Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Offers Hope To Those Coping With Cancer

Historians believe crucifixion was first used in Persia in 519 BC. Psalm 22 was written somewhere between 1037-967 BC which was BEFORE death by crucifixion was used in the ancient world. Yet the writer of the Psalm 22 describes Jesus death scene perfectly.
Ps 22:16-18
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.
John 19:23-24
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,”
Statistically speaking the probability that Jesus of Nazareth could have fulfilled even eight of prophecies listed below would be only 1 in 1017. 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000.
If you didn't celebrate Christmas, it's highly likely you have not conducted a prayerful & careful examination of Jesus life, His teachings, His death and resurrection and compared them to the to 353 prophecies that Jesus fulfilled. There is nothing in this life you can believe in that has a higher statistical probability of being true. That's why I celebrated Christmas yesterday.
It's why I can say with Paul:
1 Cor 15:54-55
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory."
"O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?"
I can also be assured that why I die this is what happens in an instant::
2 Cor 5:6-8                                                                                                                                              So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 

That's a great hope and comfort to anyone diagnosed with cancer.
353 Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer can  be previewed and purchased
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

What You Don't Know Can Kill You?

After my wife and I wrote our book together,  I've heard from hundreds of people coping with life without a prostate. There's a letter I received from a widow that I cannot get out of my head. I think about this tragedy many times each month. In fact this letter is what eventually moved me to begin writing a book about penile implants.
Here's the letter:

"My husband had a robotic prostatectomy.  It cured his cancer, but left him impotent. This killed his soul. We loved each other deeply and each of us knew that, but there was nothing I could do to heal his pain. If I tried to initiate intimacy, he would become anxious and push me away. Alternately, he would initiate intimacy when he had self-medicated with alcohol. This was difficult for me and never had a good outcome. Humor didn't go far, either. He felt damaged. He wasn't a group kind of guy, so he never received professional help for his emotional pain. He went deeper into depression. On August 7th he committed suicide. While his impotence wasn't the only issue that drove him to his decision to end his life, it was a major factor in his feeling life wasn't worth living.  It's heart-breaking for our family".

Here's a section from the introduction of the book I'm writing about penile implants:

When I received the news I’d be impotent for the rest of my life, I left that appointment without any hope things could be different. My reaction to the news I’d spend the rest of my life impotent immediately brought about a major depressive episode.

Ironically, the physician who gave me this news would later be the surgeon who performed my penile implant surgery. When he told me I’d be impotent for the rest of my life, he FAILED to mention penile implants as an option. I left his office that day feeling hopeless for months on end before I came up with the idea of a penile implant on my own. There are far too many men like me who were left feeling miserable, depressed and unaware there are amazing alternatives to restore erectile functioning.

Whatever is causing your erectile dysfunction, I want you to know there is hope. To determine how to best treat the underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction involves an act of courage on your part. The journey toward healing begins with you making an appointment to see a Doctor to evaluate the cause of your erectile dysfunction.

Rick Redner & his wife Brenda wrote an award winning book to help men and couples cope with life before, during and after prostate surgery. Here's the link:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cancer & Family Milestones

A milestone is an action or event marking a significant change or stage in development. I'm sure I wasn't the only one diagnosed with prostate cancer who wondered whether the diagnosis of cancer would cause me to miss some important milestones like becoming a grandfather, walking my daughter down the isle, or retirement.

Happily, I lived long enough to become a grandfather. This week, one of my son's is  moving from our home in CA to WV for a job he's wanted for years. Because cancer has changed my perspective on what's important in life, I made arrangements to take off from work for a month. (More accurately, I'm working from the road.) My wife &  I are driving with him on a 2,700 mile road trip across the country to help him move into his new apt.

On the way to WV we are stopping in Illinois to visit our oldest son &  his wife. After we spend some time helping our son move in, my wife & I are flying to Florida to enjoy a two week romantic vacation.

I wish I could say with certainty these are things I would have done before I was diagnosed with cancer, but I can't. As a cancer survivor, every milestone I live long enough to see has a new importance and meaning to me. So as I share in this journey across the country my heart breaks to be so far away from my son. I also experience a heart filed with gratitude that  I lived long enough to celebrate a family milestone. What important life lesson you've learned from cancer?
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of  Prostate Cancer
 can  be previewed and purchased at

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Day The Laughter Died Coping With Prostate Cancer

When I received the news I had prostate cancer, laughter was the furthest thing from my mind. As a Medical Social Worker, I witnessed many people die from cancer. This was before the Hospice Movement and the emphasis on pain control. In those days, powerful pain relieving drugs were withheld from terminally ill patients. The reasoning behind this decision was to prevent a terminally ill patient from becoming addicted to pain killing drugs. There was no way I was going to "laugh my way through cancer."

Three words with vivid images came to my mind after hearing I had prostate cancer. The three words were:
1. Pain
2. Suffering
3. Death

All three of these words brought multiple images of the people I'd known who died from cancer. Each and every one of those images brought waves of terror into my life.The prospect of surviving prostate cancer wasn't something I entertained as a possibility.

I believed I'd been handed a death sentence.  As a Christian, a  familiar Bible verse offered me some immediate comfort.
2 Cor 5:7-8
 For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

I knew in the instant of the death of my body, I'd be with the Lord. My problem was that I wasn't ready to be with the Lord. I wanted to live long enough to walk my daughter down the isle. I wanted to live long enough to become a grandfather. I wanted to live long enough to retire and spend time with my wife traveling together.

After I received the diagnosis of  cancer I was convinced I'd lost all of those opportunities. The only question for me was how many pain free months did I have left  before I'd beg to die from cancer. To say I was terrified would be an understatement. I'd never experienced such fear in my lifetime.

Oddly enough, on the day I was diagnosed I knew I had to break the grip of fear that had over taken me. The only way I could think of to do this was to find a way to laugh at cancer. I went on line in search for prostate cancer jokes. These were my two favorite jokes that brought on hearty laughter:

Doctor: I've got your test results and some bad news. You have cancer and Alzheimer's.
Man: Boy, am I lucky! I was afraid I had cancer!

