Recovery: Patience is a virtue (but sadly, not one of mine)

Yesterday I did the post-op check up thing with Dr. Porter.  When I woke up Tuesday there was one thing I was really excited about- that my constant companion, Mr. Catheter, and I would part ways.  For those who have never had the misfortune of having a catheter, it isn’t a horrific, agonizing experience.  But it is a pain in the tookus.  I had to be constantly aware of where my little bag o’ fluids were at all times.  Movement of any kind often involved a pinch in an area of my body I’d really rather not be pinched in. The drain tubes often got caught when I was reclining in my recliner.  The leg bag, which was to provide some mobility, only worked well while you were being mobile, otherwise it didn’t seem to drain properly.  Of course, because I only had the ten-minute course on how to manage your catheter (while I was taking fairly heavy duty pain meds,) it could just as well have been faulty management on my part.  They should come with IKEA-like instructions.

So, catheter gone, that was good news.  The second big  revelation was to learn about my pathology report.  That would set me on my path to what recovery might look like. The path report was about as good as it could get.  They confirmed my Gleason status at 4+3.  Sometimes it gets better, or worse depending on the analysis of slides taken at from the prostate.  Mine stayed the same from my biopsy. An aggressive cancer confined to the prostate, rated T2 for moderate danger. The margins of the surgery were clean.  I am cancer-free.  That’s the news you want to hear.  I’ll have my PSA (prostate specific antigens) levels checked in six weeks.  They should read zero.  No prostate no PSA’s. If they don’t, well, we’ll be talking a different,  darker blog entry later.

With the good news in hand it’s time to think about recovery. As I’ve mentioned, this is my first surgery.  If it was my last it would be fine with me.  Though I am a fairly sedentary being, I am busy.  I read.  I paint miniatures.    I work in the back yard.  I walk my dogs. I write at the computer.  I play board games and miniatures games  with my friends.  My sitting still usually involves me doing something.  The first part of my recovery is learning to rest.  Like snooze, nap, siesta, kick back.  Every time I’ve done something, gone out, had friends over, whatever, it’s required a two hour nap to catch up.  It’s something I need to be peaceful with.  I also need to try not to do too much.  A lot of the things I was hoping to do this week and even next week I’m putting on the back burner.

I’ve written about the two big side effects to prostate surgery, incontinence and impotence.  I’ll forgo my discussion of the latter.  It’s too soon for one thing, and frankly the former gets in the way of the latter.  I’ve begun wearing a pad.  It’s a new experience.  Honestly, so far, I’m staying pretty dry.  Tonight however, I was reaching high into my book case and felt that warm wet feeling.  It’s stress incontinence.  I’m sure there will be more lessons as I go along. But, it is refreshing to know I’m not leaking all the time. The doctor suggested I might be dry in a couple of months. Not soon enough for me, but at least it seems manageable.

Finally, my doctor is treating my ED problem with Cialis.  I take a 5mg dose each day, with a 20mg dose once per week.  Cialis and Viagra was something I laughed at once upon a time.  I think there’s been a certain amount of misuse of the drugs as a sexual wonder drug.  Unfortunately, it’s also a really useful medication for men recovering from prostate cancer.  What’s really sad is that it isn’t covered by insurance and quite expensive. The doctors have been really good about providing me with samples, but at some point those will stop.  Just sayin’.

In any case, things are looking up.  I’m on the mend, and if I can just sit still a bit longer, I’ll feel better.  But it’s summer vacation.  I want to start walking distance and then jogging.  I’m hoping to make a fairly major life change around taking care of myself, but I just gotta wait a little longer.



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