Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Amazing Remedy for the Fear of Failure

When my wife and I wrote our first book, I Left My Prostate in San Francisco-Where's Yours?
I never expected I'd be asked to write magazine articles, have interviews on radio, blog, appear in newspaper articles, become involved in social media reaching tens of thousands of people and most anxiety producing of all- become a conference speaker. All of these doors opened after we released our first book about coping with life and love without a prostate.

Our soon to be published second book covers our four year journey with erectile dysfunction which led to penile implant surgery. As far as I can, tell there are no books on Amazon written by a couple who share their experiences with the psychological, emotional, relational, sexual, & spiritual  aspects of coping with erectile dysfunction and the changes brought about by penile implant surgery.

I believe one of two things will happen after our book is released. Either the book will be ignored and forgotten or it will attract national attention. Both of these possibilities frighten me. When you invest your time, your energy, your talent, and your money into a project, you become heavily invested in that project's success. I believe my wife and I have written a book that has the potential to ease suffering, to change lives, and to save marriages. We want to use our experiences to help other men and couples coping with erectile dysfunction.

Success usually takes time, talent, risk, and a willingness to go way beyond your comfort zone. For us success begins with prayer. We've spent lots of time in prayer during all the phases of writing our new book. How the book is received and what happens next depends upon both our faith and our efforts.

It would be effortless to allow my fear and anxiety to keep me within the bounds of my comfort zone.With two simple words my faith calls me to move  far away from my comfort zone. These two are "Fear not".) These two words are usually accompanied by a promise. Here's a few examples:

(Isa 41:10 NKJV)
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,   

(Isa 41:13 NKJV)
'Fear not, I will help you.' 

My personal favorite:
(Isa 43:1-3 NKJV)
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.  For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

If we choose to follow in the direction God leads us, we will certainly experience fear. However God has made some very powerful promises which  has the capacity to remove our fears. What I discovered about God's timing is this: The fear doesn't go away before we step out of our comfort zone. It will go away AFTER we've stopped out of our comfort zone. 

So right here and right now, before the release of our book:
Everything You Were NEVER Told About Erectile Dysfunction & Penile Implants
Subtitle: End The Silence, Sadness, Suffering & Shame

I plan to step out of my comfort zone as many times and ways in which I'm called to do so in order to reach a significant number of  men & couples struggling to cope with erectile dysfunction. I suspect I'll need to read this many times once our book is released. 

 If you or someone you love is affected by ED and you'd like me to notify you when our book is released, drop me a line at:


Monday, February 15, 2016

Do You HATE Living with Erectile Dysfunction? If so DO SOMETHING!

One of the most unpleasant and emotionally devastating side effects of treating prostate cancer is the loss of your erectile abilities. In reaction to this loss, most men get highly irritable. They use anger to shut down discussions, They withdraw from their partners emotionally and physically. There is an up tick in marital discord. The relationship with your partner deteriorates. To cope with depression men often resort to mood altering behaviors. Some examples are:
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs, 
  • TV time
  • Computer time
  • Pornography 
  • Flirting
  • Affairs
  • Prostitution
Unfortunately, shame and depression can keep men away from the healthy choices available to them. Erectile Dysfunction is treatable. Finding the right treatment involves discovering the underlying cause. I've heard the same complaints over and over again from the partners of men coping with ED.
  • He refuses to talk about ED
  • He won't go to the doctor
  • Every time I bring up the subject he'll either walk away or get angry
  • He's abandoned me emotionally
  • He's abandoned me sexually
  • He won't even touch me anymore
  • I feel I'm living by myself, all alone this relationship
  • He spends most of his free time zoned out by the TV or Computer
  • He drinks alcohol frequently
If your partner is familiar with any of the issues listed above (ask them don't decide this on your own) it's time you get help. You haven't lost your manhood because you've lost your erectile functioning. You've given up your manhood because you refuse to seek help. I urge all men to  overcome your embarrassment, shame and/or resistance and speak to a physician about their erectile dysfunction. If you hate living with ED anywhere near as much as I did, get over your resistance and make an appointment for a medical exam. For the majority of men, there are treatment options that will restore your erectile abilities. 

I was not in the majority of men. Prostate surgery was the cause of my ED. Both before and after surgery I was told that my erectile functioning would return. To insure that possibility I participated in an aggressive penile rehabilitation effort which included penile injections. When injections stopped working, I experienced occasional success with ED medications. These successes fueled our hope and our expectation  that my nerve bundles would heal.

We maintained our hope for four years until every treatment method available began failing 100% of the time. Then came that fateful day when my Urologist told me the healing period was over. He gave me the awful news that I'd be impotent for the rest of my life. I left that appointment feeling hopeless and depressed.

I knew one thing and one thing only- I did not want to spend the rest of my life impotent. Do you? I did what I do best when I want to learn about something new. I went on-line to research treatment options for impotence.

I came across what I thought was an amazing option. In the medical field its called a "penile prosthesis."  I never liked that term, I don't know why. I prefer the other term used called a "penile implant."

I was amazed with these four facts:
  1. This form of treatment has the highest patient satisfaction rate than any other form of treatment available for ED.
  2. My Urologist NEVER mentioned this option to me
  3. My insurance company would pay for the procedure
  4. There was not a single book I could find from a patient's or couples point of view about living an implant.
As much as I wanted to keep my decision to have a penile implant private it became quite clear to me this wasn't an option. Too many men and couples were struggling like we were.  I decided two things. First, I was getting a penile implant. Second, I was going to write about my experiences in real time and put together a book after I had some time to live with an implant. I was delighted when my wife Brenda, agreed to write two chapters. 

Currently, our new book is in the hands of our editor. My wife and I combined our professional training and four year experience with ED to write a book that deals with the 
emotional, relational, psychological, sexual and spiritual aspects of coping with ED. We also share our journey with penile implant surgery and discuss the ways in which this surgery changed our lives and relationship. 

Our book will be release sometime in the second quarter of this year.  In the meantime, if you are weary of living with ED, talk to your physician. There are treatment options available.

If you'd like to receive a personal notification when our new book will be available, visit my website to send me a private message:
Rick's website  

Rick Redner MSW, Brenda Redner RN, are the authors of an awarding winning book written to help men and couples cope with life without a prostate. You can read the first few pages at no charge here:

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Eleven Questions to Ask After Prostate Surgery

A clash of expectations presents a challenge for men and couples to overcome. Far too many men and couples are unpleasantly surprised after prostate surgery. Double nerve sparing Robotic Surgery is sold to men as a relatively easy procedure to tolerate. That's accurate unless there are complications. 

My wife and I were amazed with the ease in which I began walking around the block the day after we returned from the hospital. The ease of the physical recovery sets the wrong mindset on the other aspects of living life without a prostate. When they sent me home with a list of things to watch for after surgery, I wish sent me home with a list of other things to watch for in my psychological, emotional, relational, sexual and spiritual life as well.

If I were asked to write such a list it would consist of these eleven questions:

At some point after surgery did you:
1.  Hate the quality of your life
2.  Regret your decision to have surgery
3.  Notice an increase in irritability
4.  Emotionally distance yourself from your partner
5.  Become depressed
6. Avoid sex
7  Experience a decline in the quality of your marriage
8.  Experience gratitude surgery cured your cancer                          
9.  Overcome the obstacles to re-establishing your sex life.                                   10. Improve the quality of your relationship with your partner
11. Become closer or more distant with God?

I recently posted this list on Facebook. Within minutes, these two replies came in:
"Wow thanks Rick-Everything on this list I'm still experiencing" 

"All of the above"

I'm not surprised, but the men who wrote those comments in all likelihood were. So are the tens of thousands of men and couples who find themselves coping with life without a prostate. 

I'm ticked off that nothing has changed since my surgery six years ago. Men and couples continue to face difficult issues that permanently change the quality of their life and relationships, but no warning is provided and no help is offered. It's maddening. 

If you were or still are coping with the challenges of living and loving without a prostate, I hope you'll add your thoughts about this.