Doctor: (After performing a digital rectal exam tells his patient) I’ve got bad news for you. I felt a suspicious lump and I am ordering a biopsy.
Patient: I’d like you to repeat the exam using a different finger.
Doctor: Why should I do that?
Patient: Because I’d like a second opinion.

I wish I could say that I effectively used humor throughout my entire journey coping with cancer. I can't. The song American Pie speaks of  "the day the music died" I vividly remember the day when laughter died. I'd been coping with the loss of urinary control and erectile functioning for a few weeks and I'd had enough. I'd been leaking through my diapers on a regular basis. The embarrassment and shame was so great I refused to leave the house or have any visitors. I wanted to be left alone in my misery. I hated my life. I hated cancer. I regretted my decision to have my prostate removed. I came to the conclusion my life was ruined forever. There I was, cured of cancer. I'd received a reprieve from a death sentence, yet  I was sorry to be alive. That was the day my laughter died. Nothing was funny or humorous. I had no desire to laugh or even crack a smile. I hated my life. I regretted my decision to treat prostate cancer.

It was a comic strip that brought laughter back into my life. My wife described it to me. It was a picture of Charley Brown coming to the decision to hate one day at a time. As I heard my wife say that I burst out laughing. That line of reasoning may not sound funny to everyone, but for me it was a stroke of genius, an amazingly healthy perspective.

At the time,  I was projecting my hatred of my life years and decades into the future. Just the idea of learning to hate one day at time was a very humorous challenge to me. It brought both laughter and gratitude back into my life.

I don't know what it will take for you to bring humor into your life as you cope with cancer, but I can heartily recommend a minimum of one good laugh a day. There is someone who has a lot more wisdom, power and authority than me, who agrees on the benefits of laughter:
Prov 17:22
A merry heart does good, like medicine,

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning faith based book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer can  be previewed and purchased at

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Get Yourself Tested For Prostate Cancer

As a prostate cancer survivor it's hard for me to believe these powerful and influential organizations have come out in favor of delayed testing for prostate cancer even though prostate cancer among younger men has increased sixfold in the past 20 years. Despite this fact, all four of these organizations suggest we do less rather than more prostate cancer screening. These organizations believe men are so dumb and/or fearful, they literally can't handle the truth about prostate cancer. They conclude the majority of men diagnosed with prostate cancer will make a regrettable and medically unnecessary treatment decisions, therefore, the best thing we can do is keep men in the dark and ignorant about prostate cancer.

There are new tests available to help men decide whether their cancer is aggressive or whether active surveillance is the best treatment option. In light of this, I believe the following four organizations need to update their prostate cancer screening recommendations and come out in favor of testing for prostate cancer at age 40. Age 30 if prostate cancer runs in the family or if you are a black male.

Here's the list of organizations that are against early prostate cancer screening and detection:

1. The American Urological Association (AUA), the leading organization representing urologists, is recommending more moderate use of prostate cancer screening tests.The AUA recommends that men ages 55 to 69 discuss the benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening with their doctors before deciding whether to be screened. It recommends against screening for men younger than 55 who are at average risk, as well as for men 70 and older.

2. The American College of Physicians (ACP) released a similar guidance statement in April. The ACP says men between the ages of 50 and 69 should discuss the limited benefits and substantial harms of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test with their doctor before undergoing screening for prostate cancer. The guideline says only men between the ages of 50 and 69 who express a clear preference for screening should have the PSA test.

3. The American Cancer Society recommends that men discuss the possible risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with their doctor before deciding whether to be screened. The discussion about screening should take place starting at age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and expect to live at least 10 more years. It should take place at age 45 for men who are at higher risk, including African-American men and men who have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer, and at age 40 for men at even higher risk.

4. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new recommendations against prostate cancer screening. The USPSTF now recommends that regardless of age, men without symptoms should not routinely have the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to screen for prostate cancer.

I call upon all four of these organizations to change their prostate cancer screening recommendations and I urge men NOT to follow them. Get tested, even if your physician tells you it's unnecessary. It's your life not theirs.
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer can  be previewed and purchased at

Monday, September 7, 2015

National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month- Help Spread The Word

I didn't plan to write a letter to the Editor until I saw my local newspaper (The Modesto Bee) was preparing for Breast Cancer Awareness Month when nothing was written about National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Why is it a man's disease doesn't get the same publicity. I encourage any reading this to write a letter to your local paper. You can use the one I wrote if you like. Here it is:
Help spread the word. This week I noticed our newspaper was beginning to gear up for breast cancer awareness month but has said nothing about September and prostate cancer. So I sent the following letter to the editor. I hope men around the country will do this as well to raise awareness. Here's the letter I sent:

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Unfortunately, men are receiving confusing messages about whether or not they should be concerned about this disease. In 2012, the U.S. Preventative Task Force recommended against the use of PSA screening for healthy men of all ages, stating that the harms of screening outweigh the benefits.  The message to men is this: If you find out you have prostate cancer, the odds are you’ll make a bad treatment decision, so it’s best you live in ignorance about this disease. This advice is given in spite of the fact aggressive and life threatening prostate cancer among younger men is on the rise.  Here are some facts about prostate cancer:
1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer. About 1 man in 38 will die of prostate cancer. A man dies from prostate cancer every nineteen minutes. In the month of September if you are over forty, make the decision to see to see a physician for prostate cancer screening. The life you save may be your own.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of  Prostate Cancer
 can  be previewed and purchased at

Monday, August 24, 2015

Men with prostate cancer least likely to treat their erectile dysfunction

I recently came across a study that researched the medical records of six million men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction. The results were alarming, 75% of the men diagnosed with ED did not seek treatment. Here's a link to a discussion of this study:
Why Men Refuse to treat their ED

What caught my eye was the dismal statistics for men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer.  
"When Helfand looked to see what bearing other health conditions might have had on treatment, he found those with prostate cancer were least likely to be treated. Only 15 percent were."

This means 85% of the men diagnosed with prostate cancer who develop ED will NOT get treatment for their erectile dysfunction.

Unfortunately the study didn't address the reasons for these dismal statistics but as a man with prostate cancer coping with ED I can make some educated guesses as to why this is so. Here are a few reasons why men resist/refuse to treat their erectile dysfunction.

