Monday, March 14, 2011

And Life Goes On

Well it's been four weeks now since surgery; and not a four weeks I would hope to repeat.  I have never spent so much time laying around doing little or nothing.  And if I never see a catheter again, it will be too soon.


There is a projected healing process that most guys go through during recovery from a radical prostatectomy.  And according to that, I should have been out of the hospital after two nights, had the catheter out in 2 weeks and quickly been about getting back into the swing of things.  Unfortunately there are those outliers that fall outside the standard curve, and while I was not totally surprised that I was one of those, I was surprised that I fell on the slow side.  I was in excellent health and in good physical condition so to have healed quicker than normal would not be too surprising.  But no, I had to struggle through every step of the way.  Troubles with the catheter started in the recovery room, continued during my hospital stay leading to an extra day there, and on into my home recovery period.  The silly thing kept plugging up, leading to leakage through the anastomosis (the reconnected urethra and bladder) and out the cavity drain.  

The catheter problems hit a crisis point on the Saturday after coming home and resulted in a trip back to Tacoma and a replacement catheter, quite a fun process - NOT!  The only highlights of this was Sue being called in to assist the doctor, and that it fixed the problem.  Unfortunately it appears that by this time one of the sutures in the anastomosis had blown out, requiring an extension of the time for the catheter from 2 weeks to nearly 3 1/2.  At that point the doctor removed the catheter, not because the leak was gone (it wasn't) but because I was going crazy.

Life post-catheter is much improved.  I am able to move around much easier and life is almost back to normal (whatever that is).  Today, four weeks to the day after my surgery, I was finally able to lace up the running shoes and get back on the road.  Just a short easy run, but it is a start.  And I was finally able to make it back to work.  While there is still some discomfort, it is wonderful to be able to re-engage with the world outside of the house.

So what does the future hold?  The cancer should be gone, although I will be tested periodically over the next few years.  The healing process continues and I should be able to gradually increase the duration and intensity of the runs.  In another couple of weeks I should be able to get back on the bike and into the pool.  The major issues facing me in the future are incontinence and impotence.  Both of these should slowly resolve but there is no assurance of that.  The next 6 to 18 months will tell the story here.  Whatever it is like at the end of that period will likely be permanent.  

Still a long road ahead, but I am thankful to have the past few weeks behind me.  Also extremely thankful for my loving wife who has been willing to wait on me hand and foot, and to the others who have prayed for and supported me during this process.

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