Thursday, July 30, 2020

Life Is Like A Box of Biscuits

The Life Lessons I’ve learned from four boxes of Dog biscuits.

Lesson #1
Know what the heck you’re ordering on the internet. I thought I was ordering one box of biscuits. Apparently I ordered four!

As I opened the first box of biscuits, I  was astounded by the number of biscuits in each box.

Multiply that by the fact I break most biscuits, not all, into a minimum of four pieces I thought each box would last a few years.

For weeks on end I’d take out a handful biscuits, and it seemed it never made a dent in how many biscuits I had left in the box.

Three months later, I was shocked to discover I was down to my last biscuit! 

The idea I had enough biscuits to last a decade quickly gave way to reality.

Forest Gump said:
 “My momma always said that life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

Today I decided :
My life was like a box of biscuits. 

In the beginning, (in my youth) it seemed like I had an endless supply of biscuits (days left to live.)

Now, not so many.

For the last two decades of my life, I’ve probably had over a dozen medical issues that could have killed me or rendered me permanently disabled. I’ve had more than seventeen surgeries.

If you met me on the street you’d never know, or see any residual effects of every illness, disease, and surgery, that our Lord has brought me though.

Lesson #2
Obviously, this can’t go on forever.  I have a designated time to meet my Maker, and the time for that meeting gets closer every day.

I may not be down to the last biscuit in the box, but it surely feels I’m getting close.

It’s a profound mistake to live your life thinking you have an endless supply of days, (biscuits in your box)

The Bible says:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
~ Psalm 90:12~

In other words, no matter your age, there’s a certain amount of wisdom you’ll miss, if you don’t live your life with the realization your box of biscuits (days) is not endless.

This last biscuit in the box brought that reality home to me in a powerful way.


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?

https://amzn.to/2TLTiRQ


Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implants

http://bit.ly/34DL14W


Rick & Brenda share their experiences coping with four devastating years of erectile dysfunction which led to a loss of self-esteem, and marital conflict.

Additionally, we share why we chose to seek professional help to save our marriage. Last but not least we provided a detailed account of how and why we went the penile implant route, and how that changed everything. This is a life changing book. 

Don’t take my word for it, read the Amazon reviews.

The title of their second book is:

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants







Friday, February 28, 2020

Surgeries-Can’t Can’t Live With Them, Can’t Live Without Them



Ever since I’ve had my prostate removed, I’ve dreaded going to hospitals for any surgeries or out-patient procedure. This reaction did not occur with surgeries before I had my prostatectomy.

Now a disproportionate amount of fear occurs with every surgery and out-patient procedure I’ve had. I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard many men say this exact quote after prostate surgery. The quote is:
“I won’t go within a mile of a Surgeon for the rest of my life.”

Why do men say that? My explanation isn’t based on a scientific study. It’s  based on my own experiences and those that were shared with me.

Most men who wish to avoid another surgery at all costs, are men who experienced one or all of these side effects that probably were not explained prior to surgery.

Lost Urinary Control-Approximately 6-8 percent of men who have had surgery to remove their prostate will develop urinary incontinence.

Loss of ejaculation-I had no idea surgery would take away my ability to ejaculate. In one study, it was found that: “only half of the patients realized surgery would take away their ability to ejaculation.

Climacturia- Ten years after my surgery I still continue to leak urine after an orgasm. A mattresses protector and towels are necessary. “ Climacturia is a common clinical entity, occurring in almost half of all patients after radical prostatectomy. It can be a significant problem with respect to urine volume loss, associated bother and condom use. Patients must be informed about this complication before undergoing radical prostatectomy..”

Loss of penile size-Most men will have some penis length loss after surgery and sometimes that will be permanent, said Dr. John Mulhall, who is director of the Male Sexual and Reproductive Medicine Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

I felt betrayed. I believe any man who was not told about these possibilities feels betrayed.  After a betrayal we develop strategies to ensure this will not happen again. Often the fallout from our betrayal is a generalized distrust of ALL surgeons.

After betrayal and need to protect oneself, tragedy often follows.

I’ve known men who chose to live with severe urinary incontinence, preferring to live in diapers the rest of their lives rather than seek a surgical solution to end their loss of urinary control.

Far too many men live with life long impotence rather than consider a penile implant

They cannot imagine a Surgeon who’d be honest, and help them when it was a Surgeon who caused the misery they are cutting living with.

I know my answer isn’t for everyone and I know some folks will get offended. So before sharing that piece of my solution let me speak to you as a man who was betrayed. I suffered it all; the loss of urinary control and ejaculation, loss of penile size, erectile dysfunction, and leaking urine during orgasm.

I did NOT  let my fears control my medical decisions. I wanted to reclaim what robotic double nerve sparing surgery took away. I wanted to resume making love to my wife, so I went for a penile implant. The surgery changed my self-esteem, my relationship with my wife, and gave us the ability to regain the sex life we both wanted to re-experience.