1. Embarrassment- Many men are so ashamed of their ED they won't even discuss this with their                                       partner. If a man is controlled by the emotions of shame or embarrassment they
                                  won't seek treatment.

2. Anger and/or       Many men, especially those with double nerve sparing surgery expected to
    Betrayal                recover their erectile dysfunction. When that doesn't happen these men feel
                                  betrayed. They decide not to trust another physician. They make a vow they
                                  won't go within a mile of another doctor.

3. Expensive ED      This group of men go the pharmacy and receive sticker shock. They discover
   Medication            their insurance leaves them with a bill of $80 or more for 4 pills that may or.
                                  or may not work. They decide the medication is too expensive.

4. Men Don't Ask    Women are much more likely to visit a doctor than men. If you are one of those
    For Help               guys who refuse to ask for directions when you're lost how likely is it you'll go
                                   to a doctor for medical advice?  Not very likely at all.

If you are one of those men suffering from ED as a result of prostate cancer I urge you to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss treating your ED. Unfortunately, neither pills or penile injections worked for me. Since I did not want to live with impotence for the rest of my life I sought out another option.

 I decided to trust another surgeon in order to have penile implant surgery. When your impotence is caused by prostate cancer or the treatment of prostate cancer most, insurance companies pay for this procedure. Both my wife and I are delighted with the results and the restoration of my erectile functioning. We couldn't be happier with this decision. Implant surgery is not the right decision for every man coping with ED. There is something I can say that applies to every man who hates living with impotence:
Do the manly thing. Make an appointment with your doctor, surgeon or urologist to discuss treatment options for your erectile dysfunction. 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of  Prostate Cancer
 can  be previewed and purchased at

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Suicide is NOT The Cure For Erectile Dysfunction

Coping with the loss of erectile functioning is often a traumatic experience for men. It's also traumatic to their partner. Unfortunately men do the very worst thing possible as they cope with this trauma. They withdraw from their partner. They withdraw physically and emotionally.

This leaves a couple struggling with a highly stressful change in their relationship coping together alone.  Coping with a crisis alone rather than together is emotionally and relationally dangerous. Here's a letter I received from a wife whose husband suffered from ED after his prostate removed:

My husband had a robotic prostatectomy in 2006.  Surgery cured his cancer but left him impotent and this killed his soul. We loved each other deeply and each of us knew that, but there was nothing I could do to heal his pain. If I tried to initiate intimacy, he would become anxious and push me away. Alternately, he would initiate intimacy when he had self-medicated with alcohol, which was difficult for me and never had a good outcome. Humor didn't go far, either. He felt damaged and wasn't a group kind of guy, so he never received professional help for his emotional pain and went deeper into depression. He committed suicide on August 7th of last year. While his impotence wasn't the only issue that drove him to his decision to end his life, it was a major factor in his feeling life wasn't worth living It's heart-breaking for our family.

I don't think a week goes by in my life where I haven't thought about this tragedy. This tragedy has all the elements of the mistakes men make they cope with ED. Here's a list of those mistakes:

*Pushing your partner away when she tries to initiate intimacy.
*Pushing your partner away emotionally. 
*Self medicating with drugs or alcohol.
*Losing your ability to laugh and enjoy humor (a symptom of depression)
*Feeling  irreparably damaged as a man.
*Refusing help of any kind

These behaviors are all to common among men coping with erectile dysfunction. I wanted to do something to help men facing erectile dysfunction, so I created an on-line forum where men could visit in the privacy of their home and receive both support and information. If you or someone you love is coping with erectile dysfunction, share this blog and link with them

Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implant Forum

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer
can  be previewed and purchased at

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eight Destructive Ways to Think About Erectile Dysfunctioning

It's easy to make a lot of mistakes when coping with ED. I've made my fair share. Each mistake had a devastating impact on my psychological well being and my marriage. Here's a list of common mistakes men make. Don't be surprised to find out you've made more than one mistake. These are very destructive ways to think about erectile dysfunction: 

Mistake #1 "I've lost my manhood."-This mistaken way of thinking is the fuel for most of the other mistakes men make. If you believe your manhood depends upon your erectile functioning and you lose that ability, you come to the conclusion you've lost your manhood. From this way of thinking your headed for a downhill journey in coping with erectile dysfunctioning. 

Mistake #2 "I don't deserve to be in a relationship." Once you've come to the decision you no longer have anything of value to offer in a relationship or believe a woman could never love with anyone who can't perform in the bedroom you'll do one of two things. If your single you'll decide to stop dating. If you're married you'll withdraw from your partner. You'll avoid physical contact of any kind. Kissing, hugging, holding hands, all physical forms of affection are avoided like the plague. You'll certainly avoid sex. You'll withdraw and use anger to keep your partner far away from you emotionally, physically and sexually. On some level the goal here may be to act in such a mean way you'll drive your partner away because you believe you don't deserve their love, or that they'd be better off without you.

Mistake #3 "I won't seek help" Let's face reality, it's embarrassing to talk about erectile dysfunction to anyone. If you allow embarrassment or shame to control your behavior and decision making process you won't seek help. You'll live and suffer with erectile dysfunction in silence. You'll also expect your partner to do the same or be content if they leave you. You'll believe it's better to be abandoned than face this issue head on.

Mistake #4 "I can't or I won't enjoy sex ever again." Here's where I'll make a confession of my ignorance. At age 56 I had no idea it was possible to have an orgasm without an erection. In other words, it is possible to enjoy sex without an erection. Is it different? Yes it is. Will you also feel some unwelcome emotions that are difficult to deal with before, during or after an orgasm without an erection? Probably, until you finish grieving the loss of your erectile abilities.

Mistake #5 "I'm a failure in the bedroom" Many men give up on the idea of having a mutually satisfying sexual experience once they lose their erectile abilities. For the record, there are a variety of ways to satisfy a woman without an erection. It's very possible to have mutually enjoyable and mutually exciting sex that doesn't involve an erection. 

Mistake #6 "My partner is to blame." Once you blame your partner for your ED, you may decide to seek a thrill outside of your marriage by having an affair or using pornograhpy. If your experience with erectile dysfunction is a result of psychological or relational problems, these options may produce an erection causing you to believe the solution involves getting rid of your partner.

