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Christopher - Interview 07

Age at interview: 63
Age at diagnosis: 57
Brief Outline: Christopher is five years past a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He had an operation to have his prostate removed, which led to a long-term change to his sex life. However, cancer is not something he thinks about anymore, and he can see some positives to the experience now that he is through it.
Background: Christopher is a printer. He is married with two sons.

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Christopher is five years past a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He doesn’t really think about cancer at all on a day to day basis and is just getting on with his life. Although it was hard to get through the diagnosis and treatment phase, he feels that there were some positive things that came out of the experience. 
 
He had surgery at the time of his cancer diagnosis to remove his prostate. This operation removed the tumour, which had not spread, and his PSA levels have remained very low since then. However, as a result of the surgery he has had to make some changes to his sex life. Although his surgeon did not provide him any specific advice, he was able to talk to a nurse post-operation who helped him and his wife with these sexual issues. 
 
Having a strong faith has helped him immensely throughout the entire cancer journey. One nice experience was when a member of his Church came and prayed with him in the hospital and a surgeon was happy to stand with him while they prayed. 
 
He continued working following his recovery from the operation, and cancer does not affect his working life much nowadays. He does take the opportunity to talk to other people at work about his experience when they ask. 
 
He is still receiving regular PSA tests but doesn’t have any feedback on the results, and feels it would be helpful to get a phone call from his doctor with the PSA test result. 
 
 

Christopher and his wife consulted a nurse about how to improve their sex life after prostate...

Christopher and his wife consulted a nurse about how to improve their sex life after prostate...

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The sexuality is strange. I can experience an orgasm but it’s different to what I did prior to the operation. It’s almost more, it’s more intense. It’s like some of the nerves have been sort of wired up slightly differently, or they’ve joined up, although they work but the sensation is almost like an electric shock. I mean it’s so intense. I mean it’s pleasurable but it’s so intense that one almost has to stop. It’s like one can masturbate but when you climax it’s so intense that it’s like, “Whoof.” You know, “I’ve got to stop.” You know. 
 
So going back to what you said how it physically it affects me, yeah, I can’t have sex as we all experience it but it’s just as good in a different way. I mean after the operation I went to see, I don’t know what the technical term is, but a sort of a nurse that would deal with sexual problems. And one of the things that they did say was with the consultant that’s not something that’s high on his list of what you’re like after the operation. It was, and I can understand that, because obviously it’s a big operation and technically it’s quite complicated and, you know, that’s his field of expertise. So I can’t expect him to be clever at everything, so I went to see this woman and, again, as I’m talking to you, it’s not sort of something prior to the operation that I would have spoken openly about but it’s since I had several meetings with her it’s quite good. 
 
And I mean she said that there are, you know, you can get Anne Summers and, what was the other one, I can’t think now. But lots of companies that produce, you know, sexual aids and toys and things like that, whatever you want to call them and I was obviously concerned for my wife’s point of view because obviously I’m not going to be able to satisfy her. And to cut a long story short I ended up, I bought a vibrator and it took a while to get used to it. I know my wife was quite angry after the operation because she felt that she was just as big a victim as I was, but no one was talking to her about it. You know, although we both went to see this woman about the sexual problems afterwards together, and I think that helped, but with this vibrator now I can give my wife a better orgasm than I could before. And I think because, the plus side is because I can’t, you know, I can’t satisfy myself in the same way as I could prior to the operation I have more patience and it gives me greater pleasure to see her enjoying a normal sex life or a better sex life than she had before. 
 
Do you feel that now you still need or are you still seeing the nurse about any sexual problems or do you need any more support in that area?
 
No, because I think we’ve got to a stage now where we know what to do, so I know what to do to give my wife pleasure and she knows what to do to give me pleasure. And my wife often turns round and says, “Pity we didn’t know this knowledge years ago because it would have been better then.” You know, but they were very good. 

 

 

Christopher deliberately lost weight after his prostate cancer operation but regained it all on...

Christopher deliberately lost weight after his prostate cancer operation but regained it all on...

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 But after the operation, once I was feeling better, and I did make a conscious effort and I lost quite a bit of weight. I lost a stone I think. I went on holiday and it was like, it was almost like my body was wanting to absorb all this food, you know, again. And I put it straight on again and I found that quite depressing because I thought, “Oh, you know, I’ve put all that effort into it”. But last year I made a conscious effort and I lost two stone and it stayed off all year and so I’m still two stone lighter and I’m trying to lose a little bit more weight. I think primarily it was my knees were telling me to lose a bit of weight because again the walking, and although I live in a bungalow, we’ve got stairs at work, and at the end of the week you’re thinking, “Oh, don’t, not more stairs”. So I’m trying to lose a little bit more weight but, yeah, physically I feel quite good. And I’m not sitting at a desk all day long, which I’m happy, and, as I said to you earlier, I’m retiring in a year’s time, so hopefully I can do a bit more walking and just getting out, and gardening I enjoy so I try and keep, you know, I’m not trying to do extreme sports or extreme exercise but just gentle moving about and keep the body moving.

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