As I was working through all the details to take off from work in order to have surgery, I was faced with questions and a natural curiosity about the reason for my surgery. Most of the people who know me are aware that I'm a prostate cancer survivor. Therefore, there was some degree of concern or alarm that my surgery was related to a return of prostate cancer.
I wanted to put people's mind at ease without having to tell anyone "The reason I'm having my surgery is to treat my erectile dysfunction." or "I'm going into surgery for a penile implant."
I decided to answer all inquires in a way that enabled me to maintain my privacy. If someone asked: "What type of surgery are you having? I'd answer: "I'm having a restorative surgery." I was grateful that no one asked me "What exactly is it that you're getting restored?" I have no idea how I would have answered that question.
After surgery, I discovered a down side to keeping things to yourself. By keeping the reason for my surgery private I robbed myself of the opportunity to share my joy, concerns, trials or fears pre or post surgery. I will share my deepest fear about the penile implant here with you.
I imagine myself on a romantic getaway with my wife. We have a wonderful sexual encounter. Now it's time to lay peacefully in each others arms. I discover one problem. I can't find the release valve for the implant. Our time in bed is cut short because I need to locate and drive to the closest Emergency Room. Once I arrive, I'll need to explain that I'm stuck with an bionic erection that won't go down. The only person who could help me is someone who knows where the release valve is located in my scrotum. Since this isn't the type of medical problem that occurs every day, I suspect they'd need to phone someone who has the experience to find find the release valve in my scrotum. I imagine myself sitting in an exam room for hours with an erection, waiting for that one specific person to arrive. Upon their arrival, I'd have to pull my pants down and allow a total stranger to feel my scrotum in order to find and press the release value. This event would humiliate and probably scar me for life.
To prevent my fear from becoming a reality, my wife is coming with me when I learn to inflate and deflate the implant. If I can't find the release value I want to be certain my wife can. There's no way I want to suffer that type of humiliation.
If you've made a decision to keep a procedure or surgery private, there are places to go where you can share your experiences with people who know exactly what you are going through. On-line you can find forums for every treatment, surgery or procedure. In these forums you can share your their fears and concerns, You can ask questions and get great answers from people further along the journey that you are on. Since this is a blog about implants, here's a link to an active forum: about penile implants: Frank Talk Implant Discussions
If I had the opportunity to go back in time and start again, I'd make the same choice. I don't need to tell friends or family about my erectile dysfunction or my decision to have a penile implant. That said, I think it's important for a man considering an implant have the opportunity to speak with men who made that decision.
After surgery it's great to be contact with men who have helpful and creative tips with regard to dealing with post surgery issues and lots of experience using the implant. My implant surgery isn't something I want to share with friends and family, but I do believe it's vitally important to reach out to obtain information, support encouragement, advice and help from folks who've traveled further along the road you are traveling.