Mistake #7 "I need drugs or alcohol to cope with ED." The majority of men who experience erectile dysfunction will also experience depression. One common way men seek to cope with depression is to self medicate with drugs or alcohol. 

Mistake #8 "I'd be better off dead." Sadly some men become so depressed and feel so helpless, miserable and worthless, they take their own lives or act in ways that are so self destructive, they are hoping their self destructive behavior will kill them. 

If I've learned anything over the years that I've coped with erectile dysfunction it's this: It is a mistake to think you can cope with this disease by yourself. ED a physically, relationally & psychologically devastating disease. Most men and couples need help and support to successfully cope with the loss of erectile functioning, especially when it's caused by the treatment of another disease, such as prostate cancer.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Life Is Different As a Cancer Survivor-Thankfully!

Everyone sets goals for their life. I wanted to be a husband, a college graduate, a father, and business owner, Those are goals I planned for and I met. Then life happens and with life comes struggles and unexpected challenges.

I never expected, planned or anticipated that I'd live many years of my life with the identity of a "cancer survivor."  I've known so many people who died within 18 months after receiving a diagnosis of cancer that I've always thought a diagnosis of cancer is a death sentence.  I'm certain that belief contributed to my sense of terror when I first received my biopsy results. The idea of surviving prostate cancer for years or decades was something I didn't  think  was possible.

It's hard for me to believe I've lived with the identity of cancer survivor for 6 years. There are times when I find myself grateful for the gift of that identity.

Last week my oldest son called. He asked if my wife and I would fly to Vermont and help them drive their two cars to their new home in Illinois. They also asked us to stay there and help them unpack. I didn't need to think more than a second before agreeing to do this. The idea of taking a road trip with Ryan brings back fond memories of our cross country RV trips together. We are on the road again!

It occurred to me that the pre-cancer me would have said no to my son's request. The idea of leaving my business for 16 days without weeks of preparation and planning would be unthinkable. I would have shifted the blame for my refusal right back on my son by saying: "Why didn't you ask me a month ago about this?"

The cancer survivor me said: "Great let's do it!"

It wasn't easy or natural for me to discover the gifts that cancer brings. It's much easier to recall the struggles, the conflicts, the fear, terror, emotional devastation, the relational challenges, recovering from surgery, losing urinary control and erectile functioning. It's easy to think about the down side of my experiences as a cancer survivor.

As I get further along in the journey it's become much easier to identify the blessings. My priorities have shifted. I don't live to work, I work to live. There's a huge difference between those two options.
Working is a means to give me the freedom to do things I could't do when I retire.

For example,  my wife and I are looking buy a trailer so we can go camping together. We hope to keep it long enough to create memories with our young granddaughter.

For 35 years I cranked out my companies payroll on the first ans fifteenth of every month,  If we were camping I did payroll on the road and had FedEx pick the checks up at the campground. My prostate surgery was scheduled around payroll dates.

The cancer survivor me loosened the reigns of control. My Manager does a remarkable job with payroll. Yesterday I drove through New York,  Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. We stopped in Kalamazoo Michigan.  I don't worry about setting up an office to do payroll on the road.  I'm invited with helping my son and his wife with their move to their new home in Illinois. We will be there when they walk through the door of their first home.  My wife and I will be there to share this event because the cancer survivor me changed  priorities.

I'm grateful to be a cancer survivor. If I could push a button that would take away my cancer survivor identity by restoring me to my pre cancer days, I'd refuse to push that button. I'm more than a cancer survivor, I've grown to be a cancer thriver. This did not come easily or naturally. It's been a six year journey with years of emotional, relational, sexual and spiritual struggles.

As we get closer to our destination which is Carbondale Illinois I realized this road trip represents my journey with prostate cancer. We've flown from California to Vermont. On the way we experienced delays and unplanned  plane changes.  Our flight across the country did not go as scheduled.  We arrived in Vermont hours later than expected, but we finally arrived.

As we've crossed  through six states we've driven through blinding rain as well as beautiful sunshine. I'm learning to embrace the entire journey with all of its delays, unexpected stops, and unpredictable weather. I've discovered life is a jouney that takes us to places we'd rather not go.  How we react to life taking us to the places we'd rather not go has am amazing impact on who we become.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Coping With Post Surgical Pain

This is a chapter from  my soon to be released book on penile implants.

I've learned how easy it is to lie to ourselves and then to our partner. If I were not in the process of writing an account of my journey with implant surgery I doubt I would have uncovered the truth about the reasons why something awful happened during my post surgical recovery.

The fateful day began with two wonderful events. I was toward the end of my third week post surgery. One morning I woke up to discover my second round of antibiotics was successful wiping out my infection. I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  This meant I wouldn’t need two additional surgeries. The first to remove the implant and a second to put in another implant a few weeks later. This turn of events led me to be in a celebratory mood.  The next amazing event combined with the first, made this day fantastic. When I examined my scrotum I discovered in a single night the swelling was completely gone. My scrotum was back to normal size. Best of all, I was completely pain free.  I was joyful.  Since I was pain free, I abruptly stopped taking my pain medication.

I was so delighted with this turn of events the very first thing I did was to call my Surgeon’s office to see whether I could get an appointment for my six week post surgery implant activation appointment. When I received an activation appointment date, I thought this day was one of the best days of my life.  From that point on Brenda and I expected the rest of my post surgery recovery would be uneventful.  We were both looking forward to the day I could use my implant.

Our celebration was short lived. Within a few hours, I felt as though I were coming down with the flu. I experienced a severe case of the chills so I put on a winter coat while everyone else in the house was wearing spring clothing. It didn't take long for chills to stop, then I begin to sweat. At that point I needed to remove my winter coat and wear light clothing.  During the next few hours I’d alternate between feeling very cold and very hot.

