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Interview 26

Age at interview: 63
Age at diagnosis: 56
Brief Outline: Diagnosed with prostate cancer 1993, prostatectomy 1993.
Background:

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Explains there are positive reasons for facing the prostate cancer rather than living in ignorance.

Explains there are positive reasons for facing the prostate cancer rather than living in ignorance.

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I suppose the thing is to meet it square on, accept the fact that there will be as many bonuses in meeting it and dealing with it as there will pitfalls of having to meet it and deal with it. From a life point of view it certainly changed my attitude and changed my outlook on life, for the better as far as I feel because things were very important to me, for all the wrong reasons years ago, are less significant these days, and the things that perhaps were less significant for me are very, very important, that's your family and the ability to say yes I'm still here, I'm still here to take part in whatever life is. 

 

Describes how his outlook on life has changed.

Describes how his outlook on life has changed.

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I suppose the thing is to meet it square on, accept the fact that there will be as many bonuses in meeting it and dealing with it as there will pitfalls of having to meet it and deal with it. From a life point of view it certainly changed my attitude and changed my outlook on life, for the better as far as I feel. Because things were very important to me, for all the wrong reasons years ago, are less significant these days, and the things that perhaps were less significant for me are very, very important. That's your family and the ability to say yes I'm still here, I'm still here to take part in whatever life is.

 

Comments on his visit to an aromatherapist and a reflexologist.

Comments on his visit to an aromatherapist and a reflexologist.

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Have you had any other treatment at all since leaving hospital or tried any alternative treatments?

No not really other than what I'm particularly interested in these days, because of some of the other symptoms that I've said of quality of life being different, you become tired far quickly and some of the pains that you carry and the scarring that you carry I have taken these days to visiting an aromatherapist and a reflexologist and I find that has a huge amount of comfort.

 

Explains his initial embarrassment at having a catheter and then soreness when removed.

Explains his initial embarrassment at having a catheter and then soreness when removed.

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I found no initial serious discomfort with it [the catheter] but then a lot of concern about leakage and the fact of if it did leak within the bed it made me feel uncomfortable. It also made me feel embarrassed about it. I must admit that was put at ease and the method of the fixing of the catheter through the penis and the strap on the leg and the bag and the tackle that went with it. The bag was initially strapped onto the side of the bed when you were still in bed and then you had this little tripod type stand after that, you hooked your bag on and we went about our merry way. I had no problems with that, no discomfort with it. Some initial concern about embarrassment, but I must admit the staff certainly help you overcome those things and even then towards the latter part of the stay, before removal of the catheter, there was sort of some technique or instruction how to deal with a catheter in the event that you would have to go home with it. 

Thankfully that didn't happen, it was removed in hospital and from that point of view although I had a great deal of concern about removing this and the method of removing it at the time when it came to the removal it was absolutely painless. It was done really before, and carried out before I realised it had happened and there were no ill effects as far as I was concerned with the removal of the tube. It was very sore initially to pass water and tender. Control was limited, but there were 1 or 2 little easy pelvic exercise that you were given to strengthen your bladder muscles, and things like that, and within a short time of days really you were over the soreness and almost controlling your bladder as you would normally before the operation.

 

Wishes he had considered other options and the side effects of a radical prostatectomy more...

Wishes he had considered other options and the side effects of a radical prostatectomy more...

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And how much information and time was given to you at that stage, in that consultation?

The information given to me then certainly indicated the seriousness of the event in as much cancer was the word mentioned, the options then described to me were the fact that the radical prostectomy which is an operation of removing the prostate was foremost really. They were alternatives such as therapies of either chemo or radiotherapy and also the fact that they were conducting some tests with various drug companies that it may be an option. But the main thing I think was, that was directed to me, that because of my age and the hopefulness of an early diagnosis the recommendation and I do say this, a recommendation was that I should go for the radical prostectomy and have the prostate removed.

Were all the side effects spelt out to you at that stage?

No, no the side effects, perhaps I'm to blame may be as much as anyone for that because I didn't challenge that, in any event. And I think it was hard enough at that particular stage to absorb the news that you've been given and the possibility of major surgery. It was indicated I must admit that if I had the operation it was major surgery but the alternatives I would have said you know were, certainly not in the foreground but in the background. I'd been told about them, but I was being, I would have said directed to take the radical prostatectomy because of the reasons early diagnosis and the hopefulness of a complete cure. 

 

Describes the urinary problems after having a prostatectomy.

Describes the urinary problems after having a prostatectomy.

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Since the operations there's been problems with what terminology used to me as scaring of the urethral tube and I've had three sort of mini small operations then shall I say to remove that scar tissue an experience again all of its own. Early days during that had its limitations with passing urine, and the fact of a limited flow but from each time of taking this local operation which meant a small, again instrument being passed down through your penis into the area where the operation and the joining up had taken place in the tube was just a matter of clearing that out and scraping it out and taking some small items away from there that were blocking it and since then that sort of thing has been, not created any problems at all.

Was that another general anaesthetic?

No they were done by local anaesthetics...

Epidural?

No just local freezing.

I still get some irritation there, you still get some urgency and you still do feel uncomfortable from time to times in passing water but my experience since then has been quite good. The other effect though, the other thing that I do suffer with at the moment is that I've got a hernia which seems to be related to the one of the drain areas and I suppose if I have any problems at all in total re the prostatectomy it's more related to that than what it is to the bladder, the penis or passing of any water.

 

Describes how he has come to terms with impotence after radical prostatectomy.

Describes how he has come to terms with impotence after radical prostatectomy.

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And do you mind me asking were there any, was there any effect of sexual functions after the operation?

Yes initially we, and I say we because my wife and I felt it was very good there was a sexual experience after the operation, whether that was pure excitement or what I don't know, but the it became very limited, and from that point of view it's become almost impossible to either have an erection or maintain an erection. That isn't a huge problem to me and my wife, we've learnt to come to terms with it, it was something we didn't want and we would've preferred not to have had but I think the bonus with that has been in the fact of it's secondary to everything else. We are here, both of us are here, me perhaps mainly and we get on with our life.

 

Describes how a radical prostactectomy reduced his stamina and greatly affected his lifestyle.

Describes how a radical prostactectomy reduced his stamina and greatly affected his lifestyle.

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The other side effects that I feel are honestly related to the operation of my battery power, as I call it. My strength is far lower these days than what it used to be. My stamina is nothing to what it used to be, the will to want to do those things in the early days was very strong and I suppose I've been one of those that has pushed myself to the limit. But having found out what my limits are, and they're certainly far lower than what they used to be in any form of physical movement, coming to terms with that and readjusting my life to say I can do lots but they're far less than what they were in the past, again is a salvation I feel. Learn to live with what life is now rather than what life was before.

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