Monday, December 2, 2019

Looking Back on Nine Years of Prostate Cancer Survivorship

Looking back nine years of living without a prostate, I think one of the most difficult and socially isolating time was feeling seriously depressed AFTER receiving the news my cancer was fully contained within my prostate and I was cancer free. 

Friends and family were celebrating, while I was wondering if having my prostate removed was the worst decision I’d ever made in my life. 

I hated the first three months post surgery losing urinary control, and living in diapers. After diapers, I spent fifteen months needing a pad. 

Nine years later if my bladder is full, and I bend, lift, laugh, or sneeze I’ll still leak.  

The loss of ejaculation was an unpleasant surprise. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy having sex ever again. The intensity of orgasms was so diminished I wasn’t sure whether I had one. This sense of loss and disappointment caused me to avoid sex, like the plague. Unfortunately, not only sex, I gave up all forms of affection because they all led me back to the painful emotions associated with grief and loss.  

After double nerve sparing surgery my surgeon was confident I’d regain my erectile functioning. I never did. The four years I spent coping with erectile dysfunction were probably the worst four years of my life. This took a huge toll on my marriage. To save our relationship we needed to go into counseling. I’m delighted I was willing to trust a surgeon to perform a penile implant. At age 67 my sex life has never been better! 

One unpleasant reminder of prostate surgery is climaturia. 

Climacturia, also called orgasm-associated incontinence, occurs when a man leaks urine as he has an orgasm. It is a common side effect of radical prostatectomy. If it's so common, why is it that No one ever discussed this humiliating side effect of prostate surgery.  

Thankfully,  with the use of both a mattress protector AND towels we've adjusted to this life-long issue. 

My message to all men who find themselves depressed after prostate surgery is:
•Expect to be depressed.
•Expect zero understanding from your healthy friends and family 
•Don’t think you’re man enough to get through your depression alone. 
•GET HELP-Form a team to help you cope. 
•IF on-line help is used expect to get some bad advice and/or come in contact with trolls. 
•Good and useful on-line advice is also available. You’ll need to discern the difference.
• Faith has an important role in your coping and living with cancer, 
•At some point in your journey,  you may experience a faith crisis where you question or doubt God’s goodness, love, or His plan for your life.
•Do not attempt to resolve your faith crisis alone. Find a spiritually mature person who can listen to your doubts and questions, without judging you
•If you lose your erectile abilities EXPECT that you will have doubts about your manhood. You may withdraw from your physically and/or emotionally. You may go as far as avoiding ALL forms of physical affection. 
•You may get angry and/or defensive when your partner tries to discuss this issue.
•It’s possible you’ll be convinced you partner is better off without you, so consciously or unconsciously, you’ll act in ways to destroy you relationship.
*i know it’s embarrassing, but find ways to talk about erectile dysfunction and discover new ways to enjoy sex together. If you’re unable to do this, GET HELP.
•Many folks diagnosed with cancer suffer from PTSD. You may have difficulty sleeping, withdraw from people, become highly irritable, spend hours of your day thinking about or fearful about your diagnosis of cancer. You may develop a fear about on-going treatment, tests, or going to a doctor’s office. It’s highly unlikely PTSD will go away on its own or that you’ll get over it by yourself. If you think you or your partner have PTSD, GET HELP.
•As a cancer survivor, your life will NEVER be the same. It’s now divided into your pre and post cancer phases of life.
•There are many losses that need to be grieved. Allow yourself time to feel sadness and process your many losses.
•Based on the decisions and choices you make, your post cancer life will be markedly better or worse than your pre cancer life. 
•I believe the difference between those whose lives get better isn’t about your diagnosis and/or treatment outcome. It’s whether you formed a team composed of professionals and/or folks further along in their journey of SUCCESSFULLY coping with prostate cancer.
•Nine years of cancer survivorship, four years of coping with erectile dysfunction, and five years with a penile implant, I can say God is good, and my life is good!

Rick Redner & his wife Brenda Redner authored two award winning books, both available on Amazon. They are: 

I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where’s Yours?
&
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implants





Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Milestones and Holidays

Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Thanksgiving or any other holiday was not a milestone. Once I became a cancer survivor, every holiday, birthday, or  anniversary became a milestone. What I mean by that is not only do I celebrate the holiday at hand, I celebrate that I’m alive to see another Thanksgiving.

Before I was diagnosed with prostate cancer holidays were not milestones. In good health I  had the luxury to assume I’d  live to see another Thanksgiving. I suspect few, if any healthy folks celebrate the fact they’re alive to see another Thanksgiving.

I was diagnosed with prostate cancer ten years ago. This is my 9th post cancer Thanksgiving. Have you counted the number of Thanksgivings you’ve celebrated as a cancer survivor?

Here’s my Thanksgivings Day prayer I found on-line:

Lord God, we gather around this table to humbly thank You for all that You have given us this past year – not just what is on this table, but who is sitting around this table.