At bedtime I was too agitated to stay in bed. I began pacing around the house. I tried to sit in one place, but I couldn’t.  As I paced around the house through the night, somewhere between 4-5am it occurred to me I wasn’t dealing with a sudden case of the flu. Something else was going on. I went on line and googled “symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal”  As I looked at the list of symptoms I found I experiencing enough of the withdrawal symptoms that I ruled out the possibility I had the flu and began to wonder whether I was going through oxycodone withdrawal. As I stared down the list of twenty symptoms, I had seven. They were:
*difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep

I found it difficult to believe I was going through withdrawal symptoms. I kept saying to myself, this can't be happening. When morning came, I’d been awake most of the night. Day two was no different from day one.  On night two in the middle of the night as I paced around the house, I realized I’d reached to end of my capacity to cope with withdrawal from oxycodone by myself. I wasn't sure what to do, but I one thing was certain, I vowed I would not spend a third night going through oxycodone withdrawal. I decided I’d take as much oxycodone as necessary to end my symptoms of withdrawal. I’d made the decision if it were necessary on night three to go back on oxycodone, I was going to call a rehab center the next morning and ask to be admitted for oxycodone withdrawal.  If you have asked me that night if it was worth the pain and suffering to have penile implant surgery, I would have answered you back by saying: “Absolutely not, avoid this surgery like the plague.” 

I can’t put in to words the relief I felt when I went to bed on night three and fell asleep. I’d completed the process of oxycodone withdrawal cold turkey. This crisis was over. There is a difference between addiction, which involves a compulsion to use a drug vs being dependent on a drug. Thankfully, I was not addicted. As soon as the pain went away it was an easy decision to stop using oxycodone. I had no desire to use any pain medication once the pain was gone. What neither of us understood at the time is how or why this happened to me. It would take me four months to uncover the truth.

I asked a physician who was a friend of my mine how was it possible to become dependent on oxycodone in such a short time. He told me that most people following surgery experience gradual pain relief and taper off their medication slowly and gradually. In my situation the pain stopped abruptly, so I didn’t taper off pain medication gradually, which caused me to go through withdrawal. His answer explained what occurred in a way we both understood. We both believed the mistake I made was to suddenly stop taking oxycodone. The truth remained buried for a few months longer until I began to write this chapter for the book.

I reached the point in this chapter where I wanted to put together a list of the medications I would have taken to a drug detox center had it been necessary for me to go there. When I went to the medicine cabinet to pull out everything I’d been taking for pain, I was in for a rude awakening. The first bottle I found was my oxycodone. I remember when I decided that taking this every four hours was doing nothing for my pain, so I moved it up to every three hours. This meant I was taking oxycodone six to seven times a day.

As I was doing some research about the maximum daily recommended dose for oxycodone I discovered that a total daily doses greater than 80 mg, may cause fatal respiratory depression when administered to patients who are not tolerant to the respiratory depressant effects of opioids. I was at higher risk for this since I have moderately severe sleep apnea. Oxycodone can become habit-forming, even at regular doses. The higher the dose the higher the likelihood you’ll end up addicted or drug dependent.  An acetaminophen overdose can damage your liver or cause death.

I can’t be certain, but I do believe knowing these dangers might have prevented me from moving my dose from every four to every three hours. If that’s all I did, I put myself in life threatening danger, but that wasn’t all I did.  Since oxycodone did not relieve my pain, I went into my supply of medications at home to see what else I could take to get bring down the pain to tolerable levels. I found some powerful medications to mix with oxycodone.

The second medication I took was liquid hydrocodone.  The maximum daily dose for this drug was six tablespoonfuls daily. I have no way of knowing exactly how much of this drug I was using because I didn’t use a tablespoon to measure my dose, I’d take what a call a swig. I lifted the bottle to my mouth and drank what I thought might be two tablespoons. I did this at least three times a day.

That wasn’t all. I found a bottle of tramadol.  I found this warning about tramadol on-line: You should not take tramadol if you have used narcotic medications within the past few hours and this, MISUSE OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH,
Tramadol is another drug that can slow or stop your breathing.

Since bedtime was the most painful part of my day here’s what I did on most nights. I’d take an oxycodone and, wash it down with a swig of liquid hydrocodone.  If I were in severe a third pain reliever called tramadol. After the tramadol, I took restoril every night to help me get to sleep. It’s reasonable to wonder how on earth I managed to accumulate so many different pain medications. I hoard my medications. Usually I try to stop taking them as quickly as possible so I can save them for another episode or bout with chronic pain. This was the first time in my life that I’d ever combined pain medication in this way. If I want to live to a ripe old age, this also was the last time I’ll make this mistake.

Frankly, as I looked up each of the medications I was taking daily, I’m amazed that I survived the combination of powerful pain relieving prescription drugs I was using daily. If it were necessary for me to go to a Drug Detox Center, I have no doubt they would have classified me as a serious abuser of pain medications who developed a life threatening habit.

What I learned about myself isn’t pretty.  I suspect this applies to tens of thousands of people who experience unrelenting and/or chronic pain.  In order to experience pain relief I was willing to lie to myself and to my wife. I was willing to risk the possibility of addiction, drug dependence, an overdose, or death. I was single minded.  I needed pain relief and I was willing to do anything to bring my pain down to manageable levels. I never expected of one of the take always from my experience with implant surgery was an up close and personal understanding of how people end up addicted, accidentally overdosed or die as a result of mixing a variety of prescription drugs.

Once I gained these insights, I knew I needed to tell my wife the truth.  I’d been combining a variety of prescription drugs without telling her what I was doing. Since the danger past and I’d survived, I seriously underestimated the devastation Brenda experienced when I told her exactly what I did. I assumed that Brenda would be as grateful as I was that I’d survived. Brenda wasn’t grateful, she was rightfully ticked off. I’d lied to her.  I’d taken dangerous and potentially fatal amounts of prescription drugs. I’d become drug dependent. We went through three days of withdrawal together without Brenda knowing that I combined and abused multiple pain medications.  By far, the worst consequence of confessing to Brenda how I abused multiple pain medication was the loss of her trust in my judgement. Brenda’s greatest fear is that I’ll repeat this behavior of lying and combining pain medications the next time I face chronic pain. It’s important to me and it’s important to Brenda I don’t make this mistake a second time.

