Recovery From CaNcEr! The amazing way the body works

WARNING!  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU DO NOT READ THIS BLOG UNLESS YOU YOURSELF, OR SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU IS FIGHTING PROSTATE CANCER!  IT IS HIGHLY PERSONAL, AND VERY GRAPHIC, VERY CANDID, AND DOES NOT CENSOR ANYTHING. IT INVOLVES SEXUAL INFORMATION, AND FACTS AND DESCRIPTIONS PEOPLE CAN FIND EMBARASSING, DISTURBING, AND EXCESSIVE IN DETAIL!Okay, with a disclaimer like that, if you are still reading, I feel for you, especially if you have prostate cancer, or know someone who has prostate cancer.  Now on with my blog:

DAY TWO – Friday morning I awoke with an appetite. I was hungry. The pain in my stomach was gone, and now it was replaced with an emptiness. I was told I could still drink water, but no food yet. It was painful to get up from the hospital bed, but the nurses told me I needed to stay active, by practicing my inhalation exercises of sucking in air through a breathing tube and a plastic cylinder which measured the volume. This was to keep me from getting pneumonia with my lungs filling with liquid. Also they said I needed to get up out of bed and exercise by walking around the recovery wing. My neighbor, Steve, was recovering from surgery for colon cancer. He had his surgery a day or so before I did. His recovery would be longer as I don’t think he had microscopic surgery like I did. Getting out of bed was a real chore and took some practice and acrobatics of shifting my weight. The more I struggled, the more blood would appear in my catheter bag of urine. Kind of a Catch 22. If I get up, I bleed and strain my incisions, if I don’t get up my recovery is slowed down,and my body goes into attrify. I am a good camper and do my exercises, although it is uncomfortable. As we approach lunch time, I get some great news. My bleeding is slowing down, so I can now EAT! The serve me a hospital meal of french toast with maple syrup, sausages, and apple juice, and buttered wheat toast. Nothing ever tasted so good. Because of the pre-op procedures I have not eaten regular solids since late Tuesday, and it is now Friday. The meal is not raw/live, but I don’t care any more. On my second stint of walking the recovery wing, I encourage my roomate, Steve, to join me (he is in more pain than I at this point) and as the two of us are walking around the circular hallway of the wing, a third patient hears us chatting and says he wants to join us. I say “I love a parade!” The nurses at the phone and computer station in the center of the circular wing are giggling. Is it because of my joke? No, it is because this parade of middle-aged surgery patients are wearing those gowns which open up in the back and they are getting a parade of middle-aged butts! One of them comes up to help close the back of my gown. That night, I feel well enough to watch the Lakers play the Suns. I get so excited, I’m cheering and yelling, and so is Steve, that one of the night nurses joins us to watch the game and he starts yelling too. The Lakers win, and it brings my spirits up, and I feel like I am healing at a more rapid rate. The doctors check on me, and say I lost blood, and they really want to make sure the bleeding has stopped before they release me. I don’t get to go home yet, but maybe tomorrow.

Here I am after my conference call from the hospital.

DAY 3 – Saturday morning, I look forward to my breakfast, I snarf it down like an animal. I am watching television, and in fact am lucid enough that I conduct a conference call on my cell phone, from my hospital bed with 15 members of a seminar I am leading. Over Friday and Saturday they have changed my bloody bandages three times. The doctor examines me and says, he is giving the green light for me to go home this afternoon. I am elated. The trip home was without incident. I am kind of dizzy because of the medications and pain killers. We stop by the drug store to pick up more antibiotics and stool softeners. The strain of having hard bowel movements can tear open my incisions. The main goal is for me to heal, the bleeding from my bladder to stop, and to avoid any infections. When we get home, I tell Vicki I want to lay down on the coach in front of the television in our den. I do not want to go upstairs to our bed yet. Throughout the day, Vicki, who has taken leave from work, prepares my meals, and my meds. The doctors have told me I need to eat a lot of animal protein to promote my healing. So my vegetarian live/raw diet goes out of the window. I get up and empty my catheter bag regularly and suffer the pain of my bowel movements as using those muscles aggravates my surgery
internally. Everytime I have a bowel movement, the blood darkens in my urine. This is disconcerting. Also, as I have my BM, dark, purple blood flows around the tube inserted in my penis at the tip and drips into the toilet water, coloring it a dark redish purple. This from bleeding inside the penis and bladder. The antibiotics I am taking leave me kind of fuzzy and sleepy. I sleep most of the day on that couch. I can’t believe how tired I am. My wife says that healing takes a lot of my energy away. She also jokes, that I am such baby, as she had two Caesarian-sections giving birth to my son and daughter, and I am such a whiner.

The leg-strapped catheter bag.

At night I climb the stairs, and gingerly figure out how to swing into bed, without yanking that plastic tube which is still running up my leg, and into the tip of my penis, and can be very painful.  While sleeping I cannot rollover and found it hard to find a position that I can sleep in without disturbing that tube.  In the middle of the night, I would have to get up and empty the catheter bag, to avoid it getting over-filled.  In the morning, when I shower, another difficult manuever is taking a shower, with the tube and bag hanging on something dependable.  Then drying myself with a towel was also a feat.  Then changing my bandage securing my catheter was also gruesome and a struggle.  The other four incisions with the plastic skin bandages do not need any changing at all. Each day,  this entire regimen had to be repeated over and over and over.  I was in this state for 3 weeks.  Each week, we would take a trip to my Urologist, and each trip he would again say, too much blood in your urine, we cannot remove the catheter tube until you are healed.  The healing happens in steps.  At one point the bleeding around my tube stops.  Next the color of my urine in the catheter bag goes from red, to pink, and finally to a clear yellow.  I felt sorry for my wife, who had to wait on my hand and foot during this time.  I love her so much for her love and devotion.  She said she was looking forward to returning to her job as load master for the airlines, as I was more trouble than her grouchiest customers.  Healing is a long process, and it amazing how the body heals itself.  All I do is eat and rest and eat and rest. The body does the rest.