**** Warning - This blog contains details that may make you cross your legs and pray, but may help you if this is something you aregoing through or need to go through ****
Ten days ago, I had my prostate removed by a robot at the London Bridge hospital. This is the second relatively major (for me at least) medical procedure I've had on my prostate on this journey, along with a host of minor ones. Now I dare say that if I'd done my homework, none of this would have been a surprise, but to be brutally honest, I really didn't want to know. I made a conscious decision not to read up on the procedure. I didn't want to think about it, have doubts or worries about it and I trusted Professor Eden, who was performing the task. When I had HiFU I read up on it as best I could. This time, I put my trust in my surgeon. Professor Eden does around 200 a year. That is more Prostate removals than I have rehearsals with The False Dots in the same period. He's probably done as many in the last year as I've sold bands Pot Noodles in the last year. The only questions I asked him about the procedure were ones of curiosity. I regret not asking him what they did with all the old prostate's they've chopped out. I hang my old guitars on the wall. I doubt Prof Eden has a selection of jars above his fireplace. To give some context. The Ramones were called "The hardest working band in Rock", as they did 150 gigs a year, Prof Eden does 50 more prostate removals a year. I wonder if he listens to The Ramones as he does it? I should have asked. Anyway, enough waffle. There were a whole number of things that were a surprise to me over the stla few days. I guess that for most men, the biggest is erectile function. As I've got a catheter in and sex is impossible, that is not a major consideration right now. I have had what might be described as strange rumblings in the area over the last two - three days at times when I may normally have expected an erection. It is most definitely not an erection, but is a sign of life in that department. The information says that normal erectile function can take up to three years to return fully (if it is going to), with a nerve sparing prostatectomy operation. It is clear to me that the nerves are functioning to some degree, which is hopeful (I guess). I wasn't sure with this what to expect, but my perinium and abdomen are still tender, so it is all a work in progress. The catheter is rather uncomfortable, especially when I sit down. The end of my penis becomes quite sore when I sit down, but this passes when I move. It is OK when I am standing, walking or lying down. My catheter is removed on Wednesday, so I hope to give another update a couple of days after. The big issue then will be continence.
Here is my list of them.
2. The scar is smaller than I expected. I was told that my prostate was the size of a grapefruit. The hole they pulled out through was far smaller.
3. When I woke up, my abdomen resembled a barrage balloon. Apparently they inflate you with CO2 to make it easier to get the prostate out. I was starting to think I'd eaten too many pies until I did a bit of research.
4. It was marginally less painful than I expected. I had an operation on my groin in 2000, which was absolute agony. This was not pleasant, the first two days were very uncomfortable, but post op, I only had paracetamol and haven't needed it for two days. Mind you my Mum always said I had a very high pain threshold. My Dad would add "where there's no sense, there's no feeling"
5. I didn't feel nauseous after the anaesthetic. I was informed that I'd feel sick after the op. The procedure was around 3 hours. I had a mastiod removed in 1988 that was the same length and I felt as sick as a dog after. They would only give me fluids after, but I could have eaten a meal no problem. By the morning, I was starving and only got toast.
6. I didn't realise how much urine human beings produce. We go to the loo, do what we do, then flush the chain. I've had a cathetar so I see exactly how much I am producing. I've been advised to drink as much fluids as I can. I seem to be producing gallons of it. The day bag can hold 1/2 a litre and the night bag 2 litres. I seem to do nothing but empty the bloody thing when it's full.
7. The Hallucinations. The first couple of nights that I was out, I had the strangest hallucinations when I went to bed. I'd lie down and shut my eyes and be in a completely different place. I wasn't asleep and as soon as I opened my eyes, I was back in reality. They were extremely mundane as well. Things like shutting my eyes and then there would be a cleaner in the bedroom dusting. In actual fact, it is common, but I didn't know this. I was interested to read that cathetars are aggrevating factors.
8. I feel much better mentally than I expected. Having the surgery has lifted a monkey off my back. When you are suffering stress and anxiety, you really don't realise how it is affecting you until it lifts. Hopefully, I am closing this episode of my life after 12 years. I won't miss it.
9. I've not felt like drinking alcohol at all. I last had a drink on the Saturday before the op. I have a strange relationship with alcohol. When I don't have it, I don't miss it, but when I drink, I feel the need to do it to excess. For the last few years, I've managed my intake by having three days a week where I don't drink. It is only in the company of friends where I really crave it now. If I became a hermit, I wouldn't drink at all. On Sunday, my daughter and her boyfriend visited and bought a nice bottle of wine to cheer me up. I just didn't fancy it, which is unusual. In the circumstances, it is a good thing. I did some research and found that alcohol is not recommended until you are fully recovered. It may reduce your eventual level of continence. I guess that is all the more reason to give it a wide
10. The sudden bouts of tiredness have taken me by surprise. On Monday, I felt marvellous and suggested to Clare we go down the road for lunch. We went to the Moroccan Cafe and had a pleasant meal. By the time I returned I was whacked and had a sleep for two hours. I was cream crackered. It just sort of hits. When I woke up, I felt great again. I've been building up my exercise,getting the steps in. I'm trying to listen to my body and go at a sensible pace, but I learned that you can go from feeling great to feeling wiped out very quickly.
So there you go