Thank you for life and laughter, for health and happiness, for relationships and memories.

Thank you, too, for the lessons learned and the tears we’ve cried because of Your ability to grow us through them.

Thank You for Your comfort and Your presence, in light of good days and bad.

Thank You for what we have now, for what we had yesterday, and for what You will continue to give tomorrow.

Let us never take that for granted, but to always be grateful for every good and perfect gift that comes from You.

May we have hearts full of thanksgiving not only today but every day of our lives.
We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Amen.

A Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Rick Redner

Author of
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Sunday, September 1, 2019

September Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Here's why you want to discover PC in the early stages:

“The 5-year survival rate for most men with local or regional prostate cancer is almost 100%. Ninety-eight percent (98%) are alive after 10 years, and 96% live for at least 15 years. 

For men diagnosed with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the 5-year survival rate is 29%.” (cancer.net)

As a prostate cancer survivor, here’s what I'm doing to encourage men to get tested and reach out to men and couples coping with prostate cancer.

On Facebook I have a page primarily dedicated to men and couples who are thinking about prostate surgery or are coping with life and love without a prostate. The link for that page is: Pre & Post Surgery Support 



I host another Facebook page for men and couples coping with erectile dysfunction. The link to that page is here:


My third Facebook page is for men looking for information about penile implants. The link for that page is here:

My articles written for Prostate Cancer News Today:





My wife and I wrote two award winning books:





 If you're one of the approximately  174,650 men who will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer in 2019, make sure you're diagnosed in the early stages. GET TESTED!



Saturday, July 13, 2019

Faithful Suffering


Last night I was talking to my son Andy about change. I casually said:
"As I think about change, I think changes are usually for the worse."

At the time, I was thinking about restaurants that no longer exit, or businesses like Toys R Us, Orchards, Gottschalks, and Sears. Too many good places gone.

Then I broke "change" into two categories:
1. Wanted change-Some different happens or alters the course of our lives that in a way that pleases us. Kate and Ryan’s wedding comes to mind.
2. Unwanted change-Something different happens that we don’t like. Losing your health comes to mind.

As I thought about wanted, and unwanted change, I realized that change occurs from:
1. From the inside out-For example my vocal cords are scared. My voice will never sound the same.

2. From the outside in-Here an event occurs that changes your identity or role in your life in a permanent way. Becoming a grandparent comes to mind.

Put it all together and you get
Wanted and unwanted change. Then changes that from the inside out and outside in.

Then a Bible verse came to my mind:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28

My mind immediately jumped to unwanted change that either affects us from the inside out, and outside in, things like abuse, rape, loss of health, the death of a loved one. 

Each and every tragedy you’ve experienced in your life has the potential to work together for good.

What makes this sound like a preposterous promise results from a misunderstanding of the meaning of the words “work together for good.”

The promise that all things work together for good does NOT mean we will eventually like, enjoy, or be pleased that some form of unwanted change or suffering entered into our lives or the lives of someone we know and love.

Tragedies occur that we will NEVER, EVER,  like or want.

Our tragedy and suffering change us. They’ve affect our faith, and our relationship with our creator. Tragedy and suffering also impact our relationship with family and friends.

Some folks give up, or walk away from their faith. Others blame God. After that, they act as judge and jury. 

They find God cruel, uncaring, useless, or non existent. They pass sentence, and banish God from their lives.

Then their are folks like me, who certainly does not understand why God allows for unspeakable and/or and unrelenting pain, suffering, and tragedy.

I understand His promise, so in my groaning, suffering, pain and misery,  I ask God to keep His promise. 

I expect to receive the unexpected. I expect to be changed from the inside out and the outside in.

Another Bible verse comes to mind:
"Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

I wish there was another way than suffering to produce these traits.  

In the mists of both past and present suffering I've asked God in prayer:
Lord, couldn't you accomplish the same things, if I won the lottery?" (Fat chance, I don't buy lottery tickets) 

My point here is simple. Pain, suffering, tragedy, sickness, accidents, disease, and suffering are all part of the package of living in this world.

Some of us have a prospective assurance, and hope of living in another world. A world where all suffering, tragedy, and pain end throughout eternity.

When we fully grasp that reality and see our suffering through the lens of our faith, which by the way isn’t easy or comes naturally, we can agree with Paul who wrote:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Don’t waste your groaning, pain or suffering, or tragedy.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Embracing Your Mistakes

This post was not written specifically for coping with prostate cancer and/or the psychological, physical, and relational issues that arise after treating PC.

I’m posting this because I believe my suggestions regarding coping with mistakes will have a positive impact on your life and relationships.

Its an undeniable fact that the older I get, the more mistakes I’ve accumulated.

Given that inevitably, my attitude towards my mistakes has changed in the following ways:

* I look for the humor behind every flub I make. It's a gift (and a wonderful release of tension) to have the capacity to laugh about my mistakes.

