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:
Welcome Page  Click on the "Contact Us" button on the left hand side of the Welcome Page.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Turning Your Cares Into Prayers

Did you ever read something then say to yourself I wished I'd read that years ago? I had that experience when I read a sermon that Charles Spurgeon gave about the topic of care & prayer.

Here's a summary of what he wrote:
Once you become careful, anxious, fretful, you will never be able to count your cares, even though you might count the hairs of your head. And cares are apt to multiply to those who are care-full and when you are as full of care as you think you can be, you will be sure to have another crop cares growing up all around you.
Cares are numerous and, therefore, let your prayers be as numerous.
Turn everything that is a care into a prayer. Let your cares be the raw material of your prayers and, as the alchemists hoped to turn dross into gold, so you, by a holy alchemy, actually turn what naturally would have been a care into spiritual treasure in the form of prayer.

Since a large portion of those who read both my blog, pre surgery, & post surgery forum are not Christians, I wanted to reach them without offending them, so I made the decision not include a very important part from Spurgeon's sermon. 

Now I have to ask myself did I misrepresent what I wanted to share about prayer by leaving out an essential truth? I suspect I did. What good is it to pray if you are praying to a God of your own imagination? Is there any value in that? I suppose there could some value in that in the same way some people experience an improvement in symptoms when they are given a placebo.

If prayers are going to be answered by the Creator of the Universe, it's important they be directed to the Creator of the Universe. Otherwise you might as well hold up your pillow and pray to that or anything else of your choosing.

So here's the last line I left out:
Baptize every anxiety into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit—and so make it into a blessing!

Agree or disagree, we are blessed to live in a free country. Our culture places very little value on Biblical truth, but when you are coping with a potentially terminal disease, it's important for me as a Christian to tell the Truth with a capital T.

You can turn your very real fears and cares into prayers. I pray you will be wise enough to do that by directing your prayers to the Creator of the universe.

As a result of my decision to leave out the last sentence, I created a new Facebook Page for Christians Coping with Cancer. where prayer and bible verses will be welcome.

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