WARNING! DO NOT READ THIS BLOG UNLESS YOU HAVE PROSTATE CANCER OR ARE CLOSE TO SOMEONE WHO HAS PROSTATE CANCER. THIS CONTAINS VERY EXPLICIT AND EMBARRASSING AND SEXUAL INFORMATION, WHICH SOME MAY FIND TOO MUCH INFORMATION, DISTURBING, UPSETTING, OR JUST UNNECESSARY!
It is February 21st, 2011. I have been wearing the catheter tube and bag for almost three weeks. Finally the words I’ve been waiting to hear come from my doctor’s mouth. Since the color of my urine is now a slight pink, and most of the time during the day it is a clear yellow, my doctor says it is finally time to remove my catheter tube. I am elated to finally be unbridled from this device which I had been attached to for the past three weeks. At the same time I am concerned. How painful is this going to be? The doctor leaves me to return with some items and a disposal bag. First he uses a syringe to deflate the bulb which anchors it inside my bladder. Next he disconnects the tube from the bag, then grasping the tube firmly he announces he is going to pull it out. By now, I am so used to holding the end of the tube where it enters my penis that it is instinctive. “Let ME do this!” commands the doctor. “Okay,” I reply but as he begins to pull it out my hand returns to guide it. “Let ME do this!” repeats the doctor. I relax, and let go the tube and let him pull it. As it is sliding out I feel a curious, tickling inside my abdomen. He extracts around one foot of tube and there is still more tube to go. “Wow, that’s longer than I thought it would be!” I exclaim. “Quit bragging,” replies the doctor. (This is obviously an inside joke.) He continues to pull the tube out, another
two feet is extracted. “Wow, that’s longer than I thought it would be!” I repeat. “Quit bragging,” deadpans the doctor. Finally the end of the tube emerges from the tip of my penis. It is flared, like the head of a cobra. Its end looks like those street lights, or the head of the war machines from that old 1953 film The War of the Worlds, by George Pal. Looking at the width of the tip of the catheter tube I am happy I was asleep when it was inserted. I can’t imagine the pain of having that shoved into my penis tip. I believe that it being removed was a lot less painful than when it was installed prior to my surgery. I feel an immense sense of freedom and relief as the tube is finally completely out of my body. The doctor warns me that now that my catheter tube is out, I will have to learn how to urinate all over again. The catheter tube has been
draining my bladder without the help of my internal muscles. I need to exercise these muscles every hour on the hour by clenching my rectum, much like I was trying to suppress a fart in a crowded elevator. He asks if I need an adult diaper and suggests I purchase more from the store, as my bladder control is now weak and I will probably have accidents regularly. For the past three weeks, I have been wearing adult diapers while sleeping and when awake. Now I will need them even more. There are three types. One, is large, and has adhesive tabs along both sides, and they close up just like a baby’s diaper. They are large, and make a rustling sound when I walk around. I only wear these at night when in bed. The second type, is one that I can step into, and has two leg holes. This does not make the rustling sound, but is still pretty big. The third type is like an over-sized tampon pad, which has adhesives which attach it to the inside of my brief shorts, and protect me from leaking. They are very absorbent. I prefer these because they are the smallest, and are the most comfortable.
Looking at my chart the doctor tells me the good news is the biopsy test from the prostate gland which was removed on February 3rd, indicated that they were able to remove 100% of the cancer. It had not spread beyond the prostate to the bladder, and it looks like we had gotten it all out! I am relieved. The doctor warns me that we still need to take a prostate specific Antigen (PSA) blood test to check up on this periodically. Also my physician has scheduled me to have a colonoscopy to check to see if there was any cancer in my colon. (I immediately thought of my roommate, Steve, and wondered if I would be having a return trip to the hospital to have the same procedure he had.) For now, I am happy that my prostate cancer has been removed, and looking forward to getting my bladder back to normal. Before I leave, I shake my doctor’s hand thanking him for the good news. Although he cautions me that there is a chance it could return and we need to keep an eye for it, I bypass the worry and fear, and am elated to be CANCER-FREE!!!!