prostate disease.

    The TOP DAD campaign invites the UK’s sons and daughters to submit stories on the Prostate Action Facebook page about why their father is a TOP DAD. Each contributor is encouraged to send an email to their dad that includes top tips on prostate health and the signs and symptoms to look out for. The TOP DAD page also contains a downloadable health pack with further information on all things prostate.

    So far we have been inundated with stories from members of the public describing why their dad is a TOP DAD, some funny, others poignant. Many of the entries are written by sons and daughters whose fathers are and were affected by prostate disease and make for very moving reading. Abigail, daughter of the late great Bob Monkhouse who died of prostate cancer in 2003, recorded one of the five celebrity videos to help increase awareness of prostate disease.

    ‘Men have always been a difficult audience to engage with when it comes to talking about their own health,’ said Emma Malcolm, Chief Executive of Prostate Action, ‘so we have enlisted the help of their children. Prostate disease affects one in two men in their lifetime, so it is imperative that all men know the signs and symptoms to look out for.’

    To read all the TOP DAD stories and help raise awareness of prostate disease, please visit www.prostateaction.org.uk/topdad 

  • As mentioned at the end of my previous blog "Early diagnosis is essential", it was my birthday on the 17th February 1994, originally it was intended that Andy was to take me out to celebrate it after his hospital appointment to recieve the results of his biopsy. However due to the totally unexpected news that we recieved, all we had on our minds was the situation that faced us and our families. Having been told that Andy had terminal prostate cancer which had spread to his bones due to the late diagnosis, efforts to celebrate my birthday on that fateful day failed hopelessly.

    Andy was already taking pills for epilepsy and so we also discussed the additional treatment Andy was to take for the prostate cancer, which consisted of hormone tablets. These tablets were to be taken daily, along with this, Andy was to recieve a hormone injection every month at the hospital. The hormone treatment was to be given to surpress the male hormone testosterone, which the cancer feeds on. 

    As soon as the treatment began Andy became impotent, he was 45, it was a dreadful sentence for a man in his prime, but this was the price he had to pay in the attempt to extend his life further than the six months he was originally given. Andy lived with the cancer for thirteen years.

    During Andy's cancer journey, we approached his hospital urology consultant on a regular basis. He was always very supportive and informative whenever we needed him. This was particularly important initially in finding the correct level of treatment that was required. For example, soon after Andy began his treatment we asked if there were other treatments he could try because it was noticed that Andy would become edgy about a week before his injection was due. During this time I learned what it must feel like to be on the recieving end of PMT every month.

    We had to learn by experience, in order to find the right treatment to keep Andy comfortable and to keep the family dynamics comfortable as well, because we were in uncharted waters, this took quiet a time.

    18 months passed and Andy was showing signs of stability. It was obvious that the diagnosis timing of a 6 month death sentence had been radically wrong, so Andy and I decided to take the "Bull by the horns" and get married. We married in October 1995, Andy died on the 19th November 2006, 11 years later.

    Throughout his illness, Andy bravely tried numerous hormone treatments along with radiation and chemotherapy at a certain stage. Andy had great determination to live and I believe this was greatly fuelled by his burning desire to see his baby daughter grow up. Andy died the day before our daughters 13th birthday.

    I had two other daughters living at home from a previous marriage. Andy, being diagnosed with cancer just after becoming a father, living with the cancer and helping to raise a young family of three girls, one of them a teenager, whilst at the same time trying to earn a living, was a big challenge for both of us and there were times when our families and friends support truly sustained us. Our appreciation for this support cannot be measured. Our experiences gave us both a deeper understanding for others in similar circumstances.