For the record, if you were to ask me today, four months post surgery whether I recommend implant surgery, without any hesitation I'd say a resounding Yes it is, but  read my soon to be released book to avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Comments and feedback are appreciated.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer
 can  be previewed and purchased at

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Erectile Dysfunction-What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

If you are like me, coping with ED, you've probably spent some time in agreement there's very little value in coping with erectile dysfunction. I believe there are lies men belive which are powerful and destructive. They are:
1 My confidence  in the bedroom comes from my erectile abilities.
2. Without erections I'm no longer a man.
3. Believing  the voices coming from toxic shame.

Toxic shame is the least understood companion of men and couples coping with ED. It's also the most destructive. Toxic shame devastates a man's self esteem. It speaks powerfully condemning words which drives men into hiding from themselves. Toxic shame drives away the possibility of hope and replaces hope with the painful state of hoplesness and despair. 

Believing they are worthless men become depressed. When women are depressed experience sadness. Men who are depressed frequently become highly irritable.

 Angry words and/or isolating behaviors replace  all forms of affection and love which leaves your partner feeling rejected, unattractive and unloved.

Under the influence of toxic shame there are no redemptive opportunities. To make matters worse two things happen. First, men are driven to find relief from toxic same with mood alternating behaviors. Alcohol, drugs,  TV,, computers,  pornography or other  escapes are sought out to reduce the pain of the shame.  Even though these escapes provide little or no relief they will be used over and over again.

There's one healthy choice to make. Unfortunately, most men under the influence of toxic shame will refuse this option. To defeat toxic shame you must come out of hiding to seek outside help. Just the thought of seeking help brings up feelings of anger and defensivenesss. There's no way on earth you are going to tell anyone about your suffering with ED. If you find yourself alone and isolated you've given toxic shame a complete victory.

I invite you to come out of hiding. To achieve victory you need to reconnect with yourself and your partner. You need to face, confront and challenge your toxic shame. To do this successfully you nay need assistance from men further along in the journey with ED. There are many active forums on the internet where you can give yourself a screen name and speak to a community of men coping with ED.

 Coming out of hiding, reconnecting with yourself and your partner and joining a community of men are all good first steps.  Three more difficult steps may be necessary. The first is consulting with a physician to determine the cause of your ED. Without knowing the cause finding an effective treatment is impossible.

The second  step involves damage control. This may require professional help.  You may have caused serious damage to your relationship with yourself and/or your partner that will require outside professional help to repair.  I know I needed that help you might need it too.

The third and final step toward healing involves grieving the losses of your old sexuality and discovering a new sexuality. You time coping with ED may be temporary or it may be permermant.
Either way, both you and your partner can find new ways to excite and pleasure one another that isn't dependent upon you having an erection.

Toxic shame would have you believe there's no way to enjoy sex without an erection and you are doomed to live a lonely sexless life.  Do you want to spend the rest of your life under the influence and power of toxic shame? 

You haven't lost your manhood. Use it to defeat the lies that comes from toxic shame. Learn all about a new and exciting sexuality available to you and your partner. Remember this isn't easy to accomplish so get whatever help you need to say goodriddence to toxic shame.

Rick Redner & his wife Brenda are the authors of the award winning book
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Coping with ED is difficult for most men because a close companion of ED is shame. Shame is a powerful, destructive and difficult emotion to overcome. Shame speaks with words of condemnation. Shame tells us we are hopelessly defective and worthless.
When we believe the lies that emanate from shame we go into hiding from everyone including ourselves if anyone reminds us or activates our shame we become angry and defensive. 
There's so many destructive was to seek from shame. Most addictive behaviors are fueled by shame. We are willing to go to great lengths for some temporary relief from the unrelenting condemnation from shame. I've heard from wives whose husband's were cured from prostate cancer only to take their own lives rather than live with the shame that accompanies
The first step to defeat shame involves bravery. You must be willing to come out of hiding and get   

Saturday, April 18, 2015

I Lost My Manhood

There's one phrase I hear over and over from men who've had their prostates removed. That phrase is:
"I've lost my manhood".

One of the most distressing and depressing issues to deal with after prostate surgery is erectile dysfunction. On 4/27/13 I came to the realization the following two formulas were true in my life. I believed:
1. Manhood=an erect penis 
2. A flaccid penis=the loss of manhood

You don't realize how powerful these formulas are in your life until you experience erectile dysfunction. Some men never give them up. They hold on to these formulas as representing the truth about their masculinity. If you are one of the men who cling to these formulas, it's highly likely you'll suffer from a severe post-surgery depression.

 In addition you'll bring misery to your marriage, by withdrawing from your partner and avoiding most if not all forms of affection.  Many single men coping with ED who believe these formulas often sentence themselves to a lifetime without dating or love. They don't believe a women could love a man who can't get it up in the bedroom.

It took me two years before I learned two life changing lessons:
Lesson #1- Both formulas are lies.
Lesson #2- Breaking free from these formulas is emotionally painful, takes time, is extremely difficult, and requires a role model.

Jesus was my role model. He chose to live a life that did not include sexual pleasures. Yet Jesus was and I believe still is the greatest example of a man and greatest example of the embodiment of love.

One of the opportunities post surgical ED provides is the opportunity to find other ways to love your partner. How can you do that? Have your partner take the following test:
Love Language Quiz

Discover your partner's love language and make the commitment learn the various ways to express your love to your partner in their primary love language. You will be amazed and the joy, level of contentment and intimacy you can achieve as you wait for your sexual functioning to return.

Don't misunderstand this post, You have BOTH, the capability of pleasing a woman AND you have the capability of being pleased by a woman.  It takes some getting use to, but you can learn to enjoy orgarms with a flaccid penis.

 My advice is to do this with the frequency both  you and your partner desire. If your single, and you know how to be kind, compassionate, affectionate, thoughtful and loving you will find a woman who will think you are a beloved treasure. You and your beloved will create an exciting sex life together.

I'm not making this up, It's something my wife and I were able to do together. You can do it too.

My wife and I wrote and award winning book to help couples reclaim their love life after prostate surgery. You can check it out here:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

When You've Lost Your Desire Don't Give Up On Sex

There are a host of reasons why both men and women can lose their desire for sex. From the time I was a teenager up until the day I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 57, I had a very strong desire for sex. On a one to ten scale I'd say I was a 10 for at least four decades of my life. That suddenly changed on the day I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. My desire dropped to zero.

