Patient Journey: Recovery of erectile function after prostate cancer

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 49. I just woke up one morning there’s some blood in my urine, and it seems I sort of panicked. I went straight to my GP, who said that it was an infection and so gave me antibiotics. And eventually, it did go, but it kept on appearing again. Nothing was working, and finally, I was given a digital rectal examination, and they found a nodule on my prostate.

I had the option of all the different treatments, and I talked to my partner and decided that I wanted my prostate removed because, in my mind, that would go the transfer of my body. Unfortunately, with this procedure, there come possible complications, specifically erectile dysfunction and a degree of urinary incontinence.

Prostate cancer diagnostics

Before I had the surgery, I talked to the consultant, and he said that I could have incontinence, I could have direct to our problems, and honestly and truly thought that it wouldn’t happen to me. I just thought my erections would come back on their own, think that one morning I would wake up and there it would be and that it never happened.

Once I realized that I couldn’t get an erection anymore, I became more and more withdrawn and not a very nice person to live with. It made me feel awful, really awful. When patients come for the treatment of their erectile dysfunction after they’ve had prostatic surgery, you tend to start with the least invasive option and then work your way up over time.

The first treatment option I was offered was pills – Viagra, Cialis, etc. It didn’t give me an erection. Nothing changed at all. The next treatment option I was offered was a pellet that goes down the urethra. That did give me an erection. It gave me a very good erection, but it was also, in my case, extremely painful.

Next was an injection, and I used that for some time and then that to give me good erections. Eventually, it gave me a bit of a bend in my penis when it was erect, and again that became uncomfortable and quite painful. I was also offered a vacuum pump, and it did work. It gave my penis back what I consider to be a normal look. The reason I didn’t like that or wasn’t so keen on that one because it wasn’t spontaneous.

If they failed all other treatments, then they offered a penile implant. I started talking to the nurse specialist about penile implants. More than anything, I wanted something that looked and felt natural. There was a malleable one that you could have for him and an inflatable one. In general, an inflatable penile implant is a gold standard, and it makes things look normal, so your erect when you want to be and your flaccid when you want to be.

When it’s inflated experience, the length and the girth of my penis, and when it’s deflated, it feels extremely normal to me. It feels like my penis did before. When it’s deflated, I don’t even know it’s there, and when it’s inflated, it’s exactly what I wanted it to be, and I’m just so pleased already done.

The penile prosthesis has revolutionized the management of men with erectile dysfunction. It gives support to the patient because they know that their erectile dysfunction after the radical prostatectomy can be cured. When I had the prostate cancer initially, apart from being afraid that I would die, once that beard was gone, I was extremely angry and didn’t feel like a man anymore because my prostate was removed.

It was awful, an awful time, and I went from being a very confident, outgoing person to becoming the complete opposite. Now I feel brilliant. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve got the implant buddy is because I can get an erection again, and the two go together, so it’s made a big difference. Finally, I fell back to my old self, back to how I was before I had prostate cancer.

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