    Through publicity contacts that Andy promoted throughout the UK and Ireland he would speak to men with prostate cancer and give them his support, friendship and encouragement. John Wayne was Andy's hero, but I believe Andy was the one with "True Grit". Andy wrote a message three years before he died, it said " My main concern is that raising awareness of prostate cancer is mainly left to charities and victims"

    It must be remembered that this blog covers a period from 1994 to 2006 there has been some advances knowledge of prostate cancer during this time and since then, so the problems faced by Andy may not now be experienced by current or knew sufferers of prostate cancer. One thing that I and my new partner Monty feel has not improved is the public awareness of prostate cancer symptoms. In December 2009 my partner and I instigated a project to help rectify this.

    In 2004 a vacancy occurred on a committee on which I was serving sadly due to a collegue becoming a victim of prostate cancer. Monty filled the vacancy and three years later prostate cancer reared its ugly head again.

    See the blogs "Men need to know":- 1 to 7, for Monty's experiences of prostate cancer and www.prostatecancercheckitout.me.uk for our project to raise awareness of prostate cancer symptoms.

  • Before I relate the prostate cancer journey of my late husband Andy and how it impacted on myself and our family, I would like to thank everyone who supported us in so many ways along the 13 year path. A big thank you is due to the staff of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and the Western Park Hospital in Sheffield were on an on going basis Andy recieved excellent treatment and care.

    Andy and I had been together since the early 1990's. Our lives began to change whilst Andy and I were expecting our first child together. For sometime Andy had been making frequent visits to the toilet to pass urine but had not felt overly concerned enough at the time to comment to me about it. In the Summer of 1993 Andy suffered a pain in his groin, he had previously been diagnosed as possibly having a hernia, a later diagnosis was cystitus. I knew what cystitus was like and in my mind the symptoms Andy had did not match. He was having a problem passing urine and all I could think of was that he had some kind of blockage. I urged Andy to return to the doctors for another opinion.

    It was now mid November and we were joyful at the birth of our baby daughter. Andy was a very proud dad.

    When Andy saw his doctor again he was given a DRE (Digital Rectum Examination) an examination to feel the condition of his prostate gland. The prostate gland must have been abnormal for Andy was referred to a urology specialist at the Hallamshire Royal Hospital who carried out a PSA blood test. The blood test result showed a PSA level of 120, which at the time meant nothing to us. Andy was invited back for a biopsy of his prostate gland.

    It was on my birthday 17th February 1994 when we went for the results of the biopsy. Little did we know that our relationship which we knew and enjoyed so much would be changed into a black hole in a split second. Andy was 45 and our daughter 3 months old when we were given the devastating news that Andy had advanced prostate cancer, the news was made more upsetting, bad as it was by the blunt manner in which we were told that he had 6 months to live and was advised to get his affairs in order. Stunned by this dreadful news, with our baby in my arms all I wanted to do was burst out crying, but I held back at the time not knowing what was going through Andy's mind and realising he was the one in need of support. 

    On leaving the consultant's room a nursing sister who must have been aware of what we had been told came to us immediately, sat us down and ordered tea for us. The sister gained my admiration by taking our daughter from me while I made my escape to the toilet to release my tears.

    See my next blog telling how the six months death sentence turned into a thirteen year fight to live.

     

  • In December 2009 my partner and I armed with our web-site www.prostatecancercheckitout.me.uk and the Direct.gov list of UK local Councils decided to contact all 434 Council by e-mail. Our initial aim was to request them to display our  poster in all public and workforce urinal areas in order to enlighten men with what they may see as tolerable minor waterworks problems, that they may not be minor and should be investigated.

    Our poster that can be down loaded from the "Raising Awareness" page of our web-site simply advises men with symptoms that are common to prostate cancer to get them checked out by their GP. It took two months to send out the requests, some Councils responded supportively, some with further queries, many didn't respond. The support came in various ways. Some Councils no longer had public conveniences under there control, so offered other means of getting our message across, others as well as displaying our posters also used other means as well. These included, linking our web-site to the Council's web-site, placing our message on the Council's intranet and placing articles in the Council's door to door publications. We updated our web-site to include more down load material and these other methods of spreading awareness. A month later another 434 e-mails were dispatched, to thank some Councils, encourage others and attempt to get responses from those who had so far failed to respond. The support increased. On top of responding to incoming e-mails, at four month intervals two more rounds of e-mails were dispatched.