* Many of my mistakes provide me with highly useful warnings. For example, yesterday I left the house without checking the O2 level in my oxygen tank. I ran out of air before we arrived at our destination! Guess what new routine I’ve established? I'm going check the 02 level EVERY time we leave the house with a portable tank of oxygen. If the needle is in the red zone, I’m using a new tank!

* My habitual mistakes teach me of the necessity for me to change my behavior. For example, I got tired of misplacing my keys and my wallet. EVERY day I wasted precious time
searching the house. Now as soon as I get home, my wallet and keys are put in a specific place. The annoying daily search, is no longer part of my day.

* The most irreversible mistake I make occurs when I decide to store something in what I refer to as "a safe place." Whenever I decide to use “a safe place” it inevitably means I'll never, ever, see that item again. It’s somewhat embarrassing to tell my wife where I hide her gifts, but unless I want to buy that gift a second time, Brenda needs to know.

* Some of my mistakes involve my lacking information or making wrong assumptions. When I gave up the need for perfection, and embraced my deeply flawed humanity it’s easier to admit my mistake rather than invent an excuse for my behavior.

* Some of my mistakes occur because I'm selfish. I want what I want, so I neglect thinking about the consequences, or how my behavior will effect the people I know and love.

Looking back on my life, I suspect I've learned as much or more from my mistakes, than I have from my successes. 

So every time I blow it, which increases as I age, I look for the opportunity to discover the lesson and/or wisdom my mistake is offering to teach me.

What about you? Do you condemn yourself (or blame others) for your mistakes? 

Do you ignore the lessons your mistakes offer to teach you, which leads to repeating the same mistake(s) over and over again?


I hope you’ll decide your mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and change.

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

A Dance to Forget

There are so many types of dances. There’s the Jitterbug, the Fox Trot, the Charleston, the Rumba, and line dancing, to name few.

Over the years, I’ve created my own dance. Most dancing begins with music. My dance begins with favorable circumstances.

For example, today for the first time in many days, I was feeling well enough to take a day trip. So that’s exactly what we did.

When we arrived back in Modesto, I suggested we run some errands. We did that as well.

Once we arrived home, I wanted to do some chores.

Brenda recognized the dance. She said: “You’re not doing anything else right now, except to sit on the couch and rest.”

Thus I was prevented from my dancing my personally  created dance, which involves  one step forward, then three steps backwards.

I perform this dance each and every time I begin to recover from anything, be that an illness, surgery, injury, or disease.

I call this dance “The Old Four Step.” As I get older I’ve noticed my steps backwards are longer in length, and frequently involve pain.

This makes me wonder why “The Old Four Step" is my go to dance?

It's as though I haven't learned the intensity of misery from "The Old Four Step" makes it a dance I should avoid like the plague.

What about you? Do you have a “recovery dance” that takes you further away from your recovery?

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their second book is:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A Valuable Lesson On a Sleepless Night

This is the second of three Florida vacations where I became seriously ill while vacationing. 
I was diagnosed with pneumonia. I've been mad, angry, discouraged, and disheartened.
This Bible verse described my attitude to a tee:
"Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them."
Ecc 12:1


For the record, my first few YEARS of living without a prostate didn't give me much pleasure. Especially with the loss of urinary control, ejaculation, and four years of coping with erectile dysfunction.

Can you relate?

Late in the evening, I had the opportunity to connect with a Christian sister in Christ on Facebook. After our uplifting conversation, this event came to mind:
My last visit with my Pastor, Don Nelson was days before he died as a result of cancer.. I wasn't able to understand much of anything he tried to tell me. 

I was able to understand this one sentence:
He said "Rick you've been a good friend." 
Those were his last words to me, and they were/are still treasured.

Shortly after that, he motioned with his hand for his secretary who was also visiting ( she was his secretary for more than 25 years) to come closer to him. She came closer. He waved again, and she came right by his face. He lifted his head and kissed her. After the kiss, his head plopped down on his pillow from exhaustion. Blanche was in tears. She told me she'd remember that kiss for the rest of her life. 

I hope I remember Pastor Don's last words to me, for the rest of my life. The truth is I hadn't thought of that memory or the lesson I’d learned, for many years.

The valuable and life changing lesson I learned that day, (which I'd buried on the back burner of my mind) was this:

It's possible to show other folks your love, and God's love in a meaningful and life changing ways, when almost everything you have is taken away, IF you're creative and use what you have left.

I needed to remember that lesson today. Though I'm mad, frustrated, sleepless, and soon to be cranky. (I’m sure those who know me will find it hard to believe I get cranky)

I still have far more ability at my disposal to show folks my love, and God's love, than Pastor Don did on that day. If you’re reading this, so do you.


What do you know, it wasn’t a wasted sleepless night!

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.
Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with  erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is: