I finally met the doctor who will be performing my prostate surgery yesterday at his office in Radnor PA. Dr Lee has performed over 4,000 Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Radial Prostatectomies and is one of the most renowned specialists in this area. I was most impressed with Dr Lee and feel very comfortable that I will be in very good hands. Tentatively the surgery is scheduled for September 30 at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in downtown Philadelphia. I have asked that I be moved up in his schedule if an opening should occur. We'll see!
The meeting with Dr Lee and his Assistant was very enlightening and I couldn't have asked for them to be more forthcoming and straight forward. Some of the things I learned:
I thought that I would have to have a catheter for between 3 and 4 weeks. Turns out I will probably have the catheter removed after one week.
I will spend one night in the hospital and will be discharged the next day. I will be expected to begin walking up to two miles per day as soon as I get home. If all goes well I should be able to return to all of my physical activities (tennis, running, pickleball) three months after the surgery.
I will not be able to drive a car for one week after the surgery. This will probably drive me nuts but I'm sure I'll survive,
I will be wearing a diaper for a while, how long will depend on my progress. I was given instructions on how to do the Kegel Exercise. Since my prostate is being removed I will no longer have the muscles in the prostrate that control urine flow. After surgery I will be relying on my pelvic floor muscles to control urine flow. The Kegel Exercise improves the urethral sphincter strength by developing the bladder neck muscle and the muscle around the urethra. The Kegel Exercise essentially is like trying to hold in a fart. I need to squeeze my ass throughout the day and this will develop the necessary muscles.
It is interesting to note that since women do not have a prostate, they are always relying on these muscles to control urine flow. Men with a prostate have not developed these muscles effectively. I need to get on a crash course to get this muscles developed so I can get off the diapers ASAP. Any woman who has had a caesarean section is well aware of the Kegel Exercise, right Ginny, Sarah and Diane???
The really fascinating area involves sex and what to expect with all of that. Since I will be losing my prostate I will no longer be able to ejaculate. However, I will still be able to have an orgasam. The interesting thing that I learned s that it is not required to have an erection to have an orgasam. Who'd a thunk?? I probably won't be capable of having an erection for at least a year and then I may need some help in the form of Viagra. All of this was very enlightening to me and I am sure that I will learn a lot more about all of this as I go through the process.
Like the old saying goes; "use it or lose it" this is truly the case with sex after the removal of the prostate. They told me that if I wanted to continue to have sex I will need to do something called self stimulation. This is all unchartered waters for me and I will probably need to rent some X-rated movies to guide me through the procedure. The key is to continue to exercise those muscles that are used during sex or I will lose them.
They will send my prostate and some lymph nodes to pathology after my surgery. Hopefully they will not find any cancer outside of the prostrate. I will need to have my PSA checked every three months for the first year after surgery and then every six months thereafter.
Well, now the wait begins!