    The current picture is that 185 Councils that is 42% are supporting our project, we are still awaiting decisions from a further 143 Councils and sadly 95 Councils have still failed to respond. Only 11 Councils have so far rejected our project most because they are running their own prostate cancer awareness scheme, but the remaining few Councils, through talking to their health partners have other reasons for not supporting our project. These include :- If you screen 100 men you might only find three men who have prostate cancer, if you screen men you will raise anxieties in men who have not got prostate cancer, we only deal with professionals and charities, we do not have the funds. We have come across these arguments many times whilst building our support and our answers which have convinced most is - Firstly,we are not advocating screening, we are aware of the current testing problems, though having said that we are not happy about the position that puts the three men in that could be found in every hundred. We know our project has short comings also, as we will not pick up men until symptoms are apparent, on the plus side we know we are alterting some men, as although we don't request feedback we have heard from men who have now been diagnosed with prostate cancer and also from men who have been successfully treated for other ailments as a result of getting checked out. Secondly, we would not be spending months of our retirement life progressing this project if the professionals and charities had listened to us and done it themselves and thirdly Patricia and I like to go out, we go out locally and touring and whilst out we may call in pubs, clubs and restaurants, when we do we seek out the landlord or manager and request them to display our posters. In one such pub after we had made our request the landlady said "What about the women" I must have looked puzzled as she continued saying "Who is going to get the man to get seen to, the women need to know the symptoms also" This comment introduced a further poster for down load from our web-site. The manager in a local club accepted the posters for display and later in the evening came to our table and requested us to go on stage and make a prostate cancer presentation, we were taken by surprise but we did it. At the end of the evening the manager gave us the £121 raffle takings. With half this money we bought a laminator, pouches and sufficient paper to produce over 400 posters to enable us to extend our local work to included relevant businesses. It made us realise that with £60 we could raise awareness all over a town, how much should it cost the Council to place posters in their public and workforce areas.

    Patricia and I can only scatter the seeds hoping that others will grow the awareness, please visit our web-site, down load our posters and visit facilities in your area to see if management will support our aims to raise awareness of prostate cancer symptoms, in order to reduce the number of men that die through becoming aware too late. Thank you

     

  •  

    In 2006 Ellen and I placed our house on the market, our intention was to sell up and move to Spain.

    Fortunately I over valued the house and it did not sell. 2007 was a disastrous year with the loss of my wife Ellen due to a sudden fatal heart attack at the beginning of the year and the removal of my prostate gland due to cancer towards the end of the year.

    It was now 2008 and I was heading towards my 65th birthday, all thoughts of emigration had dissapeared but I still stuck to my decision to retire as I felt the need of more time to put my life back together again. My thoughts turned to the circumstances that had created my current situation.

    A wrong hernia diagnosis in 2002, the death of a colleague in 2004 due to prostate cancer, that created a vacant position where I started working alongside Patricia. These events were followed by the death of Patricia's husband in 2006 due to prostate cancer, and the death of Ellen, my wife in 2007. If any one of these occurences had not happened I might easily have become another fatality due to prostate cancer. It was solely due to Patricia's knowledge of prostate cancer symptoms gained through thirteen years of looking after her husband Andy that, when we started dating, she recognised the same symptoms in me.

    10,000 men a year die due to prostate cancer, mostly due to being diagnosed too late. Most of these probably because they ignored what they saw as minor waterworks problems until the problems worsened.