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 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Healthy vs Unhealthy Regret

I hoped one day I'd experience a permanent win in the battle between unhealthy and healthy regret. Two recent experiences remind me I'm not alone in this battle and it's far from over. The first incident began when my wife and I decided we needed to child proof our sliding glass door which leads to our pool area, which is not surrounded by a fence. I knew before I started drilling the latch into the slider there was a danger of breaking the glass. I thought about then ignored the option of simply drilling two holes on the right side of the latch and leaving the left side alone. That way I could be certain I wouldn't break the glass. I thought about using glue  to strengthen and support the latch would work just fine.

That's all I did. I thought about it, then ignored my concerns and the idea that would have led to a successful installation. I'm a tad obsessive. The thought of  seeing two empty screw slots presented me with an asymmetrical picture I didn't want to live with. So I drilled out the two holes on the left side, close to the glass door. All went well until I began the process of tightening the first screw on the left side of the latch. One turn of the screw driver shattered the glass in the door into thousands of pieces. It needlessly cost me $460 to replace the glass door. I didn't feel much better when the technician expressed his surprise that I broke the glass. He thought I'd drilled the hole far enough away. He said "You must have just nicked the glass just enough to break it." His comment  didn't make me feel any better.

Once the door was replaced, I settled with my original decision to keep screws on the right side of the latch away from the glass.  I was overwhelmed with the anger I felt toward myself.  I knew the screws on the left side were dangerously close to the glass, and I knew I was running the risk of breaking the glass. I also knew the would have worked just fine with two screws instead of four. Ignoring my own advice cost me $460.

 I can't count the number of times I've ignored my own advice, knowledge or wisdom and paid a costly price. I didn't know how to move on or how forgive myself. I was more than angry, I felt self hatred and condemnation. That's the sign of unhealthy regret. You're stuck in self hatred or condemnation or simply the wish you could undo what you've done.

Sometimes we pay the ultimate price for ignoring ourselves. I remember a elderly woman who was a dear friend. She was taking a shower when her phone rang. She had a message machine. There was no reason she couldn't pick up the message after her shower. Unfortunately, she decided she couldn't wait. In her rush to answer the phone she fell, slipped, and broke her hip. After multiple complications following her surgery, she died. You'd think I'd learn an important lesson from her experience, but I didn't. A few years later my phone rang while I was in the bath. I decided to run out of the bath to answer it rather than let my answering machine pick up a message. On my way to answer the phone I went sliding across the floor. I was fortunate. I kept my balance and didn't fall. It was too close a call. Once again I had to ask myself, why is it I ignore doing what I know to be right. I was extremely grateful I didn't fracture my hip. I made a mental note to myself that said "Never do that again!" I can't help but wonder if I'll ignore this warning once again.

Today I was reading a few posts from a prostate cancer support group. Many of the men were experiencing unhealthy regret. They were beating themselves up for decisions that made that cost them a great deal in terms of their health. One man regretted the years he'd spent using testosterone. He was convinced this decision made his cancer more deadly. Another man regretted the amount of time he delayed his treatment. That delay may cost him his life. Still another regretted his decision not to follow his Doctor's recommendation to have both radiation and chemotherapy after surgery. Now that his cancer has spread, he's starting chemotherapy. Sometimes we pay a lot more than $460 for making a mistake.

All of those men were living with a potentially life threatening disease, which is highly stressful enough. Adding to their stress and misery was unhealthy regret, forgiveness and self condemnation.
It isn't easy to break free from unhealthy regret. It takes time, intentionality, forgiveness and a reworking of thoughts.

Religion is often associated with guilt. I knew a Pastor who said he wasn't doing his job correctly if people didn't experience guilt after each his sermons. Jesus gave us the opportunity to end unhealthy regret in every circumstance:
 Rom 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (NKJ)

If there is no condemnation in Christ, why do we condemn ourselves? Do you want to be chained to
 your worst mistakes? My answer is "Heck no!"

There are many people who reject this amazing offer:

John 8:34-36
Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (NKJV)

Martin Luther King understood this when he said: "Free at last! free at last! Thank God almighty we are free at last. Nothing can take away the freedom God offers to you. It's an offer I can't refuse. How about you?

I leave you with two important questions to ask yourself. "What are the regrets that cause me to repeatedly beat myself up about?" Finally, "Will you forgive yourself?"

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:

Look for their next book about erectile dysfunction & penile implants in the 2nd quarter of 2016.