Myself and Joel don’t have much in common other then being the same sex and DNA. He is the cute little thing everyone swoons over. He shamelessly uses his big doe eyes to get picked up and swept into the nearest female bosom (enjoy that now boy, it certainly does not last). He lets out this infectious giggle that wraps everyone around his chubby little fingers and he does not pay any bills. If I try the doe eye thing I am either ignored, asked if I’m feeling well, what am I staring at or I might get a slow deliberate eye roll in return. The one thing we do share, unfortunately, is the need to wear nappies or should I say pads in my adult variation.
It is the latter part of July, approximately three weeks after my radical prostatectomy operation. Now in the exam world 100% is that hallowed goal. Unfortunately my report card scores would look great if it was in subjects like geography and chemistry but crap for a lifestyle.
July 2018 Progress Report Card
100% Impotent. Now a catheter is an excellent method of birth control for both the mind and the body. Dr C had once told me that he knew of a patient that had a stiffie while his catheter was still inserted. Guys if you are making a face then that will be a variation of the horror filled one I made. The thought of even thinking anything remotely naughty absolutely terrified me while still being shish kebabed by this two foot long McDonalds straw. I have even seen catheter instructions that say you can bend the tube round and put a condom over it like it’s not there. Shivers. Now to coin and modify a phrase ‘the mind is strong and willing Luke but your force and body are not working’
100% Optimism. If there is anything that I have learnt from all of this is that if I try to fight this on more than one front at a time I will fail. There is not much point me worrying about problem D when I still have problems B & C to deal with. Take the problems one at a time. So there is not much point worryingly about being impotent if I am still incontinent to put in a practical sense.
100% Sense of humour. Bloody have to have one – have you been following all of this blog to read what’s been happening?
70% Urinary incontinent. Though it’s not completely falling out of me I am leaking loads and just as annoyingly when I do get to go normally I cannot slow or stop the flow once it starts. If I was robbed while relieving the King or a grizzly bear just happened to walk in on me I cannot shut if off and pursue or flee. A bear you say? Listen this has been quite a year so if a hungry purple bear walked through the door, wearing a stetson I would be the last one to be flipping surprised.
50% Strength. I have little core strength. I cannot bend over and touch my toes or life anything heavier than Joel. The stitches are still visible but slowly fading. The wounds are deceiving as they are healing from the top but extend deep down.
50% Cancer. I don’t know if the operation has been successful in removing all of the cancer. I will not know that until the end of August when I receive my post operation PSA reading.
8% Weight loss. I have lost a stone in weight. This will be down as much to lack of appetite as it is to eating healthier. I have curbed the fast food, given up caffeine and diet coke and I eat far less red meat. The fast food is relegated to a once a month treat. Not that I would be promoting or writing a book about the ‘prostate diet’ anytime soon.
0% Driving. I cannot drive at all. This is due to both the location of seat belt and my stitches and the fact that an emergency stop could rip them out.
Teachers report summary: Recovery is slow but the poor brudda is proper busted mate.
My situation is now nearly a full circle to that of my dad (1. Prostate cancer : Pops). When I met up with him again, in my early forties, after all those years. He was at the post prostatectomy state and wearing pads but I just didn’t know that then and he didn’t say anything about what had happened to him. Had I known, the situation now could have been very different for me and with early intervention I could have avoided the surgery. I would be lying if I don’t have this tiny little thought at the very back of my mind that he could have warned me, that he could have said something. It’s my job to get over that but I cannot say I have done it completely yet or it will get any easier. It is something I should address directly with him but I don’t know how far I will get.
I have tried to break the cycle of not communicating with pops but its not easy on a number of fronts. He is not deaf and I cannot really say hard of hearing either. However it’s a strange thing as he sometimes seems to mishear what I say but then not say he has misheard. I think he will just pick out a keyword and run with it. A recent conversation went as follows.
“What’s the weather like over there pops” I asked.
“No son I don’t think I will be able to come over this year” Pops replied. That is coming over to the UK to see me and the family. I have been over to see him three times and he is yet to come back over here again. A long running litany of excuses that I just don’t entertain anymore and have stopped asking.
“Have you spoken to my sister recently pops?” I asked.
“Oh what did she say to you?” He replied.
On more than one occasion Annette has come into the room thinking that me and pops are having a blazing row as I am shouting down the phone. Not at all. The second time when I repeat myself I am louder the third time I am even louder or I just give up. None of which is conducive to having a deep and meaningful conversation about prostate cancer let alone anything else.
I still need to drink at least two litres of water daily which equates to using four to six pads per day. In only a couple of days I had already got through a quarter of one of the two packs I left the hospital with. Each local authority has an incontinence team and they arrange for an initial delivery of pads followed by regular supplies whenever you need them. Knowing how these things work I didn’t wait for the authority to get their fingers out and made a point of going back to Guys the next day and securing myself another couple of packs. Fast forward a couple of weeks when I came back for another seminar and I overheard the nurses saying that they had run out. The angel on my shoulder was saying it would be a wonderful gesture if I took the twenty mile round trip back home and brought back a couple of packs to help out this guy that was in a hurry for the next delivery. The devil on the other shoulder said the angel was a fool and I was a muppet to pass up the opportunity to get the same couple of packs and auction them out of my car boot. I ignored both of them.
I did eventually get a call to arrange a delivery of pads and made a date. It was one of those where they expect you to wait in for up to seven hours and unfortunately with a captive target audience they have absolutely no incentive to change. So I am minding my business doing something or other waiting for the delivery and a wave of horror just swept over me. Who is going to deliver this package and was it in a plain package? Did I really want the ‘Acme Incontinence Team’ van blocking the road while they deliver a box with my name on it – erm hell no. Or what if ‘Incontinence – Handle with care. Mucky Pup size’ is plastered all over the outside box. Of course I can do a dark glasses and hat job and sneak down and get them. Only problem with that is I couldn’t find any of the hats and I don’t own sunglasses or a hoodie. I was beginning to think this was going to be a really bad day. In the end I could breath a sigh of relief as my secret was safe thanks to a TNT van and an unbranded brown box.
A pad is shaped like a bulbous number eight. There are other types and shapes but this was the most common type that I received. It is eighteen inches long (yes really, you could use them on a flipping giraffe) with one end slightly wider than the other. The small end is eight inches across and the bigger end is nine inches across. They are universal in the fact that they can be used by both men and women and they will provide the wearer with protection for a number one and or two. The enterprising little soul that I am and as I only had to think about number one’s so I decided that they could be cut in half and I also made a vow to myself that I would never need to order another delivery. I was going to beat this by the time they run out. In the mean time I had to make a wardrobe change and switch from boxer shorts to briefs. Not budgie smugglers as the Australians would say but just something that would hold the pad. I also got together my change kit of baby wipes and nappy bags and I was set.