    Patricia and I became strongly convinced that if the lives of men were to be saved, men needed to be made aware of the symptoms. If a man is being regularly disturbed during the night for the need to wee, or when having gone to the toilet the man has difficulty in starting the flow, or when the flow comes it is either weak or a dribble, or when finished there is still a feeling that there is more to come, then the man could be suffering from many things, but these symptoms are common symptoms of prostate cancer. We believe that men needed to be told clearly

    If you have these symptoms, check them out, see your GP”

    We looked around and didn't find anyone putting out this message clearly, the only posters we found raising the awareness of prostate cancer contained subtle inuendo messages and no mention of the symptoms. We felt men who considered their ailments as a temporary inconvenience that would go away sometime, or men like myself, who had been told it was due to something else and to come back if the symptoms get worse, or men who had accepted their minor problems as a way of life, would not go seeking answers from doctors or health promotions. When we came across a poster that called prostate cancer “The hidden cancer” we decided it shouldn't be and decided to go it alone by bringing it out of hiding by creating our own poster for circulation.

    Our next thoughts were related to where the posters should be displayed in order to make the symptoms visible to the most vulnerable men. From my own experiences, if I was out for the day or at work, sometime during the day I would need to visit a toilet at least once, so I approached my local Council to see if they would display posters in all their public and workforce urinal areas. My request was successful.

    Spurred on by this I tried sending the poster out as an attachment to an e-mail to what I saw as relevant businesses with public toilets, Railway companies and Premier Football Clubs. A few railway companies that had administration of stations supported our project, very few football clubs bothered to respond and the ones that did did so in what seemed to be a standard letter, informed me that they already give to charities, or that their advertising is in the hands of contractors.

    I stopped and took stock of how this project needed to be progressed

    See how the project progressed next week when my daughter created our web-site www.prostatecancercheckitout.me.uk in 2009 giving visitors the ability to down load our awareness raising material.

     

     

     

  • My first post on this subject will I hope act as a cautionary tale to all men.  Around a year ago following a routine test I was referred to my GP because my blood pressure was a little high, blood tests followed which included a PSA test.

    The Blood pressure problems were sorted and the PSA test came back as 4, quite normal for a man of 55 years of age.  The GP asked if I had any on the symptoms, no was the reply, possibly a little urgency but nothing that caused a problem.

    I was asked to go back a year later for a follow up test, this came back as 4.8, still not high but up over the previous year, again the questions asked and the response was the same.  The GP felt that given I had been diagnosed and treated for a malignant melanoma some years previously it would be advisable to have a biopsy

    Given the low PSA score and no symptoms to speak of I approached my appointment with the consultant to receive the results in a positive manner.  Unfortunately a clear result was not the case and I was informed I had a Gleeson score of 7 and treatment was required.

    If I can push one message out to people it would be, don’t be complacent, a low PSA score does not mean you are ok, and please remember to go back once a year for follow up checks.

  •  

    What can I tell you about the Radical Prostatecomy? Extremely little, I arrived with prostate cancer and five days later I left without prostate cancer and my prostate gland. The operation had been postponed to allow me, Patricia and two teenage girls to have our booked holiday in Teneriffe. The girls gave me more to be concerned about than a mere cancer operation.

    But now I was in hospital, I had been informed about what was going to happen and the thoughts of an epidural and the insertion of a catheter was causing a steep climb in my anxieties.

    What happened next? I remember being wheeled down to the theatre and then a period of fading in and out of reality back on the ward. With my eyes closed there were black creatures crawling over the ceiling and hovering over the bed, with my eyes open they converted into hospital staff moving about the ward. I eventually stabilised and became more focused with my surroundings.

    A patient in the bed opposite said that everybody had been kept awake all night as staff seemed to be very concerned about my condition. Evidently I had lost more blood than I should have done and they were putting it back throughout the night, but let's face it. I knew nothing about it. In fact my anxieties about what I would be going through between arrival and departure were totally unfounded. Before going to the theatre I was not at ease about the thought of an epidural and the insertion of a catheter, when I awoke I suppose I had had the epidural and I found the catheter was in place, my fear then switched to its removal.

    Visitors came, visitors went, the days were long but the rest and recovery was needed.

