Monday, July 13, 2015

Et Tu, Cancer? Part 4 - Holy Sterilization, Batman!

I couldn't have said it any better, old chum.

Getting the news I had bladder cancer after months of blood in my urine was a bit of a shock to say the least! Then there was the first surgery and that didn't go as planned because the doctor couldn't remove all the tumor for fear of bladder perforation. Finally, the more grim news, well, that's what they call it in all those dramatic pronouncements of cancer, "more grim news". Well, I didn't think it was all grim. I know grim. Grim and I are old companions. The doctor told me it was an aggressive cancer that was untreatable with chemo and/or radiation.

"What's the next step then, doctor?", I sheepishly asked. The answer was surgery, and lots of it. That is the only way to remove the cancer and it was a good thing it had not metastasized. The nine hour surgery is the removal of the bladder, the prostate and the lymph nodes along the hips. Then, taking out 2 feet of intestine to create a "new" bladder. I was a good candidate for that last option. OK, no bladder, new bladder. That would seem to take a lot of getting used to, but what the hell? There's a lot of lymph nodes in the body, so what's the big deal? But, the prostate? What did I know about the prostate?

Not much, outside of all those commercials about a growing prostate and not being able to piss and so forth. The only thought I gave it was along the lines of "poor design". I know about many things: history, economics, politics and I certainly believe in myself as an actor and writer. So, I decided to look up what it is exactly that the prostate does when it's not growing to the size of a watermelon and cutting off one's urine flow. I read and hence the title of this article!

What an amazing thing, this prostate. It creates seminal fluid and without it, of course, no more ejaculations. In effect, I'll be sterile. I can still have kids, mind you, the testicles still produce sperm and from there it's a hop, skip and jump into a nearby artificially...well, you know. I had to take some time to absorb (as it were) the news and to really think about how I feel and think of myself as a man. Which head did I think with and which was more important to my self worth, and in the land of post-surgery how would my self-esteem and body image be worked into all that?

Like any man, I do think with both heads, but a majority of time I'm using the one that houses my brain. My brain, my intellect, my ability to write, act, et al, my friends, is what makes up the most of me. Ejaculation can be a big deal (pun intended?) but without a prostate it does not mean orgasms will not happen (given healing time). Man, what a selling point at the bar when picking up some babe! "No cum, baby! No more spitting out! No more gagging!" Well, there goes the other head talking, trying to convince the brain it won't be such a big deal. I think my self-esteem will survive just fine. The 8 inch scar leading downward from my belly button won't lead to a negative body image in the long run. It's something to show off. "Look, I survived this whole ordeal!", and I'm telling you that you can, too. Stay focused. Stay positive.

1 comment:

Dsm said...

My prostate and I have been engaged in an on-going turf war for nigh on twenty years. I decide when I take a piss! No, I decide when you take a piss! Oh, yeah, well have some flomax, youse...!

Attitude is definitely a part of the process, Rod. Keep it up. (So to speak.)