Now comes the part where I share how my faith helped and continues to help me cope with my ongoing fears about surgeries. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When I bring this picture to mind as I face a surgery or surgical procedure my fears are calmed.

Therefore I’ll let this picture speak for itself:



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


And


Monday, February 3, 2020

End the Misery of Erectile Dysfunction


I was diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was fify-eight. Both prior to my double nerve sparing surgery, my surgeon was confident my erectile abilities would return. I entered in to an aggressive penile rehab program. I had varying doses of ED medications. I used the vacuum pump. Eventually, I tried penile injections. Four years post surgery, nothing worked. I was told I'd be impotent for the rest of my life.


Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a thief. ED takes away physical and emotional intimacy. ED steals your confidence in the bedroom. ED robs you of your manhood. ED walks off with your self-esteem. ED has the potential to destroy lives, and end relationships. Here’s a surprising fact, the sudden onset of ED can save your life. Frequently, ED is early warning signal of current or future cardiovascular problems. In Everything You Never Wanted to Know about Erectile Dysfunction and Penile Implants: End Your Silence, Sadness, Suffering, and Shame, help men and couples recognize and overcome the roadblocks to seeking help with ED. They guide men and couples through the depression, grief and the inevitable relational conflicts when coping with ED. They set couples on a path to discover healthy ways to think about, talk about, or cure ED. Rick and Brenda share their four-year journey with ED, and the intimate details about their experiences with penile implant surgery.




Thursday, January 23, 2020

Reoccurrence & Testing Anxiety

Once you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, at least once a year, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, you must take an ultra sensitive PSA test to determine whether or not your cancer that returned.

Almost all folks diagnosed with any type of cancer lives with a certain degree of stress, anxiety, and/or “fear of reoccurrence.”

This sets the stage for another setting for the reappearance of stress, anxiety, and/or fear commonly referred to as “testing anxiety.”

When I was first diagnosed nine years ago, no one mentioned these two common sources of anxiety, fear, etc.

Therefore I experienced this, without knowing what it was, or that folks diagnosed with every form of cancer often experience one, the other, or both.

If you search for:
Fear of reoccurrence anxiety in cancer patients
Or
Testing anxiety for patients diagnosed with cancer” you’ll find thousands of articles about these topics.

Once I understood the concepts, I mistakenly believed the longer I went without a reoccurrence (nine years now, praise the Lord!) the less anxiety I’d feel with BOTH sources of anxiety.

I’ve discovered the OPPOSITE is true. The longer I stay in remission, the more likely I think it is that cancer will inevitably return.

Behaviorally, in order to avoid facing both reoccurrence, and testing anxiety, over the last three years, I’ve found myself letting the year go by without getting tested.

(Thankfully,  Brenda LePoire Redner won’t put up with my feeble attempts to delay testing)

I know I’ve been acting with manta “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

When in fact, when dealing with cancer; “What you don’t know, can KILL you.”

There’s a Bible verse that ALWAYS come to my find when I’m fearing or anxious about something in the future that MIGHT occur:

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
‭‭-Matthew‬ ‭6:34‬-

This verse is a lot easier to read than it is to put into practice!

I’ve discovered in order to apply this verse into potentially bad news situations a few core beliefs must be firmly rooted into your core spiritual being.

They are:
1. God is ALWAYS good even when the worst possible events and situations occur in your life.
2. God will supply ALL of you needs to face the worst, but not a minute BEFORE His help is needed.
3. Like manor supplied in Egypt, today’s grace is only good for 24 hours. If you try to apply today’s grace into tomorrow, it spoils and rots.
4. It’s morning by morning new mercies you’ll receive.
5. What ever news you receive God intends to use it for your good and to make you a blessing to others.

6. I believe whenever you face a physical challenge, you’re also facing a spiritual challenge and/or war. Both eGod and Satan want to use your crisis for their own purposes
7. Satan’s purpose is to weaken your faith, and trust, in God’s goodness. The end goal is to isolate your from your faith, love from God, love, love from family, and the love and support available in your community of faith.
8. God’s goal is to strengthen your ability to walk by faith, not by sight.
9. God’s goal is to demonstrate the reality He will NEVER leave or forsake you no matter what you face in this broken world.
10. More often that not, your test is transformed into a testimony that’s meant to be shared with others.

So that:
1 “The more we depend on God the more dependable we find He is.”— Cliff Richard

It will take longer than a week for me to receive my test results for 2020. I don’t think I’ll lose a wink of sleep while I wait.

I’ve been blessed the opportunity to share my thoughts, and faith, in various places on Social Media so I can reach hundreds to thousands of folks dealing with similar issues.

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

&

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
&










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!