    A guy of thirty-five moved into the bed next to mine, he had had the same removal of the prostate gland operation as I had had. It turned out that his father had died two months earlier and so he had been checked out and diagnosed as having the cancer in its early stages. His choice had been to have the gland removed.

    The day came when I was told I could go home as long as there was no problems when the catheter was removed. I winced at the thought.

    The nurse came, she told me to relax and breath steadily, a steady pull and it was out in a couple of seconds. Not a nice experience but it was not painful

    I was given three urine bottles and was told I could go home after I had used all three.

    A little while later, job completed and I was ready for discharge.

    I have only praise for the way I was kept informed, advised and treated right through from diagnosis to discharge both at Doncaster Royal Infirmary and the Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital.

    There were two situations on discharge that may benefit from closer scrutiny to save the discharged patient from embarrassment or inconvenience

    Firstly, after using the three urine bottles, before being discharged I was asked if I was having any trouble holding my water (was I leaking). Considering I had only just had the catheter removed and then told to use the three bottles I had not had enough time to answer that question. Considering that that question was being asked in order to decide on whether to issue incontinence pads or not, by saying I had had no problem I left hospital without any, only later to realise I did need them. Luckily, Patricia still had a quantity of pads left over from her late husband's treatment, which I made use of.

    Secondly I believe there had been a transfer of responsibilities between NHS Doncaster and NHS Sheffield in the handling of cancer cases. The Doncaster District Nurse was unsure as to her role in my care as she had been told to refer any problems I might have to Sheffield. This situation was never put to the test as apart from the requirement of pads I never had any other problems, but the pad situation continued. I requested pads from the district nurse. A few days later the nurse brought me three different types and sizes and told me to order the type and size I required. This I did, and I was told I should receive them within five weeks. By the time they came I did not need them.

    This happened in 2007, I hope patients are no longer being put in this position.

    With a PSA level of 0.04 I am clear of cancer and my PSA tests have been reduced from quarterly to annually.

    See next week what my partner Patricia and I are doing to raise awareness of prostate cancer symptoms.

  • Having cancer, particularly early stages of cancers such as prostate, doesn't necessarily affect your ability to do a job; but does having cancer affect your employment prospects and future career?

    For some people, the knowledge that you have cancer can be so devastating that you are unable to work, but for a lot of sufferers one can get on with their job with little time off for biopsies, consultations, blood tests etc.  But is there then a stigma attached?

    You may recover from the cancer following treatment, and although this shouldn't affect your future career, are you going to be one of those selected for redundancy or overlooked for promotion as you might be considered at risk of recurrence of the disease?

    My late wife was made redundant following her second bout of breast cancer (and there was significant potential for challenging this in court), but she saw this an an opportunity to get out and run her own business.  For me, I can't see a business that interests me, apart from my qualified position where there are challenges for both permanent and contract positions at the moment.

    The time I took off for my prostate cancer was very short, with a day for the biopsy; and three days for the HIFU/TURP procedures.  Consultations and MRI scans were usually in my own time, or the time was made up.  But when the redundancies came, I was one of those selected.  One can't help but wonder whether the prostate cancer played a part in the selection.

    Fortunately, I do not need to declare past medical history when applying for jobs now; but if word got out, would prospective employers back off?

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We're delighted to be working with the charity Prostate Action on the prostate disease blog and we are grateful for their help in attracting new bloggers willing to tell their story.

The prostate disease bloggers

Grahamn278 was referred to a urologist with a high PSA in 2008 and prostate cancer was confirmed

monty2011 knew there was a problem with his prostate when he started needing to go to the toilet more often

AgedTenor is 64, loves singing and geology, and was alerted to his prostate cancer by a raised PSA test

More information:


Nothing in this blog should be taken as medical advice and the opinions expressed are personal, not those of the NHS. If you have any concerns about your health you should contact your GP or use our medical advice now section.

About Prostate Action

Prostate Action aims to beat prostate disease. They fund cutting-edge research into all prostate diseases, education and support groups.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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