 After my prostatectomy I received the news I was cured of cancer. I hoped my desire would return. That never happened. At the time,  I thought that was a good thing since I was coping with erectile dysfunction. Since I didn't want to engage in an activity that brought me shame and failure I wanted to avoid sex at all costs. It took me almost two years before I found ways to enjoy my sexuality while I was impotent. I discovered impotence is another bad reason to give up on sex.

 Four years after prostate surgery  I decided to get a penile implant. A penile implant enabled me to have sex at any time but it didn't effect my long term loss of desire.My desire remained close to zero.
I've heard from many men who say their wives lost interest in sex after menopause. As a result of the loss of desire either on the part of the man or the woman many couples decide it's time to give up on their sex life together. I've come to believe this is frequently a huge mistake. .

In the last few weeks, I've  learned a valuable lesson. You can thoroughly enjoy sex without having a strong desire to do so. At age 63 without much desire, I'm having sex more frequently than any other time in my life. Additionally,  I'm enjoying every encounter. I can say I'm getting greater enjoyment and pleasure now when my desire is close to zero than I did at any time when my desire was at its peak. My wife would agree.

Therefore I've come to the conclusion couples make a serious error if they decide to give up on sex because one or both of them lost their desire. There's lots of pleasure to be found in having an orgasm even though you don't experience a high desire to have one. Not only that, there are wonderful health benefits to maintaing your sex life.

An article on WebMD lists ten health benefits. Here's my top five of those ten:
1. Better sleep- who doesn't want that?
2. Lowers your blood pressure and probably reduces the likelihood of a stroke.
3. Counts as exercise. I call it sexercise. It's become my favorite source of exercise.
4. Sex lowers the risk of a heart attack.
5. Sex lessens pain- something I experience a lot more of at 63 than I did at age 20.
This list is not complete but it sure is compelling.

So give sex another try even if you've lost your desire. Find ways to enjoy sex and experience orgasms. They are highly pleasurable even though you lost your desire for sex. I'm not making this up, I'm telling you what I know from personal experience. I'm looking forward to decades of highly pleasurable and frequent sex as I live with the absence of desire. I wish you  success, pleasure, relationship strengthening and health benefits that sex offers to you and your partner.
If you give this a try, let me know how it worked out for you.

Rick Redner
Author of the award winning book I Left My Prostate In San Francisco-Where's Yours?

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Easter Is The Cure For Cancer

When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer I was terrified. Three words came to my mind and I feared each of them. Those three words were pain, suffering and death. More than anything I wanted to make the right treatment decision so I could receive the news I was cured of cancer. I chose robotic surgery. Within a year my surgeon told me he believed I was cured of cancer. Thanking God, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I was granted a reprieve.

It didn't take long for me to realize that it won't be prostate cancer that calls me home, but something else will.  In other words, I'm still terminal and so are you.  Unless Jesus comes first, each and every one of us will suffer from an accident, illness,  injury or disease that will end our lives. There is only one permanent cure for a terminal cancer. It's also the cure for our terminal condition.

The cure may be so offensive or unbelievable to you you'll consider it a hoax and refuse to accept it. It's a cure millions of people throughout the ages have accepted. I'm blessed and grateful to be counted among those who've accepted this cure. This cure is unbelievable easy to  attain, yet so many refuse this healing because it comes from Jesus. Your healing from every possible cause of death depends on how you answer a question and invitation from Jesus.  The stakes are very high so give your answer carefully and prayerfully.
Here's Jesus question to you:
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"
John 11:25-27-NKJV

If you said yes, then you can say this with Paul::
"Death is swallowed up in victory."  "O Death, where is your sting?
1 Cor 15:54-55-NKJV

Now you have this promise when you die:
We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 
2 Cor 5:8-NKJV

In addition Jesus has a special gift prepared for you.
In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
John 14:2-3-NKJ

You possess an eternal dwelling place in a mansion prepared especially for you by Jesus. If that's all there was for us, dayenu,  it would have been enough, but there's more. We have this promise as well:
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." 
Rev 21:4-5-NKJV

I've asked myself, Why would anyone reject this amazing gift from God? While there are dozens of reasons, the primary reasons to reject this offer are pride, stubbornness, ignorance, unresolved wounds, wealth, or a belief in God that does not include the reality of Jesus resurrection.

Paul wrote these words about the implications of denying  Jesus resurrection:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.  Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up--if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!  Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.  1 Cor 15:13-19-NKJV

He concludes by saying
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Cor 15:20-NKJV

So I say with confidence
"He has risen!" I pray you'll respond, "He has risen indeed!" Happy Easter.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Spiritual & Sexual Aspects of Prostate Cancer
 can  be previewed and purchased at

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Truth About Erectile Functioning After Prostate Surgery

Here's what many of us heard before surgery "The likelihood of erectile function at 12 months following robotic surgery is 93.5%."
A new study turns that statistic upside down. A group led by Dr Mikkel Fode, from the Herlev Hospital in Copenhagen, asked 210 patients to complete the IIEF questionnaire, around 23 months after Radical Prostatectomy surgery. However they added an additional question: “Is your erectile function as good as before the surgery (yes/no)”. Only 14 patients (6.7% of respondents) reported that their erections were as good as before surgery.

Put another way 93.3% of the men who were 23 months post surgery said their erections were not as good as before surgery and they were struggling with erectile problems.

I was told my erectle functioning would return to my pre surgery levels. Four years post surgery I was impotent.  I was seriously depressed for 18 months because I was waiting for the pre surgery return of my erectle abilities. Turns out the majority of men won't have this experiennce.
Here's the link to a new study which tells the truth about erectle functioning after prostate surgery. 
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Friday, March 20, 2015

PTSD Drives Men Away From Penile Implants

Even though I've been a Medical Social Worker I had no clue I'd been suffering from PTSD, short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

How and why would I experience PTSD when I made a choice which would put an end to my suffering with erectile dysfunction? To say I was confused would be the 
understatement of the year.

 Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can affect those who personally experience the catastrophe, those who witness it, and those who pick up the pieces afterwards. Receiving a dx of prostate cancer, coping with the loss of urinary control, & erectile dysfunction are catastrophic changes in the life of a man and in the life of a couple.

What are some of the symptoms?

Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event

  • Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
  • Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
  • Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
  • Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
  • Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

  • Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
  • Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
  • Loss of interest in activities and life in general
  • Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
  • Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability or outbursts of anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
  • Feeling jumpy and easily startled
After I scheduled myself for implant surgery I began to experience many of these symptoms. Especially trouble sleeping and a high level of anxiety. In  addition, my  wife and I saw a dramatic rise in irritability and fighting. We didn't understand what was happening in our marriage. We saw a counselor who confirmed both of us were suffering from PTSD. 

That took me by surprise. I was expecting to be restored by surgery, It was a choice I made and I was expecting a positive outcome. I didn't understand why these circumstances would bring about symptoms of PTSD. 

For the last four years, there's only one thing that brought my wife and I into San Francisco, Every trip involved something to do with the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Pre surgery & post surgery visits as well as my unsuccessful penile rehab all took place in the city San Francisco. Receiving the news I'd be impotent for the rest of my life also took place in San Francisco.
Even though I was cured from cancer in San Francisco, my life was unalterably changed for the worst in that city as well. Now I was returning to UCSF in San Francisco once again, hoping for a positive life changing experience. 

Our minds were locked into all the negative life changing events that happened as a result of our visits to San Francisco. Although we wanted to feel positive about the reasons why we were returning to San Francisco once again, we got stuck re-living the trauma of all that happened there during the last four years. 

For many men it's not the return to a city that triggers PTSD, it's a return to ANY surgeon that triggers PTSD. That's the reason why I hear the following comments when I discuss the amazing restoration brought about by the implant procedure. Here's a sample of those comments:

"I"ll never go within a mile of another surgeon."
"There's no way I'll have another surgery." 
"I won't let a surgeon touch me ever again."

The comments above are all  expressions of  a powerful desire to avoid any further surgery that's now associated with the devastating effects of  erectile dysfunction. This avoidance that comes from PTSD is powerful and resistant to any form surgical treatment no matter how successful.

It's often worse for the men who've had double nerve sparing surgery, yet  failed to re-gain their erectile dysfunction, In this situation issues of trust are involved. Many men with double nerve sparing surgery believe they've been lied to or betrayed, As a result, they've made a life long decision they'll never  trust a surgeon again. That decision effectively sentences a man to a life time of misery coping with erectile dysfunction.

My point here is this, while penile implant surgery isn't for everyone, it's important to make this life altering decision based on the merits and risks involved in surgery rather than have the power of  fear, the loss of trust,or avoidance that comes from PSTD make your decision for you. All too frequently, the  resistance to penile implant surgery comes from PTSD, fear, or the lack of trust, rather than an objective analysis of whether this surgery could benefit you.

Penile Implant surgery has the highest success rate in treating ED. There's no other treatment of ED that has a higher user and partner satisfaction rate. I can say from personal experience that my implant restored what prostate cancer and surgery took away from me.

So don't let PTSD,  fear, or the lack of knowledge determine your choice whether or not have implant surgery. Base your decision on the facts about penile implants. Here's a link to provide you with some of those facts. I hope you'll read it.
Treating ED With A Penile Implant

That's my view, what's yours?

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? can  be previewed and purchased at 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Penile Implants A Cure For Erectile Dysfunction

It wasn't supposed to happen. I had double nerve sparing surgery. Based on my pre-surgical sexual history my Surgeon assured me I'd have a return of return of erectile functioning. To insure this would happen I got involved in a penile rehab program which included penile injections. When they stopped working I switched to daily ED medication.

At three years post surgery my success rate with ED meds was no better than 50%. Even then erections didn't last very long. By fours nothing working and I found myself facing the rest of my life impotent. This outcome was totally unexpected and certainly unwelcome. I was prepared to give up sexual intercourse for the rest of my life.

I began doing research on penile implants. What I learned surprised me. Penile implants are the most successful way to treat ED. Additionally they have the highest user satisfaction rates than any other form of treatment. Satisfaction rates in studies of men who've had penile implants run in the range of 85% -to 97%.

I made an appointment with a Urologist at UCSF who performed penile implants. When we discussed the where I landed four years post surgery, he was very supportive of my decision to have an implant.

Here are my thoughts feelings and experiences about my penile implant activation. I was very embarrassed to lay on the exam table while my surgeon demonstrated how to pump and deflate the implant.

1. At the advice of many men, I took Tylenol 1 hour before my appointment to help with any pain associated with using the pump for the first time.

2. I tried many times at home to squeeze the pump. It required more pressure than I was comfortable using. I'm glad I didn't activate the pump. You should NOT use the pump unless you are certain you know how to deflate it. I had no clue how to deflate the implant.

3. You may be very sore. Most men are left semi-inflated during the 6 weeks post surgery. I had one specific stop where the tip of the implant put a lot of pressure on my penis. It was a relief when I experienced total deflation.

4. The pump starts off very difficult to squeeze and takes a lot of pressure. I was only able to get 4-5 pumps before it got too hard to pump more

5. I'm glad I was prepared before surgery about the loss in size. I lost about an inch.

6.  It was a very good thing my wife learned how to inflate and deflate the pump. When we tried the implant for the first time, I was completely unable to find the deflate button. My wife learned that the implant was facing sideways so the deflate button was not where I expected it would be. If my wife didn't learn how to deflate the implant I would have needed to drive back to San Francisco the next day to have my surgeon deflate the implant.

7. After a few days of use my wife and were enjoying our sexual experiences together as much as we did before my prostate was removed. 

6. I find the implant to be light years better than penile injections.

7. My wife and I look forward to enjoying many years of making love. Both of us feel very grateful to re-experience what we thought was lost forever.

To those men who feel the don't want to go within a mile of another surgeon, don't let your past experiences cheat you of having a procedure that restores your sex life. Getting the implant was the best decision I've made after I didn't regain erectile functioning. I feel completely restored.
Implants have the highest satisfaction rate than any other form of treatment for ED. That said, this type of surgery is not a solution for everyone. For anyone coping with ED, the implant is an option worth exploring.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours? can  be previewed and purchased at
If you'd like to ask me a personal question about penile implants you can reach me at:
my website at:
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