Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 27, 2009 The Descent

surgery: 21 days ago
pain medicine: none
laxative: none
blood flow: Levitra 3 times a week, 20mg
adult pads: as required, 6-8 per day
exercise: 2 mile per day walking, 300 kegels
follow up: 6 weeks (5/27 Orlando)
psa test: (5/20)

Well, I 'm not sure where to begin, it's been two weeks since I've blogged and provided any update. I am not going to lie and tell you that it's been easy. It actually has been very difficult physically, mentally and spiritually.

I am continuing to heal physically, the physical exhaustion has subsided although I do tire easily. Internally all systems are back to functioning and the anesthesia effects are gone.

As for the urinary function; it has been a difficult few weeks, Friday (4/17) I woke feeling lousy, when I was urinating it felt like I was passing razor blades, obviously not good. I went to my general physician begging to urinate in a cup - the Bayer results showed traces of blood and bacteria present, looks like a urinary tract infection. I was prescribed Cipro for 5 days and they sent the sample to the lab for a culture.

The 6 incisions are less painful except for the one above the navel where they removed the prostate, Monday (4/20) I woke to an infected incision, back to my general physician, he was concerned that the Cipro may not be strong enough and prescribed Levaquin for 10 days. Let me add that it has now become protocol for me that any drug or diagnosis must also be run through Dr Patel (Orlando) and Dr. Jenkins (Panama City), so it's a 3 doctor balancing act. Dr. Patel advised against any more medication and to see Dr. Jenkins for it. Jenkins inspected it (4/21) and suggested we watch it for a few days. So Monday (4/27) Jenkins felt it was subsiding and offered two options, watch it or drain it and pack it until it clears. I chose the watch it method, it could impact my run in 6 days.

During the (4/21) Jenkins consult we discussed my urinary control, as I looked at my urologist (and friend) who feels responsible for my current situation, I finally lost control and broke down in tears. I explained to him that I was so prepared for the surgery, the minimally invasive, faster recovery surgery, that I forgot how hard it would be on the backside. For the last 11 days since the catheter removal I have been fighting this minor problem I have with leakage. I am totally able to sleep through the night with no issues, no pads, waking up urinating fine. But during the day with increased activity it's like a "leaking faucet" In fact this is my new Indian name "leaky faucet." But I cannot tell you how the most normal function to a man (urinating) can become the most humbling thing I've ever experienced. It consumed me for 11 days and filled me with anxiety, impatience and frustrations. Until I met with Jenkins, another man who just reached out wrapped his arms around me and said he understood, he loves me and it will be fine. The surgery was amazing and it just takes time, your stress and anxiety is going to increase your recovery, you have got to find a way to relax. And by the way, Jenkins you're responsible for saving my life.

The plan is to manage, exercise and control the bladder over the next two weeks and if things do not get better then we will discuss the bladder control program at the urological center. Jenkins feels that the results would/should be the same but to let him know.

As for physical exercise, NONE for 4 weeks, this magic date is approaching (5/4) with much excitement and anxiety. What will that first stride be like? Will it hurt, will I run differently to modify my rebuilt bladder neck and urinary system?

As for medicine, the 100 mg Viagra caused vision problems and diarrhea (took it twice), switched to 10 mg Cialis, it caused the most debilitating migraines and leg cramps (took it twice) and now I have 20 mg Levitra. It is the last medicine they can prescribe to keep the blood flowing. I can tell you some promising news, during the non-medicinal periods the male function that is so important has returned. I won't provide too much detail but what is factored is whether or not it could be utilized for sexual functions. You have to provide a firmness scale of 0-10 with and/or without prescription meds. Remember this is all medicinal at this stage of the recovery process.

In the infamous words of my lovely wife, "You are cancer free, your able to have erections, what's a little wee on yourself."

Things are beginning to gradually get better;

I received a phone call from another prostate cancer survivor, Darren Ritch (4/23), he explained that all these things are normal and that the frustration, the anxiety, the leaking, all normal. He also said that because of my physical condition going into the prostatectomy that I am recovering much faster than he did and that it won't be long until these little speed bumps will pass. My friend Darren has been such an inspiration, his ability to share via blog and his compassion for others has been unbelievable.

I also received a phone call from Dr. Patel (4/20) asking me how I was, I think he could discern the anxiety in my voice, he said that the surgery was a success, now relax and heal.

God in his providence has filled my journey with many wise and inspiring resources. He has blessed me throughout, He was with me through surgery but when I needed him most these past two weeks I forgot about Him. I climbed Everest April 6th praying for his safety, but then I went running down that mountain thinking I had control again. I cannot help but listen to the repetitive lessons for me directly; CONTROL. Ironic that this is now my last hurdle, my last humbling of this trial, CONTROLLING my bladder. God is GREAT, He placed two scriptures in my life during my devotional (4/22);

Do not be anxious about anything..Phil 4:6

Cast all your anxiety on Him..1Peter5:7

In my descent down the mountain, through cancer, through recovery, I am back to having a sense of peace and feeling of ease. I feel like I have my head back on straight and the few days of darkness is gone and there is only light ahead in this trial. It is a trial that requires support; from God, friends, family and physicians.

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